If you are trying to eat healthily or watch your weight, you might view red meat as a sort of forbidden fruit. What you might not know is that eating lean cuts of steak can actually form part of a healthy diet, as long as you do so in moderation.
We hope the following guide on the leanest cuts of steak will go a long way in helping you make smart, healthy choices.
Good Fats and Bad Fats
When it comes to steak, there are two types of fat—good fat and bad fat. The good monounsaturated fat has tons of positive health benefits and does not negatively affect lipoprotein cholesterol metabolism. The bad fat is that thick external layer you will find on some steaks.
Steaks should not scare you away. Contrary to what many might think, eating steak can be healthy if you choose the healthiest steaks and eat them in the right portion sizes.
Red meat comes with several vitamins that help your body in many ways, from replenishing red blood cells to boosting your immune system. Eating lean cuts can even lower the bad cholesterol in your body.
The key to attaining a healthy diet is striking the right balance. You can trim off the visible solid sections of fat, ensuring your steak is as lean as possible. It would also help if you considered how you cook your steak and what you serve it with to balance your nutrient intake.
What Determines a Lean Cut of Steak?
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) uses a steak’s cholesterol and fat content to determine whether it is lean or extra lean. For you, checking the label is the best way to determine which steak cuts are the leanest. The labels are viewed as nutrition claims, meaning that they are subject to government regulations and are, therefore, accurate.
According to the USDA, a lean cut of steak is one that, in a 3.5-ounce serving, has less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and 10 grams total fat. An extra-lean cut has less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 5 grams total fat.
The Leanest Cuts of Steak
Your desire to eat healthily or lose weight doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on your favorite steak cuts. There is an extensive range of healthy options that offer you various cooking styles that make it possible for you to enjoy a whole lot of flavor still.
The following leanest cuts of steak enable you to get the protein your body needs, with as little fat intake as possible.
Top Round Steak
Its tenderness, reduced fat content, and robust flavor have made the top round roast a popular health enthusiast option. It is a moderately-lean cut that comes from the area around the cattle’s hip. Though a high fat content tends to make steak more tender, the top round roast is still pretty tender even without the high fat content.
Top Sirloin Steak
This steak is essentially a lean cut option because each serving tends to have up to 10 grams of total fat while only having 4 grams of the bad saturated fats. Unlike most other lean cut steak options, the top sirloin comes loaded with about 50 grams of protein.
Bottom Round Steak
The bottom round roast comes from the cattle’s rear leg. Because this area of the cattle moves a lot, the bottom round roast tends to be chewier than other options. Fortunately, marinating the steak for a few hours before cooking can significantly improve its chewy texture and flavor. Its fat content is also very minimal.
Eye of Round Steak
The eye of round roast steak is categorized as extra lean because of the extremely low fat content. Its shape resembles that of a tenderloin. Its tenderness, however, isn’t the same. This toughness can, however, be resolved with a bit of marinating. The best part of the eye of round roast is its remarkably affordable price.
How To Prepare Lean Cuts of Steak
With some of these options being chewy, preparing them does need a bit of skill. Also, if you use unhealthy ways to cook your lean steak, you could still end up with the excess fat you are trying to cut out.
Here are the steps to take when preparing lean cuts of steak:
- Cut off or trim any visible solid fat before cooking your steak.
- Instead of using butter, cook your steak in olive oil.
- After cooking, drain any excess fat. You could do this by rinsing your meat with hot water or blotting it with a clean paper towel.
- Another option is to chill the steak after cooking, letting the excess fat harden so you can skim it off the steak’s juices. You could then add the liquid to gravy, stews, or soups.
- Always stick to the guidelines of not having more than six ounces of lean meat per day.