Is Beef Good for You? Key Facts to Know

Is beef good for you? We often hear that it’s important to limit beef intake and to focus more on “lean” meats. So, I’m here to myth bust common misconceptions.

What I have to share may surprise you. Depending on the cut and the type of beef you choose, you can have beef many times a week and it’s still okay for your heart. So yes, there are many times where beef can be good for you and can be a healthy addition to your weekly meals.

In October I had the opportunity to gather with other dietitians and influencers to learn how the beef industry is changing, and how it can be a part of a healthy diet. National Cattleman’s Beef Association sponsored the event through the Beef It’s What’s for Dinner program. We learned many great insights that I can now share with you.

How Often Can You Eat Beef Per Week

So now, the million dollar question that everyone wants to know! Many cuts of beef used to have more fat, but a lot of the industry is finally cutting it out. Plus, they have found that regardless of the diet that the cows are fed, not all of the fat is saturated fat. Some of it is monounsaturated, which is a heart-healthy fat that can also help reduce cholesterol levels.

Beef can even be considered heart healthy if you get the right cut. Examples include boneless strip steak, flank steak, top round steak, and 90% lean ground beef (which has 10% or less fat). Newer research is showing that with these leaner cuts, it’s even okay to eat meat more than twice a week.

How to Choose Lean Ground Meat

Packaging for ground beef usually highlights how lean it is, rather than the percentage of fat. So if you’re looking for lean ground beef, look for text on the label that says at least 90% lean. You may even find some that are as lean as 95%. When you see 90% lean, it means there is less than 10% fat.

Tip to Reduce the Total Fat Percentage of Ground Beef

While it’s possible to enjoy steak and other meats several times a week, there are key tips to follow. Choosing an option with a lower percentage of fat is valuable.

However, this can be more expensive. So for budgeting purposes and health, here’s a quick tip for you. If you buy 80% ground beef, start by heating up the meat on the pan and heat up hot water separately. Drain the beef by adding it to a colander, which will begin to drain some of the fat. Then, pour the hot water over the beef in the colander to further reduce the amount of fat. This can take you from 20% fat to 10%!

About The Event I Attended

Manuel at the national cattleman's beef association
beef it's what's for dinner event
manuel villacorta at beef its whats for dinner program

I was honored to have been invited by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association for this event. They gave us an opportunity to participate in a honest and transparent communication about the beef industry. Ranchers, scientists, and animal welfare professionals openly discussed food safety, animal welfare, the use of antibiotics, feeding grass vs grain, nutrition, the environment and anything about the lifecycle of a cattle. 

The several-day event included classes on the latest research. Then we put that information into practice while some of the guests cooked dishes with beef. I even made a beef stir fry which turned out delicious. It was a hands-on experience and opened my eyes to the reasons why education around the different types of meat is so important.

Healthy Beef Picadillo Recipe

To try something new with lean ground beef, I recommend my delicious beef picadillo. It is a ground beef dish with a mix of fresh veggies and farro. You can also make it with diced potatoes instead of farro.

Beef picadillo with farro
Healthy Beef Picadillo with Farro and Veggies
View the Recipe

How to Choose A Cut That’s Good for You

While there are seemingly endless types of beef, finding the options that are within your budget while also good for your health is key! Beef It’s What’s for Dinner has a complete guide to different types of lean cuts. So next time you wonder if beef is good for you, you can remember these tips and cuts and feel great choosing a lean option for your meal!

To learn more visit Beef It’s What’s for Dinner.

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