6 Creative Ways to Get More Meat in Your Diet

Meat is an extremely important part of a balanced diet because it is rich in a number of nutrients that aren’t otherwise so abundant. While there has been a growth in the popularity of plant-based diets, meat (particularly red meat) remains the most effective way of reaching your recommended daily intake of nutrients such as protein, iron, vitamin B12, antioxidants and calcium.

These are extremely important nutrients because they help to:

–          Facilitate muscle growth and repair

–          Reduce appetite

–          Boost blood oxygenation

–          Keep bones strong and healthy

–          Promote brain function

–          Prevent nerve cell damage

–          Maintain a healthy weight

Unfortunately for some people, a diet that is high in fresh red meat simply isn’t desirable or possible, and this can lead to certain health problems. Women in particular are prone to iron deficiencies which can be challenging to overcome, even with supplements. Advice from doctors and nutritionists is often to increase red meat consumption, but for some, this isn’t a viable option. Not everybody can tuck into a big fat steak every night.

There are, however, ways around this. By getting creative, it’s possible to increase your meat intake without feeling like you’re constantly eating big slabs of cow. Below is a list of six creative ways to boost your meat intake and get more of those vital nutrients into your body.

  1. Incorporate meat in your snacking

For some, meat is considered a bit too ‘heavy’ to be a snack, but it doesn’t have to be. Dried meats such as beef jerky and beef biltong are perfectly good snacks to have between meals. Because jerky and biltong are both essentially red meat with the water content removed, they become high density meat snacks that are jam packed with protein and all the other nutrients that make meat such an important part of our diets.

Of course, gnawing on a big stick of jerky may not exactly be appropriate office etiquette, but if you prepare it in advance by cutting it into small pieces then you can avoid any unusual looks from your colleagues. Otherwise, biltong is a softer alternative that usually comes already sliced into small pieces.

If snacking on pure meat doesn’t appeal to you, you could try adding small pieces to your nuts or trail mix.

  1. Biltong powder

Biltong can be ground down into a powder by using a fine grater. What you end up with is a kind of natural protein powder. Of course, since this is derived from real meat rather than supplements, we don’t recommend you add it to water and drink it. Instead, you can add it to your favourite soup to make it extra hearty and satisfying. This will also help to boost your meat intake.

  1. Add meat to salads

For so many people, the word ‘salad’ seems to mean that it is vegetarian and therefore devoid of any meat. This doesn’t have to be the case. Pretty much any salad can benefit from adding meat of some kind. Whether it be a Thai beef salad, a lamb salad or an antipasto salad with salami, there is always room to add some meat.

  1. Add dried and cured meats to your platters

If you enjoy a social gathering and like putting on a bit of a spread to enjoy with drinks, then think about using dried and cured meats as a substitute for chips/crackers and dips. A variety of meats can really level up your cheese spread and help to replace the more carby snacks with healthier, protein-rich snacks instead.

  1. Replace bread with lettuce leaves

For many people, a big bready bun can take up too much space and not leave enough for a good amount of meat and salad filling. But because sandwiches are so ingrained in our culture, we tend to reach for the bread bun by instinct when making lunch. Instead, you can use a whole lettuce leaf as a wrap. This frees up a lot of space in your appetite to fill it with more meat than you would if you were using a traditional bun instead. Plus, it’s always good to reduce carbs where possible.

  1. Just add it to things!

If you’re trying to increase your meat intake, then you’re just going to have to try adding it to things that ordinarily probably wouldn’t. If you’re a poached eggs for breakfast kind of person, then add a slice of ham for a makeshift ‘eggs benedict’.

It also helps to keep some meat in the fridge that is ready to be put in a sandwich if you’re on the go. Vegemite and cheese is a classic quick sambo when in a hurry, but you’d be surprised how well roast beef goes with this combo. If there is a packet of it already in the fridge then you don’t have to worry about it adding to your skint meal time.

Familiarising yourself with different meats—from fresh to cured to dried—you can find all sorts of ways to introduce more of it into your diet. By following some of these tips, you should find that you can get your intake of essential nutrients up to more healthy levels and potentially be rid of the need for supplements. They also taste great, so there’s that too!