n4 nutrition

Making Meat Work for You

Cooking / Recipes, Healthy Eating, Bariatric , Obesity
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Red meat is an excellent source of protein iron and zinc, important nutrients for all, but particularly after weight loss surgery.

After surgery, people may report difficulty eating red meat. This may be due to a poor eating technique or not knowing how best to prepare food. To eat meat comfortably it needs to be tender, cut into small pieces the size of a five-cent piece and chewed thoroughly – until it is a puree in the mouth. 

Whilst a steak on the barbeque or grill can be difficult to tolerate, marinating, slow cooking, or cooking in a sauce can help tenderise meat making it easier to chew.

Lean red meat, trimmed of fat is the best choice as it contains less teaspoons of fat and saturated fat (see image). However, the fat in meat can help it to soften during cooking and adds flavour. Lean meat is therefore often assumed to lack tenderness and flavour.

Whilst lean cuts of meat can be expensive, cheaper cuts with the fat removed respond well to marinating and slow cooking so can be an economical choice. Try slow cooking in crushed tomatoes, soup bases or salt reduced stock with lots of vegetables and your favourite herbs. To reduce the amount of fat, skim from the top prior to serving. Head to the recipe section for the Beef Burgundy recipe, which allows the meat to cook in a sauce to help make it tender and easier to tolerate.

Marinating meat is another way to enhance the flavour and tenderness of meat. Whilst adding oil to a marinade may seem like defeating the purpose of choosing lean meat, unsaturated oils are a better choice than the naturally occurring saturated fat in meat. Commercial marinades can be high in sugar.


Try the following ideas for tasty homemade marinades:

- red wine, a dash of olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and garlic complements red meat

- for an Asian flavour combine soy sauce, a dash of sesame oil, sherry oil, white pepper and honey

- lime juice, sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, coriander and a dash of peanut oil adds a Thai flavour to meat

- white wine, wholegrain mustard and crushed garlic cloves works well with beef

- lemon juice, oregano, garlic and a dash of olive oil complements lamb.


These tips and others like these can be found in our book, Spoons for Thought (www.spoonsforthought.com.au).


Making Meat Work for You
Sally Johnston
Accredited Nutritionist (AN), Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)