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September 28, 2018
Chicken breast vs chicken thigh and not only...

Have you ever wondered which of the two is best and which one should we choose? Meat is a type of food - that contains elements necessary for the body – and it is in most people’s eating plan on a weekly basis, and many times even on a daily one. Poultry is a meat category that is considered to be healthier and more nutritional in relation to the red meat, and that is why many people prefer them. What I have observed in most diets is that very often people consume chicken (breast or thigh), as well as turkey (usually breast), and actually in large quantities.  Are there indeed differences between them, and if yes, which exactly are they? So, I got into searching this issue a little more…

I have prepared for you the following table with their macronutrients, where we can see in detail their differences and similarities.


Chicken breast (100 g)

Chicken thigh (100 g)

Turkey breast (100 g)

Energy (kcal)




Fats (g)




Saturated Fats (g)




Carbohydrates (g)




Sugars (g)




Protein (g)




Fibers (g)




Salt (g)




So, based on the table above, the skinless, grilled chicken thigh has 161 calories, 28 g protein, 5.5 g fats (of which the 1.4 g are saturated fats) and 1.5 mg iron, while the chicken breast, that is similarly cooked, has 145 calories, 32 g protein, 1.9 g fats (of which the 0.6 g are saturated fats) and 0.4 mg iron. The grilled turkey, now, has 155 calories, 35 g protein, 1.7 g fats (of which the 0.6 g are saturated fats) and 1.5 mg iron.

So, by focusing more on calories, protein, fats, and iron that they contain, we can see that they are no big differences between them and that the chicken thigh has a few more calories and more iron in comparison to the other two, while the turkey has more protein and fewer fats in comparison to the other two. On the other hand, the turkey is a lot more expensive, while the chicken thigh is the most low-priced of all three. However, people who want more flavor will definitely prefer the chicken thigh.

Surely, all three are rich in protein, an element that contributes to the cells’ structure and growth, and to preserving and building muscle fibers. The frequency in which it is good to consume them and the quantity of protein that each body needs, depends on many factors such as sex, age, and physical activity. It is better not to overconsume them and have them between 2 to 3 times per week and to follow a healthy and balanced eating plan in general.

People, who are exercising a lot, have the tendency to consume more chicken breast and turkey due to the fact that they are high in protein and low in fats. Of course, all three are consumed regularly not only by people who are on a diet or follow a healthy lifestyle but also by people who are recovering from some kind of surgery.

Something that is also very important to remember is that whichever we cook, we should cook it in a healthy way and avoid using many fatty or unhealthy foods during cooking. What will our plate contain and the quantity, are the factors that will make the difference in calories and in elements that we will finally consume. Definitely, all three choices are exceptional when combined with salad, starchy vegetables or complex carbs such as whole-wheat bread/pasta and whole-grain rice (in the right quantities of course!).

After all this information, which one will you finally decide to choose? Anyway, I suggest to you the following dishes, which you can enjoy with any of the above poultry that you want.

Chili lime chicken fillets

Chili lime chicken fillets by Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Chicken salad with whole-wheat fusilli

Chicken salad with whole-wheat fusilli by Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Turkey burgers

Turkey burgers by Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Chicken and spinach fricassee 

Chicken and spinach fricassee by Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Chicken and chickpea stew with tomato sauce

Chicken and chickpea stew with tomato sauce by Greek chef Akis Petretzikis


This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.

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