Many cuts of pork are now as lean as skinless chicken. The cuts below meet the guidelines for “lean” (less than 10 g fat, 4.5 g sat fat and 95 mg cholesterol). Pork tenderloin meets the guidelines for “extra lean” (less than 5 g fat, 2 grams of sat fat and 95 mg cholesterol). The USDA has analyzed pork for trans-fatty acids and the results confirm that pork contains no artery-clogging trans-fat.
How Much Fat Should I Be Eating?
For your good health, the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming 20-35% of calories as fat and less than 10% of calories as saturated fat by selecting foods that are lean or low-fat. Pork easily fits into a balanced eating plan as suggested by the Dietary Guidelines. Lean pork not only provides a host of vitamins and minerals but has fat and saturated fat levels equivalent to skinless chicken.
Fat Intake Guidelines
|Calories||Saturated Fat (10% of calories)|
|1,600 (many sedentary women)||17 grams|
|2,200 (active women, many sedentary men)||24 grams|
|2,800 (many active men, some very active women)||31 grams|
How to Prepare Low-Fat Meals with Pork
Start With Lean Cuts
- Use cuts with the words “loin” or “sirloin” in their name for the leanest meats, such as pork tenderloin, sirloin, or loin chop.
- Cuts with minimal visible fat are the leanest.
Practice Portion Control
- Portion control is key to including all your favorite foods in a balanced menu to help support your health and well-being.
- Follow MyPlate guidelines: 5 to 7 ounces (for adults) from the meat group each day, depending on your calorie needs.
- A 3-ounce serving of trimmed, cooked meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
- Trim excess fat before cooking – this simple step can help cut total fat content per serving by up to half.
- Skim fat from soups, gravy, and sauces after cooking.
Low-Fat Cooking Methods and Tips
- Grilling, broiling, stir-frying and pan-broiling are low-fat cooking methods that can help maximize flavor while keeping added fat to a minimum.
- Broil, grill or roast on a rack, so natural fat from meat drips away.
- Cook thin cuts of meat quickly, with little or no fat, by pan-broiling or “dry sautéing” in a non-stick skillet with a little juice or broth.
- Add stock, wine or fruit juice to the skillet after meat is removed; heat and stir; then use as a low-fat sauce or glaze.
- Stir-fry with vegetable cooking spray or a small amount of flavored oil.
- Marinate for flavor and juiciness with 100% fruit juice, flavored vinegar or reduced-fat dressing.
- Season meats with herbs and spices (other than salt) to boost flavor and cut back on fat and salt at the same time. Rub herbs and spices onto pork before grilling, broiling or roasting.
- Experiment with different seasonings to discover exciting new ways to enjoy healthful eating.
Pair Pork with Healthful Sides and Condiments
- Use favorite foods like sharp cheeses and herb-flavored oils to flavor your dishes but cut the amount in half.
- Use low-fat cheeses or whipped or reduced-fat butter.
- Add seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Wash potatoes and serve with the skin still on for a fiber boost.