USDA Choice beef rib eye steak healthy recipe
USDA Choice beef rib eye steak (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I was about ready to walk out the door last Friday, the TODAY Show aired a segment on Valentine’s Day meals. What was the centerpiece for this meal? Why it was BEEF of course! The recipe for Rib eye steaks with smokey arrabiata sauce sure looked tasty, but I could go without the sauce. February is a month to celebrate Beef and Heart Health.

But it’s only natural that beef and celebrations go hand in hand. It’s the protein source that American’s turn to celebrate occasions year-round. Grilling is the Summer classic with steaks, burgers, and bbq reigning King. During the winter months we have our smoked meats and crock pot roasts. And did you know there’s even BEEF BACON on the market? Yeah you can even start your morning with beef.

The rib eye is my favorite cut of meat, rich with marbling, tender, and juicy. There are 29 lean cuts of beef. That’s right! 29 lean cuts with fewer calories from fat than skinless chicken! If you’re watching your waistline, lean beef is a great way to consume your essential nutrients with fewer calories. Energy from protein sources is pretty efficient! With a little studying, it will be easy to select cuts of beef that are lean and healthy when at the grocery or restaurant.

We’ve all heard that beef is rich with ZIP (zinc, iron, protein), but beef is a great source of many more essential nutrients: selenium, vitamins B12 and B6, niacin, phosphorus, choline, riboflavin, and many others. It is the most nutrient rich protein source on a per calorie basis.

With a little planning, beef can be budget savvy as well! A college student budget really doesn’t leave much room for excess, but I still manage to have beef in at least one meal every single day of the week. Ground beef is a convenient foundation for many entrees. Buy in bulk and freeze in single-use servings to extend shelf life. Only thaw beef once. Browning beef before freezing is also an option. Thin cut steaks from the retail shelf make great sandwiches and quick meals. Find out when your meat market discounts meat to clear the shelves. Some markets cut the weekend’s beef on Fridays and unsold beef may be discounted on Monday or Tuesday.

So as you go out and celebrate tonight (whether it be Valentine’s of Single’s Awareness Day) be sure to enjoy some heart healthy beef, on a budget. And while your at it thank a cattle farmer for making sure that safe, wholesome product made it to the grocery shelf or restaurant.