How to Incorporate Lean Meats in Your Diet

May 31, 2017

According to the USDA My Plate campaign a person should consume 3 ounces of lean protein per day. You may ask yourself the question, “What is considered lean?” Lean meat can be anything from pork, chicken, beef, lamb, or fish.

For beef the USDA defines lean as 100 grams of beef with less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol. Beef can also be extra lean if 100 grams of beef has less than 5 grams of fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.

To help consumers find cuts of lean beef the beef checkoff develop 29 cuts of lean beef as a quick reference guide. The 29 cuts fall between a skinless chicken breast and a skinless chicken thigh on how much saturated fat and total fat each cut contains. Some of your favorite cuts are included in this list such as a T-Bone steak, tenderloin roast and steak, and a top loin steak.

Not just beef can be considered lean. The pork checkoff have six cuts that they consider to be lean meats. These cuts include pork tenderloin, a boneless top loin chop and a sirloin roast.

Below is a chart courtesy of the pork checkoff, comparing the cuts of lean chicken, pork, beef, and how they rank compared to fish. 

3-ounce cooked serving:

Calories

Total Fat
(g)

Saturated
Fat (g)

Cholesterol
(mg)

LEAN CHICKEN

Skinless chicken breast*

139

3.1

0.9

73

Skinless chicken leg*

162

7.1

2.0

80

Skinless chicken thigh*

177

9.3

2.6

81

LEAN CUTS OF PORK

Pork Tenderloin*

120

3.0

1.0

62

Pork bonelesstop loinchop**

173

5.2

1.8

61

Porktop loin roast*

147

5.3

1.6

68

Porkcenter loin chop**

153

6.2

1.8

72

Pork sirloin roast*

173

8.0

2.4

76

Pork rib chop**

158

7.1

2.2

56

LEAN CUTS OF BEEF

Beef eye of round *

141

4.0

1.5

59

Beef top round***

169

4.3

1.5

76

Beef tip round*

149

5.0

1.8

69

Beef top sirloin**

162

8

2.2

76

Beef top loin**

168

7.1

2.7

65

Beef tenderloin**

175

8.1

3.0

71

FISH (*dry heat,**moist heat)

Cod*

89

0.7

0.1

40

Flounder*

99

1.3

0.3

58

Halibut*

119

2.5

0.4

35

Orange Roughy*

75

0.8

0.0

22

Salmon*

175

11.0

2.1

54

Shrimp**

84

0.9

0.2

166

*Roasted, ** Broiled, *** Braised 

No matter what type of meat you are eating there are always options for a lean protein option in your diet.

To look at the cuts of lean beef click here

Video Podcasts and Webinars

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  • Meat in the Diet

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