Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: The Great Ground Beef Battle

For the majority of my life, I was not a red meat eater. Yes, this Parrothead did not always enjoy a Cheeseburger in Paradise at the Buffett show each summer. Half of you are probably thinking that is the way it should be. For whatever reason of your own, meat has been excluded from your diets entirely. And I respect that. While the other half are wondering why I would deny myself such great pleasure all those years. Well, I will give you the flat out truth. The reason I passed on steak and burgers all those years was because of the fat content. I knew beef had a higher amount of fat than chicken and turkey, so that is what I opted for. Now, we can argue different pros and cons to red meat, but for today, we are just talkin’ fat content. We will save the rest for another Tuesday.

My feelings toward burgers and steaks changed when I met my hubby. On one of the first “dates” we had, he took me over to his friend’s house for dinner. What was for dinner? Steaks. I didn’t want to be rude, so I took that first bite. After that, I was hooked. Sorry, I love a great steak! And this was a really great one. From that point on, red meat was a friend of mine.

While it still holds true that a boneless skinless chicken breast has a considerably lower amount of fat, than let's say, a rib eye, the same does not hold true when looking at ground meat.

Last night while shopping for burger meat to make Pimiento Cheeseburgers (recipe coming soon!), I thought I'd make a comparison between my options. If I look at the leanest ground beef, how does it size up next to ground chicken or turkey?

Are you ready for the shocking discovery? Ground turkey and chicken pack anywhere between 12-17 grams of fat per serving. At that rate, you are better off getting 93/7 or even 80/20 ground beef! How could this be? I thought chicken and turkey were lean. Well, just like us, we have lean parts and then we have parts that provide a little extra insulation. Ground turkey and chicken includes both of these parts, unless specifically stated.

If you are able to find ground chicken or turkey "breast", now we are talkin'. The fat content is extremely low and worth passing on the ground beef for. So, if fat is a factor when making burgers or other recipes calling for ground beef, then first look for ground chicken or turkey breast. Look for the word “lean” on the package. Jenny-O makes one that is 99% fat free! That is your best bet. After that, go with the good stuff and use 93/7 ground beef.

                                                               The Numbers

Ground Turkey (85% Lean)                        14.9 g/fat                        4 ounce serving
Ground Chicken                                           11 g/fat                         3 ounce serving
Ground Beef (93/7)                                        6 g/fat                         4 ounce serving
Jenny-O Ground Turkey (99%)                       1g/fat                         4 ounce serving

Just remember, chicken or turkey doesn’t always mean healthier for you. Check the labels and packaging before buying in order to make the best decision.

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