Healthy Meals for the Health-Conscious Hunter

Meet our guest writer Carolyn Knight. Carolyn lives in Austin, Texas and has always made a point to live a healthy, active lifestyle. She attributes this to her cross country days in high school. 

"Diet and exercise have been a huge part of my life, and I love learning about new ways to eat and live healthy." 

Read Carolyn's story, filled with quick, everyday tips to help hunters stay active and in shape. With wild game, you can eat well and stay healthy, too!

Thanks Carolyn, for your great article! - Food for Hunters 

Healthy Meals for the Health-Conscious Hunter
By: Carolyn Knight 
Yes, we all know that eating healthy is better for you. Eating fatty foods causes high blood pressure and heart problems, etc. Plus, we all want to try and avoid the dreaded beer belly. So, what are some ways that you can eat healthy during hunting season? Use these tips to create healthy meals that compliment your fresh game.

Healthy Game
Game meat is lean. Period. Game animals run around much more than farmed animals, making their meat lower in fat. Bison, poultry, and wild fowl, especially, have less cholesterol than domestic meat. Deer meat is especially lean because, as you may already know, deer store fat on top of muscle or under the hide. This fat is typically taken out when processed. In beef, by contrast, fat is accumulated between muscle tissues and not taken out of the meat, making steaks higher in fat. Additionally, hunted game isn’t pumped with additives, like hormones or antibiotics, making it all natural. With lean meat as your main ingredient, you have the perfect foundation for a healthy meal! 

Balancing Meals
The best way to make a healthy meal? Balance it out. Make sure to have a little bit of everything on your plate: fruits, veggies, grains, protein, and dairy. While your game meat provides you with the perfect, lean protein, you can get your servings of fruits and veggies from complimenting side dishes. As hard as it is, trash that baked potato with sour cream, cheese, and butter. This side is composed of unnecessary fats and calories on a starch that boosts blood sugar and insulin levels through the roof. Trade in this dish for a side of wild rice, which contains higher amounts of protein, minerals, vitamins, and folic acid. You can also try some whole grain rolls for an appetizer for your serving of carbs. For veggies, try a side of grilled asparagus, flavored with a touch of salt and a bit of homemade, roasted garlic oil. If asparagus really isn’t your thing, sauteed spinach with garlic and onions compliments most game meats nicely. Just throw some butter into a pan, cook a chopped onion until soft, add and toss spinach until it wilts, and sprinkle with seasoning and lemon juice. Try to minimize your use of butter, only using what you absolutely need to adequately brown the onion. Another great, healthy side dish to keep in mind? Applesauce! Apples compliment venison like bread and butter. Instead of having a big slice of apple pie, try eating a cup of applesauce, spiced up with ground cinnamon, honey, and a splash of cognac or brandy.

Know Your Portions 
After a full day of hunting, you feel like you could eat the entire deer. Stop right there! You should always keep portion control in mind when you’re about to sit down and devour a meal. Remember: your eyes are bigger than your stomach. Listen to your body and embrace moderation. Experts recommend that you stop eating when you’re “three-quarters” full. Resist the urge to stuff yourself until you reach a comatose state. 
So there you have it -- your guide to game-friendly health tips. Next time you’re out hunting, you can look forward to a delicious, yet utterly nutritious meal that will keep you heart healthy and satisfied.

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