More Deliciously Healthy Ways to Cook with Ground Meat

by in Healthy Tips, March 23, 2014

stuffed peppers
Here’s your guide to healthiest ground meat picks.

Beef
High in protein and iron, beef is arguably the most popular choice. Ninety-seven percent lean may appear to be the best choice, but cutting all of the fat will also slash too much of the flavor. Ninety percent lean offers a nice balance, providing good flavor without going overboard on calories. A 3-ounce cooked portion (about the size of a smartphone) contains 180 calories, 3 grams saturated fat, 21 grams of protein and 12 percent of the daily requirement for iron.

Best uses: tacos, burgers, Sloppy Joes, Mini Meatballs

Lamb
Lamb is chock-full of B vitamins and has amazing flavor. It’s a little higher in fat and calories, so use in recipes where a little can go a long way. A 3-ounce cooked portion contains 241 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat, 21 grams of protein and 8 percent of daily iron.

Best uses: ragus and meat sauce, Meatball Sliders

Bison
This once unheard-of meat became a favorite of chefs and home cooks alike as a tasty and lower fat alternative to beef. Grass-fed bison may also be a smart choice. That same 3-ounce cooked portion has 152 calories, 3 grams saturated fat, 22 grams of protein and 15 percent daily iron.

Best uses: chili, burgers, Slimmed-Down Patty Melt

Turkey
Switching to poultry may seem like a no-brainer, but buyer beware: Packages labeled “ground turkey” can have just as much (if not more) fat as fatty cuts of red meat. Choose ground breast meat to ensure there’s no dark meat or skin added to the mix. In 3 ounces of cooked ground turkey breast there are 120 calories, less than 1 gram saturated fat, 26 grams of protein and 2 percent iron.

Best uses: meatloaf, goulash, Turkey Burgers, Turkey-and-Rice Stuffed Peppers (above, from Food Network Magazine)

Chicken
As with turkey, ground breast meat is the way to go. Ground chicken can dry out quickly, so use it in the right type of recipes to prevent it from getting tough and chewy. A 3-ounce portion contains 120 calories, less than 1 gram saturated fat, 23 grams of protein and 6 percent iron.

Best uses: Game Time Chili, tacos, burritos

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (4)

  1. [...] Bison This once unheard-of meat became a favorite of chefs and home cooks alike as a tasty and lower fat alternative to beef. Grass-fed bison may also be a smart choice. That same 3-ounce cooked portion has 152 calories, 3 grams saturated fat, 22 grams …read more [...]

  2. Karen Duff says:

    Wow Amazing Recipes! I would love to try them! Thanks

  3. [...] Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day. See Toby’s full bio » Next [...]

  4. […] More Deliciously Healthy Ways to Cook with Ground Meat … – Mar 23, 2014  · Here’s your guide to healthiest ground meat picks, including beef, lamb, chicken, turkey and bison. […]

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