Best Low-Fat Meats

One of nature’s most balanced foods, meat helps power us through a busy day. Because it is loaded with healthy proteins, iron, nutrients, vitamins, and contains all the essential amino acids that the body requires, meat is an excellent and delicious part of our diet. Not only does it have tons of natural flavor on its own, it’s easy to make and pair with any side dish. And we all know there’s nothing like biting into a nice piece of steak! Here are some recommendations from nutrition whiz Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.

Lamb
Not a high-calorie food and it’s loaded with protein. One 4-ounce portion of fresh, lean loin, trimmed to 1/8” fat, cooked, is only 217 calories. For that you get about 30 g of high-quality protein, plus some calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, almost 50% of the RDI for niacin, and 90% of the amount of potassium in a banana! Less than half of the 9 or so g of fat in that 4-ounce portion of meat is saturated fat, most of the rest is heart-healthy monosaturated fat and the remainder is polyunsaturated. A good protein source for the athlete.

Free-range Poultry
Chicken is a great source of protein and has an awful lot of other nutrients in it as well. It also has small amounts of calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Four ounces contain 255 mg of phosphorus and 287 mg of heart-healthy potassium. Note: skinless dark meat contains somewhat more calories and fat; add the skin and you’re talking seriously more fat and calories.

Wild Game
Humans are genetically adapted to eat what our Paleolithic ancestors, the hunter-gatherers, ate. And our Paleolithic ancestors were lean, fit, and free from heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues that are plaguing Western countries. What did they eat? They ate what they could hunt. Wild animal foods dominated their diets, and these foods provide a higher proportion of good fats compared to other types of commercial meats. Meat from grass-fed animals has two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat form grass-fed animals. And wild game is not factory farmed, and therefore not loaded with antibiotics, steroids, growth hormones, and other toxins that are a by-product of the modern CAFO (confined animal feeding operations, or the modern factory farm).

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