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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Healthy Eating arrow Is Ground Chicken Healthy? Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Is Ground Chicken Healthy? Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: August 1, 2023
9 min read 920 Views 0 Comments
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From chicken meatballs to a ground chicken burger, ground chicken is used in kitchens across the world, but is it good for you?

is ground chicken healthy

Although it tastes delicious and is packed with essential nutrients, ground chicken is a much less popular meat than chicken breasts, thighs, and wings.

It’s well known that eating too much red meat can increase your risk of colon cancer, so you may be tempted to eat this type of poultry instead of ground beef.

Read on to find out if ground chicken is actually healthy and why you should consider adding it to your meals more often.

Is Ground Chicken Healthy?

Yes, ground chicken is healthy when eaten as part of a balanced diet because it is low in calories yet packed with protein. However, depending on how it is produced, it may contain a moderate amount of unhealthy saturated fats.

When made with just white meat from the breasts or wings, lean ground chicken is considered to be healthy meat. Compared to more processed meat such as sausages, bacon, and ham, it also has a relatively low-fat content.

However, most of the ground chicken that you’ll see on supermarket shelves is made with both white and dark chicken meat. Dark meat from the thighs and drumsticks contains much more saturated fat and cholesterol in comparison to white meat.

If you eat too many high-cholesterol foods, you will increase your risk of health complications such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, or heart attack. 

You may want, therefore, to choose a higher-protein, lower-fat option, such as chicken breast, if you are trying to lose weight or are at risk of heart disease.

For those on the low-carb ketogenic diet, ground chicken is also a healthy, keto-friendly food option to try, as it contains no carbohydrates. You should aim to consume less than 50 grams of carbs per day to help you stay in ketosis, which burns fat for energy rather than glucose.

What Is Ground Chicken?

Also known as minced chicken, ground chicken is usually finely chopped in a commercial meat grinder. However, you can easily create this delicious type of ground meat at home with just a blender or food processor.

You can make ground chicken with either white chicken meat, the breasts and wings, or dark chicken meat, the thighs and drumsticks. Both types of meat are often used together, and you can even add chicken skin to enhance the sweet and light flavor.

You may want to substitute ground beef for chicken in several dishes, making ground chicken easy to incorporate into your weekly meal plan. For example, use it in hamburgers, meatballs, and meatloaf to spice up your evening meals.

It can also be used for Asian recipes such as teriyaki chicken or in Italian cuisine to make a unique ground chicken lasagna.

4 Health Benefits of Ground Chicken 

Rich in B vitamins and amino acids, ground chicken is a lean, low-calorie source of protein that can help improve your health.

Here are some of the reasons why you should consider adding ground chicken to your weekly meal plan:

#1 Supports muscle growth

Ground chicken contains large amounts of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Protein helps to fuel muscle growth and preserves bone health as you age, which reduces the risk of you developing conditions such as osteoporosis.

It also contains copper, which increases collagen stores in the body. Collagen is a type of protein that is essential for building healthy skin, hair, and muscle tissues.

#2 May improve your mood

One of the benefits of ground chicken is that it contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin once digested in the body. 

Serotonin is a naturally-occurring chemical that is often referred to as the “happy hormone” and is responsible for that rush of joy you often feel at the end of a run, for example.

The tryptophan levels in the chicken aren’t high enough to help you immediately feel a sense of euphoria once you have eaten. However, when working together with iron and B vitamins, the amino acid can help boost your mood.

#3 Aids weight loss

Ground chicken contains high amounts of lean protein, which makes it great for weight loss. 

This is because a higher protein intake reduces levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone within the body that controls how satisfied you feel after eating a meal.

When you are able to get lots of protein into your diet, you are, therefore, likely to feel more satisfied and will automatically eat fewer calories. This helps to put you in a caloric deficit, which you should maintain in the long run for weight loss and to burn stubborn fat.

#4 May help to treat Alzheimer’s disease

Choline, a nutrient that is essential for a healthy brain, liver, and muscle function, can be found in ground chicken. Research suggests that choline may be beneficial for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. 

This important nutrient produces acetylcholine, a chemical that helps to maintain memory and muscle control as you age. 

2 Downsides of Ground Chicken

If you are looking to lose weight or eat a balanced diet, you should consume ground chicken in moderation. 

So, here are some of the downsides you should consider when choosing to eat this type of ground meat:

#1 May have high-fat content

Ground chicken is often made with chicken skin, along with the trimmings of both dark and white meat.

Chicken skin and dark meat have a higher fat content than white meat, such as chicken breast. Consuming too much saturated fat can cause health complications such as obesity, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

One option to help you avoid these problems is to buy chicken breasts and process them in your own meat grinder or blender at home. This means you can still enjoy the delicious taste of ground chicken without sacrificing your health.

#2 Has no dietary fiber

Ground chicken has no carbohydrates or fiber, which are essential nutrients for keeping your body moving and helping you to have regular bowel movements. If you only eat ground chicken, you are likely to feel bloated and suffer from constipation.

Fiber also controls your blood glucose levels, meaning that you are less likely to get those mid-morning sugar cravings and hunger pangs. Getting plenty of fiber into your breakfast, therefore, helps you feel fuller and more satisfied throughout the day. 

To prevent any of these unpleasant side effects, try to eat ground chicken with foods that are high in fiber, including pumpkin seeds, oatmeal, and avocados.

Nutrition Facts of Ground Chicken

Learning more about what nutrients this type of ground meat contains can help you to decide whether it’s suitable for your diet. This is important for those with particular health and fitness goals, such as losing weight or building lean muscle.

Therefore, read the nutritional information for 100g of ground chicken below so that you know how to effectively include it in your weekly meal plan:

Nutritional value (per 100g)

Calories/Nutrient (per 100g)Amount
Calories (kcal)143
Net Carbs (g)0.04
Fiber (g)0
Sugar (g)0
Fats (Total)8.1
Protein (g)17.4
Cholesterol (mg)86

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171116/nutrients 

Low in calories 

Ground chicken is a low-calorie food, which makes it ideal for those trying to lose weight. 

Along with choosing activities such as swimming and running, eating lower-calorie options helps your body burn more calories than it consumes, leading to weight loss.

Low in carbs 

Those who are on the clean keto diet can eat ground chicken as it contains 0 carbs. This means it won’t disrupt ketosis, where the body burns fat instead of carbs for energy.

However, this meat also contains no fiber, making ground chicken easy to digest. You will therefore need to add supplements for weight loss and high-fiber foods into your diet to maintain good gut health.

Moderate amount of fats

As ground chicken is a combination of dark and white meat, it contains a moderate amount of fats. 

3oz of chicken thigh contains 13g of fat, which is 20% of the recommended daily fat intake for the average person. However, only 3.5g of this is unhealthy saturated fat, meaning that most of the fat in dark chicken meat is unsaturated.

Unsaturated fat is an essential source of energy that helps the body build cells, absorb vitamins and minerals, and maintain a healthy hormonal balance.

High in proteins 

With 17.4g of protein per 100g serving, ground chicken is a great option in terms of lean protein sources. However, chicken breast has a significantly higher protein content of 32.1g per 100g.

To maintain good muscle and bone health, you should aim to consume 50–80g of protein per day.

Rich in vitamins and minerals 

Ground chicken is rich in vitamins B6 and B12, as well as niacin, selenium, and zinc. These vitamins and minerals are essential for preventing nutritional deficiencies and ensuring that your body can continue functioning correctly.

Ground Chicken vs. Ground Beef 

It is common to substitute ground chicken for beef as a healthier alternative. Therefore, here is a comparison between the two types of meat:

ProductGround chickenGround beef
OriginAsiaGermany
DescriptionDark and white meat from a chicken that is finely ground or choppedBeef trimmings that are finely ground or chopped 
TasteSweet, light, mildRich, juicy, savory
Calories (per 100g)143261
Net carbs (per 100g)0.040
Fiber (per 100g)00
Protein (per 100g)17.425.6
Total fats (per 100g)8.116.8
Sugar (per 100g)00
Sodium (per 100g)60mg381mg
Cholesterol (per 100g)86mg87mg

Sources: Ground chicken, ground beef

Healthy Ground Chicken Recipe

It is a good idea to make healthy meals at home using ground chicken. This ensures that you are not buying meat that has lots of additives, which can increase the calorie count.

Here are the ingredients and directions for an easy and healthy ground chicken recipe that you can make at home:

Ingredients

  • 5 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1lb chicken, ground
  • 1½ cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp minced fresh basil, plus extra torn for garnish
  • ½ tsp minced fresh oregano
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2lb zucchini, spiralized

Directions

  1. Put a large skillet over medium heat and add 3 tsp of oil.
  2. Add the garlic, carrot, celery, and onion, and saute for 5 minutes until tender. Add ground chicken, cooking for 4 minutes until browned.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, and oregano, and simmer for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then put the chicken mixture into a bowl. Cover to keep warm.
  4. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Turn the skillet up to medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 tsp oil.
  5. Add zucchini and saute for 1 minute until heated through. Season to taste.
  6. Serve: Divide the zucchini among 4 plates. Top with chicken mixture and garnish with extra torn basil.

If you are interested in finding some more healthy recipes, we would recommend downloading some nutrition apps

They can provide you with a wide choice of meal plans and recipes that help you to incorporate variety into your diet when making food at home.

FAQs 

Is ground chicken good for weight loss?

As a low-calorie, lean protein source, ground chicken is ideal for maintaining a calorie deficit. This is essential for weight loss. It is also low-carb, so it can be consumed by those looking to speed up weight loss on the keto diet.

Is ground chicken fattening?

When compared to ground beef, ground chicken is not fattening. Ground chicken contains a moderate amount of fats.

However, those who eat it too often may exceed their recommended daily fat intake, which adds additional calories to your diet. This can cause weight gain in the long term.

Is ground chicken processed?

Meat is considered processed if it is cured, smoked, salted, or preserved to ensure that it remains fresh. As most ground chicken does not contain any additives, it is not processed meat.

A Word From a Nutritionist

If you are trying to consume a more balanced diet, you can substitute ground chicken as a healthy alternative to ground beef. This is because it is a high protein, low calorie, lean meat which is ideal for weight loss and muscle growth.

However, it is important to note that chicken contains no carbohydrates or fiber. Unless you are following the ketogenic diet, your body relies on carbohydrates as its main source of energy.

Fiber is essential for maintaining good gut health and lowering the risk of heart disease.

You should therefore consider pairing ground chicken with high-fiber wholegrain foods such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, or wholewheat pasta in a delicious chicken lasagna or chicken burgers, for example.

Conclusion

Whether you are looking to lose weight, build muscle, or begin eating a balanced diet, ground chicken is a healthy food that can help you to achieve all of these goals.

Remember that ground chicken at the grocery store may contain dark fatty meat as well as white meat. If you’re prioritizing weight loss or are following the keto diet, you may therefore prefer to use chicken breasts in a meat grinder at home.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: August 1, 2023
9 min read 920 Views 0 Comments
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