Eating healthy is more than just a preferred way of living. If you enjoy healthy snacks and meals, you can reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.
Many people mistake healthy eating for vegan- or vegetarian-style diets, which is not necessarily the case. Meat-rich diets such as keto and paleo also offer certain health benefits. This means you can enjoy a variety of plant- and animal-based foods, provided you eat in moderation while opting for fresh and nutritious meals and snacks. In other words, poultry, pork, and even beef can all fall within the scope of healthy eating and snacking.
9 Reasons People Love Healthy Meat Snacks
This brings us to meat snacks and why their consumption has seen such a surge in popularity. Healthy meat snacks:
- Provide good quality protein. Animal-based foods are excellent sources of protein, and meat snacks are no exception. They are also rich in essential and non-essential amino acids required for the growth and development of our bodies. In fact, people of all ages can consume healthier cuts of meat to improve their bone, skin, and muscle health.
- Improve metabolism. Animal-based foods are rich in vitamin B12, a nutrient that plays a vital role in boosting metabolism. Increased metabolism is linked to the faster breakdown of fat cells stored in the body, resulting in a leaner and fitter physique.
- Increase satiety. High-protein foods consumed as snacks help control untimely cravings by keeping us feeling fuller for longer periods of time. In contrast, carbohydrate-rich foods are easily broken down into simple sugars that raise blood sugar levels and make us feel hungrier within shorter amounts of time.
- Increase muscle mass. Eating good quality protein, when coupled with regular exercise, can help you build muscle mass. This is the reason why so many bodybuilders and gym instructors regularly enjoy healthy snacks made from high-quality animal-based proteins (e.g., Antibiotic-Free Pork and Grass-Fed Beef Jerky and Meat Sticks as well as Organic, Free-Range Eggs).
- Keep you energized. Protein-rich foods release a chemical (orexin) in the brain that is associated with the feeling of staying alert and energized.
- Maintain steady blood sugar. The high protein and fat contents in meat are beneficial for stabilizing blood sugar levels in the body. This is particularly helpful to people with type-2 diabetes as their blood sugar levels can begin to drop in between meals.
- Contain essential nutrients. Meat is a rich source of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. The list includes protein, of course, as well as heme iron, B vitamins, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium. In fact, the heme iron found in meat is more easily absorbed and utilized by the body than iron from plant sources.
- Improve brain activity. Organic sources of meat rich in omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to brain health. According to Dr. Scott McGinnis, an assistant professor in neurology at Harvard Medical School, there is evidence omega-3 fats can have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which means they “might promote healthier brain cells and less deterioration of the brain.”
- Boost immunity. Meat is a great source of immunity-boosting nutrients such as vitamin B6, zinc, vitamin D, iron, vitamin E, etc., and its high iron content is particularly beneficial for adolescents as well as for young and pregnant women.
3 Tips to Enjoy Healthy Snacks and Meals Made From Meat
When consuming meat-based meals and snacks, you should consider the following tips to maintain good health:
- Choose organic, free-range, grass-fed, antibiotic-free, and/or hormone-free animal protein sources.
- Avoid consuming overly processed meat products seasoned with artificial flavors and junk sweeteners.
- Prepare meat-based meals at home to control the quantities of oil and salt used in cooking. Be sure to gather all the essential tools and gear you need to make your cooking experience an enjoyable one. For example, you can start by having the right type of boning knife on hand.
In conclusion, the next time you find yourself reaching for a sack of carb-heavy snacks, reach for a package of healthy meat snacks instead!