In this Guide for Buying the Healthiest Chicken, we are going to share the differences between free range, organic and pastured chicken.
Then, of course we’ll tell you the healthiest chicken to purchase and some easy healthy chicken recipes.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Buying Guide for Healthiest Chicken
- Is Free Range Chicken the Healthiest Chicken?
- Organic Chicken the Healthiest Chicken?
- Is Vegetarian-Fed Chicken the Healthiest Chicken?
- The Unhealthiest Chicken: Factory Farmed
- Why Pastured Chicken is the Healthiest Chicken!
- 5 Easy Healthy Chicken Recipes
- RECIPE! Easy Chicken Rice Recipe
Buying Guide for the Healthiest Chicken
Over the next few minutes, I am going to share with you the best way to choose the healthiest chicken. Guess what? Free range or organic labeled chicken is not the healthiest. And definitely not a vegetarian fed or factory farmed chicken. Keep reading to learn about the healthiest chicken selection.
Is Free Range Chicken the Healthiest Chicken?
Well, the answer is no, free range chicken is NOT the healthiest chicken. While we love buying packages with the “free range” label, this is just marketing. While free range chicken are not in cages, they are still not the healthiest chicken. Unfortunately, the regulation for “free range” has no rules that the birds are to be pastured – instead the birds are likely kept in a barn or on bare dirt floors.
It’s not likely that “free range chicken” are in a pasture. Otherwise the farmers would market the chicken as “pastured chicken” and sell their chicken for more money.
Organic Chicken the Healthiest Chicken?
Unfortunately, the organic label on chicken is not the same as an organic label on fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t matter whether the chicken ate organic food or not. What we can about is whether the chicken lived indoors or outdoors.
Organic chicken is not the healthiest chicken because again, this rule is only about what they ate, not how they lived. A comparison about chicken can compare to people eating sugar. It doesn’t matter whether a person eats organic sugar or non-organic sugar. Because, a person who eats a lot of sugar will not be as healthy as a person who eats lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc.
Is Vegetarian-Fed Chicken the Healthiest Chicken?
No again, vegetarian chickens are not the healthiest chicken. Chickens are not supposed to be vegetarians. The term “vegetarian-fed chickens” just means the chickens were not given other ground up parts of other chickens—and that’s good!
A natural chicken diet is made up of bugs and worms and other insects. Chickens were designed to forage for out in open pasture. Again, any deviant diet from the natural chicken diet is not going result in the healthiest chicken.
The Unhealthiest Chickens: Factory-Farmed
And of course factory-farmed chickens are the absolute worst. Factory-farmed chickens have an inferior nutritional profile compared to the pastured chickens. This is because the chickens are in unhealthy living conditions and are highly susceptible to infections. Therefore, to combat rampant infections factory farmers give their chickens antibiotics and then bleach them with chlorine before sending them to market. No thank you!
The bottom line is, you want to look for pastured chicken and settle for nothing less. If you can’t find it at your local supermarket then you can order pastured chicken online.
Why Pastured Chicken is the Healthiest Chicken!
Hands down, the absolute tastiest and healthiest chicken is a pastured chicken.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of selecting and buying chickens that are pastured and fed the natural diet chickens are supposed to eat.
The quality and nutritional value of the chicken you eat varies widely depending on what the chicken ate.
A Natural Chicken Diet for Pastured Chickens
The natural chicken diet is one that contains fresh pasture, worms and bugs. FYI: chickens are not supposed to be vegetarians! If the chicken eats a deviant diet from what a wild chicken would eat then it won’t be as healthy, and neither will you if you eat it.
A chicken allowed to consume a natural chicken diet has a more balanced ratio of omega-6 fat to omega-3 fat. These pastured chickens are leaner because they get to exercise and find their own food.
Healthier Chickens Equal Healthier Eggs
Eggs from pastured chickens are also healthier. Compared to commercial eggs, pastured eggs are going to taste better and have more nutrients. For example, eggs from hens raised on pasture contain about 1/3 less cholesterol, less saturated fat, more vitamin A, more omega-3 fat, less omega-6 fat. They also have more than twice the amount of vitamin E and considerably more beta carotene.
Ok, enough of the chicken lecture. On with the Easy Healthy Chicken Recipes and a delicious recipe for Easy Chicken Rice Recipe below.
Easy Healthy Chicken Recipes
Once you purchase your deliciously nutritious and healthiest chicken: the Pastured Chicken, here’s some easy healthy recipes to enjoy!
#1: White Chicken Chili Recipe
This White Chicken Chili Recipe is probably the easiest healthy chicken recipe on our site. It’s so simple and quick to make.
Creamy and bursting with flavor, this White Chicken Chili Recipe is one of our family favorites. Plus, this White Chicken Chili makes for an amazing food day. Quite simply, the food you eat is made with effortless ease, tastes amazing and leaves you feeling fabulous.
#2: Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
What could possibly be healthier than this Cashew Chicken Stir Fry? This easy chicken recipe is as easy as chopping up and sauteing some vegetables along with the pastured chicken and a handful of cashews.
#3: Recipe for Chicken Nuggets
This Chicken Nuggets Recipe is perfect for kids, but adults love them too. Another one of our favorite easy healthy chicken recipes. Anytime we can make packaged favorites healthier at home, we do.
#4: Best Oven Fried Chicken
If you love the crispy delicious flavor of chickfila chicken, then you must try this easy healthy chicken recipe for Oven Fried Chicken. Not only is the chicken crispy, but the meat is succulent and super juicy. While yes, there are quite a few steps — just follow the instructions and you’ll be instantly adding this recipe as a new favorite.
#5: Easy Chicken Rice Recipe
This easy chicken rice recipe is perfectly delicious and with just a few minutes of prep if you can find a pastured rotisserie chicken. If you can’t, no worries – follow the instructions below with your pastured chicken to make our easy chicken rice recipe.
Easy Chicken Rice Recipe
This easy chicken rice recipe is perfect when using the healthiest chicken – which of course, is pastured.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Saute
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
- Over medium heat, add the extra virgin olive oil to a saute pan. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the cubed chicken and saute over medium-high heat for about 8-10 minutes until fully cooked through.
- On 2 plates, seperate the brown rice, green vegetables (either the broccoli rabe or sauteed kale works perfectly) and chicken evenly.