Chicken breasts clearly lack the heavier fats of red meat.
As we start the new year, we’re taking a moment to reassess our eating habits and examine the scientific details that might help us with healthy eating during what is sure to be a crazy 2019. After a beefy, roasty holiday season, your body may be crying out for salads, juice cleanses, or a break from the booze, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s the small, sustainable changes that will make a lasting difference for your health. Lean meats like poultry offer the benefits provided by animal protein, while sparing the eater from the potential harms of saturated fat and higher calories found in red meat.
What makes healthier meat?
There is no definitive definition for the “healthiest meat,” as each form presents pros and cons, but the benefits of lean protein are straightforward, and lend well to a “new year, new me” mentality. Primarily, lean meat from poultry contains vastly fewer calories than an equal portion of fattier alternatives. Even lean cuts of pork can contain almost double the caloric content of the same serving of chicken.
Lean cuts of white meat contain a tightly-packed protein punch on the same level as red meats, as well as an array of nutrients and vitamins promoting general human function. Even better, in comparison to red meats like beef and pork, the fat found in poultry is made up more primarily of healthier unsaturated fats. Conversely, the saturated fat found more prominently in red meat are those that are shown to have adverse effects on cholesterol and heart health. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the red in red meat comes not from blood, but a mix of myoglobin and water. Myoglobin and vitamin B12, both beneficial to the generation of blood cells, are found in much greater numbers in red meat.
So, with a little added attention to maintaining B12 levels, lean meats are a great way to start your year on the right foot: just as delicious, massively lower calorie levels, and fats that won’t get in the way of your healthy heart.
Recipes: Preparing Lean Meat
Smoked chicken tacos: cheap, flavorful, and healthy.
Because of the lower fat content in white meat, you’ll have to adjust your cooking methods to account for the lack of “forgiving” moisture provided by the heavy fats in steaks and beef roasts (if you’ve ever had a roast chicken left in the oven for 10 extra minutes, you know the pain).
Central Texans may know the wonders of low-and-slow, oak-smoked chicken, and with a simple smoking setup (or a little ingenuity on the grill), you can recreate that taste at home with a Mexican twist. Get your year started right with a cheap, delicious way to bring the family together for a zesty feast.
Delicious one-pan chicken thighs.
To get you through the cold season (and keep you hydrated), chicken soup is an easy and forgiving way to ensure your chicken or other poultry maintains moisture. We love this piece about branching our from traditional chicken noodle soup, utilizing flavor-building techniques like designing custom bone broths, adventurous veggies and new spices. The possibilities are endless, and, without a whole lot of complication, extremely delicious.
This is a simple, clean, and elegant way to bring a ton of flavor to a single pan of chicken thighs, and the resulting tomato cream sauce is a perfect topping for a starchy side. Great for the family table at any time of the year, these thighs are as juicy as they are flavorful, with a perfect balance of acidic tomatoes and cream.