Choosing and Cooking Lean Meats

Choosing and Cooking Lean MeatsChoosing lean meats can aid in weight loss and help to meet your protein needs. But choosing lean meats doesn’t mean that they have to be tough. In fact, lean meat can be tender, tasty and low in calories. To do this, use cooking methods that retain moisture, and use low calorie sauces and marinades that add moisture and flavor.

How to Choose Your Meats:

Choose select cuts of meat to limit marbling.
Marbling increases the fat and calories in your diet. Prime cuts have the most marbling, select cuts have the least, and choice cuts fall between the two.

Choose meats with ‘loin’ or ’round’ in the name.
Choose meats such as sirloin, tenderloin and eye of round. These cuts are generally the leanest.

Choose low-fat ground turkey breast or chicken breast meat.
Ground poultry can have as much fat as ground beef has, or more, because it often includes dark meat and skin. To make the leanest choice, choose ground breast meat.

How to Cook Your Meats:

Moist cooking methods trap in water as they cook rather than drying out the meat and making it tough. These methods include braising, stewing, boiling and cooking meat wrapped in foil or parchment paper. You can also microwave, saute and stir fry using a lid to trap in the moisture.

Dry methods of cooking including baking, broiling, roasting and grilling can toughen up a lean cut of meat by drying it out. You can avoid this by using a sauce that adds flavor and moisture, but doesn’t deliver extra fat or calories.

To Keep Meat Tender When Cooking With Dry Methods

  • Slather the meat in a specialty mustard or other low calorie sauce
  • Marinate or cook in salsa
  • Marinate or cover with nonfat yogurt mixed with spices and herbs
  • Place slices of citrus fruits on top during cooking

By definition, lean cuts of meat are lower in fat, saturated fat and calories. Fresh grilled salmon with garlic and rosemary sounds delicious, and it is! But you don’t need to replace all the meat in your diet with fish and poultry. As long as you make sure that the red or white meats you choose are lean, there won’t be much difference in fat and calories.

You can enjoy meat along with other sources of protein. Just make sure it’s lean, and it will help you achieve the lean body you desire.