Chicken vs. Turkey

Both of these poultry are popular in the American diet.  Chicken can be found in almost any restaurant and Thanksgiving is just not Thanksgiving without a turkey.  But is one of these birds better than the other?

POULTRY POWER:  three ounces of either of these provides about 130 calories, 26 grams of protein, and 80 milligrams of cholesterol.  Both are great sources of protein.  They are also relatively in low fat with less than two grams per serving only if the skin is removed and they are not breaded.  Nutritionally, they are very similar.  In terms of flavor both are mild tasting and if not overcooked, they are tender and juicy.  Chickens average around five pounds, turkeys range from five to twenty pounds, so for a larger family gathering you may want to choose a turkey.  Estimate 1.5 pounds of turkey per adult and one pound per child.  In recipes chicken and turkey are easily interchangeable; you could use turkey in place of chicken in salads, casseroles, and appetizers.  Just keep in mind that turkey wings and legs are usually two to three times larger than the size of chicken wings and legs! 

Who wins? It is too close to call!

TIP:  To keep these protein sources a low fat choice, opt for grilled, broiled, or baked options without breading.  Choosing breast meat over dark meat, like legs and thighs, is also a low fat choice.

Julia E. Salomón, MS, RDN, CD; Community Health Improvement Leader, Affinity Health System 
Taylor Gawlik, Dietetic Intern, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay