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All you need to know about lean meat

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Lean meat list banner

Trying to get lean and want to stay lean? Eating the right foods and doing regular exercise are the best ways for you to achieve this. However, how do you know what foods can help you sustain and maintain a lean body, ensuring you’re getting enough protein without taking in too many calories? 


Well, “lean meat” is your answer. This means that it is a good source of protein but with low fat content. It seems simple enough, but it’s not that easy to work out which meats are lean, and which meats aren’t. In fact, it depends on a variety of factors, including the cut of the meat and how it has been processed. Let’s take a closer look. 


What meat is lean and what meat is high in fat?

Spare ribs on a BBQ


The easiest way to ensure that you aren’t accidentally eating meat that is full of hidden fats is to steer away from processed meats, minced meat and red meat. 


This is because foods like sausages and burgers often have high quantities of fat that keep the mince moist during cooking. The same goes for the pack of mince you like to throw in your spaghetti bolognese – that hidden fat may be good for flavour, but it’s not good for your waist!


It’s also good to avoid most cuts of red meats such as beef, pork and lamb. This is because they are generally higher in saturated fat than other types of meat. Saturated fat can increase your blood cholesterol and can put you at higher risk of heart disease, as well as helping you put on the pounds. 


Lean meat list 


Chicken breast 

31g of protein and 3.6g of fat per 100g

Chicken breast is lean meat with salad

The first on the list, you’re probably aware that chicken is one of the best lean meats out there in terms of being high protein and low in fat. You’ll have to make sure the chicken is skinless if you want to cut right back on the fat, but it’s easy to cook and super versatile. 


Turkey breast

30g of protein and 2.1g of fat per 100g


You can treat turkey in the same way as chicken; throw it in stir fries, ramen, curries and salads and you’ve got a lean protein source ready to go! Turkey breast has a touch less fat but also a touch less protein than chicken, so you simply have to decide which one you prefer.



30g of protein and 3.4g of fat per 100g

wild rabbit is lean meat

Don’t be squeamish – rabbit used to be a staple of British cuisine, but it has recently fallen out of favour. Despite that, it is one of the most protein-dense and leanest meats around. In fact, if you eat only rabbit, you’ll die from “rabbit starvation” because it is so low in fat. 


Rabbit is also a great source of iron, so what are you waiting for? It’s delicious in a stew with some seasonal vegetables. 



26g of protein and 4.4g of fat per 100g


A great source of protein, liver from any animal is a great way to pack in the protein. We’d recommend pan-frying it with a touch of oil and cooking it to your preference – we like medium rare! Throw on some salt and pepper and it’s a great way to take a salad to the next level. 


Pork Chop or Pork Loin

26g of protein and 3.5 g of fat per 100g

pork loin as lean meat

Although we suggest you stay away from the bacon and the crispy pork belly, leaner cuts like pork loin and pork chop are a good way to get protein, whilst satisfying your penchant for pork. Make sure you trim off all the fat before you cook then, and don’t use too much oil! Keep a close eye on them in the kitchen; too long in the pan and they can become dry. 


21g of protein and 1.1g of fat per 100g


Pollock, and other lean white fish like cod and haddock, are incredibly lean and don’t force you to sacrifice your protein content. You can buy frozen fillets from the supermarket and then just take them out of the freezer in the morning. When you come back from work, they’ll be thawed and ready to cook. 

Sirloin tip steak

39g of protein and 5.4g of fat per 100g

Sirloin steak as on a plate with vegetables

You don’t need to cut out beef entirely if you’re a red meat fanatic! This cut of beef is one of the leanest you can get, but still has a good amount of flavour. Don’t cook it too much though, or it can get tough. 



23g of protein and 1.7g of fat per 100g 


At under 2% fat, prawns are extremely lean and a great way to get protein when you’re on a strict diet. Don’t be put off by the price – you can get reasonably priced frozen prawns and the supermarket without breaking the bank. A flavourful addition to Asian and Western cuisines, get your hands on some of these little guys!


Lean ground meat

Various, depending on meat


raw ground meat in a bowl

As we said before, we’d recommend keeping away from ground meat as it often has a high fat content. However, if you can find a 4% fat (or less) ground meat then you don’t have to cut it out completely. Try ground turkey mince – you can use it in chili con carnes, cottage pies and anything in between!

Why you should eat lean meat


Adapting your diet to include mostly lean meat is an easy and sustainable way to reduce the amount of hidden calories you’re consuming. If you are doing a lot of resistance training, it’s also vital to make sure that you are eating enough protein so that your muscles can grow and repair faster and better. 


If you want more tips on how to get lean, we’ve written an ultimate guide to getting and staying lean. Our meal prep delivery plans include lean meat so you don’t have to worry about choosing the right one!


by KBK

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