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Lean goat meat; Fresh green chickpeas.

Q Is goat meat a healthful choice to include in my diet?

A Americans have been slower to discover what about 75 percent of the world already knows: Goat meat is lean, delicious, and healthy. It is growing in availability and popularity, as ethnic groups and those exploring authentic global cuisines raise interest and demand for this animal protein. Traditional and specialty markets, as well as gourmet and internet boutiques, are supplying this option to consumers.

Goat meat is substantially leaner than beef, and surprisingly lower in saturated fat than chicken. It also is a good source of protein and iron. See the "Meat Comparison" chart, which compares it to more popular animal proteins. Goat farming is subject to USDA regulations and inspection--no hormones are allowed in production practices, and antibiotics must be used within federal guidelines. Braises and stews, like Jamaican curry, Indian biryani, and Moroccan tagines are wonderful ways to explore and enjoy goat meat.

--Ellie Wilson, MS,RD

Q What are "green" chickpeas?

A Mature chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are legumes most commonly found in canned or dried form. They are the main ingredient in the Middle Eastern dip called hummus. Mature chickpeas are beige or blond. Green--essentially fresh, young--chickpeas are relatively new in the U.S. They are harvested earlier, before they are dried, and offer a creamy, almost buttery, texture compared to the mature chickpeas which are starchier and mealier. Green chickpeas are described as having a flavor similar to spring peas. They can be found in the freezer section of the supermarket, or sometimes fresh at a farmer's market. Chickpeas, both mature and green, are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and have a low glycemic index (see page 7). The immature peas can be eaten raw, straight from the pod, as a snack, or in a salad. They can be blanched and used in any recipe that calls for beans. Because they are a source of protein, green chickpeas can be added to other green foods like guacamole, making the resulting dish a better source of protein without altering the color or texture of the original.

--Sharon Salomon, MS, RD

Write to us if you have a question. We'll answer those of most interest to our readers. We regret, however, that we cannot personally respond. Send to: Environmental Nutrition, P.O. Box 5656, Norwalk, CT 06856-5656. Phone: 800-829 5384 Fax: 203-857-3103 e-mail:, (click on "Contact Us")

Caption: Green chickpeas are fresh, young legumes.

Meat Comparison (per 3 oz. roasted meat)

                             FAT(G)     (G)    (G)

Goat        122     2.58      0.79       23    3.2
Beef        245    16.0       6.8        23    2.0
Pork        310    24.0       8.7        21    2.7
Lamb        235    16.0       7.3        22    1.4
Chicken     120     3.5       1.1        21    1.5

Source: American Boer Goat Association
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Author:Wilson, Ellie; Salomon, Sharon
Publication:Environmental Nutrition
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2016
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