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3 Healthy Meals To Make With Ground Beef

Ground beef is a staple in many households due to its versatility, affordability, and ease of cooking. Many of us automatically associate it with popular high-calorie options like juicy burgers or hearty spaghetti Bolognese – even the centerpiece of taco night gatherings.

Yet, ground beef doesn’t have to equal a departure from healthy eating. When you’re looking for a healthy option that satisfies your cravings without derailing your weight loss efforts nor compromising any other dietary goal, it’s time to get creative with how you use this ingredient.

Here are some ground beef recipes that could redefine its role in your diet—transforming it into a nutrient-rich component of balanced meals that fuel your body and support your health.

Is Ground Beef a Healthy Meal?

Ground beef can be part of a healthy meal, but that largely depends on the lean-to-fat ratio and how it’s prepared, as well as what else is in the meal. Here’s a breakdown on why ground beef can be both healthy and less healthy:

Why Ground Beef Can Be Healthy:

  1. Protein Content: Ground beef is a rich source of high-quality protein, which is essential for muscle building and repair, as well as overall body function (9).
  2. Nutrient-Rich: It contains important vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B12, Zinc, Selenium, Iron, and Niacin (9). These nutrients are crucial for various bodily functions including blood formation, immune response, and neurological health.
  3. Versatility in Diets: Lean ground beef can fit into various diets, including high-protein, low-carb, and ketogenic diets, which can contribute to weight loss and muscle maintenance (10).

Why Ground Beef Might Not Be Healthy:

  1. Saturated Fat Content: Higher fat ground beef (like 70% lean/30% fat) contains significant amounts of saturated fats, which may contribute to raised LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels in the body, a risk factor for heart disease (11).
  2. Calories: Higher fat versions are also calorie-dense, which could contribute to weight gain if consumed in large quantities without physical activity (11).
  3. Preparation Methods: How ground beef is prepared greatly affects its healthfulness. Cooking methods involving a lot of added fats or unhealthy ingredients (e.g., deep frying or using heavy sauces) can negate its health benefits (2).
  4. Processed Forms: Processed ground beef products, like burgers and sausages with added preservatives, sodium, and fillers, are less healthy than freshly ground beef.

Ground beef can be incorporated into a healthy meal if you select leaner choices (at least 90% lean/10% fat) and prepare it in ways that don’t add excessive calories or unhealthy fats. Pairing it with whole grains, vegetables, and healthy fats can create a balanced and nutritious meal.

However, portion control, as well as balancing it within the context of an overall healthy diet is the way to manage calorie and saturated fat intake.

In our, Keto Beef Stew guide, we mention a few tips for making healthier choices when it comes to ground beef.


How Do You Make Ground Beef Healthier?

Making ground beef healthier involves both selecting the right product and preparing it in a way that minimizes unhealthy fats while maximizing nutritional benefits. Here are some strategies to make ground beef meals healthier:

Choose Leaner Cuts

  • Opt for Lean Ground Beef: Look for ground beef with a higher lean-to-fat ratio, such as 90% lean/10% fat or even leaner. This reduces the saturated fat (1).
  • Consider Grass-Fed Beef: Grass-fed beef is often leaner and contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health (8).

Healthier Cooking Methods

  • Drain the Fat: After browning ground beef, drain off the excess fat to reduce calorie and fat content (2).
  • Cook with Healthier Methods: Instead of frying, consider grilling, broiling, or baking ground beef to minimize the need for added fats (2).

Balance with Nutritious Ingredients

  • Mix with Vegetables: Enhance your dishes by mixing ground beef with a variety of vegetables like bell peppers, onions, spinach, or zucchini. This increases the fiber and nutrient content of your meal (13).
  • Use Whole Grains: Serve ground beef with whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta to add fiber and nutrients (12).
  • Incorporate Legumes: Mixing ground beef with beans or lentils not only extends the volume but also adds fiber, protein, and reduces the overall fat content of the dish (7).

Mindful Seasoning

  • Use Herbs and Spices: Instead of relying on heavy sauces and salt for flavor, use herbs and spices like garlic, oregano, cumin, and black pepper.
  • Limit Processed Additives: Avoid adding processed ingredients high in sodium and sugar. Choose fresh or dried seasonings and homemade sauces.

Portion Control

  • Be Mindful of Portions: Even with healthier preparation, it’s important to watch portion sizes to maintain a balanced diet.

Additional Tips

  • Experiment with Alternatives: For some recipes, consider using ground turkey or chicken as a lower-fat alternative to ground beef.
  • Practice Good Food Safety: Ensure ground beef is cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) to avoid foodborne illnesses (6).

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3 Simple Healthy Meals To Make With Ground Beef

Looking for healthy ground beef recipes to lose weight, or simply to add variety to your meal prep? Here are three easy and nutritious dishes that make lean ground beef the star of the show:

Korean Ground Beef Bowl (6)

First on our list of healthy meals to make with ground beef and rice (or whichever grain you prefer) is this delicious Korean-inspired dish. To make it healthier, select leaner ground beef and balance the flavor with nutritious ingredients like vegetables and whole grains. 

Flavor-wise, you won’t be disappointed. Expect nothing short of rich, savory, and slightly sweet flavors that will make you crave this dish regularly.


  • 1lb ground beef (preferably grass fed, 90% lean/10% fat)
  • ⅓ cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (may substitute 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger)
  • 3 green onions, sliced, green and light green/white parts separated

For Serving:

  • 3 cups cooked white rice or brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 large cucumber, thinly sliced or cut into strips using a vegetable peeler
  • 8 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded or julienned

Optional: Sriracha or chili-garlic sauce, to taste



Prepare the Beef Mixture:

  • In a medium bowl, combine the coconut aminos, toasted sesame oil, honey, rice vinegar, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and ground ginger. Mix thoroughly to be sure the ingredients are well-blended.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef. Cook, breaking it apart with a spatula, until it is fully browned and cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Drain any excess fat from the skillet, then pour the prepared sauce mixture over the cooked ground beef. Stir well to coat the beef evenly.
  • Add the white and light green parts of the sliced green onions to the skillet. Continue to cook the mixture for another 2-3 minutes until the green onions soften and the sauce slightly reduces.

Prepare the Vegetables:

  • While the beef simmers, prepare the cucumber, radishes, and carrots. Thinly slice or julienne these vegetables to your preference. Set aside.

Assemble the Bowls:

  • Divide the cooked rice evenly among 4 serving bowls.
  • Top each bowl with a portion of the Korean ground beef mixture.
  • Arrange the sliced cucumbers, radishes, and shredded carrots around the beef in each bowl.
  • Sprinkle each bowl with sesame seeds and the remaining green parts of the green onions.

Optional Additions:

  • For an extra kick, drizzle sriracha or chili-garlic sauce over the assembled bowls according to your taste.


  • Serve immediately while still hot.


Serving Size: ¼ recipe (without hot sauce) | Calories: 460 | Fat: 14 g (Sat Fat: 5 g) | Sodium: 600 mg | Carbohydrate: 50 g  | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 15 g | Protein: 26 g

Read more: Keto Beef Stew – The Perfect Comfort Food for a Cold Winter Night

Healthy Ground Beef and Potatoes (4)

Looking for healthy meals to make with ground beef and potatoes? Well, this simple yet oh-so-satisfying meal is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. The potatoes add a hearty and filling component to this dish, while the ground beef provides protein and essential nutrients.

For this recipe, we’re using Yukon gold potatoes, which provide a creamy texture when cooked. However, feel free to use any type of potato you have on hand or prefer.

Pair this with a salad or vegetable side of your choice for a balanced meal.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound potatoes peeled and diced into ¼-inch cubes (I used Yukon golds)
  • 1 pound 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce plus additional for serving (I used sriracha)
  • 2 green onions sliced

FOR SERVING: non-fat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped scallions (or just more hot sauce!)


Prepare the Potatoes:

  • Begin by heating the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the diced potatoes.
  • Cook the potatoes, stirring occasionally, until they are golden but still firm, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the skillet and set them aside.

Cook the Ground Beef:

  • In the same skillet, add the lean ground beef and diced yellow onion. Cook until the beef is browned and fully cooked through, breaking it up with a spatula as it cooks, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Drain any excess fat from the skillet.

Combine Ingredients:

  • Add the diced red bell pepper to the skillet and cook until it starts to soften, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Return the cooked potatoes to the skillet with the beef and pepper mixture.

Season the Dish:

  • Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, kosher salt, and ground black pepper.
  • Mix well to ensure the seasonings are evenly distributed. Cook for another 5-8 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Finish and Serve:

  • Stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons of hot sauce, adjusting to your heat preference. Cook for an additional minute to heat through.
  • Sprinkle the sliced green onions over the dish and give it a final stir.
  • Serve immediately, topped with non-fat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and additional hot sauce if desired. You can also serve it over cooked brown rice or cauliflower rice.


SERVING: 1(of 4) | CALORIES: 387 kcal | CARBOHYDRATES: 28g | PROTEIN: 26g | FAT: 19g | SATURATED FAT: 5g | CHOLESTEROL: 74mg | POTASSIUM: 1045mg | FIBER: 5g | SUGAR: 5g | VITAMIN A: 1484IU | VITAMIN C: 66 mg | CALCIUM: 53 mg | IRON: 4mg


Healthy Taco Salad with Ground Beef (5)

Nothing beats a good taco salad, and this healthy version with ground beef is no exception. Packed with flavor, protein, and fresh veggies, it’s an easy and satisfying meal that the whole family will love. You can also substitute the ground beef for ground turkey or chicken,  or even vegetarian crumbles, for a plant-based twist.


  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 1.3-ounce packet taco seasoning (about 4 Tablespoons)
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn


  • 3/4 cup cashews (soaked in hot water for 30 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  • 1 medium avocado (sliced)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro


Prepare the Ground Beef:

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef. Break it apart with a spatula as it cooks, ensuring it browns evenly. Cook until the beef is no longer pink, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Once the beef is fully cooked, drain any excess fat from the skillet.

Season the Beef:

  • Return the skillet to the heat and sprinkle the taco seasoning evenly over the cooked ground beef. Stir well to combine, making sure the beef is fully coated in seasoning.

Prepare the Dressing:

  • While the beef is cooking, prepare the dressing. Drain the soaked cashews and place them in a blender.
  • Add 3/4 cup of water, fresh cilantro, lime juice, salt, and garlic powder to the blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Adjust the consistency with additional water if necessary.

Assemble the Salad:

  • In a large salad bowl, combine the chopped romaine lettuce, rinsed black beans, halved grape tomatoes, and corn.
  • Add the cooked and seasoned ground beef to the salad mixture.

Finish and Serve:

  • Drizzle the prepared cashew dressing over the assembled salad and toss gently to combine all the ingredients.
  • Top the salad with sliced avocado and freshly chopped cilantro.
  • Serve


Serving: 2 Cups | Calories: 492 kcal | Carbohydrates: 41 g | Protein: 41 g | Fat: 21 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11 g | Trans Fat: 0.02 g | Cholesterol: 62 mg | Sodium: 628 mg | Potassium: 1058 mg | Fiber: 13 g | Sugar: 5 g | Vitamin A: 4859 IU | Vitamin C: 18 mg | Calcium: 44 mg | Iron: 4 mg

Find more healthy ground beef recipes in our low-carb ground beef recipes article.

Whether you’re looking to simply pep up your fitness routine, jazz up your diet with mouth-watering low-calorie recipes or want to get your act together and significantly drop that number on your scale – BetterMe app has got you covered! Improve your body and revamp your life with us!


  • Is Ground Beef and Rice Healthy?

Ground beef and rice can be a healthy meal, especially if you choose lean ground beef, whole grain rice, and incorporate vegetables for added nutrition. Consider using brown rice instead of white rice, which contains more fiber, but white rice is also fine if you prefer it. Earlier on we shared simple ground beef recipes that incorporate these healthier ingredients.

  • Is Ground Beef Junk Food?

Ground beef itself is not considered junk food. However, some highly processed forms of ground beef, such as fast-food burgers or heavily seasoned meat products, can be high in calories, unhealthy fats, and additives like sodium. These are best consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

In our, Carnivore Diet Meal Plan 2 guide,  we recommended including grass-fed ground beef as a source of protein for those following a carnivore die.

  • Why Is Ground Beef So High In Calories?

Ground beef can be high in calories due to its fat content. Higher-fat versions (like 70% lean/30% fat) contain more calories and saturated fats, which contribute to overall calorie count. Choosing leaner cuts and preparing them with healthier cooking methods can help create low calorie ground beef recipes.

  • Is 20 Fat Mince Bad For You?

A 20% fat content in ground beef is considered high and may contribute to higher calorie and saturated fat intake. High saturated fat diets may contribute to elevated blood lipid levels, which is a risk factor for heart disease.. Select leaner cuts (at least 90% lean/10% fat) for a healthier option. If you do use higher-fat mince, practice portion control and balance it within an overall healthy diet.

  • Is It Ok To Eat Ground Meat Everyday?

It’s generally recommended to limit red meat consumption, including ground beef, to no more than 2-3 servings per week. This is due to the potential negative health effects of consuming high amounts of saturated fat and because high red and processed meat intakes are associated with certain types of cancer.  It’s important to balance ground beef with other protein sources and incorporate a variety of healthy foods in your daily diet for optimal nutrition.

The Bottom Line

Ground beef can be a nutritious and delicious addition to your diet when chosen and prepared wisely. By selecting leaner cuts, using healthier cooking methods, balancing with nutrient-dense ingredients, and practicing portion control, you can enjoy ground beef as part of a healthy lifestyle. Remember to also practice food safety measures and limit consumption of more processed forms of ground beef to promote overall wellness.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet study: effects on lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins (2012,nih.gov)
  2. Chemistry in the Kitchen — Making Ground Meat More Healthful (2010,nejm.org)
  3. Ground Beef and Food Safety (20224,usda.gov)
  4. Ground Beef and Potatoes (2024,wellplated.com)
  5. Healthy Ground Turkey Taco Salad (2024,jaroflemons.com)
  6. Korean-Inspired Ground Beef Bowls (Easy 30 Minute Meal) (2022,therealfooddietitians.com)
  7. Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake (2015,nih.gov)
  8. Nutritional Benefits from Fatty Acids in Organic and Grass-Fed Beef (2022,nih.gov)
  9. NUTRITIONAL QUALITIES OF BEEF (2021,beefresearch.ca)
  10. Study shows that keto diet boosts size and strength of aging muscles, improves brain health (2023,ucdavis.edu)
  11. The effects of meat consumption on global health (2018,nih.gov)
  12. Whole Grains Deliver on Health Benefits (2018,usda.gov)
  13. Vegetables (n,d,myplate.gov)