Stacking the Burger Facts

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Compare Ground Beef and Alternatives
3 ounces cooked:                                              Calories                             Fat (g)                                  % Fat Calories

Boca Burger (vegetarian)*                                80                                         1                                                    11%
Ground turkey breast, skinless                      111                                       .5                                                     4%
Ground beef (95%)                                               146                                      5.5                                                 34%
Ground turkey, with skin                                 170                                       9                                                    47%
Ground beef (90%)                                              214                                      11                                                   46%
Ground beef (85%)                                              228                                      13                                                   51%
Ground beef (80%)                                             235                                       15                                                   57%
Ground beef (73%)                                             248                                       17                                                   61%

Source: USDA?database, manufacturer’s data, www.beef.org
*This item weights 2.5 ounces.

Government regulations require that the lean-to-fat composition be clearly labeled on ground beef. Yet it can be tricky to understand what this actually means. Did you know that 80% lean refers to the actual weight of the meat, not the percentages of calories? Take a look at our chart above and you will see that 80%?lean contains about 15 grams of fat or 57% fat calories.

The USDA is proposing a new law that would require a Nutrition Facts label for raw meat and poultry. In the meantime, here are tips to help you make the leanest choice:

• Choose ground beef that is at least 91% lean because it meets USDA labeling guidelines for lean.
• In general, ground round is leaner than ground chuck.
• Ground turkey is not always the lowest fat choice as you might think. If you choose regular ground turkey, it most likely contains skin, dark meat and fat along with the breast.
• Ground turkey or chicken breast without skin is a leaner choice than beef.
• Vegetarian burgers can make the best choices when it comes to getting a burger that is low in fat and calories. But you have to read the label to be sure. These items can be high in sodium, so you have to take care with what you serve them with or you will end up with a day’s supply of sodium in one meal.

Ground turkey breast can be substituted for ground beef in most recipes. When using it in spaghetti sauce, put the cooked sauce in a food processor briefly to improve the texture.

Keep Them Healthy

•?No matter how lean the meat, you want to make sure the burger is properly cooked to kill all the bacteria. That means using a meat thermometer and making sure the internal temperature is 160 ºF for beef and 165 ºF for turkey. For more food safety tips, visit www.txbeef.org or www.fightbac.org.

• Watch portion sizes. A 3-ounce serving of cooked meat is about the size of a deck of cards.

• Keep condiments and accompaniments low in fat and sodium. Great ideas include no-salt-added ketchup, low-fat mayonnaise, sliced cucumbers, lettuce or spinach leaves, tomatoes and onions.

• Crisp raw vegetables and fresh fruit make great side dishes to go with your burger!

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