Meat – Wawan’s Guide to a Healthy Diet
If you’re a meat-eater, it’s highly likely that meat plays a major role in at least one of your daily meals. That’s why you need to focus on purchasing the best cuts of beef you can find at your local supermarket. We recommend that at least three-quarters of your plate contain fruits, vegetables, and grains leaving a designated spot for lean cuts of meat. Choose wisely when shopping for meat to boost the nutrition of your meals, without pushing fat and calories over the limit.
Meat and your health
Meat supplies high-quality complete protein, minerals, and B vitamins. Some of these nutrients can be hard to get from other sources. Moreover, it contributes iron in a form that is best absorbed by the body and zinc too.
However, you’ll have to take the reins on your carnivorous tendencies because centering meals on animal protein is not the best way to go. Meat can be high in saturated fat, which can raise blood cholesterol, particularly LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. The good news is: you don’t have to be a vegetarian but rather occupy a majority of your plate with plant-based foods.
More specifically, when you eat meat, you should limit the portion to about 100 grams. Besides eating smaller portions, another way to cut down on the saturated fat is to buy lean cuts and trim off any visible fat.
Understanding meat products
First, you should know which cuts of meat are leanest, and understand how meat is graded. Go for leaner cuts of meat which contain less that 10 gms of fat per 100 gms.
In case you’ve been wondering what the leanest cuts of meat are, we’ve listed them down for you:
● Beef: eye of round, top round, sirloin, top loin, tenderloin
● Lamb: leg of lamb, arm, loin
Keep in mind the fact that just because a package is labelled as “low fat”, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s as lean as it can be.
Meat storage and hygiene
● All meat can contain potentially harmful bacteria (like E. coli) which could result in food poisoning. To eliminate bacteria, cook the meat well all the way through.
● Use the same cutting boards and knives for vegetables and meats can result in cross-contamination. To avoid this, use one set of knives for vegetables and other raw foods, and another for meat. The same goes for raw and cooked meat.
● When putting away uncooked meat, be sure to clean and disinfect any surfaces covered in drippings as they can spread harmful bacteria.
● Don’t use the same surfaces and utensils for both. Don’t eat raw or undercooked meat.
Healthy grocery shopping tips for meat
● Look for “round” or “loin” in the name of cuts of beef or lamb.
● Buy at least 85 percent lean ground beef, but only if you are going to brown the meat first and then discard the fat drippings; if you’ll be grilling your cut of meat, you should be fine. Otherwise, ask for meat that is 90 or 95 percent lean.
● Ground meat has its own set of shopping guidelines. Your best bet would be to ask your butcher for their leanest options, or perhaps request him to grind some lean cuts of your choice.