Carbohydrates are an essential part of your daily balanced diet, but cutting back on carbs can help you lose weight. MayoClinic.com recommends a low-carb diet that contains about 50 to 150 grams of carbohydrate foods a day to curb excess calories. As carbohydrates are high-energy foods and your body's main fuel source, you must add other nutrients to compensate for this. Eating more protein-rich foods such as meat can help keep you feeling full and sustain your energy levels. Add lean meats to your balanced daily diet for an excellent source of protein, healthy fats and nutrients.
While not always classified as a meat, fish is a healthy source of lean protein. Eating a 3-ounce or 90-gram portion of fish at least twice a week gives you essential omega-3 fatty acids. MayoClinic.com recommends eating fish to help reduce harmful LDL cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, enhance blood cell formation, improve memory and ease muscle and joint aches. If you are on a low-carb diet, you can add more fish to your weekly diet, however, make sure it is baked, broiled or grilled rather than fried. Salmon, herring, mackerel, cod and halibut are good source of omega-3 fatty acids and considered to have a lower risk of being contaminated by toxins such as mercury than large fish.
The American Heart Association suggests adding lean poultry meat such as chicken, turkey and Cornish hen to your grocery list. To reduce unhealthy fats, choose poultry portions that contain white meat and are skinless. Eat two to three 3-ounce servings of poultry a week, to get enough protein for your body to build and repair cells and muscles. Additionally, keep your poultry meat lean and avoid hidden carbs by avoiding stuffed or breaded dishes, removing any excess fat and grilling, baking or baking instead of frying.
While red meat is typically considered an unhealthy choice for protein, not all beef is equal. Lean cuts of beef contain less than a gram of fat in a 30-gram piece. The University of Michigan recommends loin or round cuts that are sourced from grass-fed cows. This type of lean beef is a rich source of easily absorbed iron, vitamins B3 and B12, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. Additionally lean beef is low in cholesterol, high in protein and helps to balance insulin hormone levels, which in turn helps your body to mobilize and burn stored fats.
Venison is the term for meat from deer and other wildlife such as elk and was traditionally eaten by hunters and royalty. Even in modern times, you have good reason to add this lean meat to your diet. The Guardian reports that this gamey-flavored meat contains less fat than an equivalent sized skinless chicken breast. Venison is also higher in protein and lower in unhealthy cholesterol than other meat. Additionally, venison is sourced from wildlife that is guaranteed to be free-range fed, free of injected hormones and antibiotics and a sustainable source of food.
Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.