Most celebrating dishes are related to non-vegetarians. They make variety of dishes from eggs, fish and meat. Yet, for most joyful occasions and functions they choose meat most, as it’s most tasty and delicious. To treat a guest also, first preference is given to chicken or mutton.

 meatdish5Its taste, variety and nutrition has made it center of attraction always. Though hot discussions are going on against its health effects meat consumption has only increased day by day. To supply necessary proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins in a quick and tasty diet, perhaps meat is considered as the best. For a complete food menu, proteins are essential which are best supplied by meat. Yet the taste can invite some problems as well. If taken in excess it can deposit as fat inside blood vessels resulting in heart problems. Other results are cholesterol, diabetics and obesity. So, it will be wise if we include meat items in a controlled manner in our diet. Also, food poisoning can happen easily in meat items; so always use fresh meat only. While handling and preparing meat items many points are to be noted.

Red and white in meat

Animal meat is mainly categorized into two – white meat and red meat. Red meat contains myoglobin and hence red in colour. Meat of cattle mainly cow, ox, lamb, goat, pig etc come under this category. Sausages are prepared from red meat. Fat collected from these animals are used for the preparation of lard, gelatin etc. Meat of hen, duck and turkey are included in white meat.

Red meat – different types

Veal – Meat of cattle of 3-4 weeks old. That means young animals
Beef – Meat of ox, cow or buffalo which is more than one year old.
Lamb – Meat of goat below one year
Mutton – Meat of goat above one year
Pork – Pig’s meat. If it’s between 3 -12 months old, it’s considered nutritious
Organ meat – Liver, kidney, heart, brain, intestine, tail, pancreas etc of animals
Sausage – Specially prepared meat after slicing it to pieces

Chicken is most popular for varieties

If birds are grown for eating purposes, it’s known as poultry. Duck, hen, dove, turkey, goose etc come under this category. Among them, hen, duck and turkey are most popular white meat items.

Different types of chicken

Broiler – It’s very soft and used at the age of 8-10 months.
Rooster – Hen in the category of 3-5 months
Stag – Cocks below the age of 10 months and they are not as soft as broiler or rooster
Foul – They are fully grown or matured hens of at least 10 month age
Cock – Fully grown cocks of age 10 months or more

Nutritional values of chicken

Chicken falls in white meat category and hence more healthy than red meat. Its variety of dishes makes it the most attractive group of meat family.

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  • 100 gram chicken contains 109 kilo calorie energy, 25.9 gram proteins, 0.6 gram fat, 25 mg calcium, 245 mg phosphorus, 0.14 mg riboflavin, 6.8 mu gram folic acid and many other factors.
  • 25% of its content is protein which is termed as high biological value proteins. That means, all these proteins are completely absorbed by human body. It also contains essential amino acids needed for the formation of new muscles.
  • Vitamin B and minerals are found abundant in chicken. Vitamin B is essential for development and growth of nervous system and complete health of eyes and skin. In light coloured meat vitamin B3 is found and in the case of dark coloured meat vitamin B2 is found.
  • Chicken liver is a source of vitamin A which is needed for the health of skin and eyes. Also, vitamin B12 found in chicken liver is essential for the formation of red blood corpuscles and DNA.
  • Phosphorous content helps in the growth and repair of bones and teeth.
  • If it’s taken in diet of a pregnant woman, its folic acid content helps in the production of RBC thus preventing anemia and paleness of the lady. Also, folic acid plays an important role in the physical and mental growth of a fetus. 
  • If we compare chicken with red meat, harmful fats are comparatively low. Also, when its skin is peeled off, more than 60% of fat contents are removed. So, those persons who look for ‘low fat diet’ can include skin removed chicken.
  • Turkey contains more zinc than normal hen. Zinc is an important factor to provide immunity to the body and functioning of enzymes. In addition to it, it contains 93% of niacin, a variant of vitamin B needed for our daily diet. Fat content of turkey is comparatively low to chicken.
  • Duck meat contains higher amounts of thiamin and riboflavin than chicken, also triple the iron content. Yet it contains more fat.
  • Goose contains thrice the content of riboflavin and 2.5 times vitamin B-6 if compared with chicken. Also it contains 1/3rd of iron needed for a person in his daily diet.

When chicken is prepared

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Chicken can be prepared in different methods. Yet healthy preparations should be selected most. Cooking helps not only to kill harmful bacteria present but also make it easy digestible. While preparing mature meat it’s better to cook using moisture combined with heat. If it’s young meat, no need to add extra moisture. Instead you can use preparation methods like grilling, micro wave, baking etc.

You can use any method. But prepare meat in low temperature so that its moisture and nutrition content will be retained and all pieces are cooked uniformly. Also, such preparations make chicken more soft. If given excess heat, protein content will decompose resulting in the loss of moisture and thus its softness.

  • Frying – At first chicken is steam cooked and later applied spices and fried in hot oil. This method helps in the less absorption of oil.
  • Roasting – Chicken is cooked in oven at 163 degree Celsius. Chicken can be prepared using both stuffed and non-stuffed methods. Since oil is not used, it’s a healthy preparation.
  • Tandoori or Barbeque chicken – Tandoor hearths are used to cook chicken. While using this method, after chicken is half done, ghee, butter, oil etc are added which may increase the total fat content of chicken.
  • Broiling or grilling – Chicken pieces are pierced in sticks and cooked placing in on grillers. This preparation gives attractive brown colour to dishes. Since it’s prepared along with chicken skin, skin should be removed before eating. Also, excess brown coloured parts should not be used as excess heat may have changed the protein content of those exposed parts. It may lead to cancer. 
  • Pressure cooking – It’s the most healthy cooking. But it should be cooked in minimum flame, once pressure cooker gives its first whistle. Otherwise it may result in taste change.
  • Broiling – Safety preparation using water and masala. It helps to reduce the use of oil.
  • Stewing – Method of preparing chicken by adding vegetables and water. It’s a healthy method. But, if coconut milk is added its fat content doubles.
  • Braising – Combined effect of stewing and oil frying. Fat content is very much high.

Let’s take safety measures

Fresh chicken can be cleaned well and placed inside the freezer after removing complete moisture. Polythene covers are best to keep chicken in fridges and it stays fresh for two days. Frozen poultry where chicken is preserved in -23 to -17 degree Celsius can remain so up to 6 months. But never use cooked meat placed in the fridge after two days. It may be infected and not suited for our health. Better use fresh chicken for preparation and never store it for further use.

Beef is the king of tastes

Among all cattle items, beef is most popular. Its taste and low price have promoted a lot for its gaining popularity world wide. It comes under red meat category. Beef is the meat of cattle which is at least one year old. Again it’s divided into different categories depending on its gender and age.

  • Heifer – It’s young cow meat. Peculiarity of heifer is that cow has not given birth to a calf yet.
  • Cow meat – Matured cow’s meat
  • Stag – Matured ox’s meat
  • Calf – Meat of calves below 8 months irrespective of gender

Nutritional value of beef

  • 100 gram beef contains 114 kilo calorie energy, 22.6 gram protein, 2.6 gram fat, 10 milligram calcium, 190 milligram phosphorous, 0.8 milligram iron, 18 mu gram carotene, 0.15 milligram thiamine, 0.04 milligram riboflavin, 6.4 milligram niacin, 2 milligram vitamin C and 1 gram minerals.  
  • Though beef is less in fiber content it contains almost everything needed for human body. Beef is abundant in iron, zinc, manganese, iodine, chromium, fluoride, silicon etc.
  • Beef liver contains iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and proteins. Its kidney contains proteins and vitamin B12. Both liver and kidney are abundant in nucleoproteins –DNA and RNA.
  • Phosphorus needed for the healthy growth of teeth and bones are found in lean meat. Also, its sodium and potassium content are enough to maintain the organic balance of the body.
  • 20% of iron content of ox meat will be completely absorbed by the body. But in the case of vegetarian dishes, our body is able to absorb only 2-5% of iron content.
  • 100 gram beef can give you half of the proteins and zinc needed for a day plus 1/3 rd of iron, niacin and riboflavin and vitamin B12.

Easy digestible mutton

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Mutton is not only tasty and delicious, but contains some medicinal values also. Its high price and less availability made it less popular among common man. That’s the reason why now also, it’s mainly used for special occasions only and seen as a decorative item. Mutton is categorized according to its age while it is slaughtered.

  • Lamb – Young goats below one year come under this category. They are soft with soft bones comparing other categories.
  • Yowling mutton – 12-20 month aged goats are placed under this category. They are a little harder if compared with lambs. Its bones are white in colour and flesh is stiff and has lighter shades of red.
  • Mature mutton – 20 month aged goats whose flesh is red in colour, either light or dark. Its flesh has strong odour and its bones are strong as well.

Nutritional value of mutton

  • Lamb’s meat contains 118 kilo calorie energy, 21.4 gram proteins, 3.6 gram fat, 12 milligram calcium, 193 milligram phosphorus, 4.5 mu gram folic acid and 1.1 gram minerals. If it’s the case of mature mutton, it contains 194 kilocalorie energy, 18.5 gram proteins, 13.3 gram fat, 150 milligram calcium, 150 milligram phosphorous, 2.5 milligram iron, 9 mu gram carotene, 0.18 gram thiamine, 0.14 milligram riboflavin, 6.8 milligram niacin, 5.8 mu gram folic acid and 1.3 gram minerals.
  • Like other meats, mutton is also rich in protein content. But the peculiarity of mutton protein is that it’s easy digestible than beef. But according to the age of goat, its fat content also increases.
  • Vitamin B needed for the proper functioning of brain, nervous system and heart are found in abundance in mutton.
  • While 100 gram beef contains 0.8 milligrams of iron, same amount of mutton contains 2.5 milligrams. Iron is most essential for the production of hemoglobin needed to supply blood to each and every cell of human body.
  • Zinc present in mutton is a good antioxidant which plays an important role in defense and immune system.

While preparing red meat

Red meat can be prepared using moisture hotness or without. While preparing soft meat, it’s better to prepare without moisture in low heat, matured meat can be prepared by adding moisture as well. For mutton, 79 – 82 degrees may be sufficient while in the case of beef, 60 – 77 degrees may be needed. Different methods of cooking red meat are given below.

  • Roasting – Cooking red meat in 163 degrees
  • Broiling – Easy cooking, and healthy too.
  • Frying – Used in the case of meat pieces if it is up to 1.5 cm thick. Meat is cooked in some oil in a frying pan taking some time. Since oil is absorbed by soft meat during cooking it’s not a healthy diet. Also take care not to heat oil too much. If so, a chemical substance known as acrolin is formed which is harmful to health. Since it takes moisture and more time for its preparation, cooked meat is soft and tasty.
  • Braising – Using broiling or frying, meat is fried well. Later water is added and cooked with a covered lid.
  • Stewing – It’s a healthy food since a lot of vegetables are added during its preparation. Yet avoid coconut milk if you need a healthy dish.
  • Pressure cooking – It’s highly nutritious and an easy method. Cook it in low flame if you want to get a tasty dish.

What’s the significance of cooked meat?

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  • Cooked meat has more nutritious values comparing uncooked one. While roasting, 40% of water content is lost. In the case of frying it’s 60%.
  • When cooked well, meat is detoxified killing all bacteria present. But if cooked excess, it may loss its softness, taste and odour.
  • It’s made easily digestible and its nutrients will be easily absorbed.
  • During cooking fat layers are melted and if you want to remove fat content, it’s easy when meat is cooked well.
  • All nutrients, particularly proteins are made easily available if meat is cooked well.

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