Last night I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted for dinner. Admittedly, I got lazy and instead of racking my brain any further and picking through my limited grocery supply in the fridge, I decided to check out a new burger place that opened up nearby.
Now, that might seem like the typical “unhealthy” decision most people make when they’re hungry, indecisive, and tired…but this actually turned into a healthy choice! Let me explain…
You see, when I arrived at the restaurant and looked at the menu, I realized it was no ordinary burger place. Yes, I could have ordered a beef burger, but this place had more options than I’d ever seen: elk, wild boar, bison, salmon, cod, camel, lentil, tuna, ostrich, and more made up the menu selections.
The place offered a number of lean, healthy game meats that are low in saturated fat and high in protein. From a nutritional standpoint, most of the items on the menu were far healthier than traditional burger filler. This inspired me to switch up my burger game.
Adding a variety of healthy options to your diet can be done quite easily—adding new, healthy menu choices to your grill without sacrificing flavor. Here are three beef alternatives you can use at your next BBQ, or whenever you want a healthy, unique meal:
Beef Alternative #1: Elk
A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of elk is low in fat and calories. At 148 calories per 100 grams (g), the bulk of calories come from protein and only 26 of those calories are from fat. There is only about three grams of fat and one gram is saturated—making it a much leaner, healthier option than beef. The same size serving has over 30 g of protein, which comes with all kinds of health benefits. For comparison’s sake, a 100-gram serving of cooked beef can have more than 18 g of fat, seven grams of saturated fat, 25 g of protein, and 276 calories.
Beef Alternative #2: Bison
Also known as “America’s original red meat,” bison is a much leaner option than beef. When compared to sirloin, it stacks up pretty evenly from a protein perspective, where bison sirloin has 24 g and beef sirloin has 23 g per three-ounce serving. But when it comes to calories and fat—bison is much lower. A three-ounce serving of beef sirloin has 207 calories and 12 g of fat; while the same size serving of bison has just five grams of fat. Bison also has less saturated fat than beef.
Beef Alternative #3: Wild Boar
Wild boar is also much leaner than beef; a three-ounce serving of wild boar comes in at slightly more than 100 calories—less than three grams of fat, 0.8 g of saturated fat, and over 18 g of protein. These are the numbers for raw wild boar, so they would increase slightly when accounting for a three-ounce serving of cooked wild boar meat. In any event, it’s another leaner option that could be better for your heart than beef.
Each of these meats can usually be purchased at your local meat shop or butcher. Depending on where you live, you might have to make a short trip to a specialty meat shop, but it’s definitely worth the time.
Because these meats are so lean, pay extra attention when cooking them so they don’t dry out. As far as flavor goes, they are each slightly nuttier and sweeter than beef—and I quite enjoy the taste. Next time you’re looking for something different, give one of these lean options a try!
Sources for Today’s Article:
Croswell, J., “Is elk meat healthy?” Livestrong web site, June 19, 2015; http://www.livestrong.com/article/400364-is-elk-meat-healthy/, last accessed August 11, 2015.
Berkeley Wellness, “Is Bison Meat Better Than Beef?” University of California, Berkeley web site, July 1, 2011; http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/article/bison-meat-better-beef, last accessed August 11, 2015.
Hartel, K., “7 Exotic Meats You Should Be Eating,” Fit Day web site; http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/7-exotic-meats-you-should-be-adding-to-your-diet.html#b, last accessed August 11, 2015.