Family favorite meals get a makeover

Asian Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry.

There has been a makeover taking place in the past 40 years on a food that 94 percent of Americans eat at least monthly, according to the Consumer Beef Index. You may be surprised to learn of the many changes that have resulted in leaner beef found at your local grocery store.

It starts on the farm

Changes in the way farmers and ranchers raise cattle, in addition to increased fat trimming, has resulted in the widespread availability of leaner beef. In fact, more than two-thirds of the beef in the meat case – including popular cuts like top sirloin steak, tenderloin, T-bone steak and 90 percent lean or leaner ground beef – meet the government guidelines for lean, according to Fresh Look Marketing Group.

Leaner than ever

Due to a variety of factors, including recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people now prefer leaner cuts of beef, and as a result, the total and saturated fat content from trimmed steak has steadily declined. In fact, data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that total fat content for a trimmed top sirloin steak has declined 34 percent from 1963 to 2010 and saturated fat content has declined 17 percent between 1990 and 2010.

We all know that beef tastes great, but calorie-for-calorie, it is also one of the most naturally nutrient-rich foods. On average, a 3-ounce serving of lean beef is about 150 calories and provides 10 essential nutrients like protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins.

Heart-healthy meals

Even more great news is that new research suggests that beef can be good for heart health. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that even eating lean beef daily – as part of a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle – can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 10 percent – as much as any other recommended heart-healthy diet. And adding lean beef to your diet is simple when you prepare quick and flavorful meals. Try this Asian Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry, which takes only 30 minutes to prepare and boasts the flavors of top sirloin steak, bell peppers, garlic, sesame-ginger sauce and crushed red pepper. It’s sure to be a family favorite.

To learn more about lean beef’s nutrition and heart health benefits, and to find more flavorful recipes, visit

Asian Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

1 1/4pounds boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1-inch thick, divided

4 cups assorted fresh vegetables, such as sugar snap peas, broccoli florets, bell pepper strips and shredded carrot

1 clove garlic, minced, divided

1/2 cup prepared stir-fry sauce, preferably sesame-ginger flavor

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 cups hot cooked rice

2 tablespoons unsalted dry-roasted peanuts (optional)

Cut beef steak lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch thick strips.

Combine vegetables and 3 tablespoons water in large nonstick skillet. Cover; cook over medium-high heat 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Remove and drain.

Heat same pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of beef and half of garlic; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. Remove. Repeat with remaining beef and garlic.

Return all beef and vegetables to pan. Add stir-fry sauce and red pepper; heat through. Spoon over rice. Sprinkle with peanuts, if desired.

Source: The Beef Checkoff

Courtesy of Family Features

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