The Healthiest Cuts of Red Meat


One of my earliest childhood memories occurred at one of my favorite places: the dinner table. I was five years old and my dad had marinated and grilled a filet mignon.

As a very picky kid, I eyed the piece of meat with disgust. It looked raw and it was bleeding out the sides, and it was nothing like the mac and cheese or chicken fingers I was used to. So when my dad served it to me, I threw a hissy fit and begged him to let me have Eggo Minis instead (remember those? I'm not sure if they're even still around). If it were up to my mom, I would have been "leggo-ing my Eggo" in no time, but with my dad, dinner was non-negotiable. After 45 minutes, I finally took a bite of the steak. To my surprise, it was pure bliss to my taste buds. From that moment forward, I was in love with red meat.

To this day, if I could eat any meal in the world, it would be steak and potatoes, hands-down. To me, there is nothing else that tastes as good or feels as satisfying. But there seems to be some "beef" with consuming red meat. Although it's a great source of protein and iron, red meat tends to pack a high caloric punch.

Well, I recently found out that this is not always the case! You can eat red meat without ruining your diet — you just have to select the right kinds. So I asked Marissa Lippert, Registered Dietitian and owner of Nourish Nutrition Counseling, how to steak out the healthiest kinds of red meat at the grocery store. Here are a few of her tips:

1. Always go for cuts of beef that are over 93 percent lean. The healthiest cuts are 95 to 97 percent lean.

2. If opting for a steak, choose flank, tenderloin, sirloin, filet mignon or top round roast. Stay away from T-bone or prime rib.

3. When looking at the grades of meats, seek out cuts that are labeled "select." These are the healthiest. A "prime" grade of meat generally has the highest fat content. If you end up buying a prime grade, consider eating it in smaller portions (six to eight ounces is recommended).

4. Avoid cuts of red meat that have a marbled look to them. This indicates a very high fat content.

5. One of the healthiest types of red meat with a similar taste to beef is buffalo or bison. It is actually lower in calories and fat than chicken!