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How to choose lean meat?

Lean meats

Are you bored of knowing and having chicken as the only lean meat source? There are plenty of other tasty options that are just as nutritious. There are many reasons to include meat in your diet. First of all, lean meats are a phenomenal source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, you need to be careful about choosing the right kind of meat. Some meats like beef are unhealthy containing saturated fat and cholesterol.

Why to choose?

Meat provides many of the vital nutrients the body needs. Protein for once, is the basis of bones, muscles, and other body structures and is essential to many of the body’s systems. Of the many vitamins, meat provides vitamin E and B. Vitamins like niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and B6 play a major role in many bodily functions such as regulating making red blood cells, regulating the nervous system etc. Minerals such as iron is needed for blood, zinc for a healthy immune system and magnesium for bone building.

What to choose?

Other than red meats like beef and lamb, other options include poultry, pork, fish, and shellfish. Depending on the cuts, some meat choices are actually higher in saturated fat and cholesterol. Cholesterol and saturated fat are more widespread in organs. These include sausage, bacon, luncheon meats, and in fatty cuts of all meats. Some fish fats are good for the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease.

Many leaner types of protein, new and unusual cuts are now easily available in the market. Try out these new meats:

1. Beefalo

This is the American substitute for buffalo. This animal is part bison and part beef. Beefalo has up to 20 percent protein and only 5-7 percent fat. They are left to graze freely, eat grass or hay, and are not injected with growth hormones.

2. Goat

Goat meat, considered a red meat, is becoming fast popular and is available in the market. Goat meat is lean and very flavorful. Young goat meat is very tender. Cuts are the similar as lamb – chops, roasts, kebab, stew chunks etc.

3. Rabbit

Rabbit is a lean, rich source of protein. It is very popular in European cooking (French bistro food). It is available fresh or frozen and makes for a good substitute to chicken.

How to choose?

Choose the leanest cuts for cooking. Trim off the white fat on top of the meat before cooking. This will make it leaner and least fatty.

1. Beef cuts

Choose round and loin cuts e.g. top loin, sirloin, tenderloin and round eye or top round.

2. Pork cuts

Choose tenderloin, ham, pork and center loin.

3. Chicken

Pick chicken and turkey breasts and cutlets.

4. Ground meat cuts

It’s a bit hard to find out how much fat ground meat contains. For instance, regular ground beef labeled “lean” should have a fat content of 10 percent only, with less than 5 percent saturated; “extra lean” should only have 5 percent fat, but in reality it might only be 75 to 85 percent lean and nearly all of its fat may still be the saturated kind.

Grind meat at home with a food grinder and take out the presumption out of determining fat content.

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