It seems like every time you open a health or fitness magazine, a lean celebrity is promoting the newest power protein food. And for good reason — a healthy, balanced diet includes a variety of protein sources. As such, alternative proteins are gaining attention, space in the fridge and on the plate for their health benefits.
However, the perceived benefits may not outweigh the unintentional nutritional consequences of not including lean meats in your diet. Plant-based food advocates like to offer other foods to bolster protein content in plant-based diets such as black beans, quinoa and edamame. However, you may be surprised that choosing beef is actually a calorie-saver. Beef supplies significantly fewer calories and more nutrients than many plant proteins.
A cooked three-ounce lean beef burger patty averages around 154 calories while providing approximately 25 grams of protein, which is nearly half of the recommended daily value. On the other hand, a veggie burger patty may be lower in calories, but only contains 13 grams of protein per serving, which could lead to filling up your plate with high-calorie side dishes.
One of the many benefits of protein-dense beef is the feeling of satiety that occurs after a beef meal. Eating protein-rich foods like lean beef helps keep cravings at bay and can assist with healthy weight loss and maintenance. It’s true that nothing comes close to the taste of real beef. Some alternative protein products, such as in-vitro or “faux” meat, may mimic the texture and flavour of beef, but thus far those alternatives have been expensive to develop and in short supply.
With 63 percent of whole muscle beef* in the meat case meeting the government guidelines for lean and a multitude of ways to save on beef purchases, why not include real beef as a weekly meal-planning staple? Today’s lean beef is a delicious source of protein that supports weight loss goals, satisfies a heart healthy diet and is packed with nutrients, not excessive calories. Nutrition facts show that calorie for calorie, it’s hard to beat the nutrients you get from a single serving of lean beef. Just a 3-ounce serving contains 10 percent or more of your daily needs for all of these essential nutrients – protein, zinc, vitamins B12 and B6, iron and selenium.
Beef is a great tasting, high-quality protein package that can help strengthen and sustain your body. There are endless exciting, flavourful recipes that combine delicious beef and colourful veggies available. So choose beef and enjoy mealtime!
* When cooked with visible fat trimmed.
 The “daily value” percentage helps you determine how much of a particular nutrient a food contributes to average daily needs. Each nutrient is based on 100% of the daily requirements for that nutrient (based on a 2,000 calorie diet).
 Based on a Boca Burger brand veggie burger, “Boca Original Vegan Patty”
 US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl