Red Meat

Myth: Red meat has no place in a healthy diet, particularly if you are trying to avoid heart disease.

It is true that we have become a society that consumes too much of the wrong kinds of red meat.  Generally, we equate good tasting red meat with heavy marbling which is high in fat content.  Red meat offers many nutrients that are difficult to find in a single food.  It is also a good source of protein and is rich in B vitamins and minerals.  There is no medically compelling reason to eliminate red meat from your diet, but the focus should shift to the quality and portion size of the red meat.

Choose leaner cuts which are usually less expensive than prime marbled cuts.  Good examples are eye-round, flank or skirt steak, or London broil.  When switching from a meat-based to plant-based diet, a less-expensive, smaller portion of the meal is comprised of red meat.

For example, if you like hamburgers, use 90 to 95 percent lean beef.  You might think this makes an extremely dry and tasteless burger.  However, here are some ways to make a tasty, healthy burger.  (The following measurements apply to approximately 1 pound of beef.  Season to your tastes!)

  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoonfuls of a good quality oil (olive, grapeseed, or corn oil—ones that enhance the taste of the beef)
  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoonfuls (or more according to taste) of grated or minced onion,
  • Add seasonings of your choice (garlic salt or powder, cumin, steak seasonings, chili powder, paprika)

Other options

  • For a moister burger, add 1 to 2 tablespoonfuls of very fine breadcrumbs
  • To increase the health benefit and “stretch” the amount of beef, add up to ½ cup of finely minced raw vegetables for each 1 pound of beef
    • Vegetables could include carrots, celery, and sweet or hot peppers