Getting to the Meat of the Mediterranean Diet

Getting to the “Meat” of the Mediterranean Diet

by Katie Serbinski, Michigan Beef Industry Commission

The Mediterranean diet has received much attention as a healthy way to eat, and with good reason. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain cancers, depression, and in older adults, a decreased risk of frailty, along with better mental and physical function. Earlier this month, US News and World Report named it the “best diet overall” for the sixth consecutive year. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, olive oil and fish and a focus on diet quality rather than a single nutrient or food group.This finding is the latest in the growing body of scientific research demonstrating lean beef can be part of healthy eating patterns to support heart health. This research also means people have more flexibility and options when it comes to healthy eating. A cut of cooked fresh meat is considered lean when it contains less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95mg of cholesterol.

1. Look for lean cuts of fresh beef — When it comes to lean cuts the options are endless. Some fan favorites include: Top Sirloin, Strip Steak, Tenderloin Steak, and 93% Lean Ground Beef or leaner.
2. Pay attention to portion size — To reap the benefits of including lean beef in a Mediterranean-style diet, focus on eating up to 18 ounces of lean beef over the course of a week. For reference, a 3-ounce cooked serving of lean beef is about the size of a deck of cards.
3. Aim for a complete plate — Mediterranean-style eating patterns are often characterized with high consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts/seeds and olive oil. Be sure to complement the lean red meat at the center of the plate with these Mediterranean

“The big takeaway from the growing body of evidence is that Americans who are trying to eat healthier and improve health indicators like blood pressure and cholesterol levels can still enjoy the food they love, like beef,” said Katie Serbinski, MS, RDN, Director of Communications for the Michigan Beef Industry Commission. “By having this additional flexibility in their diets, Americans are more likely to stay the course and adopt healthy eating patterns long-term.”

Getting to the Meat of the Mediterranean Diet Fact Sheet

The following recipes are tasty options for incorporating lean beef into Mediterranean-inspired meals.

Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. 

Mediterranean Beef Pinwheels
Beef Skewers with Garlicky White Bean Dip
Mediterranean Eye of Round Steaks