Is red meat OK to eat?

Red meat gets a bad rap for being an unhealthy protein source that increases your risk of heart disease, prompting many individuals to remove it from their diet altogether. While eating red meat in high quantities on a daily basis is not the healthiest option, it does not necessarily need to be removed entirely from the diet. Below are a few benefits of red meat and ways in which it can eaten in a healthy manner that will have you considering adding it back to your diet in moderation.

Portion Control

The average adult should strive to have between 5-6 ounces of meat in their diet per day. However, eating red meat it is often served as an oversized steak or hamburger, which is well over your daily serving of meat (let alone your protein, calorie, fat, or cholesterol serving size per meal). While indulging on occasion is okay, it is not a good daily habit. If you are going to indulge in a larger portion of your favorite red meat, ensure that the rest of your daily diet is on the healthier side.

Lean Red Meat

Recent studies have found that if you opt for a lean red meat that has less than 10 g of fat, no more than 4.5 g of saturated fat, and less than 95 mg of cholesterol fat per serving, then it is no different than eating lean poultry meat like chicken or turkey. Lean red meat will also give you the substantial vitamins and nutrients you require such as iron, zinc, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.

Processed Red Meat

Another thought to keep in mind when eating red meat is that processed red meat, often found at a fast food restaurants, is vastly different from the red meat available in a grocery store’s meat department. The difference is so drastic that unprocessed red meat can be eaten up to 100 grams per day, (approximately the size of the deck of cards) compared to only 50 g per day if it’s been processed.

Easy Ways to Reduce Your Red Meat Consumption

If you are a red meat lover looking for ways to reduce your red meat consumption, or swap some of your red meat for other protein sources without sacrificing the recipes you enjoy, then consider some of the ideas below:

Ground Turkey: Lean ground turkey is an excellent substitution for any recipe that calls for ground beef. This could be anything from meatloaf, hamburgers, spaghetti, or stuffed peppers.

Seafood: Your favorite shrimp and seafood can be swapped in many of your favorite recipes. This could include foods such as kebabs, soups, stews, and stir fry.

Meatless Protein: Meatless protein is not just for vegetarians and vegans, in fact there are many meatless protein meal ideas that are surprisingly flavorful. These dishes may vary from eggplant parmesan, a Portobello mushroom burger, to a hearty but meatless three-bean soup.

By utilizing the tips above you can reintroduce red meat into your diet, even in moderation on a daily basis. When you want to splurge and eat your red meat in excess, you can opt for meatless protein options the remainder of the day, or eat other lean meats.

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