Meat eaters get a hard time from health authorities and the like these days. We are told not to eat so much red meat and that preserved meats are especially bad for us. One simple solution is to become a vegetarian but many simply couldn’t face a life without meat.
The truth is that meat is actually very good for you in reasonable quantities. It contains lots of protein for muscle growth as well as iron which many people are lacking. But some meats are better for you than others; you want lean, low fat meats if you want to convert protein into muscle and not fat.
Here are the top 5 lean meats for weight loss and muscle gains.
These are the easiest to get hold of and most familiar. Chicken breasts, without the skin, have very little fat but lots of protein. They are versatile and easy to cook. Since they have no bones you can chop them up and fry them in a stir fry, put them in a salad or soup or simply roast them with your favourite herbs and spices.
Please remember that although the breast without skin is low fat, you have to add fat in the form of oil to cook it – and chicken fat is actually much healthier than heated vegetable oil (which becomes carcinogenic at high temperatures)….so maybe leave the skin on if you like.
This used to be a common sight on British dinner tables but is less popular today despite being one of the leanest meats around. A single 3-ounce serving of rabbit contributes just 3-grams of fat and contains just 147 calories with a whopping 28-grams of protein. This makes it ideal for building muscle and losing fat. In fact, rabbit is so low in fat, that if you were to eat just rabbit (cooked without oil) and no other source of fat, you would eventually die of something called “rabbit starvation”.
Don’t worry though, you’re not going to starve if you eat rabbit as part of a balanced diet! Rabbit is also a rich source of iron, with a single serving contributing about 23% of your RDA. Be aware that farmed rabbits have a whiter more succulent meat than wild rabbits and that both need to be cooked nice and slowly (watch out for lead pellets if you are eating wild meat).
A 3-ounce serving of venison contains just 2 grams of fat, even less fat than rabbit. Because it is so lean and tough, you have to cook it nice and slow like rabbit. Casseroles and stews are the best way to make the meat good and tender. You can tenderise the meat prior to cooking and turn it into burgers too.
Unlike rabbit, venison tastes more like red meat so it is a great substitute for beef. But despite its rich flavour, it has even fewer calories than rabbit, with just 128-calories and an impressive 26-grams of protein in a 3 oz serving.
This is a very rural British meat. It is cheap in the autumn shooting season. Far cheaper than venison and when cooked correctly it is delicious! Loaded with protein, as well as significant levels of B vitamins and potassium, this is a healthy meat to look out for. Pheasant flesh also has high levels of the best kind of iron for your body.
They taste great slow cooked in a stew but can also be roasted. However, due to the low fat content, they must be rubbed with lard or wrapped with bacon prior to roasting or they get really dry.
A 3.5 oz. serving of pheasant meat without the skin contains just 133 calories, or 180 calories with the skin. 78% of the calories are attributed to pure protein while only 22% comes from fat. This is less than half the fat found in an equivalent cut of beef.
This is one for people who just can’t go without red meat. Despite the fact it is a bird, the meat of the ostrich tastes a lot like beef. The flesh contains high amounts of B-vitamins, which help the functioning of a healthy metabolism. A 3oz serving of Ostrich tenderloin contains just 105 calories, 2.7 grams of fat (1 gram saturated),with 18.8 grams of protein and 68 milligrams of cholesterol.
Impressive stats for a rich and flavoursome meat which can be cooked just like beef.