It used to be that a well-marbled piece of beef was considered high-quality meat. But more and more consumers are asking for beef that is lower in fat and cholesterol. The beef industry has responded in two ways. First, most butchers have reduced the amount of “trim,” or fat around the outside of the meat, from one-half inch to less than one-eighth inch. And secondly, because the butcher doesn’t get paid for this trimmed fat, the beef industry is under pressure to provide beef with less fat. So growers are experimenting with feeds that produce a leaner cut of beef.
Most supermarket meat comes in three grades: prime, choice and select. Consumers who want to eat beef that is lower in fat should ask for select beef, formerly called “good” beef.
In addition to choosing leaner grades of beef, consumers should choose cuts that are particularly lean, such as the following:
- eye of round
- top round
- round tip
- bottom round
Good methods of preparing beef without added fat include broiling, roasting and simmering in liquid. Tough cuts can be tenderized by slow simmering; marinating in wine, lemon juice or other acidic liquids to soften the fibers; or cutting them in thin slices across the grain. Currently, over 95 percent of beef sold is choice grade.
To further reduce saturated fat in your diet, ask your healthcare provider for recipes that use smaller amounts of meat, such as in stir-fry or casseroles. You’ll save money and protect your family’s health at the same time.