Healthy Red Meat Choices

By James Roland

Red meat has taken quite a few hits on the health and nutrition front, and in some cases, the criticisms are valid. The fat content in red meat can be unhealthy and lead to weight gain, higher cholesterol and atherosclerosis. However, in moderation, beef and other read meats can remain a delicious part of your diet and supply you with important nutrients such as protein and iron. The key, again, is moderation and smart choices from the menu and the butcher.

Lean Beef

Though a thick, marbled t-bone steak may cook up nice and tasty, you don't need the extra fat. Find the leanest cuts of beef possible. Some of them include eye round roast and steak, sirloin tip side steak, top round roast and steak, bottom round roast and steak and top sirloin steak.

Extra Lean Ground Beef

If you're going to grill hamburgers or you just need ground beef for chili or other recipes, look for a butcher's "extra lean" ground beef, which is usually 90 or 95 percent lean. The redder the ground beef, the leaner it is, because the fat tends to make raw ground beef look pinker.

Pork Tenderloin

Pork has tried to market itself as "the other white meat," but it still technically falls under the red meat category. And while pork may not sound like it has much potential to be a healthy meat choice, the truth is that a pork tenderloin is relatively lean and can be cooked in a variety of ways to make it a versatile and relatively guilt-free choice.


Regardless of what red meat choice you make, you should probably limit your red meat intake to no more than once a week and remember to keep your serving sizes within reason. A good rule of thumb is that the meat at any meal shouldn't be any bigger than the palm of your hand. If you want to avoid heart disease and keep right on enjoying a delicious tenderloin now and then, keep your servings to a minimum, in size and frequency.

About The Author

James Roland is the editor of a monthly health publication that has approximately 75,000 subscribers in the United States and Canada. Previously, he worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, covering issues ranging from the environment and government to family matters and education. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.


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