What is the Leanest Ground Beef? A Guide to Healthy Options

Ground beef is a staple ingredient used in many classic American dishes from hamburgers to meatloaf. But not all ground beef is created equal when it comes to fat content and health factors. For those looking to reduce fat and calories without sacrificing flavor, leaner varieties of ground beef offer tasty options.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the leanest types of ground beef, including:

  • How leanness is measured in ground beef
  • The healthiest extra lean options
  • How to choose lean ground beef at the store
  • Best cooking methods for lean ground beef
  • Delicious recipes to try

How Leanness is Measured in Ground Beef

The leanness or fat content of ground beef is measured by the ratio of lean meat to fat. This ratio is called the “lean point.”

For example, a package labeled “90/10 ground beef” contains 90% lean meat and 10% fat. The higher the first number, the leaner the ground beef.

Here are the common lean points you’ll see:

  • 70/30: 70% lean, 30% fat
  • 80/20: 80% lean, 20% fat
  • 85/15: 85% lean, 15% fat
  • 90/10: 90% lean, 10% fat
  • 95/5: 95% lean, 5% fat

Packages may also be labeled as “extra lean” if they contain over 90% lean meat. Anything with a ratio of 96% lean meat or higher is considered extra lean.

The Healthiest Extra Lean Ground Beef Options

If you’re looking for the leanest possible ground beef, here are some excellent extra lean varieties to choose:

Ground Sirloin 90/10

  • Fat Ratio: 90% lean, 10% fat
  • Calories: 170 per 100g
  • Uses: Chili, meatballs, burgers

Ground sirloin comes from the sirloin subprimal cut. It has little marbling, making it the leanest ground beef option.

Ground Round 95/5

  • Fat Ratio: 95% lean, 5% fat
  • Calories: 130 per 100g
  • Uses: Tacos, pasta sauce, meatloaf

Ground round comes from the cow’s leg and rump. It has less fat than ground chuck or sirloin.

Ground Bison 93/7

  • Fat Ratio: 93% lean, 7% fat
  • Calories: 152 per 100g
  • Uses: Burgers, taco filling, chili

Ground bison has a slightly higher fat content than beef but is still very lean. It has a rich, meaty flavor.

Ground Turkey 93/7

  • Fat Ratio: 93% lean, 7% fat
  • Calories: 165 per 100g
  • Uses: Burgers, meatballs, casseroles

Ground turkey breast is extremely lean and absorbs flavors well. Make sure to buy ground turkey breast, not ground turkey which has more fat.

How to Choose Lean Ground Beef at the Grocery Store

When browsing the meat section, here are some tips for picking the leanest ground beef:

  • Check the label: Look for packages marked at least 90% lean. Confirm the lean point.

  • Choose ground sirloin or round: These are the leanest beef cuts.

  • Avoid ground chuck and ground beef: Chuck and beef contain more fat. Great for burgers though!

  • Look for the USDA stamp: Ensure the meat was inspected for quality.

  • Examine the color: Lean beef is bright red. Darker meat indicates more fat content.

  • Watch out for added fat: Some packages contain additives like beef tallow for more fat.

  • Consider ground turkey or bison: Extra lean non-beef options.

With so many varieties available, you can easily find lean ground beef to suit your nutritional needs.

Best Cooking Methods for Lean Ground Beef

The lower fat content in lean ground beef means it can dry out if overcooked. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t overcook: Cook just until no longer pink and juices run clear. Do not cook past 160°F.

  • Keep it moist: Add sauce, gravy or moist ingredients. Blend meats for moisture.

  • Brown properly: Get a nice sear for flavor, but don’t burn the meat.

  • Use healthy fats: Add oils, avocado, nuts to boost fat content.

With a little care, you can enjoy juicy, delicious lean ground beef dishes. Try cooking methods like skillet cooking, baking casseroles, simmering in sauce or stew, and grilling.

Delicious Recipes with Lean Ground Beef

Here are some nutritious recipes to enjoy lean ground beef:

Greek Stuffed Peppers

  • Lean ground sirloin
  • Onions, garlic, spinach
  • Feta cheese
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Baked in bell peppers

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

  • Ground round beef
  • Broccoli, carrots, snap peas
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Soy sauce, garlic
  • Quick skillet meal

Shepherd’s Pie

  • Ground turkey or bison
  • Peas, carrots, onion, garlic
  • Mashed potato topping
  • Quick comfort food dish

Zucchini Lasagna

  • Lean ground beef
  • Zucchini slices instead of noodles
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Hearty tomato sauce
  • Baked casserole

Beef and Rice Stuffed Tomatoes

  • Extra lean ground beef
  • Cooked brown rice
  • Diced onion, garlic
  • Stuffed in tomato shells
  • Baked until hot

With a wide range of options like 90/10 ground sirloin, 95/5 ground round, and ground turkey breast, you can easily find lean and healthy ground beef. Just remember to adjust cooking times and temperatures to keep the meat tender and juicy.

Pair your lean ground beef with lots of vegetables, whole grains, healthy oils, and spices to round out the nutritional value. Lean ground beef makes it easy to enjoy your favorite dishes like tacos, chili, burgers, and meatballs without all of the extra fat and calories.

So next time you’re looking for the healthiest ground beef, go lean. Your body and taste buds will thank you!

MEAT PERCENTAGES % – how to choose the right ground beef | Jess Pryles

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