The majority of the US population include beef, poultry, or fish in their diet, which can be excellent sources of protein, vitamin B12, omega-3s, iron, and other essential nutrients. There's definitely a healthy and a not-so-healthy way to eat meat, so ask yourself these important questions to ensure your steak, grilled chicken, and tuna fish sandwich are doing your body good.
Am I Getting Enough Fiber?
(Wo)man can't live on meat alone, and while many low-carb diets applaud eating mostly meat, it's not something you can sustain. Besides valuable vitamins and minerals, fruits, veggies, and whole grains are also high in fiber, something meat lacks. Fiber not only keeps your digestive system happy, but getting your fill (25 to 30 grams a day) is proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Enjoy a fiber-rich side dish with every meal, including fresh salads, whole grains, and grilled veggies. You can also get creative and add fiber to your meat recipes like this beef and bulgur burger.
Keep reading to find out what other questions meat eaters should ask themselves.
Is My Cholesterol Too High?
Aside from dairy products, meat is another source of cholesterol; if you're eating more than more than 300 milligrams a day, there's a chance you're getting too much, especially if high cholesterol runs in your family. If you aren't sure what your cholesterol levels are, have a check-up ASAP (it should be checked every five years if you're between 20 and 45 years old). Most physicians recommend that total cholesterol levels are less than 200 mg/dL, but below 130 mg/dL is optimal.
Am I Eating Lean Meats?
While bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni pizza, fried chicken, spicy chicken wings, and sausage sandwiches are crave-worthy, they're also high in saturated fat. It's OK to indulge in these every once in a while, but the majority of your meat should be lean cuts. Eat red meat in moderation, and enjoy chicken and turkey (without the skin), bison, salmon, tilapia, haddock, and other fish.
How Is My Meat Cooked?
There's nothing like sinking your teeth into a piece of fried chicken, but that means extra artery-clogging fat. Skip the battered and fried entrée, and go for meat that's grilled, broiled, roasted, or baked.
Am I Obsessed With Toppings?
For some people, a hamburger just isn't a hamburger without a slice of cheese, ketchup, mayo, and a few slices of bacon. All those add-ons contribute to the calories and fat, so choose healthier condiments, dips, and toppings when possible.
Source: Flickr User VirtualErn