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The Beef with Beef

grilled steak on a plate with vegetables

Even if you’re a die-hard meat-eater, it’s hard to ignore all the health documentaries and advice of prominent health professionals who have a beef with beef. Don’t put your hamburger down just yet. Instead, start eating beef like your health depends on it.

“The main idea is to find balance with the lean protein sources you’re consuming,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Amy Jamieson-Petonic. “There are some health benefits associated with lean, grass-fed beef, lean poultry and some fish, like salmon or tuna. However, it’s easy to overdo it.”

The daily recommended amount of lean beef is approximately six ounces per day for most women and around eight ounces per day for men.

“Keep in mind that three ounces of meat is roughly the size of a deck of cards,” Ms. Jamieson-Petonic says. “Many people are eating more than a serving. Since the body doesn’t store protein, overeating will lead to the body eliminating the excess protein through urination or by depositing it as fat.”

In addition to portion sizes, your cooking method also makes a difference in how healthy your meal is.

“Grilling or baking can be leaner than cooking with oils, which tend to be higher in fat and calories,” she says.

When you’re planning a meal, there are a few important factors to keep in mind before purchasing beef. Ms. Jamieson-Petonic recommends:

  1. Go lean. “Choose lean cuts, such as sirloin or a filet, as opposed to a fatty part, such as a T-bone area or prime rib,” she says.
  2. Read the nutritional facts. You can select a cut of beef as low as four to five grams of fat per serving as opposed to some cuts that are as high as 50 grams.
  3. Plan a well-rounded meal. “Nutrition is a balancing act. Be sure to consume adequate whole grains, fruits and vegetables with the lean protein,” says Jamieson-Petonic. “For example, try grilled kabobs loaded with plenty of vegetables.”

With grilling season upon us, Ms. Jamieson-Petonic recommends several red-meat meals that will satisfy your craving without compromising your health:

Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Makes 8 servings


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • ¾ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh leafy herbs of choice (basil, cilantro, and/or mint)
  • 3 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped (or 3 teaspoons dried)
  • 3 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 2 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 pounds skirt steak
  1. Place all of the ingredients (except the steak) in the bowl of a food processor or a blender. Pulse until well combined. The sauce should be course in texture and assertive in flavor. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  2. Remove ½ cup of the sauce and reserve for serving with the cooked meat.
  3. Place the steak in a shallow dish and cover with the remaining sauce, coating all sides. Let the steak marinate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate and the meat to come to room temperature, which ensures even cooking. Or, cover with plastic and refrigerate, and take out 30 minutes before ready to cook.
  4. Pre-heat the grill to medium-high. Brush the excess chimichurri sauce off the steak, pat it dry and season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. When the grill is hot, cook the steak, about six to seven minutes per side for medium rare (12-14 minutes total).
  6. Place the cooked steak on a cutting board or plate, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain. Serve with reserved sauce.

Reprinted from Men’s Journal.

Lemongrass Beef Sliders

Makes 8 servings


  • 1 pound 92 percent lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup lemongrass finely chopped (using the light colored parts only)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 8 slider buns
  • 2 teaspoons sweet soy glaze
  • 1 bunch fresh basil (leaves removed)
  • ¼ seedless cucumber (thinly sliced)
  • salt to taste
  1. Place the 92 percent lean ground beef, finely chopped lemongrass, garlic and toasted sesame oil in a bowl and stir together thoroughly. Form the meat mixture into eight small patties, making them about ½-inch thick.
  2. Place a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties until they are no longer pink in the middle, about five minutes per side.
  3. Place each patty onto a slider bun. Top with ¼ teaspoon of sweet soy glaze, three basil leaves, and three slices of cucumber. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Reprinted from Laura’s Lean.

If you need help planning healthy meals this spring, contact a UH registered dietitian. To make an appointment, call 216-844-1499.

Amy Jamieson-Petonic, M.Ed., RDN, CSSD, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. You can request an appointment with Jamieson-Petonic or any other healthcare professional online.