4 Lean Meats to Satisfy Your Cravings

Limiting your overall meat intake is good for your health. But when you just have to splurge, try these leaner choices.

grilled steak with vegetables

Medically reviewed in June 2022

Updated on August 1, 2020

You know some meats are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. But what if you really crave tearing into a burger or a pork chop every now and then?

Here are some of the slimmest, trimmest most flavorful cuts of meat money can buy. The health benefits of these picks go beyond lower fat and calorie counts, too: Most meat is rich in protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and other nutrients that aren't easy to get elsewhere.

(Note: All nutrition calculations are for 3-ounce servings of meat.)

What's the leanest meat of all?
We hope you're ready to expand your dinner horizons, because bison is the big winner. (Deer and elk are right on its hooves, er, heels.) Believe it or not, bison has slightly less fat and fewer calories (2 grams and 122 calories per serving) than skinless white-meat chicken (3 grams and 144 calories). Plus, it's a terrific source of protein (24 grams) and iron (2.9 milligrams). The taste is similar to beef, though slightly sweeter and richer.

Bonus: With bison, you aren't exposed to the antibiotics often administered to farm-raised cows.

Things that go "Mooo"
Beef and veal are leanest when they're loin or round cuts, such as beef bottom sirloin (6 grams fat, 150 calories) and top round veal (3 grams fat, 128 calories).

If you prefer pork
Choose leg cuts such as ham, or loin cuts such as boneless sirloin pork chops or top loin chops. Each chop has about 7 grams of fat and 170 calories.

Lamb lovers
Try cuts from the shank half of the leg. Well-trimmed shank-half cuts have 5 to 6 grams of fat and about 155 calories per serving.

If the package label on any meat isn’t clear, ask your butcher or friendly grocery store employee for more information.

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