Chicken vs. Tofu – What’s the Difference?

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Chicken is among popular meat products, a good source of lean protein, healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids), and low in saturated fats and carbohydrates. It is quite versatile; it can be cooked in different ways, goes well with pretty much everything, and fits into many different taste preferences.

Tofu is famous as the “chicken of vegetarians.” In the plant-based world, tofu comprises the essential proteins and fats and tastes fantastic, so vegans worldwide can don’t feel left out and enjoy delicious food. In this article, we will compare both chicken and tofu to better understand their nutritional values and roles in our bodies. So let’s get to it!

What is Chicken?

As aforementioned, chicken is a meat product that is featured in many cuisines. Basically, the sky’s the limit when it comes to chicken preparation. Chicken can be fried, grilled, baked, poached, stewed, barbequed, braised, slow-pressure cooked, roasted, and sautéed as well. Mouth-watering, isn’t it?

The texture of the chicken depends on how much it is cooked. An undercooked chicken looks rubbery, pink, and wiggly. On the other hand, overcooked chicken is hard and dense. The perfectly cooked chicken comes somewhere in the middle of these two extremities. It is juicy yet firm. When it comes to taste, chicken’s own flavour is pretty bland. It actually tastes like the spices or seasonings it’s been marinated with. So, there’s not really a specific word to describe the actual taste of chicken.   

Nutritional Information

According to USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), 100 grams of chicken contains:

  • 239 calories
  • 27 g protein
  • 0 g total carbohydrate
  • 14 g total fat (of which 38 g is saturated)
  • 82 mg sodium
  • 223 mg potassium
  • 88 mg cholesterol
  • 0 g sugar

Benefits and Uses

Chicken is an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. These are important macronutrients that have numerous health benefits, some of which are as follows:

  1. Protein is also necessary for tissue growth and repair and regulates many metabolic pathways. In addition, it is needed to make almost all of the body enzymes as well as various hormones.
  2. Sufficient chicken can provide enough protein to maintain optimal fluid levels and regulate blood clotting.
  3. High protein has also shown improved bone mineral density and healthier joints. It can significantly reduce the risk of osteoporosis, arthritis, and other bone and joint problems.
  4. Omega-3s found in chicken is also beneficial for us. They help increase oxygen delivery to muscles during exercising, improve endurance, speed recovery, and reduce inflammation and joint stiffness.
  5. Essential fats make up part of the structure of all cell membranes, brain tissue, nerve sheaths, bone marrow, and they cushion the organs.
  6. Chicken also consists of vital minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, and potassium. In addition, important vitamins like A, E, and B complex are also present.
  7. Chicken can be used in the preparation of many salads and add even more essential nutrients to it along with great taste and richness.
  8. It can be added in noodle soups or plain soups in blended form.
  9. Chicken sandwiches are easy to make and also lift your spirits just after one bite!
  10. One of the most common forms of chicken (liked by almost everyone) is fried chicken.

What is Tofu?

As most of us have seen in the incredible Jack Black movie Kung Fu Panda, tofu is made with condensed soy milk. It is the perfect source of protein for vegans and can also be prepared in multiple different ways. It is believed that tofu was accidentally discovered about 2000 years ago when a Chinese cook, on accident,  mixed fresh soy milk with Nigiri, a salt solution. Happy accidents like these make the world a better place, no?

There are four types of tofu depending on its texture; soft or silken, medium, firm, and extra firm. Soft tofu is used for desserts and has a soft, yoghurt-like/pudding-like texture. Medium-firm tofu can hold its shape to a certain extent and is soft on the inside. Firm and extra-firm tofu are chewable, hard, and are excellent for frying and grilling. However, before cooking, they should be pressed so that maximum flavours can be infiltrated.

Nutritional Information

According to USDA, 100 grams of tofu contains:

  • 76 calories
  • 8 g protein
  • 8 g fat (of which 0.7 g is saturated)
  • 9 g total carbohydrate
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 7 mg sodium
  • 121 mg potassium
  • 3 g dietary fiber

Benefits and Uses

  1. Tofu is a good source of anti-inflammatory agents and phytochemicals, and it has a well-balanced profile of amino acids.
  2. If tofu is made with calcium sulfate, then it contains a sufficient amount of calcium which is good for bone and teeth health, muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and other regulatory functions.
  3. Tofu also contains a healthy amount of different important minerals such as manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron, and copper.
  4. Iron is used in the formation of haemoglobin (responsible for transportation of oxygen in the blood) and myoglobin (responsible for transportation of oxygen in the muscle cells.)
  5. The protein present in tofu helps in the formation of several enzymes, hormones, and antibodies needed to make the immune system stronger.
  6. Tofu can be shredded and used as a tasty salad dressing.

What’s the Difference Between Chicken and Tofu?

To summarize everything we’ve covered so far, here are some key differences between chicken and tofu:

  • Chicken has more protein than tofu.
  • Chicken is an animal-based product, whereas tofu is a plant-based product.
  • Tofu has more dietary fiber than chicken.
  • Tofu has less saturated fat than chicken.
  • Tofu has less cholesterol than chicken.
  • Tofu has more vitamin A than chicken.
  • Chicken has more B complex vitamins than tofu.
  • Chicken is a great source of potassium.
  • Tofu is a fantastic source of calcium.