How to Shop for Meat and Alternatives…

This week we’re going to look at how to pick the best choices in Meat and Alternatives.

Meat and Alternatives are the portion of Canada’s Food Guide that provide us with the important nutrient protein and are the best source of iron-containing foods. They should be included at most meals.

Your best buys at the meat counter are going to be the leaner cuts of meat. Look for meats that have the least visible amount of fat and are the least marbled. Choose lean or extra lean ground beef. When cooking any cut of meat, cut or drain off any fat before eating.

At the deli counter, buy sparingly. Deli meats tend to be much higher in salt and can also be higher in fat. Your best buys at the deli counter are going to be lean cuts of roast beef, chicken, turkey and ham. Instead of buying deli meats, try cooking your own beef, chicken and turkey and freeze the leftovers to use in sandwiches later.

In Canada’s Food Guide, fish is recommended to be eaten twice a week. Fish that is not battered, breaded or fried is a healthier choice. Fish can be expensive to buy, but canned fish such as tuna and salmon are also good choices. Look for cans that are lower in salt and still rinse with water to remove any excess salt.

Meat Alternatives are foods such as eggs, beans, peas, legumes, nuts and seeds. Canada’s Food Guide suggests going meatless at least once a week. Try using one of these alternatives in your recipes instead of meat. Nuts can be higher in fat, so they should be eaten less often than the other meat alternatives. However, the fat they do contain is heart-healthy unsaturated fat that is important in our diet.

With most foods, the way they are cooked makes a difference in whether they are healthy or not-so-healthy choices. This definitely applies to meat. Baking, poaching, boiling, broiling, grilling, barbecuing and stir-frying are healthy cooking methods. Frying and deep frying foods adds more fat and can make healthy foods, unhealthy.

Hopefully these tips make your grocery shopping a little easier and a little healthier. Do you have any great shopping tips you’d like to share. If so, email me at [email protected].

If you have any nutrition topics you would like me to write about or have a question you would like answered, email me at [email protected]. I would really like to hear from you!