Is Mongolian Beef Healthy? Experts Explain

Are you a fan of Mongolian beef?

This classic dish is a favorite in many Chinese restaurants, but is it actually healthy?

With its rich sauce and tender slices of beef, it’s easy to assume that it’s not the best choice for those watching their waistlines.

However, with a few simple tweaks, Mongolian beef can actually be a nutritious and satisfying meal option.

In this article, we’ll explore the nutritional benefits of Mongolian beef and provide some healthy recipe alternatives that you can try at home.

So, let’s dig in and find out if Mongolian beef can be a part of a healthy diet!

Is Mongolian Beef Healthy?

Mongolian beef is a dish that typically consists of sliced beef, stir-fried with vegetables and a sweet and savory sauce. While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of healthy eating, there are some nutritional benefits to this popular dish.

One of the main nutritional benefits of Mongolian beef is its high protein content. Beef is a great source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. In fact, a 3-ounce serving of beef contains about 25 grams of protein. This makes Mongolian beef a great option for athletes or anyone looking to increase their protein intake.

Another benefit of Mongolian beef is that it can be made with a variety of vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions, and broccoli. These vegetables provide important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and fiber, which are essential for maintaining good health.

However, it’s important to note that traditional Mongolian beef recipes can be high in calories, sodium, and fat. This is due to the use of sugar and cornstarch in the sauce, as well as the frying of the beef in oil.

The Nutritional Value Of Mongolian Beef

When it comes to the nutritional value of Mongolian beef, it’s important to take a closer look at the macronutrient content. One serving of Chinese Food Dot Com Mongolian Beef contains 240 calories, 11g total carbs, 9g net carbs, 10g fat, and 25g protein. Meanwhile, a P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef contains a much higher calorie count of 770 calories, along with 42 grams of fat and 39 grams of carbohydrates.

Despite the high calorie count of some Mongolian beef dishes, it’s worth noting that beef itself is a great source of important nutrients. In addition to protein, beef contains iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. These nutrients are essential for maintaining healthy blood cells, supporting the immune system, and promoting healthy brain function.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all Mongolian beef dishes are created equal. Some recipes may be higher in sodium or sugar than others, which can have negative impacts on your health if consumed in excess. Additionally, fried versions of Mongolian beef may be higher in unhealthy fats and calories than stir-fried versions.

The Downside Of Traditional Mongolian Beef Recipes

While Mongolian beef can be a nutritious and protein-rich dish, traditional recipes can also be high in unhealthy ingredients. For example, the use of sugar and cornstarch in the sauce can add unnecessary calories and carbohydrates to the dish. Additionally, the frying of the beef in oil can increase the fat content of the dish.

Furthermore, traditional Mongolian beef recipes often contain high levels of sodium. Soy sauce, a common ingredient in Mongolian beef marinades and sauces, is notoriously high in sodium. Consuming too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.

To make Mongolian beef a healthier option, consider using alternative sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup instead of sugar. Additionally, using lean cuts of beef and reducing the amount of oil used in cooking can help to reduce the overall fat content of the dish. Finally, opting for low-sodium soy sauce or reducing the amount used can help to control sodium levels in the dish.

Healthy Recipe Alternatives To Traditional Mongolian Beef

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to traditional Mongolian beef, there are several options available. Here are some healthy recipe alternatives to try:

1. Paleo Mongolian Beef: This recipe uses flank steak and gluten-free, low-sugar ingredients to create a healthy version of the classic dish. Serve it with cauliflower rice or greens for a paleo-friendly option.

2. Ground Beef Mongolian Style: A flavorful and cost-effective alternative to the classic dish, this recipe is soy-free and paleo, whole30, and AIP friendly.

3. Stir-Fry Vegetables with Beef: Make crisp-tender snow peas, broccoli, and carrots the star of the dish with seared flank steak as the supporting player. Omit the heat for a family-friendly version, or add a sliced red chili or crushed red pepper for some extra spice.

4. Shaved Beef Stir Fry: Thinly sliced steak makes this dish tender and easy to prepare. Use grain-free soy sauce for a gluten-free option and add fresh ginger for extra flavor.

5. Instant Pot Mongolian Beef: This recipe uses low-sugar ingredients and is gluten-free to create a healthier version of the classic dish. Serve it with cauliflower rice or regular rice for a delicious meal.

By making a few simple substitutions, you can enjoy the delicious flavors of Mongolian beef while still maintaining a healthy diet.

Tips For Making Mongolian Beef Healthier At Home

If you’re looking to enjoy Mongolian beef while still maintaining a healthy diet, there are some simple tips you can follow when making it at home:

1. Choose lean beef: Opt for lean cuts of beef, such as flank steak, sirloin or tenderloin. These cuts are lower in fat and calories than fattier cuts like ribeye or brisket.

2. Use less sugar: Traditional Mongolian beef recipes call for a lot of sugar, which can add unnecessary calories and spike your blood sugar levels. Try reducing the amount of sugar in the sauce or using a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup instead.

3. Swap cornstarch for arrowroot powder: Cornstarch is often used to thicken the sauce in Mongolian beef, but it can be high in carbs and calories. Arrowroot powder is a healthier alternative that’s lower in calories and carbs.

4. Use healthy oils: Instead of using vegetable oil or canola oil, which are high in unhealthy fats, try using healthier oils like avocado oil or coconut oil. These oils contain healthy fats that can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation.

5. Load up on veggies: Add more vegetables to your Mongolian beef to boost its nutritional value. Try adding bell peppers, onions, broccoli, carrots, or any other veggies you like.

By following these tips, you can enjoy a healthier version of Mongolian beef that’s still delicious and satisfying.