A balanced diet is important to fulfil your nutritional needs without going over your recommended daily caloric intake. A balanced diet includes foods from five food groups, which are divided into vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy.
Protein can be acquired from different sources, such as fish, eggs, nuts and beans, meats, and poultry. Some meats, however, also contain harmful fats and bad cholesterol, and the same often applies to chicken meat. The type and cut of meat and poultry determine the amount of fat you consume in a day. You may have the notion that to stay away from bad fats known as saturated fat, you have to shy away from eating red meat and poultry. It is, for this reason, vital that you know what meat cut you should purchase.
Here are a few guidelines to get the most of your meat and to make it an essential part of your balanced diet without the ill benefits.
Guidelines for Selecting Meat and Poultry
1. Make it a habit to read labels
Some manufacturers pre-trim fat from their meat products. They are often labelled as “lean cut” or reduced-fat.
2. Choose cuts with less fatty portions
There are particular parts of poultry and meat that are naturally less fatty.
- For chicken, it is best to choose the breast because it has less cholesterol.
- For pork, it is best to choose the tenderloin since it is the leanest cut.
- For beef, look for parts with less visible fat or marbling.
The following beef parts are the best choice if you are shying away from saturated fats:
- Eye of Round Steak and Roast
- Bottom Round Steak and Roast
- Top Sirloin Steak
- Top Round Steak and Roast
- Sirloin Tip
3. Avoid pre-ground meat
Ground poultry may have as much fat as in beef or more because it contains dark meat and skin. For lean ground poultry, it is best to choose ground breast meat or look for 90% lean ground turkey or chicken. For beef and pork, choose a whole piece of lean beef or pork and ask the butcher to grind it for you on the spot.
4. Be selective
It is always best to choose meat labelled as a “choice cut” or “select cut” instead of “prime cut” because prime cuts usually contain more fat.
5. Always choose fresh meat
Fresh meat is always a better choice when compared to processed meat. Processed meat, such as sausages and deli meat, have chemicals and preservatives that can be harmful toward your health when consumed frequently.
6. Consider venison
While slightly “gamey” in taste, venison is known for its low-fat content and is abundant with minerals and vitamins. Deer meat is also known to be a sustainable protein food that can aid in weight loss and keep your brain, muscles, and immune system healthy.
Although meat and poultry contribute to a balanced diet, it is still best to limit its intake to twice a week. There are other sources of protein that are a healthier choice. You may substitute meat with fish and legumes and consume more vegetables and make sure that you control your food portions because temperance is always a better choice.
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