Experts advise how to meet your protein intake without overconsuming meat and calories. By Abigail Ng
Photo: Heinz Leitner / 123rf.com
Consuming too much meat can result in weight gain, high cholesterol levels, obesity and heart disease.
People with these conditions should avoid meat-heavy diets, said Ms Lynette Goh, a senior dietitian at National Healthcare Group polyclinics.
Those who are not ready to go meatless can choose healthier meat options. For example, to reduce fat intake, use lean cuts of meat or poultry without skin. And trim all visible fat before cooking.
Cook the meat using healthier methods such as grilling, steaming and boiling.
Ms Goh suggests cooking soups and stews ahead of time and refrigerating them. The hardened layer of fat can then be removed more easily.
Avoid processed meat like bacon, sausages and ham as they have a high salt content. Fish, which is low in saturated fat, is a good source of protein.
You can integrate alternative protein sources into your diet to meet the recommended protein intake, which is about 60g to 70g a day. Ms Goh suggests planning a menu for one week, scheduling one meatless meal and including healthy plant protein substitutes on that day.
Those on a vegetarian diet should note that some nutrients are found in much smaller amounts in plants, said Ms Hedy Cheng, a dietitian at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
However, many fortified products can provide nutrients like iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin B12. Soya milk, orange juice and cereals may contain these. Supplements in pill form are also available.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2017, with the headline ‘Meatless in Singapore’.