Whenever I tell someone what my job is, they get defensive and respond with something along the lines of “Oh, I’m bad; I sometimes eat hamburgers.” or “Don’t hate me, but I eat red meat.”
Yeah, so do I…
Red meat is not the enemy. There are a lot of different cuts of red meat that can fit into a healthy lifestyle. Not only does red meat fit in a healthy diet, but it provides iron, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, selenium, niacin, and zinc. It is also a great source of high-quality protein. However, to get the most benefits out of red meat consumption you should do a few things:
- Make sure to choose a lean cut of meat.
- The USDA grading system can help you make your choice – “Prime” cuts contain the highest amount of fat, so try to avoid these. “Select” cuts will be your leanest options of meat.
- Grass-fed beef is usually leaner than grain-fed beef.
- Limit portion sizes. Be sure to stick to less than 18 ounces per week. Having more than that ups your risk for developing health problems like heart disease and cancer.
- While I’m on that subject, limit processed meats (like cured bacon, hot dogs, lunch meat – anything that has nitrates or nitrites in them)! Luckily, it’s easier to find products that are nitrate and nitrite free.
- Be careful when cooking meat since it can cause harmful carcinogens (compounds that can cause harm to your body) to form.
- Choose lean meats – fat can cause flare-ups that will char the meat
- Trim fat from meat before cooking.
- Marinate before cooking. Use a lower/no sugar marinade because sugar can also cause flare-ups
- Limit high-heat cooking. Use lower temperatures when grilling, and avoid frying.
- Do not over-cook or char meat. Remove any charred areas after cooking.
There are many options for a lean cut of beef:
- When you’re at the grocery store lean options include sirloin steak, flank steak, strip steak, and lean ground beef (with less than 6% fat).
- If you are at a restaurant filet mignon, strip steak, top sirloin, and a t-bone steak are all good choices.
- Make sure you leave off the butter and added sauces; add vegetables instead.
- Oh, and stick to a reasonable sized portion. A serving size is 4 ounces, but it can be triple that at restaurants. Eat half or a portion that is about the size of a deck of cards.
Here is a link to a downloadable list of lean cuts of beef – 29 Lean Cuts of Beef. Don’t forget that the nutrition stats are for 3-ounces of meat, so don’t eat a large portion!
- Eye Round Roast and Steak
- Sirloin Tip Side Steak
- Top Round Roast and Steak
- Bottom Round Roast and Steak
- Top Sirloin Steak
- Brisket, Flat Half
- 95% Lean Ground Beef
- Round Tip Roast and Steak
- Round Steak
- Shank Cross Cuts
- Chuck Shoulder Pot Roast
- Sirloin Tip Center Roast and Steak
- Chuck Shoulder Steak
- Bottom Round (Western Griller) Steak
- Top Loin (Strip) Steak
- Shoulder Petite Tender and Medallions
- Flank Steak
- Shoulder Center (Ranch) Steak
- Tri-Tip Roast and Steak
- Tenderloin Roast and Steak
- T-Bone Steak