Healthy Ways to Enjoy Beef

If you want to follow a healthy diet but still crave an occasional burger or steak, don't despair. Small portions of lean beef can be part of a healthy diet because beef is high in protein and contains essential vitamins and minerals. Healthy ways to enjoy beef depend on the cooking method, portion size and choice of the right cut of beef. How the steer is raised is also important.

Grill burgers and steaks

Whenever possible, choose to grill your beef. Dry heat, as compared to frying, cooks off much of its unhealthy fat. You can choose to grill outdoors or use an indoor grill. Watch what goes on that burger, however. Piling on double cheese and bacon will quickly undo any health benefits a low-fat grilled burger can provide. Be sure to skip the fries with the steak and have a hearty salad instead.

Choose lean cuts

Many cuts of roasts and steaks are low in fat and can be part of a healthy diet if eaten in moderation. According to the Mayo Clinic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lists 29 cuts of beef considered to be extra lean, meaning a 3.5-ounce serving has only five grams of fat. Among these cuts are eye of round roast or steak, sirloin steak and top round roast.

Choose meat that has very little fat and trim as much as possible before cooking. When choosing ground beef, select the product with the lowest percentage of fat.

Go natural

It was only in the middle of the 20th century that cattle ranchers started finishing cattle on a high corn and soybean diet, which increased the fat content and decreased the good nutrients in beef. Packing cattle densely into feedlots required dosing them with high levels of antibiotics to prevent disease. Growth hormones were added to their diet. Try to limit or eliminate this kind of beef from your diet.

Some farmers are going back to feeding their cattle a natural diet of grass. Beef from grass-fed cattle has, according to the beef farm Heart Healthy Natural Beef, a high level of omega-3 fatty acids and is low in bad fat and calories. It is high in vitamins B6 and B12 and has far less saturated fat than beef from grain-finished animals.

Tweak favorites

You can still enjoy favorite foods such as spaghetti, chili, beef stew, tacos and Sunday roast. Just tweak your recipes to add more vegetables. Serve spaghetti with whole grain pasta and pair a roast or steak with brown rice rather than potatoes.

Beef can be an important part of a healthy diet. Just control portion size, serve it as a treat rather than a staple, choose lean cuts and pair it with healthy side dishes. Choose grass-fed beef for lower fat and better health.

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