When it comes to choosing a protein-rich food for meals, many people turn to chicken sausage as a healthier alternative. Chicken sausage has been gaining popularity in recent years as a way to get the delicious taste of sausage without sacrificing health. But is this popular food actually healthy? This article will explore the nutritional content of chicken sausage and answer the question: Is chicken sausage healthy? We’ll look at what goes into this type of sausage, its benefits, and any potential drawbacks.
Table of Contents
What is Chicken Sausage?
Chicken sausage is a type of meat product made from ground chicken, spices and other ingredients. It is usually formed into links or patties and can be found in many grocery stores. The nutritional content of chicken sausage varies depending on the brand and flavor. Generally speaking, this type of sausage is high in protein with about 15-20 grams per serving. It is also lower in fat than traditional pork sausages, containing approximately 7-10 grams per serving.
How Is Chicken Sausage Made?
The process of making chicken sausage is similar to that of other types of sausages. The ground chicken is combined with spices and other ingredients such as onions, garlic, herbs and sometimes breadcrumbs or oatmeal to give it flavor and texture. It is then formed into links or patties and cooked in a skillet or oven until done.
What Ingredients Are in Chicken Sausage?
The ingredients found in chicken sausage will vary depending on the brand and flavor. However, most brands use a combination of ground chicken, spices, herbs, onions, garlic and other ingredients such as breadcrumbs or oatmeal. Some brands may also contain artificial preservatives or colorings. It is important to read labels carefully in order to find out exactly what is included in the product.
What are the Benefits of Eating Chicken Sausage
Chicken sausage is an excellent source of lean protein which is essential for energy production and muscle growth. This type of meat is also low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated fats, making it heart-healthy. In addition, many brands of chicken sausage are fortified with vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins.
According to the USDA nutrient database, a 3-ounce serving of chicken sausage contains about 180 calories, 15 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat and 2 grams of saturated fat. It is also a good source of iron (10% DV), zinc (8% DV) and B vitamins (6-12% DV).
Where To Buy Chicken Sausage
Chicken sausage is widely available in most supermarkets and health food stores. It is usually found in the refrigerated section near other types of sausages or ground meats. Some specialty stores may also carry organic or grass-fed varieties.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Eating Chicken Sausage
Although chicken sausage is generally considered healthier than pork sausages due to its lower fat content, it is still high in sodium. Many brands of chicken sausage contain around 400-600 milligrams of sodium per serving which is about 25% of the daily recommended value. Additionally, some brands may also contain preservatives and artificial ingredients that could affect health.
How Can I Make Chicken Sausage Part of a Healthy Diet
When buying chicken sausage, look for products that are labeled “all-natural” or “organic”. These products typically contain fewer preservatives and artificial ingredients. Additionally, be sure to read the nutrition labels to check for sodium content. If possible, choose brands with lower sodium levels and aim for ones that contain about 200 milligrams or less per serving. Lastly, use chicken sausage as part of a healthy diet by pairing it with fresh vegetables and whole grains.
How To Tell If Sausage Is Cooked
The best way to tell if chicken sausage is cooked is to use a food thermometer. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the link or patty and check that it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). You can also cut into the sausage to check for any pink color, which indicates that it is not fully cooked.
Types of Chicken Sausage
There is a wide variety of chicken sausage available in most stores. Popular brands and flavors include Italian, Spanish, Mexican and curry. Other specialty varieties may also be available such as apple-chicken or turkey-maple.
Nutrition: Macronutrients and Vitamins
Per serving of chicken sausage, you can expect to get about 15-20 grams of protein, 7-10 grams of fat, and around 400-600 milligrams of sodium. It is also a good source of mono and polyunsaturated fats and is fortified with vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin), magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin K.
Fat Content: Types of Fats
Chicken sausage is high in both mono and polyunsaturated fats. Mono-unsaturated fats are thought to be beneficial for heart health, while polyunsaturated fats may help reduce inflammation in the body.
Sodium Levels: How Much is Too Much
Most chicken sausages contain 400-600 milligrams of sodium per serving. While this is lower than traditional pork sausages, it is still higher than what is recommended for a healthy diet. The American Heart Association recommends an intake of no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. So make sure to read the label and choose brands with lower sodium levels.
What Are Nitrates
Nitrates are a chemical compound composed of both nitrogen and oxygen. The human body produces nitrates, while they can also be found naturally in some vegetables. Consuming processed meats such as sausage and bacon, which contain high levels of nitrates, can be detrimental to your health. According to Hotz, nitrates and nitrites added to processed meats such as sausage can be beneficial since they reduce bacteria growth and improve flavor and color. Unfortunately, when heated during the cooking process or even in contact with saliva, these compounds may convert into nitrosamines – a compound linked to increasing cancer risks.
Consequently, nitrate/nitrite-free sausages may be a wiser choice – particularly since current food safety systems have improved substantially, making this curing strategy less critical than before.
Once you have found a low-sodium brand of chicken sausage, here are some delicious recipes that you can try:
• Chicken Sausage & Zucchini Skewers: Cut chicken sausage into slices and thread onto wooden skewers with zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions. Grill over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
• Chicken Sausage & Feta Frittata: Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced chicken sausage and cook until lightly browned. Reduce heat to low and add beaten eggs, feta cheese, chopped spinach and tomatoes. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 10 minutes or until the center is set. Serve warm or at room temperature.
• Spicy Chicken Sausage Pasta: Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken sausage and cook until lightly browned. Stir in garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and diced tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes then add cooked pasta and toss to combine. Serve warm with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
• Roasted Potatoes & Chicken Sausage: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Place diced potatoes in a large baking dish and top with chicken sausage. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Roast for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.
• Mediterranean Chicken Sausage & Vegetable Skillet: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken sausage and cook until lightly browned. Stir in diced bell peppers, artichoke hearts and olives. Simmer for 10 minutes then add cherry tomatoes and feta cheese. Cook for another 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Cooking Tips: Best Practices
When preparing chicken sausage, it is best to cook it on the stovetop or oven. To prevent the sausages from drying out and to ensure even cooking, be sure to cook over medium-low heat. Additionally, avoid overcooking as this can cause the sausages to become dry and tough.
Grill Chicken Sausage
For an added flavor boost, try grilling chicken sausage! Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Place the sausages on the grate and cook for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through, flipping occasionally.
Chicken Sausage vs Pork Sausage
When comparing chicken and pork sausages, the main difference is in their fat content. A one-ounce (28 grams) serving of cooked pork sausage contains 13 grams of fat, while a one-ounce (28 grams) serving of cooked chicken sausage contains only 6 grams of fat. This makes chicken sausage a healthier alternative when it comes to selecting your type of sausage.
Which Part is Healthier
In terms of healthiness, the leaner varieties of chicken sausage are usually a better option compared to the traditional pork sausages. However, it is still important to read nutrition labels carefully when selecting brands and opt for thos with lower sodium levels. Finally, always be mindful of portion size and limit the intake of processed meats in general.
Q: Are chicken sausages processed meat?
A: Yes, chicken sausages are considered a type of processed meat. However, when selecting brands and types, it is important to opt for those with lower sodium levels and avoid added nitrates/nitrites.
Q: Is chicken sausage healthy?
A: While chicken sausage is generally viewed as a healthier alternative compared to pork sausages, it is still important to pay attention to the nutrition labels and choose those with lower sodium levels. Additionally, limiting the intake of processed meats is also recommended.
Q: Is chicken sausage heart healthy?
A: Yes, chicken sausage is considered to be a heart healthy option as it is lower in fat and calories compared to traditional pork sausages. However, always be sure to read the nutrition labels carefully and opt for those with lower sodium levels. Additionally, limiting the intake of processed meats is also recommended.
Q: Does chicken sausage have plastic?
A: No, chicken sausage is not made with plastic. The casings may appear to be plastic-like but are actually a natural product made from collagen or cellulose. Additionally, it is always best to read the labels carefully and avoid brands that contain added nitrates/nitrites.
Q: Is chicken sausage gluten free?
A: Yes, most chicken sausages are gluten free as long as they do not contain any wheat or other glutinous grains. However, it is important to read nutrition labels carefully for possible allergens and ingredients before consuming. Additionally, some brands may offer certified gluten free options which can be found in specialty health stores.
Q: Can you eat chicken sausage raw?
A: No, it is not advisable to eat chicken sausage raw as it is a form of processed meat. Raw poultry is known to contain certain bacteria which can be harmful when consumed, so it is always best to cook all forms of poultry thoroughly before eating. Additionally, consuming undercooked or raw sausages may also increase the risk of foodborne illnesses. Therefore, always cook poultry thoroughly before eating and avoid consuming any types of raw meats.
Q: Which sausage is best for weight loss?
A: Chicken sausage is a great option for those looking to lose weight as it is lower in fat and calories compared to traditional pork sausages. Additionally, opt for brands with lower sodium levels as excess sodium can contribute to water retention and bloating. Finally, always be mindful of portion size when selecting types of sausage and limit the intake of processed meats in general. With these tips in mind, choosing chicken sausage is a great way to enjoy flavorful meals while still keeping your calorie count low.
Q: Is chicken sausage healthier than bacon?
A: Yes, chicken sausage is generally considered to be healthier than bacon as it is lower in fat and calories compared to the latter. Additionally, when selecting brands and types, opt for those with lower sodium levels. Finally, always remember to limit the intake of processed meats in general and be mindful of portion size when consuming any type of sausage. With these tips in mind, chicken sausage is definitely a healthier alternative for those looking for a flavorful yet low-calorie option.
Q: Does chicken sausage taste good?
A: Yes, many people find that chicken sausages are just as flavorful as pork sausages but with fewer calories. Additionally, different varieties allow you to customize your flavor profile by adding different herbs and spices. Therefore, whether you are looking for a savory or spicy sausage, chicken is sure to satisfy your taste buds with every bite! Just try to opt for brands with lower sodium levels for a healthier option.
Q: Does chicken sausage contain MSG?
A: Most brands of chicken sausages do not contain added MSG but it is always best to read the labels carefully just in case. Additionally, there may be other ingredients which can cause similar symptoms such as headaches or fatigue so it is important to pay attention to nutrition labels when selecting any type of processed meat product. Therefore, look out for added monosodium glutamate (MSG) and avoid brands that have it listed as an ingredient.
Conclusion: Overall Healthiness of Chicken Sausage
Overall, is chicken sausage healthy? Yes, it is considered to be a lean source of protein and is lower in fat than traditional pork sausages. However, make sure to read the nutrition labels and choose brands with lower sodium levels. Additionally, try pairing the meat with fresh vegetables and whole grains for a nutritious meal. With proper preparation and selection of ingredients, chicken sausage can be a delicious part of any healthy diet.