Why choose lean meat? It's pretty simple. While meat protein in general is the single most important building block of muscle growth (it also provides a great source of complete protein that's rich in minerals like iron and vitamins like B12), lean sources are lower in calories and saturated fat per serving.
"Plating one-quarter to one-third of your plate with lean protein ensures the right amount of amino acids are available to build and repair your muscles, support satiety between meals, and facilitate weight loss," says food and nutrition expert Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD.
McDaniel tapped into the USDA's National Nutrient Database and considered research from the journal Meat Science to rank 17 different sources of meat. Rotate through these top-rated poultry, beef, pork, and game meat choices the next time you're at the butcher or grocery store. The change-up will no doubt excite your palate and encourage you to get more protein in your diet (since you're probably not eating enough).
The following proteins are listed in order from least to most total fat, and their indicated macros are calculated per 100g (raw). *Note macros will differ slightly when cooked.
Venison has a bit of a gamey flavor (the taste depends on what the animal eats), but can substitute beef in tons of recipes like chili (try this recipe): It has 157 calories, 21.8g protein, 7.1g total fat, and 3.4g saturated fat.