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Smart Choices in the Meat and Seafood Aisle

10.10.2011 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

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Our grocery cart is filling up quickly! So far we have a variety of colorful fruit and vegetables, calcium-rich low fat dairy and fiber-rich whole grains (missed the last nutrition post? click here).

This week we will spend some time in the meats, poultry and seafood sections of the grocery store - an area that offers an abundance of important nutrients!

- Beef -

As the team dietitian, the Redskins players often worry I will take their red meat away. I assure them if they make smart choices when it comes to red meat, it can be part of a performance enhancing diet. The following is the information I share to ensure optimal food choices:

1. Beef is an excellent source of nutrients that perform important functions in our body.

2. Beware: Certain beef sources and cuts contain high levels of saturated fat. We want to limit that type of fat due to its effect on blood cholesterol levels, which may lead to heart disease.

3. Use the following chart to make the smartest, LEAN beef choices:

Keep in mind, the American Heart  Association’s heart healthy diet includes up to 2 servings of lean red meat per week. To learn more about integrating beef into your daily diet in a healthy way, visit www.beefnutrition.org

- Chicken -

You may notice chicken at the top of the list in the chart above. Chicken is a nutrient-dense lean protein; however don’t let your guard down in this section of the store! Keep these points in mind when shopping the poultry section:

1. The skin of poultry contains a high level of saturated fat so make sure to remove it.

2. When purchasing ground turkey, check the ingredient list to make sure the skin is not included.

3. White meat tends to be lower in fat and calories than dark meat, yet dark meat contains more vitamins, A, K, B6, B12, niacin, folate, selenium, phosphorus and zinc. Enjoy both to maximize your nutrient variety!

Most of my clients are consuming plenty of poultry as their default lean protein but tend to get bored of the taste, so I encourage them to check out EatingWell.com and CookingLight.com for new ways to prepare chicken.

- Seafood -

Most of my clients believe seafood is an important part of a healthy diet, yet admit they don’t know how to cook it! Seafood has a wealth of important nutrients, including high quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, iron, potassium and zinc. These nutrients have been found to help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week as part of a heart healthy diet but beware of toxins contained in some seafood - here is a handy guide to give you peace of mind:

You can find this downloadable wallet guide here.

Now that you’ve decided to include more seafood in your diet and which fish to try, what do you do with it? Preparing seafood is much easier than it seems! Check out this website  for easy instructions and recipes to get started.

So, What's for Dinner this Week?

I hope you have a renewed view of the meats, poultry and seafood sections as an oasis of important nutrients! I encourage you to spend a few extra minutes in this area of the grocery store and make this week’s goal to incorporate more lean protein into your meals!

I suggest you use the recommendations from the American Heart Association to plan your dinners for this week. Make two lean beef meals, two seafood meals, two poultry meals, and how about trying a “meatless night” for the last dinner?

For example, substituting beans in the place of meats is a wonderful way to add variety to your diet! Visit this Eating Well site to find simple recipes on how to include this staple in your meal plan repertoire.

Well, that is all I have for this week's post on the meats aisle! Have fun with this week’s goal and please share any recipes, tips, or encouragement for your fellow WOW members in the comment box below. I’d also love to see pictures of WOW members practicing the nutrition principles we’ve been discussing over the past month - click on the Photos tab above to find out how to send in your own photos!

Make it a healthy day and GO SKINS!

- Jane

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