In recent years, with a healthy, alternative lifestyle taking hold of lifestyle publications in print and online, vegetarianism or being vegan has become vogue, giving meat a bad reputation. While it is true that meat is a source of fats, calories, and may even worsen certain medical conditions in an ill person, did you know that meat is actually necessary to the body?
And by necessary, this means that certain vitamins and proteins are only found in bulk when you eat meat. While other people may argue that you can get these same vitamins and minerals from vegetables and edible fungi, you will have to eat a huge amount of these things (maybe a kilo of tofu or several bushes of leafy greens) to get the same amount of nutrients that one small portion of meat can offer.
With all due respect to vegetarians, food choices are entirely personal choices—so if you’re one of those people who would like to keep eating meat if not for its unhealthy consequences, here’s a little workaround for you to get your nutritionist’s recommended amount of meat without having to be afraid of gaining weight or other health complications. It’s time you learn how to prepare, cook, and eat your meat in the healthiest way possible.
Choosing the Right Meat
First off, choose your meat carefully. When going to the supermarket or the butcher’s, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the number of choices you have available. Add your butcher’s voice of many recommendations to this mix of confusion and you are sure to pick the fattest, most unhealthy cut of meat you could ever get.
Yes, it’s delicious all right, but it’s also bad for a myriad of bodily parts and functions. Don’t lose your head when buying meat—keep in mind that if you choose poultry (chicken), fish and other lean meat cuts such as the sirloin, flank or tenderloin, these are the fat-free areas of a beef/cow. In fact, if you’re picking poultry, choose the white-meat kind.
If you can verify what the beef was fed, try getting the grass-fed kind of beef or bison because as opposed to grain-fed meat, the grass-fed kind is lower in fat and offers higher amounts of omega-3, a nutrient which helps maintain your heart in healthy condition, and reduces heart disease. If you are hell bent on eating steak, then make sure the beef is also grass-fed. These kinds of meats, when kept in mind, will be ideal.
Next, learn to prepare your meat. Don’t just wash it and throw it in the frying pan! If you want to be healthy, you have to take the time and effort needed to keep that healthy lifestyle. With a pair of kitchen shears or scissors, trim off all visible fat from the meat. If using chicken, be sure to remove its fatty skin, every time.
Additionally, when preparing your meat for cooking, choose smaller portions to cook; about three ounces worth of meat, so that you can control your own fat intake.
Cooking the Meat
There are many ways to cook your meat, but there’s only a few ways you can do it healthily. If you think that frying your meat is a good, valid, healthy way to cook your meat—you are definitely wrong. Other than increasing the oil and fat level of your meat, you also run the risk of destroying its taste!
One way you can cook your chosen meat is to grill it. Whether it’s in a charcoal, electric, or pan-style grill, you can be sure that grilling your meat will mean less fat. Why is that? Why is it considered healthy? This is because the grill’s grooves, even the pan-style grill has these grooves, don’t just give that nice criss-cross pattern on the meat, but also cook and drain the fats away from the meat.
When you cook meat on a grill, notice how the meat flattens out, and that there’s a thick, viscous liquid that drips away from it? That’s the fat, not the juice or water content.
Here’s how to cook meat on a grill, pan-style or not. First, heat the grill up. If you’re using charcoals, build a nice, slow steady heat. With charcoal grills, you can tell it’s ready when the coals have a uniform white dusting of ash on it. If using an electric or pan-style grill, use a low setting to keep the heat at a steady but hot temperature.
Spray non-stick cooking spray on the grill if you have it, it’s a healthier option, or if you don’t have any you can rub the grates very, very lightly with oil. Use just enough to coat the grill so that the meat doesn’t stick, but not too much that it will bubble or stay thick. If you can, get peanut oil as it’s healthier or olive oil.
Sear the meat first (cook briefly in a very hot pan or grill) before cooking to retain all nutrients. Remember that when cooking lean meat only cook it until it’s rare, or medium rare.
You can also alternatively use a turbo or pressure cooker. This kind of cookware will lock your meat in heat and cook it in its own fat, reducing the added oil and evaporating all excess fat. Your meat will be cooked faster, healthier, with all its good water content or juices still intact.
There are also specialty cookware you can get online, on infomercials, or at relevant shops that cook all kinds of meat, even if it’s a fatty cut, in a way that will remove virtually all fats and reducing your calorie intake while still staying full and keeping all those nutrients in.
Finally, if you are on a budget and don’t have any sort of grill, you can try pan frying the meat in a non-stick pan without oil so it cooks in its own fatty oils. Before cooking the meat especially if it’s beef, make a light criss-cross pattern on the meat on both sides to open it up.
Fry in low to medium heat without any oil and watch closely unless it becomes too dry or burnt. You will see that the meat will cook on its own, without any need for additional oil, and the non-stick pan will provide the lubrication that oil usually gives, allowing you to eat your meat healthily while still on a budget.
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