Making a Healthy Choice: The Native Chicken Alternative

Published on: 16/11/2021

Try a healthier alternative to your favorite chicken dishes.

The popularity of chicken meat is undeniable. Clearly, fried chicken is an all-time favorite, and more and more fast food companies are adding more chicken dishes to their menu. 

From rice meals to chicken nuggets, sandwiches, wraps, and chicken popcorn, there are so many ways to serve poultry dishes, even at home. Furthermore, the number of ways in which chicken meals can be prepared means you would not easily get tired or bored with this tasty meat. Whether it is fried, roasted, grilled, or baked, chicken can be an enjoyable dish. 

Well-loved Filipino Chicken Dishes

Here in the Philippines, Tinolang ManokChicken Adobo, Lechon Manok, and Pininyahang Manok are among the top chicken dishes that come to mind. Tinola, a chicken soup dish that is cooked with green papaya, onions, ginger, and fish sauce, even figured in Dr. Jose Rizal's first novel, Noli Me Tangere.

The Native Chicken Alternative

In our consumption of chicken meat, it’s good to know that there are healthy and local options. Research shows our native chicken meat is healthier and more nutritious than that of commercial poultry.

In general, native chickens have much more muscle mass and less fat. Flavor-wise, its meat has a deep complex taste that can make a dish even more interesting. Native chickens are mostly raised in a backyard or rural households rather than a farm, with more of them found in mountain areas like Benguet and Baguio.

The Health Benefits

Native chicken meat is a great source of protein, Vitamins A, B, and B6. According to Filipino HealthLine, the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in native chicken meat can also help promote healthy bones, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce stress.

Furthermore, in some commercial poultry farms, chickens may be subject to a lot of vaccines, antibiotics, and hormonal feeds, which are chemicals you can avoid with the more organic native chicken option.

The Research

Studies have confirmed that native chicken meat, is truly a healthy choice. Researchers from the Department of Science and Technology - Food and Nutrition Research Institute found that in a 50-gram serving of cooked native chicken meat, you can already get 24% of the recommended energy and nutrient intake for protein. It also provides 13% of the total dietary energy requirement for fat.

When compared with their commercial counterparts, native chicken meat showed higher protein (20-21% vs. 18.8-19.7% when raw), less fat, and more calcium and phosphorus contents. 

How to Cook 

When it comes to cooking native chicken meat, it is just the same as regular poultry. Native chicken Tinola is still top of mind, and you can choose to explore the differences in preparation from different regions in the country. For example, there’s a variation that uses lemongrass instead of ginger or another recipe that adds coconut milk to the broth.

Where to Buy

While native chicken is not as commercially-available as their counterparts, some retailers have already started offering them in their stores. Groups of native chicken farmers have also established their presence online, so you can order through their website or social media channels. Also, native chicken meat can also be bought from specialty shops.

By purchasing native chicken meat, you reap not only the health benefits it offers, but you also contribute to the health of small businesses and farms.