Ground beef has a bad reputation and it is undeserved. Ground beef can be a healthy way to add quality protein, iron, and other nutrients to your diet…if you go about it the right way. So, first I’ll hit on helpful info and then I’ll offer several delicious ground beef recipes for a high protein diet. Put on your chef’s hat and get your cooking tools ready because we’re targeting flavor packed healthy eating!
Ready? Great! Here We Go…
First things first, go with lean ground beef. Personally, I prefer at least 95% lean because with my training and diet I reduce fat intake as much as I can. You have to big picture it. Cutting a little fat here and a little fat there really adds up to a significant amount day in and day out.
Are you a calorie counter? Good for you. Remember this number: 164. 164 is the number of calories in a 3 ounce serving of ground beef that is 95% lean. Not 90%. Not any other percentage except 95% and that 3-ounce serving jams 24 grams of muscle building protein into your body with only four and a half grams of fat.
You think 90% lean is “close enough”? Wrong. Using 90% lean ground beef adds 20 more calories. So, now we’re at 184 calories. About half of those total calories are from fat and we’ve gone from 6 grams of fat to almost 10 grams of fat. We also lose almost 2 grams of protein.
Kind of crazy, huh? A “mere” 5% difference in the leanness of ground beef makes a big difference in the overall healthfulness of using that ground beef in your diet.
Lean Beef is Good Beef
Don’t be fooled by any beef or ground beef naysayers either. Why not? Because there’s a lot more usable and needed nutrition contained within that 95% lean ground beef. Nutrients and antioxidants that our bodies crave. Vitamin B6 is in there. Zinc is present also. Don’t forget alpha lipoic acid. So now we’re looking at goodies that help regulate the sugar levels in our blood. How about antibodies? Sure. Eating lean ground beef helps your body produce antibodies. Man, I’m stoked now!
Keep this in mind, my friends. No matter how tasty it is or how much you love cooking with lean ground beef, don’t get all crazy with it. Limit your beef meals to two per week. I know, two is not much but approach you diet with variety at the forefront and you’ll be fine. There are many tasty proteins out there, so use them along with your twice a week beef fix!
Okay. I’m pretty sure that for these ground beef recipes for a high protein diet I’ve driven home the importance of sticking to using at least 95% lean beef. Don’t think twice, just get and use at least 95% lean ground beef.
2 More Reasons To Ground Beef it Up!
Before we check out the recipes, there are a couple other points I want to hit on first. A couple more pluses that we can put in the column for our friend ground beef. I’m talking flavor and versatility.
Lean ground beef tastes good! Not only does it taste good, it soaks up flavor from a wide variety of spices. That means you can build on its inherent deliciousness with any spice or mix of spices that suit your palate!
The versatility that I’m talking about will be obvious with the recipes I’m about to share with you. The bottom line is that there’s a whole bunch of different ways that our 95% lean ground beef can be used in tasty dishes that we’ll look forward to eating again and again.
Guess what? Your patience is about to be rewarded. You guessed it, it is recipe time. I’ve put together a sampling of recipes that will provide a nice overview of dishes you can prepare with our lean ground beef. Keep in mind, not every recipe will be a winner for everyone. But I feel that you’ll find some personal winners and, perhaps, scratch around on your own to find additional recipes that will rock your taste buds.
Time For The Recipes!
First out of the gate is a recipe for a lean bacon cheeseburger. Excited? I am because you get both ground beef and bacon!
Super Lean Bacon Cheeseburger
Weigh out 4 ounces of 95% lean ground beef, form it into a patty and sprinkle a little salt on it. If you’re worried about it holding its shape, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes.
Get your grill going or heat up your stove top. Take a slab of bacon and slice it down the middle. Put a slice and a half of the bacon in your skillet and cook until well done. Have a plate handy with paper towels on it and put your bacon on that to drain.
Cook your patty to whatever doneness works for you. Just before you’re finished cooking the lean beef patty, put a half an ounce of light Swiss cheese on it so the cheese gets nice and “melty”.
Take about half a minute to a full minute to toast your burger bun. I like whole wheat buns or you can use a “light” or “low-cal” bun.
Put the cooked patty on the bottom half of the bun and add about 2 teaspoons of your favorite condiment on top. I prefer some chunky salsa, but bbq sauce can be used too. Finally, add a slice of tomato, pickle or red onion (if you like), put the top of the bun on and it is now time to feast!
Big Bad Breakfast Burrito
Brown 3 ounces of lean beef, crumbled, and drain. Dice half a medium-sized tomato, coarsely chop just under a handful of cilantro and mix those ingredients with one egg and scramble it. Cut three slices of avocado-you can mash it if you want.
Now, use a lower calorie whole wheat tortilla to build the burrito. Spread or place the avocado on the tortilla, add some hot sauce or salsa to taste, a pinch of sea salt, the beef and your egg scramble. If you’re a garlic fan (I am!), mince a little fresh garlic clove and add that too. Now roll that bad burrito up and start your day with a tasty healthy feast!
Next up is an easy chili recipe that you can put in the slow cooker and get multiple servings out of it.
Meaty Beany Slow Cooked Chili
Brown one pound of 95% lean ground beef that you’ve sprinkled with a teaspoon of cayenne, cumin, plus salt and pepper to taste.
While the beef is browning, drain 2 cans each (30 ounces of each total) of kidney beans and black beans.
Put the beans in a 5-quart crock pot or slow cooker along with the browned beef.
Dice a small onion, mince two or three garlic cloves and add to the pot along with 2 and a half cups vegetable stock, 1 cup of salsa, 2 diced red peppers, one cup of canned corn, 15 ounces of diced tomatoes (you can dice them yourself or use canned). Gently stir the mixture.
Turn the cooker on high and cook for three to four hours or 6 or 7 hours if the cooker is set to low. Makes about 5 servings and you can top with shredded cheese or sour cream, but watch the fat content and don’t forget about the calories in your toppings. Enjoy!
Moving on, I think everybody likes pizza. Those greasy toppings, though, get you into trouble. Here’s a ground beef recipe for a high protein diet where you can enjoy delicious pizza without the worries.
Better Beefy Pizza
I like to start with a thin and crispy whole-wheat pizza crust from the store. Just follow any package directions for preparation.
Brown 6 ounces of 95% lean ground beef and drain. Dice a tomato and blend with a quarter cup of tomato sauce along with four tablespoons of sliced green olives. Spread the mixture on your crust.
Next, sprinkle some onion powder and garlic powder along with about a pinch of sea salt and about one-fourth teaspoon of black pepper. Add the drained ground beef and spread evenly on the crust.
I like pickled jalapeno rings-the kind in jars from the store-and scatter them around my pizza. Or you can substitute about a quarter diced green or red pepper instead of the jalapenos.
Sprinkle 3 to 4 ounces of shredded or grated light mozzarella cheese over the top and pop your pizza in the oven. Cook your pizza in an oven preheated to 450 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts the edges of the crust start to turn toasty.
Remove your pizza from the oven. Let sit a few minutes, slice and chow down!
Wrapping It Up
So, that’s four killer recipes for you that I think are delicious. Enjoy and play around with them according to your tastes. Always remember to avoid adding unnecessary fat and calories. Keep it protein rich, include beef in your meal plan twice a week, and eat like a boss!