More Deliciously Healthy Ways to Cook with Ground Meat

FoodNetwork_03_047.tif

FoodNetwork_03_047.tif

Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling: Pam Morris

Photo by: Anna Williams

Anna Williams

Here's your guide to healthiest ground meat picks.

Beef

High in protein and iron, beef is arguably the most popular choice. Ninety-seven percent lean may appear to be the best choice, but cutting all of the fat will also slash too much of the flavor. Ninety percent lean offers a nice balance, providing good flavor without going overboard on calories. A 3-ounce cooked portion (about the size of a smartphone) contains 180 calories, 3 grams saturated fat, 21 grams of protein and 12 percent of the daily requirement for iron.

Best uses: tacos, burgers, Sloppy Joes, Mini Meatballs
Lamb

Lamb is chock-full of B vitamins and has amazing flavor. It's a little higher in fat and calories, so use in recipes where a little can go a long way. A 3-ounce cooked portion contains 241 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat, 21 grams of protein and 8 percent of daily iron.

Best uses: ragus and meat sauce, Meatball Sliders
Bison

This once unheard-of meat became a favorite of chefs and home cooks alike as a tasty and lower fat alternative to beef. Grass-fed bison may also be a smart choice. That same 3-ounce cooked portion has 152 calories, 3 grams saturated fat, 22 grams of protein and 15 percent daily iron.

Best uses: chili, burgers, Slimmed-Down Patty Melt
Turkey

Switching to poultry may seem like a no-brainer, but buyer beware: Packages labeled "ground turkey" can have just as much (if not more) fat as fatty cuts of red meat. Choose ground breast meat to ensure there's no dark meat or skin added to the mix. In 3 ounces of cooked ground turkey breast there are 120 calories, less than 1 gram saturated fat, 26 grams of protein and 2 percent iron.

Best uses: meatloaf, goulash, Turkey Burgers, Turkey-and-Rice Stuffed Peppers (above, from Food Network Magazine)

Chicken

As with turkey, ground breast meat is the way to go. Ground chicken can dry out quickly, so use it in the right type of recipes to prevent it from getting tough and chewy. A 3-ounce portion contains 120 calories, less than 1 gram saturated fat, 23 grams of protein and 6 percent iron.

Best uses: Game Time Chili, tacos, burritos

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

Keep Reading

Next Up

25 Delicious Ways to Use Ground Chicken and Turkey

One 4-ounce serving of cooked ground beef has more than twice the calories of ground turkey and 7 times the fat of ground chicken. And that's for the 90% lean beef.

Top 5 Ways to Cook More

Lots of folks want to cook more often, they just aren’t sure how to go about doing it. Our 5 must-know tips will help you get fast, fresh and healthy meals on the table without the stress.

The Many Delicious Ways to Cook Sweet Potatoes

Find our favorite ways to cook sweet potatoes at this time of year, including casseroles, cupcakes and more.

More Tools For Healthy Cooking

Every kitchen should have a few essential cooking tools to prep healthy meals. Here are a few of our favorites.

7 Healthy (and Delicious) Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

With these light, vivid spins on Mexican favorites, your biggest worry will be ensuring there's enough hot sauce to go around.

Cooking with Beer (the Healthy Way)

Did you know beer is more than for just drinking? Enjoy the flavor in some of your favorite dishes. Cooking with beer can actually be a healthy way to flavor food—here’s why.

Healthy Ways To Cook with Bacon (No, Really)

I admit it: I'm a dietitian who loves bacon. Instead of gorging on greasy slabs, I’ve found ways to add the smoky flavor to dishes a little at a time.

Ground Beef 5 Ways

Beef can be part of a healthy diet and give you good iron and protein. The trick is choosing the right recipes, using lean cuts and sticking to smart portiions. Here are five easy ways to enjoy ground beef guilt-free.

On TV

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.