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Tasty Tuesday: Duck & Recover

Updated: May 3, 2020

I love food. I mean -- really, really love food. The amount of time a day I spend thinking about food and it's beautiful possibilities on a plate are incalculable. Even more marvelous (if that is possible) than the enjoyment of tasting and savoring food, is what it can do for your health -- and therefore, happiness -- when you eat the foods with the proper nourishment for your one, irreplaceable body. So, on some random Tuesdays I will be discussing different aspects of a variety of foods for you to not only enjoy, but fuel your body's health. Bon Appetit!

Planning for Pleasure

Balancing your nutrients in a pleasurable way can be tricky. Without an intentional plan, most find they are eating far too many of certain nutrients, and not nearly enough of others. Particularly if you are working on your fitness and working to build lean muscle, getting enough protein can be tricky.

And then there is the issue of boredom. It's Friday night, you've worked hard all week, and the last thing you want to eat is another boring chicken breast. You want flavor, maybe something savory... maybe something that will do a glass of wine justice. I get it. Me too.

While many have chicken breast heavily represented on their meal plans, the more savory duck breast is often overlooked. True, it has a fair amount of fat attached to it, but the vast majority of fat is right underneath the skin. Simply remove the skin before cooking, and you've got a much leaner and meaner bird (just be sure to keep it moist).


Duck is very high in protein -- about 30 grams in an average breast. It is a complete protein, meaning it has the full profile of amino acids necessary for muscle growth and recovery -- Perfect for your post-workout meal. Protein also supports your immune system, helps maintain your tissue and keeps your skin strong and healthy.

It also boosts your mineral intake as an especially rich source of selenium and zinc. Both of these minerals support enzyme activation and functions needed for healthy cellular metabolism. Zinc also boosts your immune system, while selenium helps your thyroid function properly. Each 3.5-ounce serving of duck meat contains 1.9 milligrams of zinc (17% of the recommended daily intake for men and 24% for women) as well as 1/4 of your daily intake requirement of selenium.

Each 3.5 serving of duck also contains 32% of vitamin B-5, as well as 17% of the vitamin B-12 you need each day to support the body's energy and nervous system.


Duck breast is juicy, gamey and flavorful. It is at it's best when prepared with companions that display some sweet fruit balanced with bright acids and some earthiness, too. I have mine pictured here over a no-oil white balsamic dressed bed of arugula, and a fresh cherry reduction sauce. On a 100+ degree day, it's the perfect light meal. Add a glass of Pinot Noir or Rose Brut, if you're so inclined...

Need something heartier? Try pairing duck breast with a mushroom quinoa or some roasted root veggies... Delicious.

A great meal should satisfy both your nutritional needs and your tastebuds. So go ahead -- Play with your food.

~ Dolores Harrell, CHC, CPT, CN, TES

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