Meat is a very important component of a healthy diet. In fact, non-vegetarians absolutely relish its taste so much that it is difficult for them to exclude meat from their diet, once they are hooked on to it. Iron absorption from meat is much higher than that absorbed from plant sources. In fact, the heme iron found in meat helps you absorb the iron from vegetables and whole grains. But, if you have been concerned about excess fat and carbohydrate intake from meat consumption, you do not need to forgo it. Choosing healthy cuts of meat will supplement your body with high energy required for physical activity without showing up on your waist size. Meat cut refers to the part of the animal body from where the meat was cut. In cows, the meat around the ribs and shoulders has the highest fat content while the meat taken out from the ’round’ or ‘loin’ is the leanest. Look for these words on the packaging too.
Tips for Choosing Healthy Meat
Choosing the right cut of meat begins with selecting the right type of meat. Lean meat is the best meat habit that you can have. It significantly cuts down unwanted calories from fat. Any normal meat contains excess fat on its sides. The following are some pointers which can help you in arriving at a decision:
● Always choose the leanest meat that you can find as it is high in protein.
● All kinds of meat have a different fat content. You can cut down on fat on your meat by removing the visible fat.
● Carefully strain all the cuts of meat. Trim the extra fat on the sides with the help of scissors.
● Buy your meat from stores where the butcher cuts the meat according to your requirements and the meat is not prepackaged.
● Lean meats can be more expensive so the next time you are at the butcher’s shop, ask him to cut out the fat from the edges and then give you the meat.
● By asking the butcher to modify the meat, you won’t have to pay more for buying the leaner part specifically.
● White meat is less calorific than the darker varieties.
● Always buy fresh meat from the store for healthier options because they do not contain added preservatives.
● Remove the skin before cooking your meat as heat makes the fat melt and penetrate deeper into the meat.
Beef: America’s Favorite Meat
Beef is the favorite meat choice of most Americans. You can get ground beef that is up to 97% lean and contain less than 10% fat. However, ground chicken is a much better substitute as it has much lesser fat content. When buying ground varieties, make sure that it is at least 90% leaner. A good meat cut of beef has less marbling. Select grade variety of beef is the leanest meat cut of beef that contains less than 10 g of fat per 100 g. The ‘extra lean’ variety further cuts down this fat amount to half. Also, the fat from beef is marbled out from a cut which is visible in all lean fat varieties. Pay attention to this cut while buying meat. The best lean cuts of meat are tenderloin, top loin, sirloin, top round and eye of the round.
Healthy Types of Meat: White, Breast, Skinless
Emu, venison, quail, rabbit are exotic healthy meat choices that contain the same amount of proteins with a much lesser fat content. Skinless, boneless chicken and seafood are also great low fat meat options. Affordable healthy meats include goat meat which is a good substitute for lamb and buffalo which is a lean hybrid of bison and beef. It contains up to 7% fat and 20% protein. Prefer grilling your meat instead of deep-frying it.
Type of Meat to Avoid
You know how we eat turkey only for Christmas and Thanksgiving. This is because turkey meat is rich in fat content and greasy. The same holds true for duck and goose. Sausage and bacon are high in cholesterol. However, ground turkey breasts are low in calorific content and good beef substitutes. Even though chicken is a much healthier option, it can be trimmed too. The cheaper the meat, the higher is its fat content. In prepackaged meats, the fat is concealed with the meat in the packaging. Hence, avoid buying these packs. Do not buy meat that reads ‘rib’ on its label. It is an indication that it is high in fat content. Never buy ‘prime grade’ beef, it has the highest fat content. Avoid meats containing added sugar, cornstarch or wheat starch. However, if you still choose to indulge in any of these meats, buy ‘nitrite free’ versions.
Meat is really good for you because it is rich in nutrients like proteins, vitamin B, vitamin K, iron and zinc. It is better to choose healthy cuts of meat instead of completely discarding it from your diet. Do keep a tab on your portion sizes as well and enjoy your meal.