Humans are omnivores. We need plant-based foods and meat.
Without either one, we’ll miss out on some vital nutrients…
No meat, and you won’t get enough vitamin B12.
No vegetables or fruits, and you’ll miss out on most other vitamins and minerals.
But we won’t sugar-coat it. Either food group has its bad actors. They are the ones that increase health risks, add too many calories, and contain unhealthy amounts of otherwise good things. We want our meat as healthy as possible.
The key is a balance when it comes to foods that can tilt the scale toward the potentially harmful side. Let’s explore how to make healthier choices when it comes to choosing and preparing meat.
Keep It Lean
Lean is not a synonym for boring or flavorless. The key is in the preparation. The Maillard reaction is proof that God loves us.
It is the magic that transforms harsh-tasting onions into nirvana.
It is what makes a charbroiled steak so mouthwatering.
It is the process that makes foods like shishkabobs, hamburgers, and rib-eye so wonderful.
Heat is the catalyst that transforms sugars and proteins into yummy brown bits. To make your meat healthier, use it to your advantage to make seemingly bland meats tastier.
You can also opt for cuts of beef that are lower in fat if they are cooked over low temperatures for longer times.
Hold the Salt
Salt is an anomaly. Generally, it causes your body to retain water. That leads to a higher blood volume with the added fluids, which makes it work harder than normal and raises blood pressure. It also upsets the chemical balance in your blood.
Other ingredients like spices or pepper can compensate for what salt brings to the table.
Take into account other things that can add sodium, such as soy sauce, fish sauce, or other condiments. Even Parmesan has a lot of salt in it. Our advice…
Taste your food first before you reach for the shaker.
Too often, we get into a habit of salting our meal before we even know if it’s necessary for our tastes. Yes, it’s a hard routine to break but well worth the effort for making meat healthier.
Control the Portion Size
No matter what protein source you eat, fat is a factor. Each gram has 9 calories versus the 4 you get from carbs. When you manage the portion size, you make an immediate effect on your caloric intake.
That’s a wise move toward getting your weight under control.
Obesity is a major risk factor for a number of conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Let’s face it. Americans eat too much. We average more than 3,600 calories per day. That’s well over the amount that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend for both adult men and women.
The best way to make your meat as healthy as possible then is to limit how much you eat to what you need.
Embrace Healthy Cooking Methods
The meat source is only part of the equation. You also must consider how it’s prepared.
Grilling is an excellent choice because the space between the food and the heat source is a natural outlet for the fat and hence, calories.
It also flavors the food as it burns on the coals so that you don’t feel like you’re missing out on the taste. Feeling deprived is a major cause of people abandoning a healthy diet. Our advice is to…
Match the cut with the cooking method to optimize the yummy factor.
Keep It Real
We’d be remiss if we did not say something about the composition of your meals. Meat, of course, is the highlight. It holds center stage on its own.
However, even the best actor needs a supporting cast. That’s where your side dishes come into play. They can bridge flavors in your main course to complement it and make your wine choice more compatible.
Wine, after all, has its health benefits too.
We suggest aiming for a variety of vegetables. They’ll add color and interest. If anything, it’ll encourage you to eat slower, which can reduce the amount you eat, which is an unexpected benefit of these choices.
There’s no reason to eliminate meat from your diet, given its nutritional value. However, it’s essential to practice moderation and prepare it in ways that minimize the negative health impacts of high caloric intake. Grilling is one of many ways to keep the flavor on the front burner without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.