Without a doubt, meat, poultry, fish, and seafood are excellent sources of protein and other important nutrients. However, knowing what to select and why is not quite so simple. Fatty meats can be a significant source of calories and unhealthy fat. Fish and seafood can be a potential source of contaminants. Another concern is the use of antibiotics and hormones with poultry, pigs, and cattle.
Here are some tips to help you out:
1. Choose lean cuts of red meat along with small portion sizes to keep the calorie count down as well as the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol. If you eat beef, I would strongly encourage you to seek out a quality source of grass fed organic beef. Lean cuts of grass fed cattle (also sheep and bison) can have significantly less fat than an equivalent amount of lean grain fed beef, as little as 1/3 the fat. Organic beef will be free of antibiotics and hormones.
2. As for fish, the potential health rewards of eating fish may outweigh possible risks for many people. The two contaminants of most concern with fish are mercury and PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls).
With the exception of women who are pregnant, might become pregnant, or who are breast feeding, adult women can safely eat two servings a week of fish or seafood. However, if you are eating more than two servings a week, select a variety of fish or seafood to reduce your risk of contaminants from a single source. Predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, or king mackerel are more likely to have higher concentrations of potential contaminants than other fish.
Salmon is an excellent choice if you are watching your weight. I’ve included salmon as one of the top ten best choices for women and weight loss. (Top Ten Weight Loss Foods for Women) It is a great source of healthy fat as well as being a good source of protein and other nutrients. At the same time there’s good reason for caution.
A study from a few years back revealed that farmed raised salmon had about 10 times more PCBs, dioxins, and pesticide residues than wild salmon. The Food and Drug Administration claims that the levels of PCBs are not high enough to recommend limiting the consumption of farmed salmon. However, I believe there is reason for concern because PCBs and dioxin can build up in body fat and remain there for decades. In addition to health concerns, farmed salmon also poses a significant environmental risk for wild salmon and other fish living in their natural habitat. (Report Cites Health Risks of Farm-Raised Salmon) So, if you can, purchase wild salmon rather than farm-raised.
3. Choose organic whenever possible to avoid potential problems from poultry, pork, and beef that might otherwise have traces of antibiotics or hormones.
Low Calorie Portions of Meat, Poultry, Fish, and Seafood
Lean Ham – 2 oz. – 82 calories (12.6 grams of protein)
Pork Tenderloin (lean, roasted) – 2 oz. – 92 calories – (16 grams of protein)
Canadian Bacon – 1 oz. – 40 calories – (about 6 grams of protein)
Light Turkey Breast Meat (oven-roasted without skin) – 2 oz. – 75 calories – (17 grams of protein)
Chicken Breast without skin (2 oz. oven-roasted without skin) – 75 calories – (16 grams of protein)
Top Sirloin – 1 oz. – 60 calories – (8 grams of protein)
Top Round – 1 oz. – 56 calories – (10 grams of protein)
Water-packed Tuna (about 2 ounces) – 70 calories – (15 grams protein)
Shrimp – 3 oz cooked with moist heat – 84 calories – (about 18 grams of protein)
Cocktail Shrimp – 1/4 cup – 40 calories – (8 grams protein)
Crab Meat – 3 oz. – 94 calories – (19 grams of protein)
Salmon (skinless and boneless pink salmon) – 60 calories – (10 grams of protein)
Salmon Jerky – 1/2 oz. – 40 calories – (7 grams of protein)
Tilapia fillet (cooked, dry heat) – 2 oz. – 73 calories – (15 grams of protein)
Some Brand Name Products:
Chicken of the Sea (Fancy Crabmeat) – 2 oz. – 40 calories – (7 grams of protein)
Butterball Turkey Breast (Oven Roasted) – 2 oz. – 70 calories – (10 grams protein)
Oscar Mayer Thin Sliced Deli Meat (Oven Roasted Chicken Breast) – 2 oz. – 60 calories – (10 grams protein)
Oscar Mayer Thin Sliced Deli Meat (Turkey Breast) – 2 oz. – 60 calories – (9 grams protein)
This list along with the ones I’ve shared previously should give you lots of ideas for healthy low calorie snacks:
I would encourage you to create your own short list of favorite low calorie food choices. Then keep it handy so you can stock up when you go grocery shopping. You may also want to post a list on your refrigerator to remind you of what is available for those times when you need just a little bit of something healthy and low cal!
Till next time, watch those calories and remember to eat healthy!