The term “lean protein” is often used by fitness and nutrition experts in their recommendations for a healthy daily diet. But what does “lean protein” really mean? And what common “lean protein” foods can you add to your everyday meals?
Lean protein contains very little fat. Egg whites, for instance, are lean protein, and so are chicken breasts and fish. Beef and pork are also good sources of lean protein, depending upon the cut.
Ninety-five percent lean ground beef, eye round, top round, bottom round, sirloin tips, and top sirloin are all beef products that are good sources of lean protein. Pork tenderloin, center-cut loin chops, boneless top loin, and boneless top loin chops also provide maximum protein with a minimum of calories and fat.
When you’re shopping for lean beef and pork, select cuts that have little marbling. Marbling refers to the “veins” of fat that you can see throughout the meat. If a cut has lots of marbling, it’s high in fat. Fat around the edges of a piece of meat is fine. You can simply trim it off.
Also, if you’re unsure about a piece of meat’s fat content, check the label. Cuts referred to as “round” or “loin” usually have the lowest fat content.
If you can’t find 95 percent lean ground beef, substitute ground turkey breast or ground chicken breast. Just make sure the chicken or turkey is “all white” or “all breast” meat so that you get the leanest protein.
Protein doesn’t have to have fat in it to taste good. Rubs, marinades, and other seasonings can add great flavor. For cooking tips and recipes, check out this web page from North Dakota State University .