Healthy Beef Recipes

Many of the best known recipes in the world are for meat, from Hungarian goulash, beef wellington, beef stroganoff, beef bourguignon and of course the traditional roast beef.   Then of course there is the humble meat loaf, the everyday hamburger and mum’s pot roast.  Where would the culinary world be without meat?

I grew up a meat and veggies girl, and I simply cannot give up my love of meat.   The good news is I don’t have to.  The truth is there is nothing wrong with eating unprocessed, naturally fed beef. The key is portion size, using the leaner cuts and making a few changes to cooking methods.

For instance don’t cook your steak in butter or your roast in fat.  Trim away excess fat and use cooking methods such as grilling or roasting on a rack (which allows fat to drain away).   Casseroles and stews mean you can add lots of vegetables, legumes or grains.

These healthy beef recipes will show you how to enjoy all your favorites.

Beef Nutrition

Red meat is still an important part of any diet.  It provides high-quality protein with all the essential amino acids and is rich in minerals like iron and zinc, Vitamins B12, B3 (Niacin), B6 and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Vitamin B12 is the biggie here, because it can only be found in animal foods and not plants. 

Red meat is one of the best sources of haem iron, the type most easily absorbed by the body.   In does in fact have twice as much iron as chicken and three times as much as fish.   Iron of course is necessary for maintaining a healthy body.  It transports oxygen throughout the body, is a vital element for muscle health, maintains healthy brain function, regulates body temperature and plays a key role in maintaining a healthy immune system.

One serve of beef will provide an adult with two-thirds of their daily protein needs, half of their iron, zinc and niacin and all of their vitamin B12 and smaller amounts of other vitamins.

A common misconception is that meat is laden with fat.   There were many claims in previous years that it contributed to diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but these have since been debunked.  In fact nearly half of the fat in lean beef is monounsaturated.   Harvard conducted a review looking at data from 20 different studies and found no association between unprocessed red meat and these diseases. 

Studies have shown that eating unprocessed, lean red meat is just as effective in reducing “bad” cholesterol and raising ”good” cholesterol as lean white meat.

So what constitutes a serve?

100 g / 3.5 oz grilled rump steak
2 slices of roast meat
2 medium chops
¾ cup ground beef

Which Cuts of Beef are the Healthiest

Extra-lean cuts of Beef

The USDA defines extra-lean beef as a 3.5 oz serving containing less than 5 grams of total fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol.

The following cuts are considered extra-lean:

Eye of round roast and steak
Sirloin tip side steak
Top round roast and steak
Bottom round roast and steak
Top sirloin steak

Lean Cuts of Beef

The USDA defines a lean cut of beef as a 3.5 oz serving containing less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol.

The following cuts meet the USDA’s guidelines for lean beef:

Brisket - flat half
95 percent lean ground beef
Round tip roast and steak
Round steak
Shank cross cuts
Chuck shoulder pot roast
Sirloin tip center roast and steak
Chuck shoulder steak
Bottom round steak
Top loin (strip steak)
Shoulder petite tender and medallions
Flank steak

How to Make your Beef Recipes Healthy

Tips for Healthy Casseroles

  1. Use a casserole dish with a non-stick surface to first saute or brown the ingredients. If you don’t have one of these use a non-stick frying pan.

  2. A light spray of olive oil or canola oil is all that is needed. The only fat needed in the cooking process is in the initial sautéing and browning.

  3. If you are browning vegetables to add to the casserole, rather than add more oil, use water or vegetable stock instead. This will also help the vegetables to soften as they cook.

  4. When the casserole is ready, remove it from oven and leave to sit for about 10 minutes. Then carefully remove any fat that may have risen to the surface.

  5. Add chickpeas, cannellini beans or lentils to your casserole for extra fiber, minerals and protein.

Tips for Healthy Stews

  1. When simmering your stew, keep the heat as low as possible. The bubbles should be gentle and barely break the surface. This ensures that the ingredients remain intact without breaking up.

  2. For extra flavor add finely chopped fresh herbs at the very end of cooking. Either stir them through before serving of scatter than over the dish. They will retain their color and fresh flavor.

  3. When making a curry, saute the spices with the meat. The fat in the meat will release the fragrant spices without the need to add extra oil.

  4. If you use curry paste, you don’t need to add any extra oil for frying as the paste itself contains enough oil.

  5. If your stew still has a lot of liquid towards the end of cooking, you can add some uncooked pasta or rice to thicken the stew. Add pasta 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time and rice 20 minutes before. They not only absorb the flavors, but turn the stew into a one-pot meal.

Tips for Healthy Roasting and Baking

  1. Instead of coating the piece of meat with oil, just give it a light spray with oil.

  2. When baking or roasting meats, sit them on a rack in a baking dish so the fat drips off the meat and into the bottom of the pan.

The Best Way to Cook your Beef

What are the best and healthiest methods for cooking your beef?

» Healthy Beef Recipes

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