Nutritious Meat and Beans

The Protein Food Group

Nutritious Meat and Beans

Nutritious meat, poultry, fish, dry beans and peas, eggs, nuts and seeds all fall under the meat and beans group. Foods in this group provide important nutrients such as protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc needed to boost the immune system, build and repair muscle, fuel activity and help your brain function, as well as vitamin E and potassium for a healthy heart.


Nutritious Meats
Nutritious Meats


Going Lean with Protein

Choose lean nutritious meats and skinless poultry most often. Vary your protein choices with fish, beans, eggs, nuts and seeds.

  • For lean cuts of beef, look for the words “loin” or “round” in the name such as tenderloin, sirloin or round steak. Lean pork choices include pork loin, tenderloin, center loin and lean ham.
  • Choose ground poultry without skin and fat and ground beef that’s 90-95 percent lean.
  • Select fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout and herring.
  • For sandwiches, go with lean roast beef, turkey or ham. Or try peanut butter, almond butter or soy nut butter.
  • Vary your breakfast routine with eggs. Enjoy an egg and veggie scramble or a mushroom and herb omelet.

How Lean is Lean Meat?

The government has outlined strict regulations for products labeled “lean” and “extra lean“.

Lean means the food has less than 10 grams of fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving and per 100 grams (about 3-1/2 ounces).

Extra lean means the food has less than five grams of fat, less than two grams of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving and per 100 grams.

Here are some extra-lean cuts, beginning with the leanest (chicken breast). One serving is considered 3-1/2 ounces of meat, roughly the size of a deck of cards.

  • Skinless chicken breast.
  • Eye of round beef.
  • Port tenderloin.
  • Top round steak.
  • Bottom round steak.
  • Top sirloin steak.
  • Round tip roast.

Time Trimming Tips

Save steps and get your protein rich foods, too.

  • Pick up recipe-ready nutritious meats such as lean beef strips for a stir-fry or cubes for stew.
  • Buy quick-cooking fish filets or boneless, skinless chicken breasts or turkey cutlets.
  • Prepare and refrigerate hard cooked eggs to tote in your lunch.
  • Stock up on canned beans, such as black beans or pinto beans, to add to soup and chili or to top a salad.
  • Keep nuts, seeds and soy nuts on hand for quick snacks.

Smart Calorie Choices in Nutritious Meats

Get the most nutrition for the fewest calories from foods in the Meat and Beans Group.

  • Trim away visible fat from meat before cooking and remove poultry skin.
  • Bake, broil or grill nutritious meats, poultry and fish.
  • Drain off any fat that appears during cooking.
  • Bake breaded meat, poultry and fish instead of frying.
  • Flavor your meat, poultry and fish with herbs or use lowfat sauces.
  • Prepare dry beans and peas without added fats.

Quick Lean ‘n Mean Recipe

Mex to the Max

Fill a 6-inch taco shell with 3 ounces cooked shredded chuck shoulder pot roast, 2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup shredded spinach leaves, 2 tablespoons shredded low fat Cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons avocado salsa. Enjoy with 1/2 cup fat-free refried beans on the side. 200 to 400 Calories.

Suggested recipe: Basic Beef and Beans

Author: Jeni

Certified by the Professional School of Fitness and Nutrition in March, 1995; honored for exemplary grades. Practicing fitness and nutrition for over 20 years. Featured in the Feb. 1994 issue of "Shape" magazine. Featured in Collage in the spring issue of 1995 Low fat recipe's published in Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others. September, 2001: Featured in "Winning The War on Cholesterol" By Rodale Publishing

1 thought on “Nutritious Meat and Beans”

Leave a Reply