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Lean meats and their benefits

16 August 2023

When aiming to maintain a balanced diet, making wise choices when it comes to meats is important. Fats are essential for our body, but excessive consumption can sometimes lead to health issues. There are many options of lean meats that can help you maintain your nutritional goals while still being delicious.

Meat is considered lean when it contains less than 10% fat. If this proportion goes below 5%, it's then referred to as "extra lean". While white meats are generally recognized for their low fat content, some cuts of red meat can also have low caloric value. In reality, within each animal species, there are both lean and fattier cuts of meat.

Lean meats are beneficial for health due to their low caloric content, but also because of their excellent protein source. Lean meats provide essential nutrients such as zinc, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B12. These benefits contribute to preventing cardiovascular diseases, improving nervous system function, and strengthening the immune system.

But what are these lean meat cuts to consider?


Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is an excellent source of lean protein. It's low in fat and rich in high-quality protein. Opting for skinless chicken cuts significantly reduces the fat content. Chicken breasts are classic pieces of meat that are particularly lean and versatile. You can grill, bake, or sauté them to create a variety of healthy and tasty dishes.


Turkey is a popular alternative to red meat as it's naturally leaner. Turkey cuts like turkey fillets or turkey escalopes are rich in protein and nutrients while being low in fat. Like chicken, turkey can be used in a variety of dishes. Ground ground turkey, for example, can be used in taco recipes, meatballs, or chili for a light and delicious option.


Rabbit is a lean meat, often overlooked. It's rich in protein and B vitamins while being relatively low in fat. Rabbit can be prepared in various ways, from roasting to pan-frying.

Lean Fish

Fish like Pacific cod, sole, tilapia, haddock, and wild walleye are considered lean fish due to their low fat content. Lean fish are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. Simply grill, pan-fry, or steam your choice of lean fish for a light and nutritious meal.


Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is one of the leanest cuts of pork. It's tender, flavorful, and contains less fat than other fattier pork cuts. With careful cooking, pork tenderloin can be a delicious protein source.


Lean Beef

If you're craving beef, opt for lean cuts like sirloin steak, filet mignon, or strip loin steak. These cuts contain less saturated fat compared to fattier beef cuts. They are also rich in protein, iron, and zinc. Lean ground beef is another lower-fat option, as it's made from finely ground lean meat.


If you're looking for a leaner alternative to beef, bison is an excellent choice. It's naturally low in fat and calories while offering a robust flavor. Bison can be used in various dishes, from burgers to stews.


Veal Cutlet

Veal cutlet is a lean cut of veal. It's tender and can be prepared healthily by avoiding high-fat cooking methods.


The way you prepare meat can impact its nutritional composition as well as its calorie count. It's advised to limit the addition of fats, avoiding butter and oils during cooking. Opt for gentle cooking methods like baking or steaming rather than high-temperature cooking like grilling.  

In summary, it's entirely possible to enjoy meats while maintaining a balanced and low-fat diet. By incorporating lean meat options into your daily meals such as chicken breast, turkey, lean fish, pork loin, bison, veal cutlet, and lean beef cuts, you can maintain a balanced and delicious diet!

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