Game and a healthy dietby Robert Gooch January 17 2017
Struggling to stick to New Year’s resolutions to eat more healthily? Take a tip from us and put more naturally-healthy game on the menu.
Wild game is much leaner and lower in fat, with greater nutritional value, than farmed meat. It’s also much tastier, as the varied natural diet of wild animals means their meat is packed with flavour – so healthy eating need never be boring again.
Chef and food writer Thomasina Miers is a big fan. “Unlike farmed meat, game roams freely and, because of its foraged diet, is naturally low in fat, rich in protein and full of flavour,” she writes in The Guardian.
“Compare that with packaged foods crammed with additives to prolong shelf life, improve appearance and, in the case of meat, pumped full of unknown quantities of antibiotics. Game is generally free of all that; it’s common sense to give it a go.”
Venison is exceptionally healthy, with more protein than any other red meat. It contains only about 1% fat – compared to 10% in lamb and 11% in beef, while providing a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids. It offers high levels of iron: one serving of venison contains about a third of the recommended daily allowance of iron, compared to less than a quarter in beef. What’s more, it’s high in B vitamins, including B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin), which help to regulate the metabolism, and B6 and B12, which are thought to help lower homocysteine levels and help prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Rabbit is a cheap and lean source of protein. It has a good balance of Omegas 3 and 6 and is rich in selenium which may protect against cancer. Wild rabbit is a good source of phosphorous and iron which are needed for strong teeth and bones.
The Paleo Diet
A recent diet trend has been the Paleo Diet, created in the US by a Professor Loren Cordain who believes that we should stick to the foods our cavemen ancestors ate – meat, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts – and avoid grains and things prehistoric man wouldn’t have known like dairy, pulses, sugar and, of course, processed food. If Paleo is your thing you, wild game should be a regular part of your diet.
So if you are trying to eat well why not try swapping pheasant or partridge for chicken or duck - they’re just as simple to cook roasted or pan-friend fillets and switch to venison from beef or lamb for a rich mix of minerals and a significantly leaner meat with just as much taste.
The Game to Eat web site has a table of the nutritional values of game, visit: http://gametoeat.co.uk/gte/article/nutritional-facts