Easy Holiday Entrée
Better Nutrition|December 2021
Tired of the same-old holiday turkey and ham? This simple-yet-satisfying pork tenderloin dish may be just what you’re looking for to freshen things up this year.
By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, and Jeannette Bessinger, CHHC

Pork tenderloin is an amazing “alternative” to standard holiday fare. It’s relatively easy to prepare, and makes for really tasty leftovers. And there’s nothing to fear in the fat from pasture-raised pigs. Which brings us to an important point about animals in the food supply.

A food and cooking column might not be the most perfect forum to discuss the debate over eating animals, but I can’t wholly recommend pork—or, actually, any meat—without making a disclaimer: I am an animal lover.

At the same time, as a nutritionist, I am of the opinion that humans do better with some animal products in their diets.

So, I try to eat beef, pork, chicken, and eggs only from pasture-raised animals. This isn’t always possible, of course, but in researching this column, I easily found a dozen places online that sell pastured pork, grass-fed beef, and the like—and farmers markets across the country are filled with people who raise their livestock humanely. Yes, it’s usually a little more expensive than the horrible, factory-farmed, hormone-and-antibiotic-filled meat sold at most supermarkets, but I’d rather eat less of the good stuff than more of the stuff that’s bad for my body and the planet.

With that in mind, pork tenderloin—also known as pork filet—is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B1 (thiamine), phosphorus, vitamin B6, and niacin. It’s also a very good source of potassium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and zinc (important for immunity).

All those old commercials touting pork as the “other white meat” were based on the fact that pork is low-fat, but we now know that fats—even saturated fats—aren’t the problem in our diets. Sugar and processed carbohydrates are. And pork has none of those!

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