Veal – Types, Benefits, Recipes, and Downsides

Veal – Types, Benefits, Recipes, and Downsides

Veal is meat from calves, between six and eight months old but sometimes younger. Most calves raised as veal typically grow to be about 18 weeks old before slaughter. However, bob veal is much younger and only a few weeks old.

Veal calves are generally male Holstein-Friesians who cannot produce milk and are slaughtered or cut up for profit. Veal’s tender texture is because of its age. The light pink colour of veal is due to its milk or formula-fed diet and haemoglobin content. It contains less iron because veal does not have as much haemoglobin as beef.

Veal is automatically off the menu for those who abstain from all animal meats, especially vegans and vegetarians. Within the ethical issue of animal exploitation and slaughter, there are several specific concerns around the veal. However, people eat it for its lean protein content and boosting muscle protein synthesis. 

Nutritional Profile of Veal

As per USDA, 100 grams of ground, cooked, broiled veal contains the following nutrients.

  • Calories: 172 kcal
  • Protein: 24.4 g 
  • Fat: 7.56 g
  • Calcium: 17 mg
  • Iron: 0.99 mg
  • Magnesium: 24 mg
  • Phosphorus: 217 mg

The HealthifyMe Note

Veal is a quality protein source with all nine essential amino acids. In addition, veal loin is naturally low-fat meat. Therefore, one serving of veal leaves lots of space in your diet for more healthy fats. And like most animal proteins, veal doesn’t contain any carbs.

Types of Veal

Bob veal

Slaughtering calves as early as 2 hours or 2–3 days old (at most 1-month-old) yields bob veal weighing 9–27 kilograms. The bob veal usually goes into hot dogs and prepared sandwich meats.

Formula-fed (“Milk Fed”, “Special Fed”, or “white”) Veal

The formula-fed veals have a special diet containing iron and 40 other essential nutrients, including amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. The meat is velvety, and the colour is ivory or creamy pink, with a firm texture. This veal variety is usually 20 to 24 weeks of age, and their weight is around 200 to 230 kg.

Non Formula-fed (“red” or “grain-fed”) Veal

The non-formula-fed calves eat grain, hay, or other solid food and milk. The meat is darker in colour and with some additional marbling and fat. The calves are slaughtered at 22 to 26 weeks of age, weighing around 290 to 320 kg.

Young beef (in Europe; “rose veal” in the U.K.)

The name comes from the pink colour of the meat. Young beef is the meat from calves of about 35 weeks of age.

Potential Benefits of Veal

Helps Reduce Blood Pressure

Lean veal is low in saturated fats. It also offers 337 mg of potassium per 100 grams of serving. Studies show that potassium controls blood pressure by preserving fluid balance and the rate at which blood pumps through your veins. Therefore, prime cuts of veal are suitable for those looking to balance the impacts of blood pressure. 

Build and Maintain Muscle

Adding protein-rich food to the diet is one of the easiest methods to help you build muscle. Veal is a protein source that can provide all the essential amino acids. On top of that, veal contains leucine, the amino acid responsible for muscle protein synthesis. And when paired with intensive physical training, a lean veal-rich diet can help you develop and keep muscle without gaining extra weight.  

Keto-Friendly

As veal does not contain carbohydrates, its glycemic index is zero. As a result, veal is a keto-friendly food with moderate fat. In addition, veal is minimally processed and free of non-keto products like sweeteners, highly refined oils, and food additives.

Ways to Prepare Veal for Consumption

You can cook veal in both dry heat and moist heat. 

  • For tender cuts, it can be cooked by broiling, braising, pan broiling, roasting, grilling, stir-frying, or simmering the veal in a soup.
  • Ground veal requires an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • It would be best to cook veal steaks and chops to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow meat to rest for about 3 minutes before eating.
  • Ground and strips of veal are excellent choices for sauteing and stir-frying. Moreover, you must braise the veal shoulder and breast cuts in a small amount of liquid marinade for better results.

Healthy Recipes Using Veal

Veal With Peppers and Mushrooms

Serves: 4 servings

Preparation time: 85 minutes

Ingredients

  • Boneless lean veal: 250 grams
  • Olive oil: 1 tbsp 
  • Green bell pepper: 1
  • Red bell pepper: 1
  • Fresh mushrooms, sliced: 1 cup 
  • Cayenne pepper: 1 pinch
  • Tomato puree: 1 cup
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method of Preparation

  • Cut the veal into thin strips or bite-sized pieces. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat to brown the veal on all sides.
  • Add the bell peppers and mushrooms to the veal. Cover and reduce the heat to low. 
  • Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cayenne pepper and tomato puree. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes longer.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Veal With Lemon

Serves: 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Boneless lean veal: 250 grams
  • Olive oil: 1 tbsp 
  • Mushrooms: 1 cup 
  • Garlic, minced: 1 clove
  • Lemon zest: 1 tsp 
  • Lemon juice: 2 tbsp 
  • Finely chopped fresh rosemary: 1 tsp (Or use ½ teaspoon dry rosemary)
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley: 2 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method of Preparation

  • Sprinkle veal with salt and pepper.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the veal quickly, and remove it from the pan when browned.
  • Sauté mushrooms in the same pan until tender.
  • Add the veal back to the pan with lemon juice, zest, garlic, and herbs. Simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Grilled Veal Chops

Serves: 6 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Veal chops, 1½ inches thick: 6
  • Extra-virgin olive oil: 1 tbsp
  • Salt: ½ tsp 
  • Ground black pepper: ½ tsp
  • Fresh thyme, chopped: 2 tsp

Method of Preparation

  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. 
  • Coat the veal chops with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme.
  • Grill the veal for 8 to 10 minutes on each side. Or you can cook until the veal reaches desired doneness. 
  • Remove veal chops from the grill and allow them to rest for 5 minutes. Cover it with aluminium foil during this resting period.
  • Ensure to cook the veal to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F. It also benefits from a 3 to 5-minute rest.

Storage and Food Security

It would be best to store and cool the veal at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Most veal chops stay fresh in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. However, you must use ground veal or stew meat within 1 to 2 days of purchase. For better quality, freeze the veal. Remember to use frozen ground veal within 4 to 5 months and frozen veal chops or roasts within 5 to 6 months. 

Store cooked veal in the refrigerator without delay. To prevent food poisoning, discard any cooked veal left open for more than 2 hours. After that, it is no longer suitable for further storage. Most importantly, you must use the cooked veal in the fridge within 3 to 4 days.

Potential Drawbacks of Veal

Veal contains a good amount of protein. While your body does need protein, it is not healthy to overdo it. Excess consumption of veal leads to cholesterol and heart disease. However, not all veal is equal. The veal in greasy burgers, highly processed lunch meats and packaged gravy are not the same as grilled lean veal or a simple veal stew with vegetables. It means that what you eat with veal and its cooking process play a crucial role in determining the impact on your health. 

Allergy

Veal is not a typical food allergen. However, a study report shows that 10% to 20% of children allergic to cow milk are also allergic to veal. Symptoms of veal allergy include rashes around the mouth, unusual fatigue, and gastric disturbances.

Diabetes

Red meat is one of the most well-established dietary risk factors for diabetes. Regularly eating red or processed meat like veal increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. A study says that protein in veal is digested later than carbohydrates and fats, making the energy you receive from protein a surplus. This surplus energy converts into fat, leading to obesity. Unwanted weight gain or obesity leads to type 2 diabetes. 

Heart Disease

The potassium in veal might help control blood pressure. However, too much veal increases cholesterol and blockages in blood vessels. Red meat’s harmful cholesterol and fat build-up can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease. These adverse cardiovascular effects arise from a chemical present in the blood after eating red meat, trimethylamine N-oxide or TMAO.

Conclusion

Veal is an outstanding source of protein. It has zero carbohydrates and fewer fats. Most red meat, consisting of veal, is suitable for building muscle and receiving the goodness of all nine essential amino acids. In addition, the minerals like potassium in veal help control blood pressure. However, too much veal is not suitable for your heart. It can also increase the risk of weight gain and type 2 diabetes. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is veal better for you than beef?

A. Veal and beef both come from cows but are still different from one another. The beef comes from older cattle and is much darker meat, more potent in taste, and coarse in texture. On the other hand, veal comes from young calves and is more delicate and tender than beef. Veal tends to be more nutritious than beef as it contains more beneficial nutrients, is lower in saturated fats, and is higher in protein. But beef is lower in cholesterol than veal. Veal and beef also contain nearly the same levels of calcium and potassium. 

Q. Is veal healthier than chicken?

A. Veal contains more protein, calcium, iron, potassium, and sodium than chicken. In addition, veal contains more vitamins and minerals than chicken. However, chicken has fewer calories than veal. For example, 100 grams of chicken has 114 kcal, while veal has 172 kcal. Therefore, skinless chicken is better than veal for a calorie-restricted diet.  

Q. Is it healthy to eat veal?

A. Yes, it is a healthy option. Veal contains a large amount of protein, which is suitable for developing muscles and keeping you satiated for a long time. In addition, it is a carb-free and low-fat food. Furthermore, it contains essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12, and many more. However, people suffering from any heart disease should avoid eating veal as its chemical increases the chances of heart disease and the risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Q. Is veal healthier than pork?

A. Veal is lower in calories and cholesterol than pork. One hundred grams of pork has 242 kcal, while veal has 172 kcal. It contains more iron, potassium, and vitamin B12 than pork. Pork has more fats than veal.  

Q. Is veal good for weight loss?

A. Veal is an excellent source of protein that can help you stay satiated. It is also a carb-free and low-fat meat option. Therefore, veal can be a perfect addition to weight loss diets like keto. However, it would help if you ate it in moderation. 

Q. Is veal healthier than lamb?

A. Veal comes from cows’ calves, and lamb is from young sheep. Lamb has more nutrients than veal, including calories, protein, fats, and most vitamins. Lamb is nine times richer in vitamin B12, four times richer in vitamin K, and contains two times more iron than veal. On the other hand, veal is slightly higher in cholesterol than lamb. Veal contains three times more vitamin B6, two times more vitamin B5, and more phosphorus than lamb. In addition, veal contains low carbs and fats.  

Q. Is veal meat good for health?

A. Veal is a powerhouse of protein. It is carb-free, low-fat meat good for muscle protein synthesis. However, overeating veal is not suitable for your health, and you should opt for lean varieties.  

Q. Why should you not eat veal?

A. Some harmful effects of eating veal meat are that it increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes and can cause cancer. In addition, a chemical in veal meat increases the chance of heart attack and strokes. Plus, the ethics of veal production is also a concern. 

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