I love chicken breast but eating only chicken breast on a daily basis can get boring pretty quickly. So if your plate looks as boring as the above picture then read on and you will learn what other kind of meat you can add to your plate.
For the purposes of today’s discussion, I am NOT going to go over questions of organic or grass-fed, etc. For today, we’re focusing on fat contents and cuts. Why put a focus there? Because there are a lot of misconceptions about which meats are healthy to eat for weight loss. Ultimately, fat amounts will vary according to type and cut—not source. In other words, Organic, grass-fed, or any of the other options—the fat amount does not vary. What changes is the profile of the fats. So, grass-fed beef’s fat may have more omega-3s, but the amount of fat does not change. Today, we are talking about the sheer amount of fat in various types of meat. So if you are bored with chicken breast and you are thinking that you can only eat chicken breast to lose weight, well think again because here I have some other option for your menu.
An ounce of meat, regardless of type, has seven grams of protein. What varies is the amount of fat, so that’s what you want to get a handle on. Extra-Lean and Lean Meats are meats with four percent or less of fat. That translates to zero to three gram of fat per ounce of meat.
Here are my top five meat choices that go beyond the chicken breast:
1. Ground beef: Ground beef can be extremely fatty—but it doesn’t have to be, if you take control of what beef is ground. Sirloin steaks are a lean meat, with three to four percent fat. Grind them and they make great hamburgers. I go to the butcher and ask for a pound of sirloin, and I have them grind it for me. Now I have a very high-quality meat that is low in fat and has no surprises. I use it in bolognese sauce for pasta, meatloaf, meatballs, lasagna, burgers—great fix for any delicious beef recipe. There is no need to cut out beef completely, as long as the beef is lean. This kind of lean beef is so low in fat in general that it is low in saturated fat. It eliminates most of the problems of red meat through being so lean. Beef’s back on the menu!
2. Pork: It’s not just the other white meat. Two cuts of pork in particular are very lean, and seriously delicious. A regular pork chop is a medium fat meat—but a loin chop is quite lean, and makes a nice change from chicken breast (remember to grill or broil rather than fry). The tenderloin is another ultra-lean cut of pork, that you can cut into pieces to cook, or cook as a whole and then slice. Pork tenderloins are delicious treated with a spice rub and grilled or broiled—no need for fatty sauces.
3. Fish: There are trade-offs in any diet, and one trade I am happy to make is a bit of fat for a substantial health benefit in other ways. Enter salmon, which, despite being an oily fish and therefore a lean (rather than very lean) meat, has so many omega-3s that I think it’s more than worth it. Four to six ounces of salmon a couple of times a week won’t overload your fat intake, and the omega-3s will protect your cells from damage.
4. Chicken sausages: Most people think sausages are high in fat. Well, there is an exception to this rule—chicken sausages. Per link, chicken sausages have six grams of fat, and a link is two ounces, so that’s three grams per ounce. As long as you only eat one link, that’s completely fine. Use a sausage as an enhancing flavor for pasta sauces, put it in an egg white omelet, or add it to beans for good flavor.
5. Cheese: It may come as a surprise, but I am a big fan of cheese. When people come to my office and I say you can have cheese, they are always astonished. In my eating plans, cheeses are a meat, because they don’t have carbs and, just like with meat, an ounce of cheese has about seven grams of protein. But you have to go out and find good low-fat cheeses. Babybel Light cheeses, or the sliced Jarlsberg Light (which melts beautifully, by the way), or light cream cheese. Dry cheeses tend to be lower in fat so parmesan is delicious! Any of these are great choices in moderation. If you decide to eat any fattier cheeses then just watch your total fat intake for that day. Mmmmm… cheese!