When it comes to trying to eat healthily, it can seem like a bit of a minefield sometimes, a quick google search will probably tell you that whatever food you’ve typed in is unhealthy in some way or another.
If you lived by this, you’d probably have to steer clear of every food group that exists.
Of course, this is not the case, you should never really need to completely restrict yourself from anything, as long you don’t have any severe allergies or intolerances.
You’ve probably heard this phrase a million times before, but it’s everything in moderation.
However, if you are trying to cut back and eat a bit healthier, you may want to lean towards certain types of food.
When it comes to meat you probably already have a vague idea of which meats are more nutritious than others.
Fish is well known for being better than red meat for example.
While the answer for healthiest to least healthy meat isn’t quite as black and white as you may want, every meat has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
However, there is somewhat of a general consensus on the nutritional value of animal proteins. We’ll look at these in further detail throughout this article.
The Healthiest Option: Fish & Poultry
If you’re hoping to opt for a healthier option, then you’ll probably want to use fish or poultry as the main source of protein in your meals.
Fish is packed full of Omega-3 fatty acids which are great for you as they can fight against cardiovascular disease.
This protein is also full of vitamin D, selenium, and protein.
If you’re going to consume fish you’ll want to make sure that you have a selection of different fish at your disposal, which is also great because you won’t get tired of eating the same thing over and over again.
However, you will want to ensure that you are eating fish that is wild-caught and not farmed.
Farmed fish tends to contain mercury, microplastics, and polychlorinated bidphenyls due to pollution.
To avoid this, swap fish such as king mackerel and swordfish for salmon or cod instead.
Poultry is also a better choice as it is high in protein and low in saturated fats and calories.
The breast is usually the best cut of choice as it is leaner than other cuts such as thighs.
Although it’s important to note that with poultry it’s really all about how it’s prepared.
A skinless, boneless grilled or baked chicken is going to be a great healthy choice, If you opt for a deep-fried chicken burger smothered in sauce, it’s not going to be.
Here it’s really just about using common sense, if you load extra calories and food items onto your chicken, although it might taste nicer, it’s not going to be as healthy.
That being said there are still plenty of ways to season your poultry while still grilling or baking it to make it taste juicy and delicious.
Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland food.
Less Is More: Red Meat
If you’re a fan of meat, you probably love devouring a juicy rib-eye steak or a thick juicy hamburger, but these should really be seen more as treats than everyday staples to your diet (I know, I was disappointed too.)
There are advantages to eating red meat, which is why it should still be in your diet.
So don’t worry you don’t have to ditch the burgers completely. Red meats which include pork, beef, lamb, venison, veal, and duck are rich in minerals.
Not only this but they also contain Vitamin B12, protein, and zinc. All of which are vital nutrients that your body needs.
However, there is some evidence that a high intake of red meat can promote certain cancers.
They are also quite high in saturated fats which can lead to cardiovascular disease which is why it is important to eat red meat in moderation.
If you are a real red meat lover and think you’ll struggle to cut red meat out of your diet, try to make smarter choices with the red meat that you do eat.
Choose lean cuts of meat and opt for methods such as broiling and baking as opposed to grilling and frying.
Unhealthiest Option: Processed Meat
If you are wondering which meats you should try to keep the widest birth from, it’s processed meat.
Any meat where preservatives and chemicals have been added should be avoided if not completely, then at least as much as possible.
Some examples of processed meats are bacon, pepperoni, hot dogs, beef jerky, sausage, deli meats, and bologna.
Processed meats have links to heart disease and cancer as well as many other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure (hypertension) and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD.)
Many studies have proven that those who eat high amounts of processed meats are more likely to get these diseases, although there is no evidence to suggest they are the actual cause. Either way, it’s a risk you don’t want to take.
If possible try to cut these meats out of your diet, and if you can’t try to eat them much less often than you would other red meats, fish, and poultry.
If you are hoping to eat healthier, don’t completely restrict yourself from eating foods that you enjoy, as you will find it very hard to actually maintain the diet.
Instead, it’s best to try and opt for the healthier choices, such as fish and poultry, more often and then have slightly less healthy meats such as burgers and steaks occasionally as a treat that you will look forward to.
Where possible you do want to try and avoid processed meats as there really isn’t much nutritional value but quite a lot of health risks.