Key Ingredients: Beef

In the January 2009 issue of Reader’s Digest, our culinary experts Bonnie Stern and Fran Berkoff bring you some great recipes and nutritional tips for healthy home cooking based on one key ingredient. January’s key ingredient: Beef!

Key Ingredients: Beef

From backyard barbecuing in the summer to oven braising in the winter, beef is a very popular and nutritious food choice for your family. Reducing the fat by choosing the leanest cuts and keeping your portions moderate, makes it easy to fit beef into most people’s healthy diets.

Beef Up Your Menu

These days, you have lots of choices when it comes to buying beef. You’ll find beef locally produced, naturally raised, organic and more. When it comes to the nutrition profile, they’re all the same, but if you have other concerns, talk to your butcher to help you choose.

Beef Up Your Diet

Beef is an excellent source of high quality protein as well as vitamin B12 and niacin. It’s a good source of phosphorous and vitamin B6 and a source of potassium and vitamin D, as well as the following minerals. In one 100 gram (3.5 ounce) serving of lean cooked beef, you’ll get:

  • 8.6 mg of zinc, almost 100 percent of your daily requirement. This trace mineral is necessary for growth and reproduction, for immunity, for wound healing, for maintaining sense of taste and smell and for making genetic material and enzymes.
  • 27.2 mcg of selenium, more than 40 percent of
  • your daily requirement. This trace mineral is essen­tial for a healthy immune system and may offer
  • some protection against some cancers and some in­flam­matory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • 3.3 mg of iron, the mineral necessary for producing hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout our bodies.


Bonnie Stern has been teaching people to have fun in the kitchen, to eat more healthfully and to nourish their families since she started her cooking school in 1973.


Fran Berkoff is a consulting dietitian/nutritionist in Toronto, as well as a columnist for newspapers and magazines, and co-author or several books.

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