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Canned Chicken vs Canned Tuna: Which is Healthier?

Canned chicken and canned tuna are both convenient and affordable canned meat options. But is one healthier than the other? Here’s a detailed comparison of the nutrition, taste, cost, and uses of canned chicken versus canned tuna to help you decide which is best for you.

Which is better: canned tuna or canned chicken?

When comparing nutritional value, canned tuna is generally the healthier choice over canned chicken. Tuna is naturally lower in fat and calories, with only 1-2 grams of fat per 3 oz serving compared to 2-8 grams in chicken. The omega-3 fatty acids in tuna also provide additional health benefits.

However, tuna contains higher levels of mercury that can build up in the body, so intake should be limited to 6 oz a week for pregnant women and young children. Canned chicken is safer in terms of lower mercury levels. Ultimately, tuna is lower in fat and can be part of a healthy diet in moderation, but chicken may be a better choice for regular consumption.

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Canned chicken vs canned tuna: Nutritional Comparison

Protein Content

Canned chicken and tuna are both excellent sources of protein. A 3 ounce serving of canned chicken provides around 21 grams of protein, while the same amount of canned tuna provides about 22 grams. This makes them nearly equal in protein content.

Fat Content

Tuna is overall lower in fat and calories than canned chicken. Canned white tuna packed in water has around 1 gram of fat per serving. Canned chicken can have anywhere from 2-8 grams of fat depending on preparation methods and added ingredients. Tuna is naturally lower in fat.

Sodium Content

Both canned meats are high in sodium since salt is added as a preservative. Canned tuna has around 350-450 mg of sodium per 3 ounce serving. Canned chicken can have 300-800 mg sodium depending on added broths or flavorings. To limit sodium, look for low-sodium or no salt added versions.

Mercury Levels

Due to tuna’s higher position on the food chain, it contains more mercury than chicken. Pregnant women are advised to limit canned tuna intake to 6 ounces per week. Canned chicken has very low mercury levels and is safer for pregnant women and children.

In summary, canned tuna is lower in calories and fat compared to chicken, while chicken is lower in sodium and mercury. Check labels to find options that fit your dietary needs.

Taste Differences

Canned tuna has a distinct fishy flavor that people tend to love or hate. Albacore (white) tuna has a milder flavor than chunk light tuna. Canned chicken has a mild flavor similar to cooked chicken breast. It works well in recipes like chicken salads, casseroles and soups. Some find it blander than tuna. To boost flavor, look for canned chicken cooked in broth.

Cost Comparison

Canned tuna is significantly cheaper than canned chicken. An average 5 ounce can of tuna costs around $1-2, while a similar sized can of chicken costs $3-4. Tuna is one of the least expensive sources of protein per serving. If you’re on a tight budget, tuna provides more protein for the price.

Uses for Canned Chicken and Tuna

Both canned meats are versatile ingredients that can be used in a variety of dishes:

    • Salads – Chicken and tuna salad with mayo
    • Sandwiches – Tuna melts or chicken salad sandwiches
    • Wraps – Roll up in tortillas or lettuce
    • Snacks – Protein-packed tuna or chicken on crackers
    • Casseroles – Add to pasta bakes, pot pies, etc.
    • Soup – Use canned chicken in chicken noodle or rice soup

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Can you use canned chicken and tuna interchangeably in recipes?

For the most part, yes. Canned chicken and tuna have a similar texture and flaking quality when broken apart. In recipes like salads, casseroles and sandwiches, they can typically be used interchangeably. The main difference is flavor as tuna has a more distinct fishy taste.

So is canned chicken or tuna better?

Overall, tuna is lower in fat, calories and cost. But chicken has less sodium and mercury. Taste preference plays a role as well. In terms of uses, they can usually be substituted for one another in recipes. The choice ultimately depends on your nutritional needs, budget and taste preferences. Try them both to see which canned meat fits your lifestyle best.

FAQs
Is canned chicken like canned tuna?

Canned chicken and tuna have a similar flaky, tender texture when broken apart with a fork. This makes them easily interchangeable in recipes like salads, sandwiches and casseroles from a structural standpoint.

However, the flavor is quite different, with tuna having a distinct fishy, briny taste, while chicken has a milder flavor close to cooked chicken breast. Those who enjoy seafood are more likely to appreciate the taste of canned tuna. Canned chicken is less polarizing and more versatile in dishes where the mild flavor is preferable.

Is canned chicken healthy?

Yes, canned chicken can be a healthy option when choosing the right varieties. To maximize nutrition, choose chicken canned in water or low sodium broth rather than oil, which adds unnecessary saturated fat and calories.

Compare brands and choose the option with the lowest amount of sodium per serving. The protein in canned chicken provides nutrients for muscle growth and maintenance. Just be mindful of portion sizes, as the calories can add up quickly if overeaten. Overall, it can be part of a balanced diet in moderation.

Is canned tuna just as healthy as chicken?

Canned tuna is a very healthy protein source, providing nutrients like omega-3s, niacin, vitamin B12, selenium and protein in each serving. However, the higher mercury levels mean canned tuna should be consumed in moderation, unlike chicken which has very low mercury.

The American Pregnancy Association recommends pregnant women eat no more than 6 oz of canned tuna per week to avoid dangerous mercury exposure. Canned chicken can be eaten more freely. Both provide healthy nutrients, but tuna should be limited due to mercury concerns. Ultimately, canned chicken may be a safer choice for regular, frequent consumption.

 

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