If your goal is to lose weight, then you’re probably wondering which types of meat are the lowest in calories.
The lowest calorie meats include skinless poultry like turkey and chicken breast. In terms of red meat, veal sirloin, pork tenderloin, and beef eye of round are low calorie. Organ meats like chicken liver are also considered low-calorie.
As a Registered Dietitian, I’ve done the research to find the 15 lowest-calorie meat options available and explain how you can prepare them so that you can hit your calorie targets more easily.
- The lowest-calorie meats are those with the lowest fat content because fat has 9 calories per gram, whereas protein only has 4 calories per gram.
- The 15 lowest-calorie meats contain less than 150 calories per 100g (uncooked), according to the USDA food search database.
- The calorie content of meat varies depending on cooking methods, added ingredients, and specific cuts of meat.
What Is Considered a Low-Calorie Meat?
Meat is considered low-calorie if it has fewer than 150 calories per 100-gram serving.
Meats that fall into this category are those that are lower in fat because fat has the highest number of calories per gram.
The amount of fat that meat contains depends on its cut, cooking method, and any ingredients that have been added to it.
In addition to keeping calories low to encourage weight loss, paying attention to the fat content in meat (particularly saturated fat) is important for staying healthy and lowering the risk of having health problems in the future.
For reference, one should aim to keep saturated fat below 10% of the total daily calories. For someone eating 2000 calories per day, this would be 200 calories or 22 grams per day of saturated fat.
- Related: 15 Meat With The Most Protein
Lowest Calorie Meats
|Meat (uncooked)||Calories per 100 g||Fat per 100 g||Protein per 100 g|
|Lamb loin, boneless||120||3.8||21|
|Chicken breast, skinless||120||2.6||22|
|Canada goose breast, skinless||133||4||24.3|
|Duck breast, skinless||123||4.2||19.8|
|Beef, eye of round, trimmed||127||3.7||23|
|Turkey breast, skinless||135||2.2||23|
|Pork sirloin, boneless||121||2.6||22.8|
|Pheasant breast, skinless||133||3.2||24.4|
1. Veal Sirloin – 110 Calories
Veal sirloin is a lean and tender cut of meat that comes from the back of a young calf. It is tender and has a mild, delicate flavor. This type of meat is pale pink and contains less fat compared to other cuts of beef.
It is a good source of high-quality lean protein and is versatile as it can be prepared in various ways.
It can be seasoned with herbs, spices, and marinades, then grilled, or pan-seared and oven-cooked. These methods help to retain the meat’s tenderness and bring out its natural flavors.
2. Ground Turkey – 112 Calories
Ground turkey is a versatile and lean white meat option made from fine ground turkey meat. It has a mild flavor and lower fat content compared to other meats like ground beef.
It is a great source of lean protein and is a healthier alternative for those aiming to reduce saturated fat intake.
It can be used in various recipes, such as turkey burgers, turkey chilis, tacos, and stir-fries. A popular recipe is adding it to tacos, burritos, or enchiladas and seasoned with chili powder, cumin, and fresh salsa sauce to enhance its taste.
3. Venison, Sitka – 116 Calories
Venison, particularly Sitka venison which is obtained from the Sitka black-tailed deer in North America, is a lean red meat. It has a rich taste and distinctive flavor.
It is low in fat, a good source of protein, and can be prepared in various ways (grilled, roasted, stewed, or pan-seared). It can be marinated with herbs and spices to enhance its flavor and served as steaks, roasts, or in stews.
4. Lamb Loin, Boneless – 120 Calories
Lamb loin refers to the tender meat cut from the back of a young lamb. It is a red meat and is known for its rich flavor and tenderness. It is a good source of protein and can be cooked using different methods.
If you fancy it as a roast, it is best prepared using dry heat cooking methods, like grilling, roasting, or broiling (paying attention to not overcooking it as it can dry out).
It goes well with a variety of different flavors and can be added to dishes like casseroles or served with side dishes such as potatoes and grilled vegetables.
5. Pork Tenderloin – 120 Calories
Pork tenderloin is a lean and tender cut of red meat taken from the loin of a pig. It is pale pink in color, long, slender, and has a relatively mild taste. It is a versatile protein option and because it is one of the most tender parts of a pig, it is low in fat.
While it can be cooked and prepared in many ways, a popular way is to have it stuffed. You can fill it with your choice of stuffing, roll it up, and secure it with cooking twine; then you can roast or grill it until cooked through.
This preparation can be part of a main course with a side dish, or if you slice it up into thin strips, it can be enjoyed as part of a sandwich or added to salads or pasta.
6. Chicken Breast, Skinless – 120 Calories
Skinless chicken breast is a type of white meat that is lean and boneless. It is found in the breast portion of a chicken. It is pale in color with a relatively low fat content, being the leanest part of a chicken and a popular choice for those seeking a low-fat, high-protein meat.
To cook chicken without increasing its fat content, opt for methods like grilling, baking, or steaming instead of frying. Removing the skin before cooking and using minimal oil is also important if you want the chicken to be lower in calories.
Because of its versatility and mild flavor, chicken can be enjoyed in salads, sandwiches, wraps, curries, stews, or alongside a side dish like vegetables and mash.
7. Canada Goose Breast, Skinless – 133 Calories
Canada goose breast meat comes from the Canada goose, a species of wild waterfowl that originates from North America. It’s classed as a white meat, despite its dark color, and it has a rich flavor and tough texture. It is rich in protein and very low in fat.
Goose breasts can be prepared in various ways; you can try slow-cooking them with sauces and vegetables until the meat is tender, roasting them in the oven, or grilling them after marinating them in a mixture of herbs, garlic, soy sauce, and honey.
My favorite recipe to date is goose breasts with orange glaze.
8. Chicken Liver – 119 Calories
Chicken liver is a small, dark red and brown organ that is rich in flavor and nutrients, including protein. It has a soft and tender texture.
Compared to other organs, it has a mild taste, so it goes well with other ingredients (e.g. sautéed with garlic, onions, and lemon juice) and can be eaten as an appetizer or as part of a main dish.
When preparing chicken liver, make sure any visible fat is trimmed to ensure it is as lean as possible.
9. Duck Breast, Skinless – 123 Calories
Duck breast is a darker-colored meat that is generally more flavorful than chicken or turkey breast, and is considered a lean source of protein that is low in fat.
One way to prepare duck breast is by grilling it over medium heat (after seasoning it with herbs and spices) and then slicing it into thin strips. The strips can then be added to a salad, sandwiches, wraps, or tacos.
Duck breast can also be eaten with sides like roasted vegetables, grains, or fruit-based sauces to complement its flavors.
10. Beef, Eye Of Round – 127 Calories
Eye of round steak is a lean cut of beef that comes from the rear leg of a cow. It is a boneless cut that has minimal fat marbling. It has a tougher texture compared to more tender cuts like ribeye or tenderloin.
It is often sliced into thin steaks or cut into cubes, after being cooked in a slow cooker or braised in a flavorful liquid at a low temperature, which makes it tender and easy to shred or slice.
11. Turkey Breast, Skinless – 135 Calories
Skinless turkey breast is a white meat that comes from the breast of a turkey. It is low in fat and high in protein and has a mild flavor that pairs well with a variety of recipes. It is often available as boneless skinless filets or cutlets.
It can be paired with most foods because of its versatility as an ingredient and mild taste.
I highly recommend trying this roasted turkey breast recipe and having it as a main dish, or using it for sandwiches or salads. You could also add turkey breast to casseroles or soups to boost their protein content.
12. Pork Sirloin, Boneless – 121 Calories
Pork sirloin comes from the hip area of a pig, which is usually low in fat and high in protein while still being tender and rich in flavor. Boneless means that it has been trimmed off the bone, making it more convenient to prepare and cook.
It can be prepared by grilling or roasting it (healthier cooking methods compared to frying), and is typically cut into individual medallions, thin cutlets, or strips.
You can add pork sirloin to salads, sandwiches, tacos, wraps, or with a side. To use it as a main dish try this recipe for roast pork sirloin.
13. Rabbit, Wild – 114 Calories
Wild rabbit meat is lean, quite tough in texture, and has a mild flavor. It is darker in color and has a firmer texture compared to farm-raised rabbit meat, so it might require longer cooking times if you want a moist and tender texture.
Most people find rabbit meat pleasant to eat because of its mild flavor. One common way to eat this lean protein is by adding it to soups, stews, and casseroles.
If you slow-cook it in a savory broth with vegetables, herbs, and spices, it will tenderize the meat and make it easier to chew.
14. Pheasant Breast, Skinless – 133 Calories
Pheasants are wild birds and their breast meat is lean, has a distinctive flavor, and has a texture similar to chicken and turkey. It is typically lighter in color compared to other poultry meats.
When cooking pheasant breast, avoid overcooking it to maintain its tenderness and juiciness.
It is best when slow-cooked in a flavorful liquid, such as broth or wine, along with vegetables, herbs, and spices. This cooking method infuses the meat with rich flavors and keeps it tender.
15. Beef Flank – 142 Calories
Flank steak is a lean cut of red meat that comes from the abdominal area of a cow. It has a rich flavor and chewy texture and is a good source of protein.
It can be added to a wide range of recipes, including fajitas and tacos, as a wrap filling, or simply as a steak paired with a side of vegetables and potatoes.
Marinating it for a couple of hours in the fridge (e.g. with red wine, soy sauce, and garlic, or lime juice and fresh rosemary) and then it is a popular way of preparing this type of meat.
When it’s on the grill, the temperature can be checked by inserting a probe in the thickest part, ensuring it does not overcook and dry out.
Other Low-Calorie Foods
Looking for more low-calorie options? Check out our other food lists:
Frequently Asked Questions
What Meat is the Best for Weight Loss?
The best meat for weight loss is lean meat because it is lower in fat and calories and higher in protein. This helps you to reach your protein target without blowing your calorie target. Some of the best lean meats include skinless chicken breast, turkey breast, lean cuts of beef, pork, deer, or liver.
What Steak is Lowest in Calories?
The steaks with the lowest calorie content tend to come from lean cuts of pork, beef, lamb, and game, specifically sirloin, tenderloin, and eye of round. This is because they naturally have less fat marbling than other steaks. Reducing oil during cooking can also reduce the overall calorie content of steaks.
What Cut of Beef Has the Lowest Calories?
Eye of Round is a boneless beef cut that is known for its leanness. It has less fat marbling and fewer calories than other beef cuts, making it a healthier choice for people aiming for lower fat and calorie intake. Reducing oil during cooking is also important when aiming for lower calories.
About The Author
Giulia Rossetto is a qualified Dietitian and Nutritionist.
She holds a Masters in Human Nutrition (University of Sheffield, UK) and more recently graduated as a Dietitian (University of Malta).
Giulia aims to translate evidence-based science to the public through teaching and writing content. She has worked 4+ years in clinical settings and has also published articles in academic journals.
She is into running, swimming and weight lifting, and enjoys spending time in the mountains (she has a soft spot for hiking and skiing in the Italian Dolomites).