Delicious food equals fatty and unhealthy food in the minds of many connoisseurs of high-quality food, particularly people who frequently cook and enjoy meat.
Fortunately, you CAN take many simple steps to prepare and cook healthier meat and poultry dishes. These simple steps can reduce your risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
In the words of the National Cancer Institute, a healthy diet is “low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.” Eating less meat can help you achieve a healthier diet, but so can cooking and preparing healthier meat dishes.
Here are eight tips for cooking healthier meat and poultry dishes: If you’re a professional cook, these tips are more important than using the correct restaurant apparel & uniforms.
1. LOOK AT LABELS:
Cooking does NOT begin in the kitchen. If you buy the most fat-laden meat and poultry imaginable at a grocery store, the steps you take in the kitchen to prepare healthy meat and poultry dishes could have only a minimal effect. Most if not all of the meat and poultry you buy in a grocery store has labels that show the number of calories in the package as well as the number of grams of fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. You should comparison shop based on health the same way that you comparison shop based on price. In both cases, the lower numbers are better.
2. CHOOSE LEAN MEATS:
Did you know that “select” meat is leaner than “choice” meat and “prime” meat? Now you know. Lean meat has fewer calories and less cholesterol, fat, and saturated fat. Fortunately, lots of cuts of meat are considered lean, including beef round, loin, roasts, and sirloin. Cooking lean meat begins with buying lean meat in the grocery store.
3. NO GROUND BEEF:
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute — which knows something about how to keep your heart healthy — recommends extra lean ground beef or ground turkey breast instead.
4. UNSKIN THE POULTRY:
Unskin might not be a word, but you know what the term means. The skin on chicken and poultry is loaded with unhealthy saturated fat. Thus, you should NOT eat it when you unskin it in the kitchen. Some cooking experts recommend cooking poultry with the skin because the skin keeps the poultry moist. You can do this, but you still should remove the skin before you’re done cooking.
5. TRIM THE FAT:
Fat tastes delicious, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, eating the fat on a regular basis is a health risk so please resist the temptation to eat that delicious fat. You should instead endeavor to trim as much fat as you can from the meat you’re about to prepare BEFORE you cook it. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you “spoon off fat from meat dishes once they have been chilled in the refrigerator and the fat has hardened on the top.”
6. IGNORE COLONEL SANDERS:
Kentucky Fried Chicken made a mint for decades because fried chicken is delicious. Unfortunately, it’s also really, really………………..really fatty and unhealthy. If you want to cook healthy poultry, you should avoid frying. The National Cancer Institute suggests that you “try boiling, roasting, baking, grilling, braising, or stir-frying with a little oil instead.” Baking and steaming food is also healthier than frying food.
7. CHOOSE LOW-FAT SEASONINGS:
Health experts continue to report that margarine isn’t healthy so avoid using it when you cook meat and poultry. You probably already know that butter isn’t healthy either and salt in large quantities on a regular basis can be bad for people with borderline and high blood pressure. Why not use tomato-based sauces instead? Why not use herbs, lemon juice or spices?
These are some of the smart choices cooks can make in the kitchen to reduce fat in meat and poultry dishes. Keep it slim and keep it delicious!