Animal protein is expensive but beans are cheap. Both are a great source of protein that help your body lose weight. Research from the John Hopkins University suggests that roughly 40% of your daily food intake should be comprised of protein.
Protein aids in weight loss:
- body uses energy to metabolize the protein
- body uses the amino acids in protein to build lean muscle (1)
- overall, tend to eat less because “protein generally increases satiety”
- “provide a stimulatory effect on muscle protein anabolism, favoring the retention of lean muscle mass while improving metabolic profile” (2)
Animal protein contains all of the essential amino acids used by the body to build lean muscle, which in turn burns fat. While beans, seafood, and some grains are complete protein sources, they are missing other components for effective weight loss.
Like most men and teen boys, the males in my home often say a meatless meal tastes good but that is immediately followed by, “Where’s the meat?” We’ve had countless conversations about the cost of protein sources, with beans and whole grains top of the “most affordable” list. So, I decided to split the difference-flavor and budget wise, to make everyone happy!
Including a healthy fat is essential to that “full” feeling with less food, so I save bacon fat grease in the freezer and I’ll skim off some of the animal fat grease from the surface of my simmering bone broth (tips for easy bone broth) and let it turn to a gel in a container in the fridge. After it becomes a solid, I will heap blobs of it onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and freeze it. Once frozen, I put it in a freezer bag to use as needed!
Adding this fat into a cooked ground beef (taco meat is an “essential” in our house), really helps this expensive protein stretch farther because …
“Saturated fats provide the building blocks for your cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone like substances that are essential to your health, and saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources (such as meat, dairy, certain oils, and tropical plants like coconut) provide a concentrated source of energy in your diet.
When you eat fats as part of your meal, they slow down absorption so that you can go longer without feeling hungry.
In addition, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes.” (3)
… in essence, they help metabolize nutrients, make you feel “fuller” longer when combined with other protein and carbs, and impact hormones (which regulate weight loss in many ways).
After a year of manipulating possible ingredients, the males in my home (4:2 ratio of men:women here) have “approved” this beefed up beef recipe because it fills them up, doesn’t taste like beans (one ingredient), and it puts beef as a meal ingredient again!
Beefed Up Ground Beef
Ingredients for 2 pounds
3-4 T animal fat
2-3 cups cooked red beans. 1:3 ratio of black beans to red beans is another good flavor blend. Pre-soaked beans aid in digestibility (decrease gas).
1.5 pounds ground beef
- Melt the fat in the pan before adding the uncooked beef.
- Add raw beef and simmer low a medium to low temperature, chopping it into a medium to small consistency. Cook 5 minutes.
- While the beef is simmering, blend the beans in a food processor or blender. Do small batches or add some more liquid fat in with the beans. I use my Ninja small cup. Add the pureed beans into the beef mixture as you blend the batches and stir it in.
- When the beef is still pink, start adding the bean puree and mix.
- Simmer on very low heat for at least 15 minutes for the flavors to blend together, stirring occasionally.
- Store in fridge or portion into freezer bags or season it (we prefer taco meat as a go to quick meal).
I encourage you to practice with your bean puree and bean types. My family doesn’t mind a few non-pureed black beans peaking through.
Here’s the beefed up beef prepared as taco meat. I packed away one pound of beef for use in a quick grab meat recipe and then I was still left with all of these quick grab taco meat snack baggies. Protein on the cheap and on the go snack meals!