Lean meats are packed with nutrients like B vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and B6), which help the body’s metabolism, aid in red blood cell formation and play a vital role in our nervous system; iron, found particularly in red meat, helps maintain energy and carry oxygen through the bloodstream (and is especially important for teenage girls and women in their child-bearing years); magnesium, which is vital for building bones; and zinc, which is essential for our immune system.

Eating lean beef, lamb, pork, and poultry can be part of a reasonable weight management program that also includes generous amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables.

While skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets may qualify as your best bets,  red meat can be healthy if kept lean, eaten in small portions and in moderation. For the leanest ground beef, look for ground round, followed by ground sirloin, ground chuck and then regular ground beef (but aim for at least 90 to 95 percent lean, which contains about 5 grams of total fat per serving).

Other lean options include:

  • Beef cuts with “loin” or “round” in the name (top round, round tip, top sirloin, bottom round, top loin and tenderloin)
  • Pork products with “loin” or “leg” in the name (tenderloin, top loin roast, top loin chop, center loin chop, sirloin roast and loin rib chop)
  • Lamb cuts with loin chop, arm chop and fore shanks.
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