Beef has gotten a bad rap in recent years. Even with the popularity of low-carb Atkins-style diet plans, beef still wears the Scarlet A in the animal protein world. But on average, Americans eat almost 63 pounds of beef per person each year. So, maybe that bad rap isn’t getting through to the public.
While most nutritionists will steer you away from the steer, in favor of chicken, turkey, and fish, they won’t tell you to avoid it altogether. You just need to be aware of which kind of beef to buy.
Cooking Light’s Aliza Green was researching for her book, Field Guide to Meat, when she realized that she should expand her palate to include different cuts of beef. In her article on CNN.com she outlines which to choose for “maximum flavor and nutrition.”
In reading Green’s article, I learned something new: the origins of domesticated cattle. While humans have been domesticating cattle for some 8,500 years, Columbus was the one to first bring beef to the New World.
Here are some tips excerpted from Green’s article:
- There are 29 naturally lean cuts of beef that pass the government’s guidelines (less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3-ounce serving). They include flank steak, and sirloin, as well as “five lesser-known cuts,” according to Green. But she doesn’t elaborate on what those five are.
- Try to buy grass-fed beef. They have less saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories than corn-fed beef. Nearly 75 percent of U.S. beef comes from cattle fattened on grain (usually corn). Since corn is not a natural dietary choice for cattle, there are adverse reactions, which necessitate antibiotics. While grass-fed beef can be more expensive, the health benefits are worth it.
- Believe it or not, buying lean cuts can be cheaper. Also, when the fat cooks away, lean cuts provide more meat for your dollar.