Healthy Cooking with Poultry

Canadians are eating more poultry than ever and with sound reasoning. Poultry contains less fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than other meat choices such as pork or beef. Consequently, Canadians are looking for healthy cooking with poultry methods to add to their diets to help better their lifestyles. The bird is the word!

In this blog, we will go over some of the significant health benefits to cooking with poultry, preparation and storage tips, and the top 3 methods to achieve healthy cooking with poultry in your own home. We will even throw in a few of our favorite recipes at the end.

Health Benefits

  1. Poultry is Nutritious. It is a lean (low in fat), high in protein meat choice that contributes to muscle growth and development. It contains essential nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, and zinc.
  2. Natural Anti-Depressant. You know that feeling you get when you eat a big bowl of homemade chicken soup? It’s not all in your head! Eating poultry increases the serotonin amino acid levels in your brain which leads to mood enhancement, and makes you feel less depressed.
  3. Strong Bones & Teeth. If you are concerned about your bone health, healthy cooking with poultry can help to alleviate some of the stress. Eating poultry will aid in your fight against bone loss due to the amount of protein it withholds. Consuming just 100mgs of chicken breast will fulfill half of your necessary protein intake for the day. Furthermore, poultry is high in phosphorus and helps to maintain the proper functioning of the liver, kidneys and nervous system.
  4. Body Weight Maintenance. Looking to slim down? Whether it is for medical or cosmetic reasoning, poultry is the answer! This high protein choice provides you the necessary to energy to function properly, while keeping your stomach full, longer. Nutritionists suggest incorporating poultry, such as chicken, into your diet 2-3 times per week. However, be sure you are using cooking methods that provide nutritional benefits as well!

Safe Storage & Preparation

Chill

For healthy cooking with poultry, it is especially important to keep your food out of the temperature danger zone. Within these temperatures, bacteria are most likely to grow and can, therefore, make you quite sick.

 For healthy cooking with poultry, it is especially important to keep your food out of the temperature danger zone. Within these temperatures, bacteria are most likely to grow and can, therefore, make you quite sick.

Chill your poultry safely with these tips:

  • Keep your fridge set to 4C (40F) or lower and your freezer set to -18C (0F) or lower.
  • Cook fresh poultry within 2 to 3 days after purchasing.
  • If you do not plan on cooking within those 2 to 3 days, freeze it! Poultry will keep for up to a year if stored correctly.
  • Always keep wrapped in a clean container, away from unwrapped food. If neccessary, use a plastic bag to avoid any leaking raw juices from contaminating other items.

Thaw

Be sure always to thaw poultry in the fridge or cold water, NEVER at room temperature. It is important to remember to keep your poultry wrapped at all times, or in a container that prevents the contamination of other surfaces. When defrosting is completed, cook protein right away with your desired method – do not refreeze.

Prepare

There is no reason to fret when cooking poultry products! Healthy cooking with poultry is an easy task when following the steps we provided for you in this blog today. Follow these simple rules when preparing your poultry for your next meal:

  • Always wash your hands before and after you touch any raw poultry. Wash with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds!
  • Do not rinse raw poultry to remove the bacteria – this makes it much worse! The bacteria may wash off the poultry itself, but anywhere the water splashes may now be contaminated.
  • As with all meat preparations, preparing poultry to the proper temperature is crucial. Never eat raw or undercooked poultry. If you are unsure, use a food thermometer and follow guidelines.

Healthy Cooking Methods

Many people assume that because poultry is already a lean, nutritious choice of protein, it can be cooked however you’d like. Unfortunately, this is very untrue. Individuals need to be mindful of the cooking techniques they use to prepare their “healthy” meals. We have compiled our top 3 methods of healthy cooking with poultry to share with you:

Poaching.

Deemed the healthiest way to cook poultry! Similar to the way you would poach eggs, all you will need is your poultry of choice and some hot water. Essentially, this is the most healthy because you aren’t introducing any other ingredients during the cooking methods such as oils or fats. Typically, you will bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. From there, you slowly submerge the protein into the pan and simmer until fully cooked. Try adding your favourite herbs, spices, and veggies to the water for added flavour. Recipe: Poached Chicken or Turkey Breast

Grilling.

Is your go-to method of cooking chicken to grill or bake it? Nutritionists say this is still a healthy option of cooking, as long as you are aware of the other ingredients you are using. When grilling or baking, be mindful of the number of additional fats you add to the dish. A good tip is to use a brush to cover the poultry, and using plant-based oils that are low in unsaturated fats. If you are looking to add extra flavour – marinate beforehand. Much like with poaching, use fresh herbs & spices and tenderizers such as vinegar or citrus. Recipe: 14 Healthy Grilled Chicken Recipes

Sautéing.

Third on our list, but still a beneficial way to healthy cooking with poultry. Much like grilling, sauteing requires you to use some time of fat to cook with to minimize sticking to the pan. However, we suggest investing in a high-quality pan to help cut down the amount of fat that is necessary. In addition to stopping food from sticking, a quality non-stick pan allows for better minimization of fats being used. A quick tip for this method: If you want that crispy outer layer without the extra calories, sear the poultry on the stove over medium/high heat and finish by baking in the oven. Recipe: Sauteéd Chicken with Fresh Herbs & Ginger

Get Cooking!

Within this blog, we have provided you with the fundamentals to start your journey into healthy cooking with poultry products. Looking to source your poultry from a local, reliable source? Here at Hilltop Acres Poultry, we strive to provide the freshest meat and poultry products possible to you and your family. We always have, and always will believe in going the extra mile to respond to your needs as a customer, and a fellow cook. Check out our list of products today!

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