Best Meat for Weight Loss are high in protein and low in sugar, fat and carbs. Eating healthy meats for weight loss can help you lose weight and stay healthy. Losing weight is one of the hardest things you can do in a modern diet. Not only has food evolved to be hyper-palatable, but it’s also gotten more convenient and cheaper.
If you’re wanting to get a lean body and healthy life, one of the best ways to do that is by eating the right types of meat. Here are some of the best lean meats for weight loss so that you can be sure you’re eating the right types of proteins to help keep yourself looking fantastic. Below are the health benefits of eating meat.
Is Meat Healthy?
Before we list the top 9 healthy meats for weight loss, we want to answer a pressing question. Is meat healthy? Like we stated earlier, that’s a bit of a loaded question. All meats are not unhealthy. However, there are some meats you may want to avoid.
Experts say that you can have a healthy diet that includes meat. So, what types of meat should you avoid? First, you should avoid processed meats. Hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, salami, pepperoni, and others are a few examples.
These processed meats are staples in many households, especially in America. Who doesn’t love a good hot dog? You don’t have to give them up cold turkey. But, if you can’t entirely give them up, you can limit your processed meat consumption.
Eating processed meats in large amounts can lead to a higher risk of colon cancer. This is because processed meats contain large amounts of sodium and saturated fats. High sodium consumption from processed meats has been linked to death from stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
In short, meat can be healthy. This is because meat provides protein and vitamins, and minerals like B12.
Kris Sollid, RD, Senior Director, Nutrition Communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation, states: “Meat can be part of a healthy diet just as a healthy diet can be meatless,” he says.
Best Lean Meats for Weight Loss
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.
Healthy Meats for Weight Loss
From chicken to tuna, add these lean meats and fish to a balanced meal plan. Each source not only supplies protein to meet weight loss goals, but can be enjoyed in various ways to satisfy any palate.
Protein content: 19 grams (g) per 3 ounces
Given the leanness and versatility of its use, there is much reason why dieters look to chicken as one of the best meats for weight loss.
But while chicken may be touted as an ultimate weight loss food, pairing it with rice and broccoli may become monotonous. Offer variety in your diet by preparing these 11 different ways to cook and use chicken, including roasted, glazed, marinated, stuffed, and thrown into salads, soups, and stews.
Additionally, both white and dark meats are valuable in a well-balanced diet, as they each supply protein and rich nutrients such as vitamins A, K, B6, and B12, along with folate, iron, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.
Ultimately, control calorie and fat content by ditching the oils and fryer, as well as peeling off the skin.
2. Grassfed Beef
Protein content: 17 g per 3 ounces
Despite its unhealthful reputation, there are numerous benefits of eating red meat, including the provision of protein and iron.
More specific to grassfed beef, it is leaner and lower in fat and calories compared to grainfed beef. Additionally, grassfed beef is richer in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of “good” fat considered to be heart-friendly and essential for brain function.
When choosing any sort of beef, though, opt for “lean”, “extra lean”, and any sort of “loin” to keep the fat content minimized.
3. Ground Turkey
Protein content: 18 g per 3 ounces
Ground turkey is a lean and healthy meat for weight loss and valued alternative to ground beef.
It is versatile in use, including in this easy jalapeño turkey burger or added to chilis, soups, and tacos.
But really, all turkey is considered lean and nutritious, though be wary of packaged lunchmeats, as they are often loaded with sodium and other undesirable preservatives.
Protein content: 21 g per 3 ounces
Also recognized as buffalo meat, bison is starting to frequent restaurant menus and hitting the grocery store shelves.
Bison is measured as an exceptionally lean meat; so lean that it cooks quickly and becomes tough if cooked too long or at too high of a temperature.
Buffalo is also traditionally raised on ranches and farms, making them a respected grassfed meat.
Protein content: 26 g per 3 ounces
Often coming from deer, venison is also recognized as a healthy meat for weight loss due to its leanness.
Venison may also have more vitamins and minerals than beef supplies, including iron, vitamin B6, niacin, and riboflavin.
6. Pork Tenderloin
Protein content: 26 g per 3 ounces
While pork was previously discouraged, the “the other white meat” can be highly nourishing.
Even beyond its protein content, pork is nutrient-dense with thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium.
However, it is important to beware and moderate the intake of cured variations of pork, including bacon and ham, as they contain nitrate and nitrite preservatives that have been linked to cancer.
Best Meat for Weight Loss
Opt for white over dark turkey meat for a better protein bang for your buck.
1. Lean Beef
Red meat contains saturated fat, but there are leaner cuts you can enjoy in moderation, including sirloin steak, tenderloin and lean ground beef. For example, a 3-ounce cooked portion of 95-percent lean ground beef has 150 calories and 23 grams of protein, per the USDA.
So what does “in moderation” mean? For cancer prevention, The World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting yourself to three portions a week (reminder: one portion is about 3 ounces, cooked). On average, we currently eat just over this at 3.5 ounces per day, according to the American Heart Association.
2. Skinless Chicken
Skinless chicken breast can be one of the leanest sources of protein. The key is choosing white meat (over dark), which you can find in the breast, tenders and wings.
A 3-ounce serving of cooked chicken breast has 135 calories and 28 grams of protein, per the USDA. It also has ample amounts of phosphorus, selenium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and choline.
Remember, remove the skin before eating and avoid dark meat, which you’ll find in the thigh or drumstick.
Seafood and fish can be a nutrient-rich source of protein but you’ll want to be cautious of healthier options that are low in mercury and are sustainable for our planet.
Clams, mussels and oysters are excellent choices because they’re typically low in mercury, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. What’s unique about mollusks is that they’re especially good for our waters because they help keep it clean by filtering out heavy metals and other biological matter. When farm-raised on ropes, they don’t require feed and the harvesting process has minimal strain on the environment.
A 3-ounce serving of mussels provides 146 calories and 20 grams of protein, per the USA.
4. Lean Pork
Like most meats, there are healthier cuts of pork like pork chops, tenderloin and sirloin pork roast and there are those that are much fattier, like bacon and pork belly. For instance, a 3-ounce serving of pork tenderloin has 122 calories and 22 grams of protein, according to the USDA.
When shopping for leaner cuts, look for “loin” or “chop” in the name.
When cooking pork, cut away any visible fat and always reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees when cooking, per the Food and Drug Administration guidelines.
5. White Turkey Meat
Like chicken, white turkey meat is another source of lean poultry. You’ll find the white meat in the breast and wing, while dark meat is found in the leg.
White meat is lower in calories but when eating a 3-ounce portion, the differences are negligible. The amount of protein and total fat are the differentiating factors.
For instance, roasted turkey breast has 125 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat and 25 grams of protein, while dark roasted turkey meat provides 130 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 13 grams of protein, per the USDA.
3 Types of Meat to Limit or Avoid
Frying your meats adds fat and calories without a nutritional payoff.
1. Fried Meats
Even if you take healthier meats like chicken, coating them with breading and deep frying negates any health benefits you may be seeking. For starters, it dramatically increases the calorie and fat content. Case in point: A 3-ounce serving of fried chicken tenders has 250 calories, 13 grams of fat and 15 grams of protein, compared to the same serving of chicken breast, which has 135 calories, 3 grams of fat and 28 grams of protein, according to the USDA.
This may help explain why in a February 2013 Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease study, researchers found that eating fried foods more than four times a week significantly increased the risk for becoming overweight or obese compared to limiting fried food to less than twice a week.
2. Processed Red Meats
Bacon, hot dogs, beef jerky, salami and sausages are all prime examples of processed red meats. They’re higher in calories, saturated fat and sodium, compared to leaner, less-processed cuts of red meat, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), which makes them bad for our hearts.
A 3-ounce lean beef patty has 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat and 22 grams of protein, while the same portion of bacon has 400 calories, 30 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein.
Research shows that cutting down on processed meat —even by just 2 percent of your total calories — and replacing with plant protein is linked to a 32 percent lower risk of death, according to the AHA.
3. Fish High in Mercury
While fish and seafood can be excellent sources of protein and important vitamins and minerals, they can also be high in mercury. To limit or reduce your exposure, avoid tilefish, swordfish, king mackerel, ahi tuna, bigeye tuna and orange roughy, as listed by the Natural Resources of Defense Council.
You also need to be cautious when it comes to canned tuna. Skipjack or light tuna are safer options. Albacore tuna is higher in mercury and should be limited.
Health Benefits of Eating Meat
1.MEAT PROVIDES NUTRIENTS
Meat is rich in iron, zinc, and selenium. Protein specifically from meat offers a large amount of zinc. Zinc creates antibodies that allow our body to fight disease and infections, protecting us from sickness. Vegetarians need to eat about twice as much iron as those who do consume meat products. The iron in meat products and protein helps to improve oxygen delivery to many parts of the body, like tissues, cells and organs. Selenium is another mineral known for giving your body an immunity boost as well as helping your body maintain a healthy metabolism.
2.MEAT CONTAINS IMPORTANT VITAMINS
Meat provides your body with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Meat has omega-3 fat DHA, too. These are nutrients only found in animal protein. Vitamin B12 assists in the creation of red blood cells. It is important to ensure you get at least 2.4 micrograms of B-12 each day. This can come from three ounces of beef or .5 micrograms from a serving size of chicken.
Calcium strengthens bones and, among many other things, helps in weight management. Vitamin D also aids in healthy bones as well as reducing risk of contracting the flu. If you find yourself battling concentration or cognition issues, adding protein to your diet is a good place to start. When you choose not to eat meat, these vitamins and nutrients will have to be supplemented elsewhere.
3.MEAT IMPROVES YOUR MUSCLE STRENGTH
Protein-rich diets aid in the absorption of nutrients to the muscles. Amino acids, a very important part of your overall body, especially for the muscles, are consumed through protein. This results in an increase in muscle strength and repair for a bigger, stronger and leaner body. Muscles are primarily made up of protein. If you have an active lifestyle or wish to grow your muscle mass, your body needs enough of that protein. Protein works by stimulating muscle protein synthesis and quelling protein breakdown to produce more lean tissue.
While you can get protein intake from options like protein shakes and bars, many people, even with those additions, still do not receive the full amount of protein needed in order to achieve the physique they would like. Meat is one of the few protein sources that provide complete protein. Others include eggs, fish, milk and soy. Eating meat to get the suggested amount of protein for muscle growth will ensure your time lifting and working out helps you in the right place.
4.MEAT AIDS IN BONE STRENGTH
Protein from eating meat helps with bone strength as well. The intake of protein creates a lower risk of osteoporosis. Research shows that bone density will increase with a higher protein intake. The amino acids previously discussed also come into play for strength building in the bones. The amino acids provided through protein strengthen the muscles, which also aids in bone strength. When paired with the hormone IGF-1 found in protein, which regulates bone metabolism, bones are given the nutrients to become stronger.
5.MEAT AIDS IN BRAIN FUNCTION
Another benefit of eating meat is an increased brain function. The neurons in our brain communicate through the proteins we eat. Again, the all-powerful amino acids, or the building blocks of protein, offer that chemical message to the brain. You are in control of how you feel with what you eat. The consumption of protein offers a boost in mood and energy levels, as well as helping the brain fight that foggy feeling.
Eating protein can also improve your ability to concentrate. In short, those feel-good chemicals in your brain, dopamine and serotonin, get the message to activate when you get the necessary amounts of protein in your diet.
Although eating protein is not going to completely eliminate stress and cause you to be happy constantly, when mixed with a healthy diet like eating less sugar and eating more of the things that decrease the effects of some neurotransmitters, you can better control how you feel throughout the day.
A healthy diet will also support the effects of protein intake. When comparing a high-protein diet to a high-carb diet, a high-protein diet will allow for a better night of sleep. The chemical process protein sparks in our brain lets us feel tired at night while feeling energized and awake during the day. Just another benefit of protein.
6.MEAT CONSUMPTION ENCOURAGES WEIGHT LOSS
Although some people eliminate meat from their diet in order to lose weight, protein offers a way to get full and stay full. A recent study confirmed the benefits of protein for weight management. It can prevent overeating, giving you a satisfied, full feeling as well as keeping your stomach full for longer periods of time. While fiber helps to fill you while you’re eating, protein will make you feel full longer.
You may eat fewer calories throughout the day if you feel full. Making small adjustments like a smaller serving of starchy foods like potatoes or rice with the addition of more protein will help you to lose some of that unwanted belly fat. Studies show increasing protein in a woman’s diet from 15% of calories to 30% led the women to eat more than 400 fewer calories throughout the day. The addition of more protein will provide those amino acids to build muscle and replace that fat.