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How to Make Red Meat Part of a Healthy Diet

Red meat is a good source of protein, zinc, and iron. Here are ways to take advantage of red meat's nutritional benefits while minimizing potentially adverse health effects.


  • Step 1: Choose lean cuts Buy lean cuts of beef with minimal outside fat and minimal marbling. Cuts from the loin are best. Ask your butcher for suggestions.
  • TIP: Remember the "10-4-4" rule: no more than 10 grams total fat and 4 grams saturated fat in a 4-ounce serving.
  • Step 2: Trim the fat Trim excess fat from beef before cooking. Trimming fat can reduce your saturated fat intake by as much as half.
  • Step 3: Avoid processed meats Don't buy processed meats or factory-ground hamburger, which often contains extra saturated fat. Ask your butcher to custom-grind your hamburger from lean cuts of beef.
  • Step 4: Grill carefully Take it easy on the grill. Charring beef at high temperatures produces carcinogens in the meat.
  • Step 5: Eat smaller portions Limit red meat to 3- or 4-ounce portions, and don't eat more than 12 ounces total per week.
  • TIP: Use a kitchen scale so you know exactly how much red meat you’re consuming.
  • Step 6: Be creative Be creative with your meals. Make red meat an accent or a side dish instead an entree. Add small amounts to dishes like stir-fry, salad, and soup.
  • Step 7: Try buffalo Try a buffalo steak or burger. Buffalo is a healthy alternative to beef because it has less fat, calories, and cholesterol than beef and has more protein and iron.
  • FACT: The average American eats nearly 200 pounds of meat, fish, and poultry each year, 50 pounds more than in the 1950s.

You Will Need

  • A butcher
  • Restraint
  • Creativity in the kitchen
  • A kitchen scale

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