Creative and scrummy salads are reserved for the summer months. Smoothies too. Soups and stews, they’re the delicious taste-track to fall and winter. And things like asparagus, strawberries, pumpkins and rhubarb are all best enjoyed when in season. They’re unwritten rules that so many of us adhere to because it’s more fun, tastier, educational and heartwarming. But meat is a whole different story. Meat is one of those things that gets cooked and eaten no matter what time of the year it happens to be.

Summer cookouts. Christmas day. Barbecue parties. Throughout the fall. There is no rest for the meat eaters among us. However, there has been a lot of talk surrounding this subject in recent years, with many people choosing to retire their steak knives having heard meat is bad for the heart and bad for their overall health.

While we’re the first ones to tell you to load on your veggies first, sneak in meatless days and meals during the week and ensure that your diet is mostly plant-based, we can also tell you that you don’t have to give up your steak entirely (if it’s something you enjoy). There are healthier ways to eat meat, from choosing how to grill your fillets to knowing the right proportions (portion sizes and frequency are key here). So, without further ado, here are our top tips and tricks on how to incorporate meat in your diet without compromising your health.

The Grass Is Greener On The Other Side

If you were to invite your nutritionist around for a beef dinner – asking them how they would like their steak done – they would request it be grass-fed. That is just the healthiest way to go when you are set for a bit of red meat. Not only is grass-fed beef going to be packed full of more omega-3 fatty acids (which are so good for you), they also tend to get protein supplements added to their diet, as explained by Great Plains Processing, all of which gives it a richer taste. To really make this meal healthier, find ways to promote healthier eating with the other things on your plate. It could be that you make a beef, black bean and onion burger and serve it with this kale salad, or even a corn on the cob and some baked sweet potato fries, all of which will help you enjoy your meal with some balance on your plate.

The Best Way To Buy Is Locally

The world is gearing up to go local for so many reasons, mainly as a result of people developing an environmental conscience and partly because supporting local farmers is key to supporting our local communities. But the reasons to opt for this way of life goes far beyond getting a good night’s sleep. You can taste the difference too. Food that is sourced locally is fresher, in many cases it’s organically raised (even if it doesn’t have the label) and you meet the farmer and see the pastures that the animals are raised on. What is holding the popularity of this route up is awareness. People don’t know how easy it is to get meat – and all forms of food – locally. But it is. It so is. And that is thanks to amazing delivery services that are popping up all over the Canada and the world like The Healthy Butcher in Toronto (you can also find pasture-raised products in Canada on Eat Wild here), ButcherBox in the US, and FarmDrop in the UK. Go check them out.

Better Bacon & Champion Chicken

Bacon is loved. Like loooooooooved. It’s known as one of the most glorious tastes in all the world, and believe it or not pasture-raised tastes even better, and is much better for you to consume.We’re not just saying that; we relaying what science has discovered, and it’s all to do with pasture raised animals having a healthier fat profile and a more balanced omega 3 to omega 6 ratio than those that are given commercial feed. And the same goes for chicken, with better vitamin content being added to the mix, all of which you can taste on the plate. In terms of getting the healthiest results, use bacon as a delicious and nutritious wrap for the other things that grace your meals, like asparagus, Brussel sprouts and peppers and, yes, the lean meat that is chicken. Come on, who doesn’t go crazy for chicken wrapped in bacon and stuffed with Boursin? (may be that’s one we can get behind). A few slices here and there as part of a balanced diet will not deter your health goals especially if it’s something that you enjoy, and it will get you to eat your veggies in the process.

The Art Of Portions Can Be Perfected

People seemed to be overly worried that they are not getting enough protein from their diet, but this is rarely the case – especially in the western world. If anything, we get too much. So, if you are serious about wanting to enjoy meat while still staying healthy, then you may want to start scaling back on your meaty-portion sizes a bit (4-6 oz. is the standard portion) and start sourcing your protein from elsewhere. Nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, brown rice, quinoa, peas, lentils, eggs, yogurt, tempeh, almonds, broccoli, kale – all of these are absolutely packed full of a protein punch, meaning all you have to do is find a few recipes that incorporate these. What’s more, their benefits go way further than just balancing your lovely protein intake. They can build up your immune system, boost your digestive system and give you that slow release of energy that will stop that tired 11am and 3pm feeling. Now, given most of us probably don’t need more than 65 grams of protein a day (it varies based on your age, gender, activity level), all you have to do is enjoy a yogurt parfait, a couple of egg with avocado or oatmeal for breakfast, a bean and quinoa salad for lunch, some snack packs of seeds to work and perhaps a juicy steak, chicken curry, or baked salmon with veggies for dinner. And you’d be totally ok to go meatless for 1-2 days per week too.

Spices Make for Healthier Meats

Cooking and especially grilling certain meats can produce some harmful compounds such as HCAs (Heterocyclic amines) and PAHs (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), but we now also know that those can be reduced by up to 90% when you add herbs and spices such as rosemary, turmeric, basil, thyme and oregano as well as onion, garlic and lemon to the marinades for meats. Paired up with antioxidant rich fruits and veggies, you don’t need to worry during your summer BBQ season.

 

Being able to enjoy meat as part of your lifestyle without having to pester your doctor three times a day is totally possible, as you can see. It’s just about getting into the habit of enjoying meat in a healthy way and knowing what makes it important. Once you have gotten into this habit, you’ll find your meals become so much more nutritious and so much more delicious, and that is what healthy living should all be about. After all, it’s not fun if you’re not smiling and your taste buds are not dancing. That’s what life is all about.

*This is a collaborative post.

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