Lean Beef


The good news is that lean beef is part of a healthy diet. Today's beef is 27 percent leaner than it was just 20 years ago thanks to closer trimming of fat at the meat counter.

Beef is a "nutritional bargain." It has significant amounts of several important nutrients compared to the calories it contains. Beef provides nutrients that are essential for good health such as iron, zinc, protein and five of the B-complex vitamins, including thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, B-6 and B-12.

Health professionals say it's important to eat a variety of foods to get these and other needed nutrients and at the same time not consume too many calories, too much fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium. Probably the easiest way to ensure that you're getting the variety you should each day is to follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Food Guide Pyramid.

Food Guide:
A Guide to Daily Food Choices

Fats and Sweets: Use sparingly
Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group: 2-3 Servings
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, & Nuts Group: 2-3 Servings
Vegetable Group: 3-5 Servings
Fruit Group: 2-4 Servings
Bread, Cereal, Rice, & Pasta Group: 6-11 Servings

The Food Guide Pyramid is a general guide, not a rigid rule, to help you make daily food choices. It emphasizes foods from the five major food groups shown above. Each group provides some but not all of the nutrients you need. Foods in one group can't replace those in another. No one food group is more important than another. For good health, you need them all.

You'll notice that the Food Guide Pyramid suggests 2-3 servings from the Meat group each day, or 5-7 ounces total. A cooked, trimmed 3-ounce serving of beef top sirloin has only 165 calories, 6.1 grams of total fat (2.4 grams are saturated fatty acids) and 76 milligrams of cholesterol. Generally, 4 ounces of boneless uncooked beef yields 3 ounces cooked. To visualize, a 3-ounce serving is about the size of a deck of cards.


Open-Face Roast Beef
& Crunchy Vegetables


Preparation time: 15 minutes


  • 3/4 pound thinly sliced deli roast beef
  • 4 large slices dark rye bread
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives
  • 1/3 cup mild horseradish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped major grey chutney
  • 2 teaspoons low-fat milk


In small bowl, combine sauce ingredients.

Spread one side of each bread slice with 2 teaspoons sauce. Top with equal amounts of cucumber, onion and beef. Spoon remaining sauce evenly over beef; sprinkle with chives.

Makes 4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich).

Nutritional information per serving:

246 calories
27 g protein
6 g fat (2 g saturated fatty acids)
57 calories from total fat (53 calories from fat in beef)
69 mg cholesterol
3.4 mg iron
253 mg sodium


Updated Beef Stroganoff


Total preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes


  • 1 pound beef tenderloin tips
  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup ready-to-serve beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon sliced green onion
  • 1/4 cup dairy sour half-and-half


Cook pasta according to package directions. Keep warm.

Meanwhile trim fat from beef; cut into 1 x 1/2-inch pieces. Spray large non-stick skillet with vegetable cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef (1/2 at a time) and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface is no longer pink. Remove from skillet; keep warm. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

In same skillet, cook mushrooms and onion in oil 2 minutes or until tender; stir in flour. Gradually add a broth, stirring until blended. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes. Return beef to skillet; heat through.

Serve beef mixture over pasta. Sprinkle with green onion; pass sour half-and-half to dollop on top.

Makes 4 servings (serving size 1/4 of recipe).

Nutritional information per serving:

344 calories
30 g protein
13 g fat (5 g saturated fatty acids)
121 calories from total fat (77 calories from fat in beef)
77 mg cholesterol
4.9 mg iron
344 mg sodium


Provided by National Live Stock and Meat Board

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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