Saturday, May 3, 2014

Really "Fast" Food

Really “Fast” Food

When many people hear the words “fast food” they often think about McDonalds, Hardees, Subway, Pizza Hut, and Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Quarter pounders,  500 calorie subs, and stuffed crust pizzas dance through their heads with salivation not far behind.  However, when I think of fast foods, I think of venison, trout and bluegills (sunfish), and even bison on some occasions.

Wild game, whether it be something that you procure on your own or food that you purchase from a retailer, can be some of the healthiest nutrition choices you make that your body is naturally designed to use for fuel.  Venison (deer meat) for instance, is an exceptional meat that is often revered for its protein. While it is true that 110 out of 175 calories come from protein in a 3-3.5 ounce serving, many consumers do not realize that venison also has significant amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with numerous health benefits such as helping reduce inflammation from arthritis, decreasing depressive symptoms, and improving overall mental skills and capacity.

Like venison, fish have similar nutritional values as they are high in Omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein content. Trout are freshwater fish with notable sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, but catfish, carp, and salmon should also be given consideration as they also contain high levels. As far as protein content goes, a  4 ounce serving of bluegill (sunfish) has about 100 calories, 25 of which will be from protein.   With minimal fat and high protein make up, a bluegill feeding would be a perfect post-workout snack.

Lastly, I want to discuss bison as a potential “fast” food choice. While culling the natural herd is done to ensure that the healthiest animals carry on the population, bison meat is also domestically grown and processed, making it widely available to consumers. Bison meat contains about the same amount of protein as beef (about 28 grams per 3-3.5 ounce serving), but it has about 1/8 of the fat in beef for the same serving size. It is about half the calories as beef, and bison meat contains high amounts of Vitamin B-12 which helps maintain the digestive and nervous system.

Venison, fish, and bison are just a few of the potential wild game food that you can choose as part of your eating habits. Ducks, geese, grouse, pheasant, rabbit, and even beavers (as well as many others depending on your location) are all viable foods that have high nutrient values. Whether you procure the wild game yourself or you purchase it, these nutrition decisions can help you improve your overall health and wellness.

So, get out enjoy some “fast” food!

Mark Maule

Health and Wellness Instructor


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