There is no denying that protein is essential. It’s the building blocks of our organs, muscles, skin, and hormones. Our bodies need protein to maintain and repair tissues, and it also helps our immune systems function optimally. But there are different types of protein, and they are not all equal, so knowing what you are consuming is key to feeling the benefits from protein.

We’ve all heard the buzz around plant-based diets, and there is a lot of merit to incorporating more fruits, vegetables and legumes into our diets. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the important roles that lean protein, like chicken, plays in our lives.

Here’s a quick science lesson for you. Protein is one of the three macronutrients — along with carbohydrates and fat — that our bodies need for energy and optimal functionality. Animal proteins are considered “complete proteins,” which means they contain all nine essential amino acids, while the majority of plant-based protein sources (like whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts) are considered incomplete.

Now that we have the basics, let’s consider Canada’s Food Guide. It recommends filling a quarter of your plate with a protein source, and considering that the average Canadian requires about 25 grams of protein per meal, lean meats like chicken make nutritional sense. However, if you chose lentils as your protein source, you’d need to eat a lot more than a quarter of your plate and you still wouldn’t be getting all those essential amino acids to help our bodies function optimally.

Chicken has other nutritional advantages, too. It is a great source of macronutrients that our bodies need, like iron, magnesium and vitamin B12, which is important for red blood cells and preventing anaemia.

Canadian chicken farmers care about their chickens. 90% of farms in Canada are family-owned, and all farms must adhere to stringent standards, including mandatory third-party audits.

Visit to learn more about the different types of protein and to find tons of delish chicken recipes.

Disclaimer: This content was created by The Varsity’s Content Lab on behalf of Absolute TonerThe Varsity’s editorial department was not involved.