Are you tired of using ground beef for meatloaf night? This is one of the most basic meal ingredients yet it can be tough to find new meals to make with ground beef. This meat is a healthy choice that’s loaded with nutrients like protein, Vitamin B12, and iron. Fun Fact: Beef contains a powerful antioxidant” known as glutathione. You can tweak a wide range of recipes like burgers, tacos, and casseroles to add new twists on old favorites. The key is to try new recipes like Pizza Burgers even if they seem weird and wild. As the old saying goes, variety is the “spice of life.” You and your household will look forward to meals free of dry meatloaf.
One reason people are hesitant to prepare meat dishes is based on the idea that all red meat is unhealthy. What’s the big deal? Humans have been eating meat for eons yet only recently has meat been linked to health issues like heart disease. In recent years we’ve heard a lot about the saturated fat in red meat. Recent studies show it’s more about how the cow is raised, including if they’re mostly grass-fed whether they’ve been injected with strong chemicals.
Is Red Meat Healthy?
This is one of the first issues to take up. You probably wouldn’t want to add more ground beef to your diet if it’s going to be bad for your health, right? The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported the processed meat is cancer-causing. The UN group was split on red meat.
It’s worth noting that less red meat is usually consumed in world regions with high life expectancies. That includes the “Blue Zones” National Geographic researched for several years. They’re not strict vegetarians but limit meat intake and usually eat more fish and chicken versus beef and pork.
In past decades red meat like beef was linked to serious health conditions like heart disease. However, Live Science reports humans started cooking/processing food up about 2 million years. So, what’s changed?
The main factor is how today’s cows are raised on farms and ranches. For example, in the past, cows grazed for most of their lives and grass was a big part of their diet. Fun Fact: Cows’ natural foods include grass, clover, and bugs. Today calves are usually fed grass during the early years of their lives. However, afterward, they’re usually fed grains like corn so they fatten up faster.
The cows’ diet can affect the quality of beef that’s produced. This includes issues like the number of fatty acids they contain. This beef isn’t necessarily “unhealthy” but the nutritional value seems to drop when cattle are given cheaper and less healthy food.
This explains why grass-fed beef has been trending in recent years. This term isn’t really clear because the issue is how long the cows eat it and not whether they ate any grass during their lives.
Another problem area in modern times has been injections the cattle get. These include different ones like hormones and antioxidants. This could affect human health in negative ways.
Best Meals to Make with Ground Beef
1. Hamburger Soup
This is a combo that might seem odd at first. It gets some basic ingredients including beef, potatoes, carrots, corn, onions, celery, and tomatoes. The “secret ingredient” is yellow mustard that takes the flavor to the next level.
This is a class meatloaf based on a dinner dish that people seem to love or hate with a passion. The main ingredients include bread crumbs, eggs, milk, and ketchup. You get the flavor from onion, parsley, salt/pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.
If you’re a fan of Mexican food, then this is a go-to recipe for ground-up beef. It’s full-flavored including:
- Chili powder
You get lots of protein and healthy fat from the meat, black beans, canned corn, and cheese. Just add all the filling to some flour tortillas for a meal that’s delicious and nutritious.
4. Spaghetti & Meatballs
The key when making meatballs is to prevent them from being dry and flavorless. You can add moisture with an egg, cheese, and olive oil. Meanwhile, you can get the flavor from ingredients like parsley, garlic, chili peppers, onion, and bay leaf. All these items will provide a spaghetti/meatball dish that has more than enough flavor and juiciness.
5. Pizza Burgers
You’ve heard of pizza and burgers but what about pizza burgers? This is Burger 2.0 with classic pizza toppings like mozzarella cheese, pepperoni slices, and Italian seasoning. If you want to keep it low-carb then swap out the hamburger buns. Either way, this is a hearty meal chock full of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins/minerals.
You can add a wide range of animal protein to tacos including fish, chicken, and beef. You can take your tacos to the next level by making some tweaks. Fire-roast tomatoes and black beans even though they’re more common in burritos. Other good options include shredded cheddar, white onions, sour cream, and flour tortillas.
Ground Beef: Nutrition facts
Here are the nutrition facts for a 100g serving of ground beef (100% fat):
There are about 215 calories in one serving of ground beef. It’s over 10% of your daily calories on a 2000-calorie diet. However, you get a good protein source. It’s loaded with protein, healthy fat, and vitamins/minerals so these are good calories.
There’s a total of 0g of carbs in ground beef. This is a plus if you’re on a low-carb diet. For example, on the Keto Diet, you usually have to stay under 50g of carbs for the day. Meanwhile, Phase 1 of Atkins and South Beach requires you to drop daily calories to a value worth a light salad or a few servings of fresh fruit.
You get 26g of protein, which is quite high. Real beef is also a complete protein so you get all 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) you need for the day. This is an excellent protein source that can provide several health benefits related to the heart, brain, hair, etc.
There’s nearly 12g of fat in ground beef. You also get more saturated fat versus protein like fish and chicken. In general, you should keep fat to about 10% to reduce the saturated fat content. However, this fat can provide health benefits like unsaturated fat. The Keto Diet requires fat to be at least 70% so it’s important to get enough healthy fat from food like meat, dairy, soybeans, and avocados.
You get a good amount of various vitamins/minerals including:
- Vitamin B6
It’s also worth noting that beef contains a “master antioxidant.” We usually think of plant-based foods like veggies and fruits as being high in antioxidants. However, beef is also a good source, which can help to fight off illness and disease with meals to make with ground beef.