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Healthy Meals: The 411 on Beef

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The 411 on Beef

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Healthy Meals: The 411 on Beef
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Follow these quick and easy healthy eating tips to make beef recipes a part of your overall low fat diet.

Healthy meals can include beef, which is a highly nutritious food-rich in zinc, iron, selenium, B vitamins, and protein. Several studies have shown that in moderate portions (3 to 4 ounces), including beef in your overall low fat diet won't raise cholesterol.

To have your burger or steak with a clear conscience, follow these healthy eating tips:

Choose lean cuts for your healthy beef recipes. The fat and calorie content of beef varies depending on the grade and the cut. Select or Choice beef will be leaner than Prime. And top sirloin, eye of round, and bottom round cuts have fewer than 3 grams of saturated fat and fewer than 190 calories in 3 ounces.

Marinate beef first. Fat gives beef flavor and texture, so lean cuts need a little help to make them tasty and tender. An acid-based blend-containing wine, tomatoes, or vinegar-will do the trick.

When creating your low fat diet plan for the week, think like a flexitarian. You don't need to eat beef every day and, when you do have it, don't make it the centerpiece of your healthy meals. Beef-or any other meat-should make up just a quarter of your plate; fill the rest with vegetables and whole grains.

Order wisely at the steak house. A 10-ounce prime rib (a typical restaurant serving) can have 1,000 calories and 37 grams of saturated fat. Choose a lean cut, like sirloin, then take half of it home or split it with a friend. Just add a big salad (light on the dressing) and a vegetable side dish to round out your healthy meals.

Make a better burger and you’ll create a meal that fits into your low fat diet. Ground beef labeled 75 percent lean still has 8 grams of saturated fat in 3 ounces. Stick to 95 percent lean ground beef, which has 2 grams of saturated fat, or have a butcher trim and grind a piece of sirloin for you.

Consider grass-fed beef for your healthy beef recipes. Grazing cattle are better for the environment than typical corn-fed cattle. It takes huge amounts of chemical fertilizer to grow corn, which in turn takes vast quantities of oil to produce. Grass-fed beef is more expensive, but it's generally lower in fat and rich in omega-3s, the heart-healthy fat found in fish. Because it's so lean, though, you need to be careful not to overcook it.

Here is just one of many healthy beef recipes that you can enjoy in your low fat diet: the fajita-beef salad.

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