Interested in buying healthy real food on a budget? Find out what the best chicken to buy is no matter what your budget!
Chicken is one of the cheapest and healthiest proteins that you can buy. Healthy protein can help with detox, and improve your metabolism, blood sugar, and hormones. I eat meat at every meal because of all of these reasons. (You can read more about my health journey here.)
I carefully source my chicken because much of the chicken at the grocery store is not that great. In recent years, there have been reports of arsenic being added to chicken feed. And, if the chickens eat it, we can end up eating it too. Some chicken also has MSG added to it or other unhealthy additives.
I have decided to categorize the chicken as “the best chicken”, “really good chicken”, and “good chicken”. Buy the best your budget will allow. If your budget is really tight, skip down to tips on how to choose the “good” chicken. It isn’t as good as the “best” or “really good”, but I share how to choose chicken with the least toxins.
The Best Chicken to Buy
The healthiest chicken to buy is not bought at the grocery store, but from a farmer. Chickens raised on pasture have more vitamin E and quality fat (Omega 3) than conventional chickens. Even though Pasture raised chickens also have more of the healthy kind of fat, they have less fat overall. (They have less of the omega 6 fats.) Chickens raised on pasture have more protein.
- Farmers often allow much more space for chickens to roam, which allows them to soak up vitamin D and eat bugs.
- Good farmers feed their chickens grasses, greens, insects, and grains. Many times the feed is organic or at least non GMO.
- Most farmers only use antibiotics as needed, instead of giving them all the time. Many conventional chicken farmers use antibiotics all the time which can cause antibiotic resistance, meaning the antibiotics don’t work when they are actually needed. I have also read that the antibiotics we get when we eat conventional chickens can kill off the good bacteria in our gut.
So, for the healthiest chicken anywhere find a farmer who raises free range chickens. (Here are some questions you can ask to help you find out how healthy the farmer’s chickens really are.)
Really Good Chicken from the Grocery Store
There are some really good brands of chicken in most grocery stores. One way to tell is if they are certified by a third party. The American Humane Society certifies chicken brands that meet their criteria-they check to see that the chickens are treated well.
They also make sure that there are no additives in the feed, and no antibiotics in the feed. They check ammonia levels to make sure that they are very low. (If the chicken poop is properly managed, ammonia levels are low.) They also ensure that the chickens have adequate space.
One brand that is American Humane Certified is Springer Mountain Farms. This is what I usually buy. I looked on their website and they also state that there is no arsenic in their chickens. Springer Mountain Farms works on sourcing non gmo feed for their chickens.
If you cannot find Springer Mountain Farms, look for chicken that is labeled antibiotic free. If you find a brand that is labeled antibiotic free it is already a step ahead of a lot of the chicken in the grocery store.
If you want to find out if they are as good as the chicken I buy ;), check the internet to see if you can find the brand’s website. Search their website to see if you can find out if their chickens are fed feed without arsenic or animal byproducts. Also, it is much better if their animals are fed non gmo feed.
If I can’t find antibiotic free chicken in the grocery store or I need to buy something really cheap that week, then I look for chicken that has no added “broth” or “flavorings”. I buy the chicken that says “contains up to 5% retained water”. That means the chicken is just chicken. 🙂
Since I know that the chickens probably weren’t raised as good as I would like, the chicken is likely to be higher in toxins. So, I buy boneless skinless breasts or tenders because many of the toxins reside in the chicken fat.
I hope this guide helps you to choose the best chicken for your health and budget!
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Disclaimer: This post is not medical advice. I am not a doctor or medical professional. I share only from my own experiences and research. Consult your own practitioner before making changes in your diet or supplements.