4 Healthy Ways to Eat Meat
Of all the food trends that have shaped American consumption over the past twenty years, the shift toward healthy eating is probably one of the most significant. As we become more aware of how what we eat impacts our overall health and well-being, our diet is starting to reflect that.
But there is a lot of misinformation around what, exactly, a healthy diet looks like. With the rise of vegetarianism and veganism, many people claim that going meatless is the best choice, while those on diets like the keto diet say that eating plenty of animal fat and protein is fine and that carbs are the real danger.
The truth is that there are plenty of ways to incorporate meat into a healthy diet, so long as you follow these simple rules.
1. Avoid Processed Meats
Staying away from heavily processed foods is generally a good idea if you want to stay healthy, but it's especially important when it comes to meat.
Popular meats like bacon and sausage are heavily processed, containing harmful ingredients like nitrates that can cause colorectal cancer, so choosing fresh cuts that have undergone minimal treatment is the way to go.
2. Use Low-Fat Cooking Methods
It isn't just the meat you eat, though - it's also how you prepare it. Even a lean chicken breast can quickly become unhealthy if it's slathered in a thick creamy sauce, or breaded and deep-fried.
When you cook, try to use less fat-intensive methods, like grilling. Soups and bone broths are also a wonderful way to absorb all the nutrients from a healthy cut of meat.
3. Buy Local
Meat is probably the most intensively farmed agricultural product you will eat on a regular basis. This means that many different steps had to be taken to get the cut of beef, pork, or chicken on your plate from the farm to the table. In many cases, those steps will have significantly impacted the quality of your meat.
Most of the meat Americans consume comes from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, an unnatural and often harmful approach to industrial agriculture. Buying meat from local farms that have more sustainable practices is a great way to get healthier meat.
If you're having a hard time finding a butcher in your area that works directly with local farms, consider checking out a meat delivery company that specializes in local meats.
4. Eat More Chicken and Fish
Finally, one of the simplest approaches you can take to eating healthy is to swap out red meat for chicken and fish. Consuming large quantities of red meat is linked with an increased risk of heart disease, and red meat also tends to be fattier.
Skinless chicken breasts and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, are a smart way of getting the proteins and nutrients you need.
It is no secret that the single most important thing you can do to improve your health is to change your diet, but the good news is that this doesn't need to mean cutting out things like meat altogether. By being careful about what meats you buy, where you buy them, and how you prepare them, you can get healthy while still enjoying some of your favourite meals.