What has less cholesterol than chicken, less saturated fat than salmon and costs less than a quarter of beef? The answer is why thousands of Michigan hunters take to the fields every fall—venison. Venison is the name given to the meat of larger wild game including bison, elk, antelope and more commonly in Michigan, deer. And while some people wouldn’t consider eating the meat of an animal that wanders the woods outside their home, it might be worth putting aside the stigma—and the beef— for the many health benefits that venison has to offer.
Is venison really that good for you?
Yes. Venison is richer in protein than any other red meat. That’s good for your body because it promotes muscle growth. It’s also great for your diet because the more protein a food has, the more it satiates your appetite. In other words, when you eat venison, you’ll feel fuller longer. Say goodbye to saturated fat and hello to venison. And being non-farmed, venison isn’t full of antibiotics or steroids like some of the beef you buy today. Add to its list of health benefits—venison is low in fat and cholesterol. It’s also high in nutrients like B vitamins, iron and phosphorus.
Can you eat venison when pregnant?
Absolutely. In fact, venison is rich in iron, which could be great for pregnancy considering iron helps the body make extra blood and moves oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It also helps the baby grow and stay healthy, so don’t worry about eating venison if you’re expecting—as long as it’s prepared correctly. This means, like any other raw meat, you’ll want to make sure it’s thoroughly cooked.
More fat? Fat chance.
Venison is low in saturated fat. Like, very low. It’s less in saturated fat than ham and even salmon. How does it stack up to beef? Venison has 50% less fat than beef, making it a healthier red meat alternative. And where’s it’s low in fat, it’s high in protein—that’s why eating venison is great for anyone trying to build lean muscle. Venison is also great for those on restrictive diets.
As the colder Michigan weather sets in, this Venison Stew recipe might be a good option to get the comfort of beef stew without the high fat. One hearty serving has just 271 calories and 5 grams of fat.
What about price?
On average, venison is 78 percent less expensive than beef. If you’re paying $4.50 per pound of ground beef, you could get a pound of ground venison for about a dollar. So if you’re looking for an alternative red meat that won’t break the bank, venison may be for you; it’s a great way to stretch a dollar without stretching your waistline. Try these Whiskey Venison Burgers for a leaner, more affordable burger at just 315 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving.
Turns out, deer season in Michigan means hunting is more than just a sport for those who like the outdoors, it’s also a way to provide a healthy, low fat, nutritious alternative to beef. Just remember, if you’re doing the hunting and the butchering, you’ll want to be careful and do it right to avoid food-borne illness and keep your venison healthy. And if you know a hunter who’s willing to share or cook some of their venison, consider the health benefits before you say “no thank you.”