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What's the Healthiest Red Meat?

The Leanest Cuts of Meats Revealed

Needing a break from chicken and turkey? While red meat can be higher in cholesterol and saturated fat than chicken, fish, or turkey, it can still be incorporated into a healthy diet plan. Not all red meat offers the same nutritional benefits, and some are much leaner than others, so learn which cuts to incorporate into your diet.

  • Bison: Believe it or not, at 145 calories, bison is comparable to skinless chicken breast when it comes to calories, fat, and cholesterol. It's a terrific source of protein and iron, and as far as flavor goes, expect something like beef, only a little sweeter and richer.
  • Beef: The USDA defines a lean cut of beef as a 3.5-ounce serving that contains fewer than 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol, and there are 29 cuts on the list. However, the leanest overall are the loin, round, or sirloin cuts. When choosing beef, choose cuts graded "choice" or "select" rather than "prime" since "prime" usually has more fat and, as a result, more marbling in its appearance. Of the three grades, "select" is usually the leanest.
  • Veal: While a little higher in cholesterol than beef, veal is a tender red meat that comes from young cattle. The leanest cuts are the sirloin, rib chop, loin chop, and top round. A three-ounce trimmed portion of a sirloin cut provides 150 calories or fewer per serving. Avoid fattier veal cutlets and breast meat.
  • Lamb: Try cuts from the shank half of the leg (if labels aren't clear, ask the butcher). A three-ounce serving of a well-trimmed lamb shank has five to six grams of fat and about 155 calories.
  • Pork: Pork gets a pretty bad rap, but lean cuts are rich in B vitamins and protein. Pork tenderloins have 122 calories and three grams of fat per three-ounce serving, while boneless chops weigh in at fewer than 150 calories per serving.
Image Source: Thinkstock
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Join The Conversation
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I dont like Veal, i eat alot of chicken and pork and occasionally red meat and venison. I wont touch Lamb, its too. gummy
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I dont like Veal, i eat alot of chicken and pork and occasionally red meat and venison. I wont touch Lamb, its too. gummy
nikodarling nikodarling 8 years
I love bison! Another good reason to eat bison - it is very filling. Everyone I know that eats it agrees that a small portion seems to be more filling than an equal amount of other types of meat. Go Bison!
laPetiteJuJu laPetiteJuJu 8 years
I agree with lil 1 and fluffyhelen! Trader Joe's buffalo burgers are so good, and ostrich burgers are fantastic too! They taste just as good as hamburgers but are much healthier :)
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
Bison is SO good! Alberta definatly has some winner Bison!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
Bison is SO good!Alberta definatly has some winner Bison!
Passion4Fashion Passion4Fashion 8 years
Ted's Montana Grill is a restaurant that features Bison- I like it!
terrywagner123 terrywagner123 8 years
I'll stick to chicken.
terrywagner123 terrywagner123 8 years
I'll stick to chicken.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I've had Buffalo recently! Very tasty. =D I also like Ostrich burgers.. =)
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I've had Buffalo recently! Very tasty.=DI also like Ostrich burgers.. =)
lil-l lil-l 8 years
Bison burgers from trader joe's are the best!
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
I had bison at Fuddruckers before I had surgery and it was delicious. Moist, tender and not at all gamey. I think if I have guest for Xmas I'll cook a Bison roast for dinner.
designergirl designergirl 8 years
Bison is really, really good. I made bison chili last night.
JudyRie JudyRie 8 years
We don't eat much meat, except fish. I have had bison, elk and even moose though, and I have to say I enjoyed it all. On our second date, my husband actually made me lasagna with ground elk. It was awesome, save for the black olives, but I faked it and got them down. My father-in-law is a hunter and used to send us some of the meat he would get from elk and moose. I don't know about the quality of moose meat, but it was good, and wild game doesn't upset me ethically the way conventionally raised meat does. I've also seen (but don't know that I've tried) Beefalo, a cross between buffalo and beef (if that wasn't obvious). My dad loved it.
JudyRie JudyRie 8 years
We don't eat much meat, except fish. I have had bison, elk and even moose though, and I have to say I enjoyed it all. On our second date, my husband actually made me lasagna with ground elk. It was awesome, save for the black olives, but I faked it and got them down.My father-in-law is a hunter and used to send us some of the meat he would get from elk and moose. I don't know about the quality of moose meat, but it was good, and wild game doesn't upset me ethically the way conventionally raised meat does.I've also seen (but don't know that I've tried) Beefalo, a cross between buffalo and beef (if that wasn't obvious). My dad loved it.
emalove emalove 8 years
Bison?? I don't think so. I'm not much of a red meat eater...on occasion, it's good, but I generally don't eat meat much at all. Even chicken. Lately, I've been eating more seafood.
krEnElk krEnElk 8 years
I grew up in North Dakota and people eat bison ALL the time . . . breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I'm not a big fan (but I don't really like red meat, period), but it makes for great burgers (if you buy it ground) because it has such strong flavor on its own.
DesignRchic DesignRchic 8 years
Bison meat is sooo yummy! I've had a Bison burger as well as Bison tips. You can hardly tell the difference comparing it to beef.
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