SINCE BEER IS TECHNICALLY A BEVERAGE, WE’RE GOING TO GO AHEAD AND CROWN STEAK AS THE MOST MASCULINE FOOD OUT THERE. AND, FORTUNATELY, THIS MEAL-MAKING RED MEAT CAN BE A GREAT LEAN PROTEIN SOURCE, if you do it right, says Rachel Begun, M.S., R.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Here’s why:
- A serving of sirloin packs 17g of protein into just 100 calories.
- Lean steak is an excellent source of B vitamins, which are essential for cardiovascular health.
- This potent protein source is also rich with zinc, selenium, and iron, which will help protect your blood cells and keep oxygen flowing through your body.
At the butcher counter, go for top sirloin, top round, eye of round, and bottom round cuts. These are all parts of the cow that get the most exercise, making them naturally lean, says Begun. (Tip: Check the label, too—lean steak should have fewer than 5g of fat per serving.) And since even the healthiest steaks contain saturated fat and cholesterol, stick to a twice-weekly red meat regimen.
Now check out our six easy ways to add this versatile protein to your lineup.
1. Grill it
The quintessential method for cooking steak is a dietary staple for a reason—it’s delicious and simple. Season steak with just salt and freshly ground pepper before grilling, and add a small dab of butter before serving. Pair with grilled veggies and whole-grain rice or sweet potatoes for a satisfying, well-rounded dinner.
Not exactly a grill master? Our grilling tips will help you fire up the grill like a pro in no time.
2. Top a salad
Lean steak doesn’t have to be the star ingredient of every meal. Slip a few slices into your favorite lunch salad to boost the protein value and add a little extra flavor, or try our easy California roll-inspired recipe—with avocado, ginger, and wasabi, it’s a mid-day meal that packs prime nutrition and a little extra kick.
3. Marinate it
Using a marinade not only gives extra flavor to lean steak—it alsomakes tougher, more inexpensive cuts taste like their pricier counterparts. So use this recipe for a quick and easy weeknight meal: Combine ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce, 2 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce, 3 Tbsp of minced garlic, 1 tsp of garlic powder, and ½ tsp of onion powder. Add the steak, then marinate for at least 30 minutes, but only up to 24 hours. Afterward, grill the steaks or pan-fry. (You can also check out our recipe for Spicy steak marinade.)
4. Build a better cheesesteak
Forget the Pat’s- or Geno’s-style heart-attack-on-a-plate, and make your favorite sandwich healthier by using lean steak. This Philly buffalo cheesesteak recipe is low in fat, yet it packs in some serious protein for a simple dinner or weekend lunch.
6. Make it Mexican-style
Think beyond your typical chicken to spice up Mexican favorites. For breakfast, try a burrito with scrambled eggs, peppers, onions, lean steak, and black beans. Having friends over for dinner? Try a make-your-own burrito station, complete with your favorite fixings, like heart-healthy guacamole, whole-grain brown rice, and antioxidant-rich salsa.