Beans are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Proteins are vital for building the healthy cells your body uses to make bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. They are also a main component of enzymes, hormones and vitamins. A well-balanced diet incorporates foods that are low in saturated fat and high in quality protein. As you strive for a healthful diet, incorporate lean meats, poultry, seafood and beans into your meals and snacks.
Don't be fooled into thinking that you can't have beef or pork if you follow a low-fat diet. The key is to choose lower-fat cuts of these meats, which are rich sources of iron and high-quality protein. The leanest cuts of beef include eye of round, top round, bottom round, top loin, top sirloin and arm roasts. Choose extra-lean ground beef when making hamburgers or a recipe that calls for ground beef. The label should say at least “90 percent lean, ” but some stores carry even lower fat ground beef that is 93 percent or 95 percent lean. You also have several choices for leaner cuts of pork such as pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, and ham. Trim away any visible fat to further decrease the fat content.
Chicken and turkey are naturally lower in fat that other animal sources of protein. Boneless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets are the leanest choices. Remove the skin before cooking poultry to eliminate the layer of fat that rests between the skin and the meat. Instead of frying or sauteing poultry in oil, use a lower fat cooking method such as broiling, grilling, roasting or boiling. You should also drain off any fat that appears during cooking. To further cut back on the fat content of poultry dishes, avoid breading the meat, and forgo any high-fat sauces or gravies.
Seafood includes not just fish but shellfish such as mussels, clams, shrimp, crab and lobster. Both fish and shellfish contain many beneficial nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Including 8 ounces of seafood in your diet each week also helps to prevent heart disease. Be wary of seafood that is breaded and fried, or accompanied by drawn butter, which will add a significant amount of triglycerides to this otherwise lean protein source. Instead, flavor seafood with fresh-squeezed lemon or cocktail sauce for no added fat.