Eating a lot of meat is often associated with having an unhealthy diet in today's culture. But it wasn't always thought of in this way, and it doesn't have to be in the future. For many people it would be almost impossible to replace the meat in their diet with something else, and a lot of those people wouldn't want to even if they could. The good news is that you don't have to, but you should keep some of these points in mind in order to make healthier choices for your children and the whole family.

1. Recipe Choice

Perhaps one of the most important points to consider while trying to eat a healthier meat-filled diet, and a good one to keep the kids happy, is choosing the right way to prepare it. Depending on the age of the child, they may not be ready to simply be served up a big piece of steak. Here are just a few healthy recipes that go down particularly well with kids:

  • Beef burgers with hidden vegetables – Put together a bowl of finely chopped (or grated) vegetables such as onion, zucchini, carrot, or even apple, and then mix in the minced beef with your hands. Cook as you would a normal burger.
  • Beef / Chicken salad – This is a great way to use leftovers, or as a main meal from scratch. Try using baby rocket or spinach leaves instead of lettuce to make it even healthier, but perhaps not as palatable for kids.

2. Cuts of Meat

If you are wary of the amount of fat in your family's diet, and you probably should be, then you will need to choose the most appropriate cuts of meat. If you are serious about getting healthier with your meat intake then you should always know where each cut comes from, particularly with beef.

A rib cut can be incredibly tasty but that is due in part to the fat content so it should be avoided or, as a compromise, saved only for special occasions. Other relatively fatty cuts of beef include filet mignon, porterhouse, T-bone, and rib-eye steaks. Don't let the fat content alone put you off though, as red meat will give you a great dose of protein, iron, and vitamin B-12 compared to most other food with less fat.

3. Grass Fed Meat

This is meat the way nature intended it to be, before massive corporations got their greedy fingers in to the industry, and how our ancestors raised and ate their meat for generations before us. Even if you are not particularly bothered about the ethical concerns that arise from where your beef comes from, you should always be mindful just for the sake of health alone if nothing else.

It may not be possible to buy it locally, but there are many reputable online shops including the Good Grub People grass fed beef outlet which sources all of its beef from one single farm. The cows there are raised on completely natural grass, free from pesticides or other sprays, much the same as they would have been raised generations ago.

4. Encourage Your Children

Almost every kid loves a ‘Happy Meal’, but in order for them to grow and be healthy they need to start loving ‘real’ meals. The meat contained in most fast food is of questionable origin, and even more questionable nutritional value. A lot of the major fast food chains are trying to offer healthier choices now, although it's still not ideal, so it should be given to children sparingly and as a treat.

If your child is becoming hesitant about eating meat in general, which isn't all that uncommon, there are good ways and bad ways of dealing with the issue. Obviously you should first find out what the reason is for them not wanting to eat meat. This should not be done at the dinner table while they have a plate of food in front of them. Sit down with your child at another time and have a calm discussion about how they feel, and tailor your responses toward that.

Without getting too preachy about it, it is fair to say that our ancestors ate meat for thousands of years – when they didn't have the luxury of choosing not to – and their diet had to have played a role in getting us to where we are today. It is natural to eat meat, but it is also not a terrible thing if your child turns out to be a vegetarian, and any amount of pushing and prodding will likely just make them more stubborn.

Everyone likes to have a variety in what they eat, and when you're dealing with kids it is even more of a necessity. Try not to deny any type of food on a permanent basis. It is OK to say that certain things are a ‘sometimes food’ but attempting to ban things outright can often lead to problems.