Meat is an important food in many diets. It is tasty and also an excellent source of high-quality protein and other important nutrients. Red meat, for example, is rich in vitamins B6, B12, iron, zinc, and selenium. However, different cooking methods can affect the healthiness and quality of the meat.
You must know the dos and don’ts for cooking so you can enjoy meat deliciously and healthily. Below are some important things you might want to keep in mind.
You can start by purchasing leaner cuts of red meat to cut down on fat. Buy lean cuts of beef like chuck, sirloin, loin, and round. For pork, go for lean cuts like loin or tenderloin chop. Always remember to avoid processed red meat as it is high in sodium, saturated fats, and calories.
Another piece of advice is to purchase your meat from a well-known butcher shop or supermarket. You can even look for one online, just google the “best butcher shop near me” and you will find the perfect place without breaking a sweat. Remember to select cuts that have minimal visible fat.
You can also ask the butcher for advice on choosing graded beef. Note that “select” grades of beef have less marbling from “prime” grades of meat, meaning they have less fat and are leaner cuts of meat. Also, look for grass-fed meats as they contain no additives or hormones, and have less overall fat.
The healthiest ways to cook meat include baking, roasting, broiling, and grilling. Before cooking, remove the fat from the meat, and if you don’t like doing it yourself, you can always ask the butcher to do it for you. Prepare the meat in a healthy way like baking or broiling to get the vitamins and minerals.
Baking the meat in the oven is a healthier option than pan-frying it. Broiling or braising in the oven would be less high-heat intensive, and there will be a lower fat content when finished. You can also make beef stew, which is not only tasty but healthy as well.
Roasting the meat, rather than grilling it will give it more flavor without subjecting it to high heat. If you decide to grill the meat, then you can marinate it beforehand or roast it partially before grilling it. Another way to cook the meat healthily is by using vegetable oils like canola, olive, avocado, peanut, and sunflower oil.
Slow cooking is probably one of the healthiest ways to cook meat. It involves cooking for several hours in a slow cooker, better known as a crockpot. The temperature ranges from 190°F to 250°F. The low temperatures minimize the formation of potentially harmful compounds.
Slow cooking meat is also very easy since you only need to season and place the meat in the slow cooker and leave it to cook for about 6 to 8 hours without having to check on it. This method is similar to stewing and simmering and can make tougher cuts like brisket, flavorful and tender.
This is a method of moist cooking that allows food to cook very quickly using less energy than other methods. A pressure cooker is a pot that has a sealed lid and a safety valve that controls the pressure of steam building up inside. The pressure of the steam raises the boiling point of water from 212°F to 250°F.
Pressure cooking leads to less oxidation of cholesterol, minimizes vitamin loss, and provides tenderness and flavor to the meat. Note that although it provides nutrient retention, it may not be suitable for all cuts of meat.
Sous vide means “under vacuum” in French. This is a method in which the meat is sealed in an airtight plastic bag, and cooked for 1 or several hours in a temperature-controlled water bath. This method uses the lowest temperature range, from 130°F to 140°F which helps reduce the formation of potentially harmful chemicals.
Sous vide makes the meat tender and evenly cooked, and the best part is all juices produced during cooking remain in the bag along with the meat. This results in better retention of B vitamins and other nutrients.
If you decide to include meat into your healthy diet, make sure you pay attention to the portion sizes, quality, and methods of cooking. Meat coming from a naturally fed animal is healthy food. So, pay attention to where you purchase your cuts of meat and ensure you cook it the right way so you get the right nutrients. Bon appetit!