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We Spoke To A Canadian Dietitian & Here’s Why She Thinks Chicken Is The Ultimate Protein To Cook With

It's an im-peck-able protein.

Contributive writer
We Spoke To A Canadian Dietitian & Here’s Why She Thinks Chicken Is The Ultimate Protein To Cook With

Chicken dinner is a household staple for a reason. There are so many tasty ways to cook it: baked, grilled, roasted — the list goes on. A daily saviour for families of all sizes, this meat is super versatile.

Plus, it's kind of cool knowing the Chicken Farmers of Canada are dedicated to farming chicken in rural communities across the country. Yay for supporting local farmers!

Though some Canadians have tried plant-based meats, Gina Sunderland, a food and consumer relations specialist dietitian with Manitoba Chicken Producers, says that incorporating chicken into your diet is a good choice because it is a complete protein – something our bodies need.

Narcity sat down with this chicken connoisseur to learn a little more about that.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Gina SunderlandCourtesy of Chicken Farmers of Canada

Gina's passion for cooking and science combined with a desire to help others lead healthier lives, guided her to become a dietitian.

"My main interests revolve around healthy eating and building a greater understanding of agricultural practices related to the chicken industry," Sunderland told Narcity.

"With my knowledge and expertise, I am able to help consumers understand the life cycle of our food from farm to table."

She used that expertise to explain the differences between different proteins.

“Proteins can be classified as complete or incomplete based on the amino acids they contain," said Sunderland. "A complete protein contains all nine essential amino acids, whereas proteins that do not are classified as incomplete proteins."

Courtesy of Chicken Farmers of Canada

While there is interest in alternative protein options, Sunderland reminds Canadians that chicken has lots of good nutrients (like essential amino acids).

She added that "chicken is lower in saturated fat than most other meats and provides many other essential nutrients."

Canadian chicken is a single ingredient food that’s rich in nutrients. Plus, it's a protein that's a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, iron and zinc.

In Canada, chicken is one of the most popular proteins. It's not only tasty and budget friendly, but the Chicken Farmers of Canada are also committed to sustainability.

When it comes to cooking with chicken, don't be afraid to experiment in the kitchen. Incorporating flavours from all over the world is a great way to spice up your routine while learning new techniques.

"One of my favourite ways to prepare chicken is Manitoba Chicken’s Roast Chicken with Lemons recipe," said Sunderland.

"I enjoy making this for a weekend meal and then repurposing the leftovers into a brand-new meal, such as chicken quesadillas, flatbreads or tacos."

Gina also recommends using the bones to make delicious and healthy chicken stock. Waste not, want not! "A whole chicken goes a long way when it comes to meal planning," she said.

Shawna Lapointe (left) with Gina Sunderland (right).@manitobachicken | Instagram

As for what you should know when you’re eyeing up the chicken in the grocery aisle, Sunderland suggests looking for the 'Raised by a Canadian Farmer' logo.

"This assures consumers that they are purchasing high quality, farm-family raised chicken."

Whether you prefer flats over drums or sweet over savoury, chicken’s an egg-cellent (ha-ha) high-protein source.

And thanks to the high standards of Canadian farmers, incorporating chicken into your weekly meal plans is a choice you can feel good about making.

To learn more about Canadian chicken, check out the Chicken Farmers of Canada website or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube.

    Kianni Reynolds-Lewis
    Contributive writer
    Kianni Reynolds-Lewis is a Staff Writer for the Studio department focused on sponsored content and is based in Edmonton, Canada.