Meal Plans

What's Healthier: Ribs or Wings?

Let's put the debate to an end once and for all.

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Ribs and Wings
EasyBuy4u & retales botijero / Getty

Wings and ribs: two very different yet equally satisfying foods you’ll find on menus across the globe. And with access to a grocery store and some basic cooking skills, you can easily whip up both at home.

But which one (if either) can you reach for without undoing all that hard work you put in at the gym? Susan M. Kleiner, Ph.D., R.D., a high-performance nutritionist and the author of the best-selling book Power Eating, says that neither wings nor ribs is a great choice when health and fitness are your goals. But hey, sometimes you just want to eat them. When that’s the case, look at the nutrient break- down. Both contain similar amounts of protein, but pork ribs have more fat, which translates to about 50% more calories.

It’s also important to consider what you eat with the wings or ribs. “If you add vegetables, especially raw vegetables, to your meal, you’ll fill up on fiber and eat fewer wings or ribs,” Kleiner says. This can benefit you more than simply choosing one over the other.

And pay attention to how the foods are prepared. Instead of frying the wings and slathering them with a sugary sauce, Kleiner recommends baking them and using a lighter, tomato-based sauce. For the ribs, try a savory marinade, then bake, boil, or slow-cook them to remove extra fat.

The Stats

Ribs
Calories: 90
Protein: 6g
Carbs: 1g
Fat: 6.5g

Wings
Calories: 61
Protein: 6g
Carbs: 1g
Fat: 4g

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