Beef is one of the biggest sources of fat in our diet, and yet it is an important source of protein, zinc, iron, selenium and vitamin B12. We can certainly live without it. Or we can compromise by choosing lean or, better still, extra-lean beef so we can benefit from the key minerals and protein, but without consuming as much fat. To be clear, the terms "lean" and "extra lean" should not be interpreted as being the same as "low fat." Lower in fat, yes; low fat, not quite. You see, when you see that the package of extra lean ground beef contains 5 percent fat, it's referring to the percentage weight of the product, not the percentage of total calories.
Four ounces of extra-lean ground beef (95 percent lean, 5 percent fat) is worth 155 calories, with 5.6 g of fat, or comprising 33.3 percent of its total calories.
Still, it is always better, if you choose to eat red meat, to go with as lean a cut as possible. The concern, from the point of view of cooking, is having dry meat without the fat to add the juiciness. But you can easily compensate. Here are some lower-fat recipes using lean or extra-lean ground beef that work very well.
These low fat mini meatloaves are a big hit with kids and adults alike. For one thing, they're just the right size. Made from extra-lean ground beef and packed with shredded veggies, these mini meatloaves are packed with protein and minerals that all low fat dieters must have. Enjoy these low fat mini meatloaves with skinny mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. More »
This a low fat take on a classic English dish. Shepherd's Pie was traditionally made with leftover meat, either lamb or beef. This is a recipe that can be made ahead and frozen for later use. I often prepare it one day and use it the next. If you want to reduce the fat content further, use only 3/4 pound of beef and add an extra cup of vegetables--more peas or some sweet corn. More »