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For many, eating at a steakhouse is the perfect excuse to forget one’s diet. After all, when dining at a steakhouse, you have to order their specialty: a steak. You also have to accompany this entree with a slew of delectable appetizers and side dishes.
But eating at the best steakhouse in town doesn’t automatically mean you can only eat high-calorie, fatty foods. You can’t always order the biggest cut of steak and indulge in fried and salty side dishes. Doing so will do nothing good for your body. Doing it frequently will even put you at higher risks for various health issues.
Eating Healthily at Steak Restaurants
That said, staying healthy doesn’t mean you have to avoid eating at steakhouses. To have an enjoyable and healthy dining experience at a steakhouse.
Some tips you should follow:
1. Order the right appetizers
Many people think that by skipping the appetizers, they will consume fewer calories from their overall meal. But appetizers aren’t always bad. In fact, if you order the right appetizers, you will be less likely to overeat after this part of the meal.
In addition, ordering a light, tasty appetizer will prevent you from eating the main dish feeling starved. It will also help you to keep your fork out of your fellow diner’s plate.
As such, order a light appetizer in addition to your main course. You can also split the appetizer with your dinner companions. Some of the healthiest options for appetizers you can consider are:
- Simple salads (just keep the dressing light!)
- Tuna tartare
- Fresh raw oysters
- Shrimp cocktail
2. Pick a lean cut of steak
Different cuts of steak contain varying amounts of calories. But to eat healthy at a steakhouse, order lean cuts of meat.
The leanest cuts of steaks are:
- Filet (a fillet between 6 and 9 ounces contains 220 to 340 calories)
- Sirloin (a 9-ounce serving contains less than 400 calories)
- Flank steak (an 8-ounce serving contains approximately 440 calories)
Make sure the steak is USDA Select or Choice grade, and that the fat has been trimmed off to reduce fat content and calories as well.
3. Know your portion sizes
To avoid overindulging in your main course, make sure you order a steak between 6 to 9 ounces. If the menu does not specify this, don’t be afraid to ask the wait staff. Keep in mind that many steakhouses offer portions as big as 24 ounces – a meal that is not only unhealthy but impossible to finish in just one sitting.
If the restaurant serves large portions of steak, consider sharing the meat with your dining companion. You can also ask if it would be possible for them to give you a smaller serving of your preferred steak.
4. Choose a healthy steak sauce
Generally, you can eat a well-seasoned and cooked steak without the need to smother it with some sauce. As such, when ordering, ask the wait staff to serve the sauce or gravy on the side.
But if you can’t enjoy your steak without any sauce or gravy accompaniment, be smart in choosing what to pour on your meat.
Béarnaise, a popular steak sauce, is made nearly entirely of egg yolks and melted butter. As such, it is one of the fattiest, unhealthiest steak sauces around. A better option would be peppercorn sauce which contains wine or brandy, beef stock, and green peppercorns.
5. Opt for a low-cal and low-fat side dish
A steak dinner won’t be complete without a side dish. Make sure you enjoy a side dish or two without the guilt by following these tips:
- Order plain baked or boiled potatoes. Baked and boiled potatoes are healthy and filling but adding butter, cheese, gravy, and bacon will double the calories. You will also consume more sodium and saturated fat.
- Choose sautéed spinach. Creamed spinach is one of the best steak dinner side dishes. However, spinach cooked in cream has more than three times the calories and fat of sautéed spinach. As such, choose the healthier version.
- Don’t order anything fried. French fries and onion rings are also classic steak side dishes but it doesn’t mean you always have to order them. Go for fiber-rich sides such as steamed or lightly sautéed vegetables like leafy greens, asparagus, or cauliflower.
There is nothing wrong with giving in to your craving for a big, juicy, tasty steak and fatty appetizers and sides from time to time. But whenever possible, try to eat healthily; and you can certainly do this even at a steakhouse by taking note of the tips above.
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