Why Choose Grass-Fed Meat?

Grass-fed meat

You’ve likely heard the saying, “you are what you eat,” but what about when it comes to meat?

If you choose to eat meat, eating local and organic is important, and choosing meats that are hormone and antibiotic-free are also worthy considerations. But it turns out that it is grass-fed meat that boasts the most abundant beneficial nutrients. “Grass-fed” ensures animals were raised on a diet that ruminants would naturally eat. This diet, consisting mainly of grasses, rather than grains, improves the type of fat and the amount of vitamins and minerals in the meat.

Consider this: grass-fed meat contains more anti-inflammatory fats (omega-3 and conjugated linoleic fatty acids) as compared to grain-fed meats. Compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef’s balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is optimal. Grass-fed meat also contains a healthier ratio of unsaturated fats. Additionally, numerous studies have shown that grass-fed cattle have higher amounts of vitamin E and vitamin A in their meat.

If you are considering consuming more grass-fed meats, here are some tips to consider:

  • Grass-fed meats are naturally leaner, and should therefore be cooked at lower temperatures. If you’re preparing a cut of meat that requires less cooking time, a higher temperature necessitates even less time compared to grain-fed counterparts.
  • Grass-fed meat may have more of a gamey flavor due to the different ratios of fat in the meat.
  • Grass-fed meat will cost more per pound; however, meat is nutrient-dense so you only “need” a few ounces per serving.

Your meat certainly is what it eats, so choose grass-fed meat whenever possible. Make sure to ask your local stores and farmers markets about purchasing grass-fed.


--By Alyssa Neill, Bastyr dietetic intern, and Amy Frasieur, MS, RD, core faculty in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.