What are the healthiest cuts of meat, and how can you use them?
The new year is always a time when you take a look at your health and how your diet affects this. One of the first things people think about changing is their meat intake. What really are the healthiest cuts of meat around? With all the recent press around meat, which has been a mix of some true statements and many false ones, it can be difficult to navigate. But diet can play a huge part in your health goals. With the rise of a Vegan diet and Veganuary, cutting meat out altogether has become a genuine option for many.
However, all that may be needed to make a significant difference to your health is changing which cuts of meat you’re choosing, and how you prepare and use them…
Meat provides a huge number of nutrients that the body needs for growth, repair and maintenance, that are difficult to find elsewhere. Vitamin B-12, selenium, protein and heme iron are just some… Opting for leaner cuts will help you get these vital nutrients while cutting out on much of the fat content. Although, remember that certain types of fat can be healthy for weight loss too, and there are sources of fats, such as seeds, nuts, avocados and salmon that are much healthier for you…
Chicken is the gold standard in lean meats and is usually the go to meat for health-conscious consumers due to the high protein and low-fat content. The healthiest cut to go for is a skinless breast of chicken, with an 85g breast containing 25g of protein but only 130 calories. When you add in the high iron, zinc and selenium content you can see why this is an excellent lean meat. We do accept that chicken, while lean and healthy, can be seen as pretty boring. It is far from it. It’s one of the most versatile meats out there, just try one of our healthy recipes. Plus, breasts aren’t the only cut. Drumsticks are almost equal in terms of protein content and marginally higher in saturated fats (the kind you want to stay away from!).
Butcher’s Tip: When buying your chicken, keep an eye out for the differences between saturated and unsaturated fat content. Remember that removing the skin will also reduce the fat and calorie content. Using the right type of sauces is vital too!
You may be under the impression that red meat is off the table for you if you’re thinking of reducing your fat and calorie consumption. In reality though, beef is protein rich and has all the amino acids your body needs. But you do have to be more conscious of it…
It’s true that generally the tastiest cuts of beef have the highest fat content, but that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice taste when choosing these cuts of beef. When looking at saturated fat content, one of the leanest cuts is a sirloin steak, but one of the best options is simply choosing the cuts with the least fat marbling and then trimming the fat from the edges just before eating. Lean cuts of beef, in an average 100g serving, contains half your daily protein, niacin and choline, and just 4.5g of saturated fat- less than a quarter of your RDA!
Butcher’s Tip: Don’t trim the fat until after cooking. Cooking the beef with the fat on will add to the flavour, just make sure you drain the excess fat prior to serving.
According to the AHDB, Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world and in 2018 pork was ranked 8th out of the top 100 most nutritious foods by the BBC’s World’s Most Nutritious Foods. Tenderloins, steaks and medallions are some the leanest cuts, and can be easily added to your diet. One small serving of pork also contains thiamine, vitamin B-6 and B-12, potassium, iron and magnesium.
You do need to be cautious though. Like we mentioned with beef, some pork cuts can be high in saturated fat. If this is something you want to reduce consumption of, make sure you check the labels for the saturated fat content vs serving size. While sausages and bacon are also a great source of protein and vital nutrients, they can also be high in sodium.
Butcher’s Tip: If you can’t get your hands on some pork medallions, simply turn a pork steak into one. Just remove the fat from the steak using a sharp knife. For more ideas on pork, you can visit www.lovepork.co.uk.
You don’t need to cut meat out of your diet in 2020 to hit your health targets, and in many cases, you don’t even need to reduce your consumption. It may be something as simple as making a few slightly different choices the next time you’re in Meatmaster. If you’re in any doubt or just want some inspiration, feel free to ask any of our butchers and check out the recipe section of our website.