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In a world with a new diet seemingly trending every day, the health benefits of meat have sometimes taken a backseat to other dietary concerns – unless you're eating paleo, of course. We know that meat plays an important nutritional role, however – hello, protein source containing all the essential amino acids! – and so today, we're diving into some of the healthiest ways to cook it.

While there are plenty of other ways to cook meat that won't be covered below, we chose to focus on methods that maintain as much of the nutritional value as possible. But before we get to those, there are a few basic cooking tips designed to help you preserve the health benefits of meat no matter how you choose to cook.

1. Choose lean cuts of beef and pork and breast meat for poultry to avoid excess fat.

2. Trim any fat you can see. When cooking chicken or turkey, remove the skin.

3. Drain away the fat that you can't see by putting the cut of meat you're cooking on a rack in the pan.

4. Make dishes that involve cooking meat in liquid; do this a day or two before you plan on eating, so that the fat hardens on top and can be simply skimmed off.

5. Focus on nutritious recipes that bring flavor without adding extra fat and calories. Instead of using breading as a crust, you can ground nuts and seeds to create a healthier coating.

Grilling

Grilling has come under fire lately because the high temperatures cause certain carcinogenic chemicals to form. In spite of that, grilling is still one of the best ways to cook in order to maintain the health benefits of meat. We recommend using a marinade (which can actually act as a block between the meat and the formation of those unpleasant chemicals), cutting down on cooking time (some studies suggest that you can get rid of 90% of the chemicals simply by microwaving your meat first), and using low-heat settings.

What kind of meat should you grill?
Pork tenderloins, swordfish, flank steak.

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Poaching

Poaching is not one of the most common cooking methods, but it is a good way to prepare meat in a healthier fashion by cooking it in liquid. Add flavor to the meat with broth, spices, or veggies, but make sure to remove your food from the poaching liquid to avoid the fat that collects in it.

What kind of meat should you poach?
Salmon, chicken cutlets.

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Steaming

Steaming, which involves cooking food in a contained setting with steam, is another good way to preserve the health benefits of meat because it captures the flavor you want, resulting in deliciously tender juiciness, without having to rely on any fat-laden ingredients to boost the moisture. Common ways to steam include Chinese bamboo steamers, electric steamers, or even simply using a perforated basket above a pot of boiling water.

What kind of meat should you steam?
Chicken breasts, fish fillets, shellfish.

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Pressure cooking

Maintain the health benefits of meat when you prepare it with a pressure cooker! This method necessitates the least amount of water and time, which helps to ensure that the precious vitamins and minerals are not lost. You can cook an entire chicken in less than half an hour when you use a pressure cooker! Pressure cooking also involves steam, which means that it shares the flavor-saving benefits of steaming, as well.

What kind of meat should you pressure cook?
Beef, chicken, lamb.

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In addition to the protein you know and love, meat is also loaded with iron, zinc, selenium, and a number of important vitamins – including A, B, and D, which promote healthy teeth, bones, and vision. So when it comes to preserving the health benefits of meat, the way you cook it is crucial!

Spice up the flavor of your meat even more without adding unhealthy ingredients with our #FlavorAmp hot sauces! Get inspired to cook with some of our 6-Pack exclusive recipes, including Habanero Yogurt Chicken Curry and Mango Serrano Shrimp Kabobs. As always, stay on top of your daily nutrition by utilizing our original meal management bags anywhere you need to go!