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Ground Beef or Ground Turkey? Which Should You Choose for a Heart Healthy Diet

Since we are at the beginning of grilling season, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at ground beef vs. ground turkey for trying to maintain a healthy diet. Red meat has gotten a reputation for being something that should be avoided if you want to keep a high-quality menu. Automatically many think that turkey or chicken is the way to go to meet protein needs if you're not vegan. This is not always true depending on the amount you eat and the amount of fat included in the beef. Remember when cooking meat to drain the fat before eating or adding it in recipes — discarding the fat cuts down significantly on calories.

Beef is high in vitamin B12, iron, and high biological value protein. Because beef is rich in these vitamins and minerals, it contains all essential amino acids that the body needs. It can be part of a healthy diet if eaten in smaller amounts.

If you choose the leanest ground beef, which is about 93 percent lean, and choose the leanest ground turkey, which is also 93 percent lean, lean ground beef can be lower in calories and fat. According to the USDA nutrient database, 3 ounces of turkey has 176 calories, and 9.7 grams of fat and 3 ounces of ground beef has 162 calories and 7.5 grams of fat. If you're going to have a hamburger, the key is to watch portion sizes. A half pound burger is not what I'm suggesting! Choose "mini" burgers that are 2-3 ounces in size. Some would refer to these as "sliders."

Skipping the bun to save on calories or if you eat a gluten-free diet is also an option. Try some healthier toppings to spice up your burger and give it some new flavor. Here are some excellent suggestions:

--mashed avocado with a slice of tomato

--fresh buffalo mozzarella with salsa

--thin slice 2% cheddar cheese slice, sliced dill pickle with a red onion slice

--spinach leaves with crumbled feta and sliced red onion

--fiery sriracha sauce, sliced tomato, red lettuce leaf, and sliced onion


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