Lean, Leaner, Leanest?

Healthy Noms recipes involving proteins are tagged lean, leaner or leanest. What’s up with that? Simple: portion control.

The guidelines we’re following sort proteins into those three categories. Basically, there’s little or no protein out there that you “can’t” have when eating healthy. (Well, OK, sausage isn’t a great choice, neither is bacon. But neither of those actually offers much protein either, just mostly fat. You get my drift.)

Lean, Leaner, LeanestInstead of saying we “can’t have” something, we’re saying go ahead and have what you want, but adjust portion sizes and added fat accordingly.

For example, for the proteins that fall in the “leanest” category we can have seven ounces (cooked!) and we can add two servings of a healthy fat to the meal. This category includes many fishes, most shellfish, game meats, and very lean ground meats (>97% lean).

For the proteins that fall into the “leaner” category we can have six ounce portions (cooked) with one healthy fat serving permissible. This includes chicken breast, light meat turkey and ground meats (>94% lean), as well as some fishes.

Finally, for the “lean” category of proteins we can have five ounces (cooked) with no additional fat servings. This includes some fishes, lean beef, lamb, pork, ground meats (>84% lean).

This exercise in portion control has been a real eye-opener. Shrimp falls into the leanest category. Seven ounces of cooked shrimp is a LOT of food! No feeling hungry after gettin’ that down!

By the way, the program does account for meatless options in all three categories, but they often carry their own measures. For example, three whole eggs is a serving of lean, while 14 egg whites are a serving of leanest. Tofu, veggie burgers, EggBeaters and other meatless options can all be worked into the program.

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