Beef is naturally a nutrient-rich food. A 3-ounce serving of lean beef contributes less than 10 percent of calories to a 2,000-calorie diet. At the same time, beef supplies more than 10 percent of the daily value for nine essential nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc and many B vitamins.
USDA defines lean beef cuts as ones that have less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving and per 100 grams. There are at least 19 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines to qualify as lean. The most popular lean beef cuts chosen at the grocery store or meat market include top sirloin, top round steak, round tip and T-bone steak.
Choose beef with a bright cherry-red color, without any grayish-brown blotches. A darker purplish-red color is typical of vacuum-packaged beef. Once exposed to oxygen, beef will turn from a darker red to bright red. When shopping, select beef last to ensure that it stays as cold as possible until you get home.