If you’re here looking for the leanest cuts of steak because you’re trying to make healthier choices, we salute you. Whether you’re going out to a restaurant to eat or cooking at home for your family, you want to make sure you’re choosing the healthiest, leanest possible option for your Saturday night steak dinner.
What is actually considered the leanest cut of steak? We’re here with a guide to the healthiest steak cuts so you can feel confident that you’re making the best choice for your health.
Did you know that eating lean cuts of steak in moderation can actually be good for you? As long as you are careful about portion sizes and how many times a week you eat it, steak does not need to be considered a scary, unhealthy food that puts pressure on your heart and fat around your middle. Red meat, in general, contains a ton of vitamins that contribute to maintaining a healthy body and can even help boost your immune system and lower bad cholesterol. Steak fat in lean cuts also contains mainly monounsaturated fats which can contribute to reducing your risk of heart disease as well as reducing inflammation.
Don’t let the idea of steak is unhealthy scare you away from ever enjoying one. As long as you follow portion control, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a lean cut of steak in your healthy diet.
What defines a lean cut of meat?
If you’re looking for the leanest cut of meat, it’s always best to check the label. Labels are subjected to government regulation and are required to be accurate. So, to be considered either lean or extra-lean, certain USDA guidelines have to be met. When it comes to defining which category a cut of meat falls under, it comes down to both fat and cholesterol content.
Lean cuts of beef
Since we’re getting into technicalities, let’s look at what actually defines a lean cut of beef. According to the USDA, a lean cut of beef is a 3.5-ounce or 100-gram serving that contains less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat.
Extra-lean cuts of beef
You’ve probably also seen extra-lean advertised for sale. What is an extra-lean cut of beef? According to the USDA, an extra-lean cut of beef is a 3.5-ounce or 100-gram serving that contains less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat.
The Healthiest Cuts of Steak
Keep in mind that you can make any steak healthier and leaner by trimming any extra fat or preparing it in a slightly different way, for example, pan roasting it in olive oil rather than butter. When opting for a lean cut of meat, you’re reaping the benefits of the high protein content and other beneficial vitamins and minerals, by cutting out as much unhealthy fat as possible. If you’re looking for the leanest possible option right from the get-go, here are the best possible options.
Eye of Round Roast and Steak
Have you heard of an eye of round roast or steak? This budget-friendly steak has incredibly low-fat content and usually falls into the extra-lean category. Although it looks like a tenderloin, it is nowhere near as tender but can work well as a pot roast or when marinated to add some extra tenderness and flavor.
The top sirloin is a popular go-to for a lean (or at least, a leaner) cut of meat as it contains around 10 grams of fat per serving and just meets the saturated fat standards to be considered lean at about 4 grams of saturated fat per serving. The top sirloin steak does contain more protein than the average lean cut of steak with a whopping 50 grams of protein per serving which can be quite appealing to someone looking for a healthier cut of meat.
Bottom Round Roast
The bottom round roast is lower in fat because it comes from the rear leg of the cow which obviously moves around quite a bit. Even though it is most definitely lean meat, the meat is also quite chewy because it’s full of muscle. Marinating this roast overnight helps make it as tender as possible and adds an extra surge of flavor.
Top Round Roast
While the top round roast is considered moderately lean, it’s a great option for those who still want a cut of meat that is on the tender side. This roast comes from the hip area of the cow, which gets a moderate amount of exercise. It tastes great and has tons of flavor so marinating this roast is not strictly necessary, but can be beneficial in bringing out its good qualities even more.
There you have it, the leanest cuts of steak you can buy. Keep in mind that, unfortunately, an exceptionally lean cut of steak usually means that you’re giving up a lot of tenderness and flavor. A good marinade recipe and some time to prepare beforehand are essential to getting the same level of tenderness and flavor you find with fattier meat.
No matter what, always make sure that you’re enjoying your food and that it tastes great but keep in mind that there are always ways to do so while keeping your meal as healthy as possible. If you’re in the mood to have a chef prepare your steak for you, Texas Roadhouse is an all-time favourite. Find their menu and prices here.