For a lot of people, meat is a key part of their daily dinner menu that they just won’t give up. Interestingly enough, the USDA recently found that beef and pork consumption in the U.S. has decreased over the past decade. However, the U.S. is still among the countries with the highest rate of meat consumption in the world. I don’t think that meat is inherently bad at all. But with meat being such a prominent part of our diet, it is important to keep your health and well-being in mind while planning your meals. Here are a few tips for making smarter choices when eating meat.
Don’t Forget About Veggies
When you’re eating a big steak or chicken breast, it’s easy to lean on carbs such as potatoes and rice, and for fruits and vegetables to slip your mind. Try to include these in your meals all the time. One of the easiest ways you can do this is to make a salad to go with dinner. Salad is a very versatile side and you can incorporate fruits, vegetables, dressing, and just about anything else that you want into them. Steamed or stir-fried vegetables are a good choice too.
Go for Grass-Fed Beef
Many beef cows are fed grain every day. But, grass is the natural bovine food source. Studies have shown that meat from cows that have eaten grass provides more nutrients than from cows who are fed grain. This includes vitamin A, vitamin B, and omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, grass-fed beef has been known to contain up to five times the omega-3s of grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef also contains more conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid which actually helps to reduce body fat.
Add Some Eggs
Provided you don’t have an allergy or sensitivity, organic/cagefree eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They provide you with nutrients such as vitamin D and B12, which helps to lower your risk of heart disease. But, don’t limit yourself to breakfast when it comes to incorporating more of them into your diet. Poached or hard-boiled eggs go great in a salad at lunch or dinner. Just make sure not to overdo it, especially if you have high cholesterol or diabetes.
Keep Sodium Levels Low
Most foods contain some amount of sodium, though for many it’s not enough to have a significant effect on the body. Meats, particularly ham and shellfish, have the highest natural sodium contents. Despite this, the leading contributor of sodium in your diet is likely salt.
Many people add salt to the majority of their meals, meaning a diet that is much higher in sodium. Remember, eating too much sodium over a prolonged period can lead to heart or liver problems.
Meat can be a perfectly healthy addition to any diet routine. It’s one of the best sources of protein available and also provides essential nutrients such as iron, selenium and zinc. But, like with any food, it’s important to take nutritional value into consideration while planning a menu.
Always try to prepare reasonably sized servings and to include a diverse mix of different food groups in every dish. This will ensure that you eat balanced meals that provide everything that your body needs for a long, healthy life.