Tofu vs. chicken, which one is healthier? Actually, they have the same nutrient value and texture. Showing the strong points and the weaknesses of each is no easy task. Is it possible to remove this one and replace it completely with the other?
In this post, I will give detailed information and make a deep comparison between tofu with chicken. I guarantee that after you finish reading this article, you will have all the useful information about them and can choose which one is the best!
What Do You Know About Tofu?
There’s no reason to call tofu “vegetarian chicken”, right? In terms of color, flavor, or nutritional component, what does it have in common with chicken? I won’t let you wait any longer. Let’s get started right away!
History And The Use Of Tofu
People create tofu from soybeans through an elaborate process. They soak soybeans in water, cook them, filter them, and coagulate them. After that, the final step is to press the paste into tofu.
There are many theories about the origin of tofu. But the best known is the story of a prince of the Han dynasty who accidentally created tofu by accident while he tried to make something else: the elixir of life.
Since then, tofu has spread throughout Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, Vietnam, etc. In fact, the international name of this dish comes from a Japanese word, which, in turn, was borrowed from a Chinese name meaning “bean curd”. (1)
Tofu is a familiar product for everyone, especially vegetarians. It also is considered vegan meat in the vegetarian world because the texture and taste after cooking are similar to poultry meat.
Do you want to know more about this beneficial food?
Main Types Of Tofu You Might Not Know
Although it is a familiar food, did you know there are many different types of tofu? I will introduce to you 2 main types of tofu nowaday.
Silken tofu, or Japanese-style tofu, is so soft that it can melt in your mouth. Because its texture is too tender, it is easy to crumble and break if you do not handle it carefully. People usually blend silken tofu to serve in desserts and drinks.
The shelf life of silken tofu is up to one year if unopened. After opening it, you should soak half of the tofu in water and store it in the refrigerator. This method helps you hold the tofu for up to a week.
Based on the firm level of tofu, block tofu has 4 types: soft, extra-firm/firm, medium-firm, and super firm. The difference in thickness is due to the water content inside the tofu: less water makes it firmer.
Depending on the cooking purpose, you can choose different types of tofu. Soft tofu is suitable for soups. Firm tofu is for fried, stirred, grilled dishes because it remains its shape when heated and picked with a fork or chopsticks.
In addition, you should remember that the harder the tofu, the more difficult it is to marinate. For example, with extra-firm tofu, they can’t absorb the seasoning very well but are very crispy when fried.
Chicken – The Most Common Poultry Meat In Daily Meat
Chicken always receives a warm welcome from everyone. Not only are they delicious, nutritious, and diverse in processing, but they are also quite easy to buy at a reasonable price.
History And The Uses Of Chickens
How many chickens do you think people consume every year? In 2019, the number of chickens slaughtered for food was over 72 billion chickens, meaning an average of 197 million slaughtered chickens in a day! What amazing numbers!
So, are you curious since when did domestic chickens appear? Chickens started to be eaten in Babylon in 600 BC and were popular meat in the Middle Ages. The first chickens raised were the red and the gray jungle fowl in India. The modern chickens today are a hybrid of the two. (2)
What Makes Chickens So Popular?
In the past, chickens were not really popular and mainly kept for entertainment and ritual purposes. Indeed, archaeologists believe chickens were first domesticated for cockfighting rather than food.
However, as I said above, chicken was a rather important meat in medieval times. After the 20th century began, chickens were increasingly used as fast-food, opening a fast-food empire in the United States and European countries.
Although it is a popular meat, there were times that it was more expensive than other kinds of meat. Fortunately, today, chicken is much more affordable than beef and pork.
Chicken is high-protein, low-fat meat favored by people who want to eliminate cholesterol from their daily diet. Chicken meat contains all nine amino acids necessary for human health, so chicken becomes the meat with the highest nutritional value in poultry meat.
The Most Popular Chicken Cuts For You To Cook
Although a whole chicken roasted for the perfect timespan at 350°F tastes out of this world, specific chicken cuts such as thighs or wings also excite people. Eating chicken is your top advice if you want to build your muscles. Let’s explore the number of calories and fat contained in each cut.
Drumstick is the lower part of chicken legs. It is rich in protein and calcium, which are healthy for human bones and muscles. You can apply many recipes with drumsticks, such as frying, grilling, or stirring. Its delicious taste is always an advantage that makes people love chicken dishes.
Another nutritious part of chicken is the wings. Many people think chicken wings lack nutrients, but this is a misconception. Depending on how you process chicken wings, they will bring benefits or harm.
In the US, when talking about dishes with chicken wings, many people immediately think of buffalo wings. That culinary delight got its name because it first appeared in a restaurant in Buffalo (New York).
The thigh is the top section of a chicken leg. This cut contains healthy monounsaturated fats and more calories. Rather than paying too much for chicken breasts, you may want to buy chicken thighs at a lower price.
If you search for chicken thigh recipes, you’ll get countless different recipes on Google, indicating their popularity. The rich and savory flavor of chicken fat is perhaps why it is so loved.
The breast is a rich source of protein and low in fat. Most of the fat in chicken is in the skin, so if you want to get rid of the fat in your diet, removing the breast skin before cooking will reduce the amount of fat you absorb.
Tofu And Chicken Are More Alike Than You Think
Tofu and chicken are as similar to each other as chalk and cheese. However, you may find it surprising that those two foods have many things in common. Let’s find out about them.
Rich In Protein
Tofu and chicken are protein-rich foods, with various kinds of acid amine necessary for your body’s needs. However, the protein content in chicken is higher. Unlike tofu, which has a uniform structure, chicken has a different protein distribution depending on its cuts.
In a chicken, the breast contains the most protein (54g per breast), followed by the thigh (13.5g per thigh), drumstick (12.4g per drumstick), and wing (12.4g per wing).
Substitute For Red Meat
Another common point between tofu and chicken is the low saturated fat content and richness of protein, essential vitamins, and minerals. You can consider using both of these foods in place of red meat.
Discover other red meat alternatives besides tofu for your life.
A Wealth Of Vitamins And Minerals
Tofu and chicken contain nine essential amino acids for people’s immunity, including leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
They are also quite similar in nutritional composition, and the chart below gives you an overview of similar nutrient values in 100 grams of tofu and chicken, respectively.
Overall, chicken and tofu are quite similar in nutritional composition. Specifically, chicken is richer in protein and certain vitamins than tofu. Meanwhile, tofu is higher than chicken in carbs but not too much.
Meanwhile, the amount of vitamin A and many minerals per 100g of tofu and chicken is equal. However, you should note that the fat and calorie content will vary depending on how you cook. Obviously, fried food will be higher in fat and calories than steamed or stewed recipes.
But What Makes Chicken And Tofu Different?
The following table shows the differences between tofu and chicken in texture, flavor, shelf life, etc. You can refer to this table to get an overview of their differences.
|Suitability For Vegetarian Dieting||2 types||All types|
|Texture||Tough and chewy||Spongy and soft|
|Taste||Strong flavor||Mild flavor|
|Cooking time||Medium to long||Short|
|Price||High but less expensive than other types of meat||Cheap|
Suitability For Vegetarian Dieting
There are 7 types of vegetarian diets: veganism, lacto-vegetarianism, ovo-vegetarianism, lacto-ovo vegetarianism, pollotarianism, pescetarianism and flexitarianism. (4)
- Veganism: excludes all meats and animal-based products, such as eggs and milk.
- Lacto-vegetarianism: excludes all meats but allows dairy products.
- Ovo-vegetarianism: excludes all meats and dairy products but allows eggs products.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarianism: excludes all meats but allows dairy products and egg products.
- Pescatarianism (Pescetarianism): excludes red meat and poultry l but allows fish, seafood, eggs, and diaries.
- Pollotarianism: excludes red meat, fish, and seafood but allows poultry, eggs, and diaries.
- Flexitarianism: encourages the consumption of plant-based foods, but followers of this diet can eat all kinds of animal-based products in moderation.
For the 7 diets mentioned above, only pollotarian and flexitarian dieting groups can eat chicken because the remaining 5 types remove the white meat from their daily diets. In contrast, tofu is suitable for all forms of vegetarianism.
Know more about the 7 levels of the vegetarian diet and find out which one meets your needs.
Appearance And Taste
Needless to say, everyone knows tofu and chicken have different looks and tastes. Let’s see the specific differences in appearance and taste of each.
Tofu comes in the form of white blocks (except for silk tofu). It has different varieties, from soft to extremely firm, depending on the purpose of processing. After being cooked, the tofu will turn yellow.
Tofu is made from soybeans and has a spongy and soft texture. Tofu tastes quite neutral and mild, so it is easy to use tofu as a substitute for meat in vegetarian dishes without affecting the taste.
Chicken meat color is usually pinkish-white, although the leg’s color may be darker. After cooking, the meat will turn completely white, while the skin can be yellow or brown depending on how it is processed.
Chicken has its own savory flavor and meaty aroma due to its high fat and protein content. The texture of the chicken meat is also tougher and chewier than tofu.
Have you noticed that there are more ways to cook chicken than tofu? Let’s see what I’m exploring!
You can eat both raw and cooked tofu. You also can combine it with savory dishes or cook it as a meat substitute by grilling, baking, or stir-frying. The cooking time of tofu is about 25 – 30 minutes, depending on the cooking technique.
With chicken, depending on your preference, you can cook the chicken whole or in cuts. While one of the most concerning questions is whether boiling frozen chicken is possible, you have various cooking options for chicken. Each way will offer a different flavor.
It is unsafe to eat chicken raw, but do you know how long it takes to cook chicken fully? I will give you a brief overview of the roasting time for a whole chicken and its cuts.
|Cuts||Weight||Temperature (°F )||Cooking time|
|Whole chicken||1.5kg||180||2 hours 10 minutes|
|Beast||170 - 250g||165||40-50 minutes|
Shelf Life And Storage
Now, I will compare the shelf life and preservation methods of chicken and tofu. Let’s keep reading to choose the most suitable preservation method for these two foods.
For unopened packages of tofu, the shelf life of tofu can be up to one year. If you store tofu in the refrigerator, the shelf life is only 1 month. After opening the package or cooking, the shelf life of tofu will be shorter.
You can preserve tofu for a longer time in the fridge by putting it in a container of cold and clean water. Remember to change the water every day to store it longer. With this method, you can keep the freshness of the tofu for 2 to 3 days.
Here is an easy tip for storing leftover tofu at home.
The shelf life of a raw chicken is 1-2 days if kept in the fridge. After cooking, it can stay there for up to 3-4 days.
However, if you freeze the chicken, the shelf life can be up to more than 9 months for small parts or up to 1 year for whole chickens. For cooked chicken, you store it in the freezer for 2-6 months.
With leftover chicken, you can store it for up to 2 days in the coldest part of the refrigerator, which is at the back. You should use a Ziploc bag or plastic wrap to cover it entirely (you can also put your chicken in an air-tight container) and place it in your refrigerator.
Chicken is more expensive than tofu because it takes more time to raise and care for, and its popularity is also higher than tofu. Therefore, choosing to eat tofu is a money-saving and healthy choice.
Both chicken and tofu are high-protein foods. However, the amount of protein in chicken is twice as much as in tofu. In some cases, soybean-based food has three-quarters the number of proteins found in the same quantity of chicken.
If you want to focus on a high-protein diet without worrying about the fat content, then eating chicken will have a better and faster effect on adding protein to the body.
Eating tofu has a lot of benefits for your health, but not so with chicken. Let’s find out what those benefits or harms are.
Tofu is always the best choice for weight loss diets. It ensures you still get the protein, vitamins, and minerals your body needs when you don’t eat meat. Besides, since tofu can reduce insulin resistance, eating it can play a role in reducing the risk of diabetes.
Consuming products made from soy, such as tofu, may promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Tofu also helps prevent osteoporosis and cancer.
Let’s find out 7 useful health benefits of tofu you should know.
Because of similar ingredients, chicken has the same health benefits as tofu. However, chicken also comes with a significantly higher amount of calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol, which negatively affects your health.
Overeating white meat like chicken increases the risk of heart disease. Cooking methods that use direct fire on the chicken as barbeque can raise the risk of diabetes and cancer when eaten.
Whether it’s healthy to eat chicken or not depends largely on how you cook it. You should consider that frying chicken with oil will increase the fat and calorie content more. Choose healthier cooking methods like stewing or steaming.
Can Tofu Completely Replace Chicken?
Entirely possible! However, I hope you can choose a healthy and scientific way of eating. A balanced diet that includes tofu and chicken will give you more nutrients than just consuming one type of food.
If you only focus on adding protein to your body without caring about the fat and calories you consume daily, chicken is the best choice for muscle building.
However, tofu is better if you aim to eliminate unhealthy fats, calories, and cholesterol while still providing enough protein for your body.
I will introduce you to some delicious dishes that are eye-catching and easy to follow with tofu. If anyone says vegetarianism is boring, these recipes will change their mind.
This dish has a touch of Chinese cuisine that will bring a new flavor to your boring dinner. Within 30 minutes, you have a delicious tofu dish to serve with rice or noodles. If you’re tired of the usual tofu recipes, this one’s for you!
This is another vegan recipe to support you well on the eat-clean street! Vegan is not boring as many people think. Let’s see and practice the Tofu Katsu recipe to enjoy your healthy meal every day.
It is not natural that tofu is also known as vegetarian chicken! If your child is a big fan of fast food and you worry about the calories she/he consumes every day, try this dish with your children and surprise them. I guarantee they don’t know they are eating tofu!
Heat up your kitchen with the world’s healthiest fried chicken.
Have you tried combining sesame and tofu together? I bet you will become addicted to this dish after eating it. The crispy tofu soaking in the rich flavor of sesame is a perfect combination to enrich your list of vegan recipes.
Some Of The Best Chicken Recipes For Your Dinner
I can’t wait to introduce you to the simple and delicious recipes for chicken. Let’s choose a new dish for your family’s dinner tonight!
If you are too lazy to cook but still want to have a simple and delicious dinner. Why not try this recipe? You can make it easily in 15 minutes at home. If you are finding a new chicken dish for your dinner, don’t skip this yummy chicken dish.
A ton of herbs and spices in this meal are waiting for you to explore. If you are always curious about food culture around the world, you can try Moroccan chicken. I guarantee its aroma will make your stomach grumble in no time!
If you like to eat rice, don’t skip this recipe! It is the most suitable dish for your home meal. As the name suggests, the taste of this dish is both sour and sweet, stimulating your taste buds and making the meal more delicious.
You will stop eating ordinary fried chicken if you know this dish.
The final recipe for today’s list is a tender and juicy chicken dish. If you’re bored with the usual chicken recipes, why not give this recipe a try? I bet you’ll fall in love with chicken breast again.
The following are frequently asked questions about tofu and chicken. Hopefully, the answers below will give you a deep understanding of these two popular foods.
Tofu Vs. Chicken – Which Is Healthier For You?
After reading through this article, I hope you have the answer to your question. Picking either of them or combining the two in your meal is always great.
Choosing chicken or tofu depends on the type of nutrition you want to get into your body. If you just want to focus on protein intake, chicken will be better. In case you are concerned about the saturated fat and cholesterol in the chicken, then tofu is a more appealing choice.
I am delighted to hear about the eating method you apply daily for yourself and your family. If you find the information above helpful. Please share this post and write your thoughts in the comment section. I’m looking forward to your sharing!
- En.wikipedia.org. 2022. Tofu – Wikipedia.
- Healthline. 2022. Tofu: Nutrients, Benefits, Downsides, and More.
- En.wikipedia.org. 2022. Chicken – Wikipedia.
- VEGETARIAN NATION. 2022. 7 Types of Vegetarianism.
Table of Contents
- What Do You Know About Tofu?
- Chicken – The Most Common Poultry Meat In Daily Meat
- Tofu And Chicken Are More Alike Than You Think
- But What Makes Chicken And Tofu Different?
- Add These Recipes To Your Daily Menu Now
- Some Of The Best Chicken Recipes For Your Dinner
- Tofu Vs. Chicken – Which Is Healthier For You?