As the temperature drops, I become a more meat-and-potatoes type of girl. I go meatless most of the time, but when I do eat meat, I want to choose good stuff. I want it to be worth it and I want to be healthy! And I like chicken and ground turkey, but I also think that red meat or dark meat can have a place in a healthy diet. I’m really excited about cooking with different types of meat this winter. Here’s what’s on the menu.
- Lamb. “You no eat meat? I make lamb then.” Best line from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Lamb is popular in Greek food, but it’s pretty versatile. Cuts from the loin and the shank half of the leg are leanest, so ask the butcher for that. (Blade cuts and ground lamb are a bit higher in fat and calories.) Lamb has less marbling than beef, so once you trim the fat, it can be actually less fatty than beef. It’s a good source of protein, zinc, and B vitamins.
- Venison. Venison is quite popular in Michigan because we have deer season, and many hunters believe in cooking and eating what they kill (and then freezing extras to eat all years). It’s much lower in saturated fat than most other meats – and keep in mind that because it’s so lean, it can’tt be cook exactly like beef. It’s meant to be very tender, so don’t overcook it. It’s a great source of iron – a 4-ounce serving has 28 percent of your RDI. It can be hard to find, but if you get the chance to eat it, don’t turn it down!
- Bison. Bison is actually surprisingly accessible. I’ve seen it in the frozen section of different health food stores on several occasions. It actually has less fat and fewer calories than chicken and it isn’t raised with growth hormones or antibiotics. It is tender, sweet, and can be prepared just like beef; it’s especially good as a burger, but I’ve seen chili recipes too.
I try to eat meat a few times a week, but it’s a good source of the protein, vitamins, and minerals that a working, working out body needs! Check your favorite cookbook for recipes using these cuts of meat and then give one a try to keep your diet healthy and well-balanced without being boring!