When you start eating healthily, it can be a minefield to work out what you can actually eat.
Meat can be particularly tricky as the calories and fat in each cut of meat differs widely from shop to shop and portion to portion, and there are so many different cuts of each type of meat, it can be virtually impossible to work out which meat you can actually eat.

We’ve come up with a list of the leanest cuts of meat and how to serve them – as well as some super simple tips to work out portion sizes without having to dig out your kitchen scales.


Chicken is a favourite of many as it is very simple and very quick to cook – you can pan fry a chicken breast in 10 minutes flat. Chicken breasts and chicken mini fillets are your best choices when it comes to chicken, although they can still contain a little fat or sinew, so be sure to trim them before you cook them.
Chicken thighs and wings might be packed with flavour, but they get that flavour from fat – so steer clear of them if you’re on a diet.
To keep chicken breast nice and moist instead of stringy, cook it for only as long as it needs to be cooked. Many people are afraid of undercooking chicken, but as soon as it’s no longer pink in the middle, it’s done – it does not need any longer on the heat. Simmer it in sauces or curries to make it extra moist – and make sure you get rid of the skin!
Portion, calories & fat: 110g, or 1 medium chicken breast = 125 calories, 3.5g fat


Beef is a particularly good cut of meat for dieters as it is packed with flavour, even if you choose a leaner cut. Lean beef stewing chunks are perfect for stews, steak fillets are perfect for a romantic steak and chip dinner, and lean minced beef steak is perfect for forming into burgers or meatballs.
When frying beef chunks or beef mince in a frying pan, discard the excess fat before adding to sauces or before serving so that you don’t take in unnecessary fat and calories. You can also buy extra-lean beef steak or beef mince, but this does tend to have a little less flavour. Steer clear of any beef that isn’t marked lean as it will contain lots of fat.
Portion, calories & fat: 125g (lean beef mince) = 155 calories and 5.6g fat, 100g (lean beef steak) = 160 calories and 4.7g fat, 125g (lean beef stewing chunks) = 150 calories and 5g fat

Pork & Ham

Pork is unfortunately a fairly fatty cut of meat, but it does contain lots and lots of flavour. Pork leg, pork belly, pork roast and pork chops are all fairly high in fat so you should steer clear of them if you’re trying to lose weight.
However, you can enjoy some cuts of pork if you’re on a diet – try a thin pork loin chop with all of the fat trimmed off, or lean pork fillet. Gammon steaks are also a great choice as they contain loads of flavour but hardly any fat – especially if you choose smoked gammon. Try serving pork with a low cal BBQ or curry sauce, and serve your gammon steaks with a poached egg and butternut squash chips.
Portion, calories & fat: 120g (pork loin steak, fat trimmed) = 200 calories and 4.4g fat, 100g (lean pork fillet) = 140 calories and 4g fat, 125g (gammon steak) = 170 calories and 6.2g fat

Other Meats

Game meats are generally incredibly lean – they tend to be low in calories and fat, and in some cases, game meat is actually leaner and healthier than a lean chicken breast of the same weight.
Ask your butcher about game meat and if you want to try it, make sure you buy it from sustainable sources. Duck is also delicious, but it contains loads of calories if you eat it with the skin on – so if you want to enjoy duck, get rid of the skin and limit your intake. Lamb is another tasty meat, but it’s also fairly high in fat and calories – if you want to enjoy lamb, a trimmed rack of lamb is your best choice. Lamb shanks might be yummy, but they are not good for your diet.

How-to Portion Sizes

25g = pad of your thumb
1 tbsp. = top tip of your thumb
1 tsp. = pad of your fingertip
25-50g = 1 cupped handful
100g = palm of your hand
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