Hi guys! This week will cover how to pick the right meat, protein sources, and vegetarian diets.
We will start with red meat vs. lean meat. Red meat comes from the heavier animals such as pigs, cows and lambs. These are considered red meat because they turn red when cooked. Whereas chicken and other poultry turn white. We can consider poultry either lean or white meat. Another lean meat example includes fish.
Going back to red meat, they are nutritious for us in small or moderate amounts. Red meat is full of vitamins and minerals such as iron, creatine, zinc, phosphorus, and B-vitamins including niacin, vitamin B12, thiamin, and riboflavin. However, they contain larger amounts of fat, sodium, and cholesterol compared to lean meat. Many studies have concluded that an excess intake of red meat can increase the risk for overweight, obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels) and some cancers. Thus, moderation is pertinent.
While high red meat intake has some serious consequences, these complications can also occur from consuming too much lean meats. Choosing an appropriate serving size can help us moderate our intake of meats. Typically, I serve myself meat based on the size of my palm. This is accurate when serving burgers, but this could also work for other meats. One palm sized meat = 1 serving of meat.
I mentioned that lean meats are white-colored when cooked. Examples include poultry and fish. Salmon is particularly nutritious, but this is also due to healthy fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. I will discuss these fats in a few weeks! Other examples of lean meats include beans, nuts, peanut butter, dairy, and protein products such as Cliff bars or other sports products. Cereals with high amounts of protein are also beneficial.
The serving size of most proteins are not typically stated on Nutrition Facts. In other words, there is no number of grams equivalent to a certain amount of servings. Serving size depends on the size and cut of meat, and weight. For example, steaks can be cuts of 3 oz., 8 oz., 11 oz., 16 oz., or any size that a restaurant states on their menu. Eight ounces of milk equals one serving of protein. Thus, it depends on the food. MyPlate.gov provides specific serving sizes for different foods. I highly suggest looking it up since it would take majority of this blog post.
When shopping, there is a variety of meats that can be selected. Other than the options of lamb, turkey, ground beef, etc., you can also choose the amount of fat contained in the product. For example, most ground beef products come in options such as regular, 97% less fat, or 98% less fat. The same goes for ground turkey. Thus, be aware of what you’re buying when grocery shopping. Labels or stickers stating the reduced amount of fat would be on the front of the package. Fat in grams would be on the back on the Nutrition Facts Label.
The last topic we will discuss are vegetarian diets. Many people go on this diet for different reasons such as religion, health, cost, family preference, personal preferance, or sustainability. For me, I try to avoid red meats for healthier living but will eat them on special occasions such as BBQ parties, birthday parties, or family get-togethers. So I mostly eat yogurt, fish, chicken, beans, peanut butter, and drink milk and smoothies for protien sources. There are many examples of vegetarian diets. However, I would like to write a whole blog of vegetarian diets if I could. So I could discuss them next time.
Overall, be careful with protein sources. Americans easily consume twice the amount than they actually need. Everything should be eaten in moderation (yes, even chocolate and wine lol). Even vegetarians can consume too much. Sometimes they don’t eat enough. Thus, consider the type of meat you’re eating, serving size, and recipes that can make protein more enjoyable. This leads to my wonderful salmon recipes! I hope you found this helpful and will look at my recipes! They’re all vegetarian-based and healthy.
P.S. Don’t forget to give me feedback on my recipes and tips! I would love to hear future suggestions, questions, even concerns. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask!