Go lean with protein
- Start with a lean choice:
- The leanest beef cuts include round steaks and roasts (round eye, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder and arm roasts.
- The leanest pork choices include pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, and ham.
- Choose extra lean ground beef. The label should say at least "90% lean." You may be able to find ground beef that is 93% or 95% lean.
- Buy skinless chicken parts, or take off the skin before cooking.
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets are the leanest poultry choices.
- Choose lean turkey, roast beef, ham or low-fat luncheon meats for sandwiches instead of luncheon meats with more fat, such as regular bologna or salami.
- Keep it lean:
- Trim away all of the visible fat from meats and poultry before cooking.
- Broil, grill, roast, poach or boil meat, poultry or fish instead of frying.
- Drain off any fat that appears during cooking.
- Skip or limit the breading on meat, poultry or fish. Breading adds fat and calories. It will also cause the food to soak up more fat during frying.
- Prepare dry beans and peas without added fats.
- Choose and prepare foods without high-fat sauces or gravies
Vary your protein choices
- Choose fish more often for lunch or dinner. Look for fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout and herring.
Some ideas are:
- Salmon steak or filet
- Salmon loaf
- Grilled or baked trout
- Choose dry beans or peas as a main dish or part of a meal often. Some choices are:
- Chili with kidney or pinto beans
- Stir-fried tofu
- Split pea, lentil, minestrone or white bean soups
- Baked beans
- Black bean enchiladas
- Garbanzo or kidney beans on a chef’s salad
- Rice and beans
- Veggie burgers or garden burgers
- Hummus (chickpeas) spread on pita bread
- Choose nuts as a snack, on salads, or in main dishes. Use nuts to replace meat or poultry, not in addition to these items:
- Use pine nuts in pesto sauce for pasta.
- Add slivered almonds to steamed vegetables.
- Add toasted peanuts or cashews to a vegetable stir fry instead of meat.
- Sprinkle a few nuts on top of low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.
- Add walnuts or pecans to a green salad instead of cheese or meat
What to look for on the food label
- Check the Nutrition Facts label for the saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium content of packaged foods.
- Processed meats such as hams, sausages, frankfurters and luncheon or deli meats have added sodium. Check the ingredient and Nutrition Facts label to help limit sodium intake.
- Fresh chicken, turkey and pork that have been enhanced with a salt-containing solution also have added sodium. Check the product label for statements such as “self-basting” or “contains up to __% of __.”
- Lower fat versions of many processed meats are available. Look on the Nutrition Facts label to choose products with less fat and saturated fat.
Keep it safe to eat
- Separate raw, cooked and ready-to-eat foods.
- Do not wash or rinse meat or poultry.
- Wash cutting boards, knives, utensils and counter tops in hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next one.
- Store raw meat, poultry and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so juices don't drip onto other foods.
- Cook foods to a safe temperature to kill microorganisms. Use a meat thermometer, which measures the internal temperature of cooked meat and poultry, to make sure that the meat is cooked all the way through.
- Chill (refrigerate) perishable food promptly and defrost foods properly. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours.
- Plan ahead to defrost foods. Never defrost food on the kitchen counter at room temperature. Thaw food by placing it in the refrigerator, submerging air-tight packaged food in cold tap water, or defrosting on a plate in the microwave.
- Avoid raw or partially cooked eggs or foods containing raw eggs and raw or undercooked meat and poultry.
- Women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children should avoid some types of fish and eat types lower in mercury. See www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/admehg3.html or call 1-888-SAFEFOOD for more information.