- White meat, skinless: 140 calories, 27 calories from fat, 58 mg cholesterol
- White meat, with skin: 167 calories, 63 calories from fat, 72 mg cholesterol
- Dark meat, skinless: 178 calories, 81 calories from fat, 80 mg cholesterol
- Dark meat, with skin: 210 calories, 117 calories from fat, 81 mg cholesterol
Chicken and other poultry products are best when they have a moist skin, a plump breast and a fresh smell. The skin color varies from creamy white to golden yellow depending on the region and the bird's diet.
The "sell by" date on the label helps ensure freshness. Check the label for the last day to buy.
Choose USDA Grade A for best flavor and tenderness. It is the most common grade.
The package should contain little or no liquid. Too much liquid in the package means it has been frozen and then thawed, which means the poultry will be dry when cooked.
Know your bird sizes:
- 3 to 3 1/2-pound whole chicken = 4 servings
- 3/4 to 1 pound bone-in chicken pieces = 1 serving
- 1/2 breast or 2 drumsticks = 1 serving
Free-range poultry are raised in an open, uncaged environment, while organic poultry is raised on chemical-free grain on land without pesticides. Free-range poultry is often more expensive but is considered more flavorful.
Ellen Haas is the author of Great Adventures in Food (St. Martin's Press, 1999)
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