The American Heart Association has certified pork tenderloin as a heart-healthy food. The winning factor is that “ounce-for-ounce, pork tenderloin is as lean as a boneless, skinless chicken breast,” notes the National Pork Board.

“I always tell my clients the key to staying on track with a healthy diet is to find wholesome foods that you enjoy...you’re more likely to feel satisfied and far less likely to fall off the healthy-eating wagon,” says Michelle Dudash, registered dietitian and Cordon Bleu-certified chef.

She offers other weight-loss and healthful tips:

Fill up, eat less. Eating healthy does not mean skipping flavor or satisfaction. “Eating flavorful, extra-lean protein like pork tenderloin while dieting has been linked to greater satiety and muscle mass retention,” Dudash says. This reduces hunger and the urge to over-eat.

Check for the mark. Look for the Heart-Check mark. “Not only is pork tenderloin extra-lean and nutrient-packed, with its new AHA seal on its package, it’s easy to identify this cut as compatible with weight-loss goals,” she adds.

Power up with protein. At just 120 calories, 3 ounces of pork tenderloin is an “excellent” source of protein, thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorous and niacin and a “good” source of potassium, riboflavin and zinc, and is only 6 percent of the calories in a 2,000-calorie diet.

Add on the nutrients. A new study shows that incorporating fresh, lean pork cuts into the daily diet can help fulfill nutrient needs, while limiting calories. Americans can improve dietary variety and increase nutrient intake while keeping total fat and calories in check, Dudash notes. 

Make it medium-rare. On average, the most common cuts of pork have 16 percent less total fat and 27 percent less saturated fat than 21 years ago. What’s more, today’s pork can be cooked to medium--rare. Last year USDA announced that pork can be safely cooked to 145° F.