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Dian Thomas
Thursday, July 11 2013

Go Lean to Lose Weight

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When I adopted a healthier lifestyle, I began choosing leaner varieties and cuts of meat and measured portions.

White-meat poultry and many types of seafood are naturally lean when the skin is removed and they are cooked without added fat. Chicken and turkey breast are especially lean. Heavily marbled (thin streaks of fat within the muscle) beef and lamb are high in fat and calories.

Pork today is usually quite lean, depending on the cut. Here are the types of meat and cuts I typically prepare:

1. Fish: halibut, salmon, haddock, cod, tilapia

2. Chicken: white meat

3. Pork: pork loin, pork chops, sirloin, boneless top loin roast, bone-in sirloin roast, pork tenderloin

4. Beef: extra-lean ground beef, round, chuck, sirloin, flank, well-trimmed tri-tip roast, tenderloin

5. Turkey: white meat (or breast). Ground dark turkey thighs also contain little fat.

As soon as I get home from the grocery store, I trim all visible fat from the meat, divide it into serving sizes using my scale to weigh it and freeze. One portion of lean meat is 4 ounces raw. If you are measuring a cooked portion of meat, a serving is 3 ounces. It is important to remove as much air as possible from freezer bags or containers to prevent freezer burn. Frozen meat should be used within six months.

If you have taken care to buy the right meat do not add a lot of extra fat when you cook it. For every tablespoon of oil you add to the cooking process you add more than 100 calories. Here is a wonderful Turkey Burger recipe that can be used with any ground meat. Be sure to buy the extra lean.

Turkey Burgers

One pound of ground turkey provides four servings. Check the fat content, as ground turkey sold in tubes usually has a higher fat content.

Serves: 4

1 pound lean ground turkey

1 egg

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 large whole-wheat roll per serving

Seasoning of your choice

Toppings might include: Roasted peppers, grilled or chopped onions, raw spinach leaves, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Chopped red or green bell peppers In a bowl mix ground turkey, egg, and onion. Add seasoning.

Shape into four patties. Grill or cook in a frying pan until browned on bottom; flip over. Cover the pan with a lid and turn off the heat to allow turkey to continue to cook.

Note: I usually prepare ground turkey by dividing a pound into four equal portions, forming them into patties, placing them in Ziploc sandwich bags and freezing. Remove patties from the freezer and place in the refrigerator a day or two before you plan to use them.

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