Do you ever have those deep dark confessions that you feel like you need to make from time to time? Well, as a homesteader I have one. Most people assume that all homesteaders are big ‘meat people.’ We raise meat so we must love it, right?
We raise meat so we must love it, right?
Guess again. I’m not a vegetarian, but I’m not what you would call a ‘meat person’ either.
However, I’m married to a ‘meat guy.’ He is a huge meat eater which means I raise a lot of meat and fix a lot of meat. Since we care about our health it was important for me to understand which meats were healthy for us and which were not.
That’s what I’d like to share with you so whether you are a meat person or not, you can make well-informed decisions.
Here are the healthiest meats:
1. Fish and Shellfish
It should come as no surprise that fish is at the top of the list. It is full of heart-healthy omega-3’s and has such a wide variety of options.
So if you are looking for a healthy meat, then consider fish. You could choose tuna, salmon, sardines, or even herring. They all offer wonderful health benefits.
Chicken is one of the easiest meats to raise yourself. They require very little and if you choose the right bird you could have a dual purpose breed that is great for both meat and eggs.
However, when eating chicken know that it is better for you without the skin. Also, look for healthier means of preparing it such as baking over frying.
Turkey is another poultry that offers a lot healthy choices. It obviously has white and dark meat, but it is all pretty good for you if you exclude the skin.
Again, this is another meat source that is pretty easy to raise. So if you need a healthy meat source around your homestead, then consider this option.
There was a time when beef was considered to be unhealthy. Now, it is being reported that as long as the beef is lean then you are good to go.
Which that made me a little sad because my favorite part of a juicy steak is the fat. (I know. I’m weird.) But beef is not an easy meat source to raise. They require a lot of land and resources to sustain them. Keep that in mind if you are considering raising your own healthy meats.
Veal is a tough meat option for some to consider. Since veal is meat from a calf it can be difficult to raise this option for yourself. I have a hard time culling baby animals.
But if you have the room and the resources to sustain cattle, then you might want to consider this option. Just remember that the meat needs to be lean.
Lamb is another tough meat source for some to consider. Again, you must cull a baby animal. Yet, they are pretty easy to raise as long as you have more than one since they are social animals.
However, it is considered a red meat source. So if you’d like to have a variety of options for your red meat then you might want to consider adding this to your list.
I was actually rather surprised by the latest studies on this meat. There was a time when buffalo was considered less healthy.
However, I’m so glad that it is back to being considered healthy because some of the best burgers I have ever eaten were buffalo burgers. Just remember to keep this meat lean as well.
This might make you make a double take. You may have never considered eating ostrich, and I’ll have to agree that this is not a typical meat option for many people.
However, if you have access to ostrich meat, the good news is that it is a healthy meat option as long as the meat is lean. But I don’t think it would be a viable meat source for most people to raise as they are rather large birds.
This is another healthy meat option that might throw you through a loop. For those unfamiliar with an Emu, it is the second largest bird breed if measuring by height. It is related to the ostrich. Only this bird is a darker brown color.
Again, it is a solid healthy meat choice as long as the meat is lean. But it is another meat source that would most likely be difficult to raise because of it’s size.
10. Sandwich Meats
Sandwich meats are usually highly processed. If you aren’t against processed foods, then you could consider this a healthy meat option.
However, you will need to check the sodium content. If you have a sandwich meat that you love that is low in sodium then you are good to go. Eat your deli meat and enjoy every bite knowing you are actually feeding your body something healthier. Just be advised to stay away from deli meat when pregnant.
We eat a lot of venison around my house. For those unfamiliar, venison is just another word for deer meat. It is a great red meat source, it is very lean, and if you hunt it yourself it’s free.
So if you are an avid hunter, I highly recommend this meat. If you allow the meat to rest and the blood to drain off of the meat for the right length of time, it tastes like a very lean and rich beef. I personally love it!
You might be thinking, “No way! I’d always heard pork was bad for you!” Some pork still is, but some parts of pork are not.
So you don’t want to start eating nothing but bacon. However, pork tenderloin is very good for you. It is white meat and packs a ton of nutrients.
13. Wild Boar
This goes along with pork with the exception that this is wild pig, basically. The good news is that wild boars are becoming a nuisance in some areas so you can hunt them pretty easily, but be sure to check your local regulations.
But would you have ever guessed that wild boar is loaded with vitamin A and complex B vitamins? I love it when you find meat that can be hunted and potentially free that is great for you too.
14. Meal Worms
Okay, don’t get sick or throw a rock at your computer screen because I included this in my list. But there has been research done on this very topic.
Basically, they realized that meal worms (though gross and wiggly) actually are extremely high in protein. We knew this for our chickens but probably never dreamed it would be a viable meat source for ourselves.
15. Roast Beef
Roast beef is probably one of my favorite meat choices. As mentioned, I’m not a huge meat person. Yet, if I’m going to eat meat, I would love for it to be roast beef.
So if you love meat or maybe are so-so on it, then consider roast beef either way. It is a great comfort food that packs a lot of nutrients your body desires.
Pheasant is a smaller bird so it would be an easier meat source if you’d like to raise your meat sources. But with that being said, it would take quite a bit of these bird to feed for a larger meal.
I’m kind of wishing I had known about this bird as a meat source when I was a little girl. My mom is the type of person that can live on chicken. It would’ve been nice to know we had another ‘bird’ alternative.
17. Canadian Bacon
You probably know that ham is not the best for you. But what if you still love it though it isn’t the best for you? I understand because I am the exact same way.
So you sub it out for Canadian bacon. This meat is cut from a different part of the pig so it has less calories, carbs, and cholesterol. Yet, you can still fry it up and enjoy the similar ham flavor.
18. Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is basically dehydrated meat that have a ton of seasonings on them. We make jerky a lot with venison. This is a great snack that is very high in protein.
Plus, it is also easy to make yourself so you know exactly what is going into it. It also lasts quite a while because it is dehydrated.
I need to clarify. Some people use the names bison and buffalo interchangeably. I have to say that is incorrect. There are many differences between bison and buffalo.
However, both of their meat are still really good for you. So if you ever have the opportunity to eat bison then you should try it. It is healthy for you, and you might really like it.
6 Best Meatless Protein Source
20. Beans and Lentils
I had to include a few protein sources that are healthy for you even if you aren’t a ‘meat person.’ Beans and lentils can be grown around your home in your garden.
So they are an easy source to keep on hand. They are great for you and packed full of protein. Plus, they can easily be cooked in a crockpot and ready to eat whenever you are ready.
21. Low-Fat or Non-Fat Dairy
Low-fat or non-fat dairy is another meatless protein source that is great for you. It could be cheese, milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese.
Whichever dairy source you choose, just know that it is a good protein choice for your body. Not to mention, if you raise it yourself, it should theoretically be organic which is even better.
Tofu confuses some people. If you are unfamiliar with it, it could seem quite intimidating. However, if you try it you might find that you actually like it.
Nuts are a great source of protein. If you are fortunate enough to have a tree of nuts growing in your yard, you could easily (and cheaply) collect them.
However, even if you don’t have a nut tree in your front yard, peanuts are pretty simple to grow. Plus, nuts are very easily accessible at most any grocery store.
Eggs are a wonderful protein source that are also very healthy for you. The great thing about eggs is that if you raise chickens for meat, then you’ll get eggs as a free byproduct.
So if you are a fan of chicken, you can enjoy them (and their health benefits) two ways.
25. Sweet Potatoes
I only recently discovered what a fan of sweet potatoes I am. But now that I’ve discovered them, I don’t think I’ll ever go back.
So if you like sweet potatoes, you can now enjoy them that much more because they are also a great protein source.
Well, now that you are aware of all of these healthy protein options (for those that are meat eaters and those that are not), you hopefully can have an easier time gaging what to eat.
But I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you know of any other protein source (meat or meatless) that is good for you? If so, what is your favorite way to prepare it?
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