Pork is often overlooked as a healthy choice. Perhaps it’s because cuts like bacon, spare ribs and sausage get more attention in today’s society. But the fact is, many cuts of pork are a wonderful addition to a healthy diet. Pork tenderloin, for example, meets the government guidelines for “extra lean.” In total, six pork cuts meet the USDA guidelines for “lean,” with less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3-ounce serving, the best being the pork tenderloin, boneless top loin chop and top loin roast.
Lean pork dries quickly without some sort of marinade to keep it moist. Mix herbs (fresh or dried) and spices with light soy sauce, fresh citrus juice or vinegar along with olive oil, and marinate in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator up to three days. The longer the pork is marinated, the better the flavor. Once the pork is ready for cooking, discard the marinade or pour it into a saucepan and boil it for five minutes to use as a sauce.
Dry cooking methods like grilling, pan-searing, braising, broiling and baking are the healthiest cooking methods, provided you skip any excess oil. Cook pork on preheated surfaces to caramelize the meat and also prevent sticking.
Pork should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees to be safe for consumption. If the pork is ground, it must reach 160 degrees. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer at its thickest point for an accurate reading. Refrigerate leftover pork within two hours of cooking and consume it within four days.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Better-For-You Pork and Beans
All you need:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons Hy-Vee tomato paste
4 cups reduced-sodium tomato juice
2 cups ketchup
1 pound boneless top loin pork chops, trimmed of fat and diced
4 (15 oz. each) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
Non-stick cooking spray
All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, celery and carrot and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add fresh thyme and tomato paste and stir to combine.
3. Pour tomato juice and ketchup over. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Coat a large casserole dish with cooking spray. Add diced pork chops and top with beans. Pour tomato mixture over.
5. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove cover and stir lightly. Continue cooking for 1 additional hour, or until nicely browned. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 337, Total fat 4g, Saturated fat 1g, Trans fat 0g, Cholesterol 190mg, Sodium 351mg, Carbohydrate 54g, Fiber 13g, Protein 25g
Source: Hy-Vee dietitians
Claire Henning is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Marshall.