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Beef and Pork Buyer’s Guide

Shopping tips for getting the best value when you buy beef and pork.

If you love meat there are plenty of good reasons to keep it in your diet. Just be choosy about the cuts you buy—some are lean while others are loaded with fat. It’s important to watch your portions too. A reasonable portion size of meat is 3 ounces cooked: that’s a piece of steak about as big as deck of cards. Here are some things to look for when you’re buying beef and pork at the supermarket to help you make healthier choices.

 

Shopping Tips for Beef

Beef is given quality grades determined by the amount of marbling and the age of the animal, both of which affect the tenderness, juiciness and flavor of the meat. The USDA assigns three possible grades: Prime, Choice and Select. Prime meat has the most marbling, or fat, within the meat, making it juicy and flavorful, but also increasing its fat content (including saturated fat); Select has the least marbling; Choice is in the middle.

In the meat case, fresh beef should be bright red. Vacuum-packaged beef will be maroon because of the lack of oxygen. It should be firm to the touch with little to no excess moisture in the package and the packaging should be in good condition. Finally, be sure to check the “sell-by” date.

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