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The Lean 'n Easy Way to Enjoy Meat

Enjoy a variety of foods!

Eating healthy is about enjoying the wonderful variety of foods available today. Choosing a variety of foods from among the food groups, as well as from within each group, makes meals and snacks interesting and helps provide all the nutrients you need. Also, eating a variety of tasty foods enhances the pleasure of eating!

According to the Food Guide Pyramid, you can enjoy 2 to 3 servings each day (a total of 5 to 7 ounces) of foods from the meat group, such as lean meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. Many people think they must restrict their intake of all meats to lower their fat intake. It's easy to lower your fat intake by choosing lean cuts of beef or other meat, trimming it before cooking, and using low-fat cooking methods.

Choose lean cuts of meat

Choose lean cuts and appropriate serving sizes of meat. One serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. The amounts of calories, cholesterol, and fat vary greatly among different cuts of meat or poultry. For example, a 3-ounce skinless chicken breast contains about 3 grams of fat, whereas a 3-ounce skinless chicken thigh contains about 9 grams of fat. You can balance higher- and lower-fat choices over a few days, so any cut of meat can be a part of a healthy eating plan.

The skinless breast is the leanest part of the chicken. But did you know that some leaner cuts of beef such as eye of round, top round, and round tip actually are close to skinless chicken breast in terms of fat, calories, and cholesterol? For example, a 3-ounce serving of eye of round contains about 4 grams of fat. When choosing lean beef, look for cuts with the words "round" or "loin" in the name, like top round or sirloin.

Trim the fat from meat

Decreasing the fat content of meat and poultry is easy be cause you can see the fat. Trimming visible fat from a sirloin steak lowers total fat per serving by 50 percent. Also, remember to remove the skin from poultry before eating.

Prepare lean meat dishes

Several cooking methods can lower the fat content of meats and retain the flavor and nutrients. Round cuts cook well when they're braised or stewed. Try these quick methods of cooking loin cuts:

Enjoy beef the lean 'n easy way

Carefully chosen and prepared, any food in today's diverse marketplace will fit into a healthy eating plan. Try this lean beef dish to spice up your menu.

Moo Shu Beef

1 lb beef round tip steaks, cut 1/8" to 1/4" thick
3 cups shredded cabbage, or packaged coleslaw mix without the dressing
2/3 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
8 medium flour tortillas, warmed
1/3 cup hoisin sauce, optional

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons sugar

Cut steaks lengthwise in half and then crosswise into thin strips. In medium bowl, combine marinade ingredients; add beef, tossing to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Remove beef from marinade; discard marinade. Heat large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef (half at a time) and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside is no longer pink. (Do not overcook.) Add coleslaw mix, green onions, and cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until sauce is thickened and bubbly.

To assemble, spoon 1/2 cup of beef mixture into center of each tortilla. (If using hoisin sauce, spread 2 teaspoons onto tortilla first.) Fold bottom edge over filling. Fold sides to center, overlapping edges.

Makes 4 servings. Allow 30 minutes to prepare and cook.

Nutrition information per serving without hoisin sauce: 501 calories; 13 grams fat; 6 milligrams iron; 653 milligrams sodium; 69 milligrams cholesterol.

For more information
The American Dietetic Association/National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics Consumer Nutrition Hot Line.

For food and nutrition information or for a referral to a registered dietitian in your area, call 800/366-1655. For customized answers to your food and nutrition questions by a registered dietitian, call 900/CALL-AN-RD (900/225-5267). The cost of the call will be $1.95 for the first minute and $.95 for each additional minute.

This fact sheet is supported by a grant from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
For a free copy of Delicious, Easy Beef Recipes, write to:  National Cattlemen's Beef Association, EADAFS, 444 North Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611

1996. ADAF. The ADA does not endorse the products or services of any company.
Reproduction of this fact sheet is permitted for educational purposes. Reproduction for sales purposes is not authorized.
The American Dietetic Association
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Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995
FAX: 312/899-1979