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How to Plan a Non-Vegetarian Diet

By Sam Ashe-Edmunds

Meat, seafood, poultry, game, dairy products and eggs are rich sources of protein and vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin D and potassium. Many animal products also include high amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol, with their consumption often made even more unhealthy by traditional methods of preparing or serving them. To create a healthy diet that includes animal products, start with the United States Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid to guide you in your planning and use low-fat protein choices.

Call or meet with your physician or a nutritionist to determine if you have any special dietary needs. You may need to eat in ways that reduce cholesterol, sodium or fat or add foods that contain certain nutrients, such as calcium for older women.

Visit websites like LiveStrong's My Plate to determine which foods contain vitamins and minerals you or your family members specifically need. This will help you plan menus.

Plan your daily caloric intake following the USDA's recommended serving amounts of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and proteins. Plan specific meals so that by the end of the day, you have eaten the correct amount of each food group you need.

Buy lean beef, chicken and turkey. The less expensive the beef, the less fat and cholesterol, except for hamburger, where the opposite is true. Substitute game for beef. Buy chicken and turkey breast meat for less fat and cholesterol and remove the skin. Salmon, tuna and mackerel are high in protein and cholesterol-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. Shrimp and other shellfish are low-fat, but contain more cholesterol than other seafood.

Buy low-fat cheese, sour cream, yogurt, milk, creamy salad dressings and other dairy products. Eat eggs sparingly; one egg has 213 mg of cholesterol, or more than 70 percent of the American Heart Association's recommended daily allowance for cholesterol.

Add meat, fish, poultry and game to dishes to flavor them rather than serve them as the main dish. For example, instead of serving a steak with several side dishes, add beef to a stir fry made with a variety of healthy vegetables.

Cook meat, poultry and game by broiling or grilling them, placing the meat on a rack that allows fat to drip away during the cooking process. Marinate less expensive cuts of beef to make them more tender.

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