Did you know that there are 29 cuts of beef considered lean by the USDA standards? That means less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 50 milligrams of cholesterol per 3-ounce serving. It also means beef can be a part of your healthy diet, delivering satisfying flavor, protein, iron, B12, zinc and other essential nutrients. Here are some healthy recipes featuring beef.
The leanest cuts of beef
According to the US Department of Agriculture, the following cuts of beef are deemed lean:
- Eye round, top round, bottom round, round roasts and steaks
- Sirloin tips side steak and top sirloin steak
- Brisket, flat half
- 95% Lean ground beef
- Shank cross cuts
- Chuck shoulder steak, shoulder petite tenders and medallions, shoulder center steak
- Top loin strip steak and flank steak
- Tri-tip roast and steak
- Tenderloin roast and steak
- T-bone steak
The nutritional benefits of beef
According to the Montana Beef Council, lean cuts of beef offer a nutritional competitive advantage as compared to other protein sources.
Calories: A 3-ounce serving of cooked lean beef (based on the average of the 29 cuts of lean beef) comes in at about 154 calories — comparable to skinless chicken, some cuts of pork, and certain types of fish.
Protein: Beef is a valuable protein source packed with muscle-building amino acids. A 3-ounce serving of beef provides your body with about 25 grams of protein. (Click for the importance of protein in the diet.)
Zinc: In addition, that 3-ounce serving has as much zinc as 13.5 (3-ounce) servings of salmon, which comes in at a whopping 2,363 calories (and who could possibly eat that much salmon in a sitting?).
Vitamin B12: Three-ounces of lean beef supplies as much vitamin B12 as 7.5 (3-ounce) servings of skinless chicken breasts, which is just over 1,000 calories.Iron: A serving of lean beef packs in as much iron as 2.75 cups of raw spinach — pair the two in a salad and you’ve got one iron-rich meal.
Riboflavin: A 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides as much riboflavin as 4.5 (3-ounce) servings of white tuna meat, which has nearly 500 calories.
Vitamin B6: Three ounces of lean beef also contains as much vitamin B6 as 6.5 cups of raw spinach. Though that amount of spinach has a mere 46 calories, you’ll likely be far more satisfied with your meal if it contains both beef and leafy green.Consuming a modest amount of beef — 3 ounces cooked — is a tasty way to reach your recommended daily intake of key vitamins and minerals. For optimal health, make vegetables, fruits and whole grains be the focus of your meal — and let beef be more of an integral accompaniment.