Ground Beef Nutrition Facts

Calories in Beef and Its Health Benefits

Heart Healthy Lean Steak Salad Meal
Heath Patterson / Getty Images

Beef is high in saturated fat, but is it totally bad for you? No, not at all.  The key to enjoying beef to choose leaner cuts of beef, such as round steaks and some parts of sirloin steaks.

Serving size is equally important. One serving size of beef is only three to four ounces, or about the size of a typical deck of playing cards. That big T-bone steak I mentioned earlier may be equal to three or four servings of beef.

Beef, Ground, 85% Lean, Broiled Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 3 oz
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 213 
Total Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4g
Monounsaturated Fat 6 g
Cholesterol 77mg


25%
Sodium 61mg2%
Potassium 270mg7%
Carbohydrate 0g0%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 1% · Iron 12%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Beef is a great source of protein, carnitine, zinc, selenium, iron, and B vitamins. If you choose a lean cut of meat you won't have to deal with too much fat, especially saturated fats that may be associated with increase inflammation. So, for example, a 3-ounce serving of beef steak has about 150 calories and 6 grams fat. That's a small portion, but it gives you more than 20 grams protein. 

​​Health Benefits of Beef

Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle tissue and for various biological processes that happen in your body every day. Eating a diet high in red meat has been associated with cardiovascular and other health problems, including an increased risk of colorectal cancer, so it's probably best to limit your beef consumption to 3 to 4 servings per week.

These health risks are increased with all types of red meat but are worse for processed red meats such as lunch meat and sausages, which may be made with beef or pork. 

​​Common Questions About Beef

Is grass fed beef healthier than meat from regular cattle?

Maybe. Grass fed beef appears to have a healthier fat profile than meat from cattle fed corn and soy feed.

But, to be fair, there currently isn't much research available on the health benefits of grass fed beef.​

What should I eat if I want to cut back on beef?

Cutting back on beef is a great time to try a few vegetarian meals. Legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas and dry beans are high in protein but low in saturated fat. They're also high in fiber so they're just as filling and satisfying as red meat.

Fish is another excellent substitute for beef, especially if you choose salmon, tuna, trout or other fish high in omega-3 fats. Chicken and poultry can be good too. Whatever you choose to replace some of those serving of beef, per sure to prepare them properly and stay away from dishes like fried chicken and fish sticks that are high in fat, sodium and calories.

I'm used to eating big steaks and burgers. How can I be happy with a 3-ounce portion?

You might be scratching your head right now, mentally comparing your favorite juicy 10-ounce T-bone steak to a little three-ounce piece of lean beef. Your taste buds may not thank you for giving up the T-bone, but your heart surely will.

Enjoying low-fat beef isn't that tough (no pun intended), and you can make three ounces of low-fat beef really feel like a meal. Read on.

Does ground beef have a lot of calories?

The fat and calorie counts of ground beef differ based on the fat content. For example, 3 ounces of 80 precent lean ground beef has about 210 calories, while the same size portion of 85 percent lean has about 170. A serving of 90 percent lean ground beef has about 145 calories.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Beef

Try a beef stir-fry or sauté. Stir-frying and sautéing are both methods of cooking that use a small amount of hot oil in a large pan. A healthy stir-fried or sautéed meal would include three ounces of lean beef slices for each person plus lots of different vegetables, sauces, and seasonings. The vegetables will add volume to your meal, and the sauces and seasonings will add so many flavors, you won't even realize how little meat is in the dish.

Have a steak salad as a meal. Start with a big bed of your favorite lettuce and add lots of vegetables, maybe a little low-fat cheese, some nuts and even pieces of fruit. Thinly slice three ounces of leftover or cooked lean steak, and place the beef slices on top of the salad. Add a small amount salad dressing made with olive oil or canola oil. The fresh vegetables add lots of volume; the olive and canola oils add healthy fats.

Make a sandwich. The most popular beef sandwich is the hamburger. No, this doesn't mean you can trade in your T-bone steak for a big greasy hamburger. To make a healthy sandwich with lean beef, place three ounces of thinly sliced lean steak on a slice of hearty whole grain bread. It might look a little lonely, so add lots of lettuce, sprouts, tomato slices and maybe a slice of vegetarian cheese. Add some mustard or pickles and you have a healthy and delicious sandwich. The fiber from the whole grains will leave you feeling full and satisfied with just a small amount of beef.

Make beef stew. Beef stew is such a great comfort food and so easy to make at home. Start with a large pot or Crock-Pot. Brown pieces of lean beef and add non-fat, low-sodium beef broth. Next, add carrots, celery, potatoes and any other vegetables that you love. In a few hours, you will have a delicious stew. Serve a bowl of your stew with some whole grain bread and a green salad for a delicious, filling and healthy beef meal.

Make a casserole. Here's an easy way to stretch out a pound of ground beef. Choose the lowest-fat grade of ground beef you can find in your grocery store. Cook the beef thoroughly and drain all of the fat before proceeding with your recipe. On that note, choose your recipe carefully -- many casseroles are full of fat and calories and won't make a good choice for a healthy meal. However, you can try some healthy casserole recipes. Look for ones that use tomatoes and tomato sauce instead of cheese or cream sauces.

More Tips and Healthy Beef Recipes

  • Lean meats can be made more tender by using a marinade.
  • For ground beef recipes, use lean ground turkey, which is lower in fat and works well for burgers and chili.
  • Extend your ground beef by mixing it with other ingredients such as whole grain breadcrumbs, vegetables or mashed beans.

These healthy recipes feature beef. They're easy to make and delicious:

Sources:

Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, Nader GA, Larson S. "​Nutrients, Foods, and Colorectal Cancer Prevention.​" Gastroenterology. 2015 May;148(6):1244-60.e16. 

Song M, Garrett WS, Chan AT. "A Review of Fatty Acid Profiles and Antioxidant Content in Grass-fed and Grain-fed Beef." Nutr J. 2010 Mar 10;9:10. 

Wolk A. "Potential Health Hazards of Eating Red Meat." J Intern Med. 2016 Sep 6.

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