Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: December 8, 2022

I’ve been on a carnivore diet for over a decade. One of my biggest concerns when I started out my all-meat diet was what types of meat would be the best choice to keep me in good health.

I sat down with my nutritionist and spent weeks researching studies before I was confident I had found the healthiest meats you could get.

Here’s the ultimate list of the types of meat that are guaranteed to be a great addition to a healthy carnivore lifestyle.

Quick Summary

  • You don’t have to give up meat to eat healthily.
  • The healthiest meat option is fish, followed by poultry, such as chicken thighs and turkey breast.
  • You should know how the meat is labeled to choose healthy meat.

7 Healthiest Types of Meat to Eat

Here are the healthiest types of meat to consume:

1. Fish

An image of raw salmon meat on a paper

Fish should be at the top of your list when choosing healthy meat. Fish is rich in protein, vitamin D, B12, iron, zinc, selenium, and iodine. Also, fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Dietary Guidelines for America suggest that adults should eat 8 to 10 oz of fish and seafood per week, which is about three servings [1].

Choose fatty fish for the biggest benefits to your health. It can lower the risk of heart disease and depression, improve brain health, and more [2] [3].

These are the best fish to eat:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Canned fish

All of these are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

2. Poultry

Choose pasture-raised chicken, as they are allowed to forage on a combination of plant foods and insects.

Chicken is rich in omega-6 fatty acids and has a lot of K2 vitamins.

Here’s which chicken cuts to eat on a healthy diet:

  • Chicken liver — High in protein, so it’s great for a keto or a carnivore diet. It’s also rich in Vitamin C, B12, selenium, and iron.
  • Chicken wings — Are fatty, so they are good for a low-carb, high-fat diet. Chicken wings are rich in selenium and can protect against Alzheimer’s disease [4].
  • Skinless chicken breasts — A good source of protein.
  • Chicken thigh — Have unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.

Turkey is also considered light meat and a great source of protein, niacin, Vitamin B6, B12, and zinc.

It is higher in protein and low in fat than chicken. Choose skinless cuts, such as turkey breast, ground turkey, or dark meat with skin.

3. Beef

An image of raw beef chunks on a black slate

Red meats tend to have a bad rep, especially beef. Many people grew up listening about the dangers of red meat, but beef can be a good choice if you stick to lean cuts.

Beef is rich in protein, iron, zinc, niacin, and other nutrients. Choose grass-fed and grass-finished beef because it’s high in Omega-3.

When choosing beef cuts, go for ground beef (97% lean), top sirloin, tenderloin, top round, or ribs.

Also, beef liver is not only one of the healthiest red meats but also one of the healthiest foods overall. It’s rich in vitamins A, B, and copper. It can help you maintain healthy blood vessels and nerves, have a strong immune system, and more [5].

4. Lamb 

Lamb has more saturated fat than beef or pork, but as long as you eat it in moderation, you can enjoy lamb’s health benefits.

Lamb provides vital nutrients and antioxidants. Lamb meat has glutathione, which can reduce insulin resistance, and the risk of autoimmune disease and helps with Parkinson’s disease symptoms [6].

5. Ostrich

Ostrich isn’t the most common meat people eat. But if you have access to ostrich meat, you should give it a try.

It tastes similar to red meats but doesn’t have any of the saturated fats that red meat products have. It’s low in calories and full of protein, so it’s a good choice for a keto and carnivore diet.

6. Pork

A top view image of raw pork belly on a pan

Pork may be called the other white meat, but it’s actually red meat. As long as you stick to lean pork cuts when you eat meat, you’ll get the benefits without the side effects.

Pork is high in unsaturated fats, which are good for the heart. In fact, pork has more unsaturated fats than other healthy meats such as bison, beef, and lamb.

Pork is a good source of iron, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. It’s especially high in thiamin.

However, not all pork cuts are the same. Go for leaner pork cuts, such as pork tenderloin and pork chops.

Also, deli meats are famously unhealthy, but fresh ham is a good and safe choice for meat consumption because it doesn’t have additives and preservatives.

Read more: Is Pork Red Meat?

7. Bison

Bison spend their life grazing on the range, so it’s low in total and saturated fat. It has omega-3 acids, vitamin B12, and iron.

You can eat bison meat in burgers, chili, and stews. Moist cooking methods keep the bison low in fat and tender. Overall, you can use bison in place of nearly any beef recipe and get a healthy meal.

Some of the best bison cuts are sirloin, ribeye, ground bison, and top round.

Tips on Choosing the Healthiest Meat

A top view image of different types of meat

Choose the healthiest meat by checking the label. The FDA labels beef as Prime, Choice, and Select.

Prime cuts are the fattiest, which makes them the juiciest, and they have a lot of flavor. Choice cuts are good but leaner than Prime, and Select cuts are the leanest with almost no fat. The less fat the meat has, the healthier it is.

Also, check the numbers when buying meat. Regular ground beef can have 30% fat, and it’s better to choose beef that’s 80% or 97% lean.

“Get to know where your meat is coming from. Consider whether or not the animals are getting hormones and antibiotics. Yes, you’ll likely pay more for higher-quality meats. But that can be balanced by eating less meat.”
- Stephanie Schiff, Northwell Health Registered Dietitian 

Finally, see if you can find out how the animal was raised. For example, grass-fed cattle are healthier than grain-fed because grass-fed meat is richer in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 acids.

Also, animals raised out in the open have healthier meat than those raised in feedlots or cages.

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FAQs

What Is the Unhealthiest Meat?

The unhealthiest meat is processed meats, such as sausages, hot dogs, deli meat, and canned meat.

What Meat Can I Eat Everyday?

Meat that you can eat every day is chicken, pork, lamb, and beef. Stick to lean pork and beef cuts if you want to eat healthy meat.

What Meat Should You Eat?

Eating healthy doesn’t mean avoiding meat. You can eat poultry meat, fish, ostrich, bison, and even red meat as long as you stick to lean cuts.

However, one meat to avoid is processed red meats because it’s full of additives and saturated fat.

If you want quality cuts delivered to your door, make sure to check ButcherBox and order anything from beef, pork, chicken, and seafood. Most importantly, ButcherBox only sells high-quality meat, such as grass-fed beef. All of their meat is sustainably raised, so you can enjoy some meaty goodness with peace of mind.


References:

  1. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12
  2. https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/11/5/1123/5811305
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7103640/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4726178/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8642458/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684116/
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