Steak, Lightened Up

Cook up the perfect steak for Dad this Father’s Day. With a few small tweaks and ingredient swaps, Dad can enjoy his juicy steak while the rest of family can breathe easy that Dad won’t have a coronary.
Steak_009.tif

Steak_009.tif

Cook up the perfect steak for Dad this Father’s Day. With a few small tweaks and ingredient swaps, Dad can enjoy his juicy steak while the rest of family can breathe easy that he won’t have a coronary.

Nutrition Facts

A typical 12-ounce steak contains over 600 calories, 50 grams of fat and 21 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat. Even if you opt for an 8-ouncer, most bottled steak sauces are packed with salt and sugar. If you opt for more traditional sauces, like hollandaise and blue cheese, you’re adding even more saturated fat and calories. We need Dad around for a long while, so here are some ways to lighten up his steak without compromising flavor.

The Cuts

Start with a lean cut of beef and trim off any visible fat. Steer clear of meats with lots of fat floating around (called marbling). If you choose a leaner cut, you will find they contain less visible fat, too.

Here's some lighter cuts to look for at the market:
  • Flank steak
  • Top loin
  • Sirloin
  • T-bone
  • Filet Mignon
  • Tenderloin
Or, try a lean, meaty alternative option to beef.  Red meats like bison and venison (my fave!) are very lean, and fish like tuna also make a heart-healthy steak as they’re chock-full of omega-3 fats. For the more adventurous (or vegetarian) eater, what about a tempeh or tofu steak?
The Flavors

Once you’ve chosen the lean cut, don’t sabotage the meal by drowning it in gobs of fatty sauces or bottle versions. Bottled sauces can contain tons of salt and sugar (including the infamous high fructose corn syrup). You’re better off making your own sauce so you can control the ingredients.  If you're short on time, here's a list of bottled sauces we like.

If you’re opting for butter or oil-based sauces, remember that one tablespoon of butter contains 100 calories and 11 grams of fat, while one tablespoon of any oil contains 120 calories and 14 grams of fat. Although butter contains fewer calories, it’s much higher in unhealthy saturated fats — that’s why an oil-based sauce is a better choice (as long as it’s portion-controlled). Whichever sauce you choose, stick to two tablespoons.  Or, skip the fatty sauce altogether and top your steak with a simple homemade salsa.

Other healthier alternatives? Try a spice rub. Made from a combination of various spices, they contain very few calories and add tons of flavor. Alcohol (like whiskey) is another excellent way to flavor up steak; 90 percent of the calories from alcohol dissipate when cooked, but the smoky flavor remains. Combinations like red wine and vinegar also add flavor without many calories.

Getting Creative

Instead of serving up a big slab of meat, slice into 1-inch pieces and thread on a skewer with fruits or veggies. You’ll still have a flavorful steak-based dish, but with fewer calories and added vitamins and antioxidants. Another alternative is to thinly slice a three to four-ounce steak and fan over a bed of greens — this will make the steak look larger than it really is.

Recipes to Try:
TELL US: What’s your favorite way to lighten up steak?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

You Might Also Like:

Keep Reading

Next Up

Cheesecake, Lightened Up

Velvety smooth, sweet and creamy, but with more than 600 calories and 45 grams of fat per slice, can it be part of a healthy diet? Here’s how you can have your (cheese)cake and eat it too!

Hearty Chili, Lightened Up

Yes, it's easy to load up your chili with calories and fat, but here are easy steps to make a pot for under 400 calories per serving.

Grilled Cheese, Lightened Up

Who doesn’t love the ooey-gooey goodness of a grilled cheese sandwich? You can enjoy the scrumptious combo of toasted bread and melted cheese without throwing your healthy eating plan out the window.

Iced Tea, Lightened Up

A tall glass of iced tea is perfect is perfect for chilling -- and re-hydrating -- in the summer heat. You can make a large batch in no time (please, none of that powder stuff!), but knowing what to put in it is the important part. Here are some mixtures to try.

Ribs, Lightened Up

This backyard classic can be tricky to make, messy to eat and tough on the waistline. We can’t do much about the mess, but can help out with everything else. Grab your napkins!

Lobster Rolls, Lightened Up

Gobs of mayo and butter can wreck this summertime goodie. Lighten up your favorite lobster roll recipe and dive in!

Tacos, Lightened Up

Fried shells, fatty meats and piles of high-cal toppings can make tacos a belly buster. But they don't have to be; use our tips to give a make healthier tacos.

Potato Salad, Lightened Up

I’m just starting to see early varieties of potatoes at the farmers market and potato salad recipes are calling out to me! This picnic and barbecue fave is known to be heavy on the fat and calories, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are my favorite ways to lighten up this summertime classic.

Eggplant Rollatini, Lightened Up

Eggplant Rollatini is not the lightest dish on the menu. One serving can deliver 600 calories, 38 grams of fat and 900 mg of sodium. Ouch. But, there's hope!

Potato Soup, Lightened Up

Creamy potato soup can have anywhere from 300 to 500 calories and up to 35 grams of fat per serving! Our lightened-up versions taste even better than the cream-laden recipes, and since the main ingredients are potatoes, it won’t bust your budget.