The Red Meat Cheat Sheet
Your guide to the smartest cuts for weight loss.
Sometimes, a big salad and yet another breast of chicken just won't cut it. Sometimes, you need meat. Red meat. A filet mignon or a juicy burger; a New York strip or a London broil. These tips will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about beef — and then some.
Start with portion size
You want a 3-ounce serving of red meat, about the size of a deck of cards. Yes, that's way smaller than the 12- and 16-ounce slabs the local steakhouse serves.
See the fat, lose the fat
If you can't trim away the excess fat with your knife, it's the wrong cut for you. That means choosing top sirloin steak over ribeye, or any meat that's described as "marbled" (which is a euphemism for, "the fat's mixed inside the meat"). For example, 3 ounces of filet mignon has 7 PointsPlus® values but if you can cut away a lot of visible fat, that drops to 4 PointsPlus values.
The de-greasing of America
Beef is about 20 percent leaner than it was in the early 1990s, according to the National Cattlemen's Association.
How lean is "lean?"
Beef can only legally be called "lean" if it has less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3-ounce serving.
There are more than two dozen kinds of beef that qualify as lean or extra lean according to labeling definitions by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Lean cuts to look for at the market or a restaurant are listed at the top of the page. All are 3-ounce servings.
Glazed and confused
Tell the waiter you want your steak without butter glazing. Line chefs pour butter on it right before serving to give it that glistening look of still-sizzling meat.
Ordering side dishes in restaurants are dicey because most restaurants saute their
vegetables in oil or butter. To save PointsPlusvalues, your best bets are a large baked potato without butter for 5 PointsPlusvalues and steamed vegetables with a PointsPlus value of 0.