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This Is the #1 Best Cut of Steak to Eat, Says Dietitian

Choosing the right one makes all the difference.

You should never have to sacrifice delicious foods just to stick to your health goals. Whether it's finding a low-sugar choice for ice cream or a frozen pizza made with sourdough instead of white flour, you can almost always find a way to still enjoy your favorite foods.

This goes for red meat, too. With over 13 different cuts of steak, you'll find that some are higher in fat and should be consumed in moderation, while others are actually much lower in fat content and can be enjoyed completely guilt-free.

According to our medical expert board member Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND award-winning nutrition expert and author of The Family Immunity Cookbook, the best and healthiest cut of steak to eat is any type of lean cut.

Learn more about which cuts of steak are considered lean, their health benefits, and which cuts Amidor recommends limiting as much as possible. Then, for more healthy eating tips, make sure to check out 7 Healthy Eating Habits for the Holidays, Say Dietitians.

Health benefits of lean cuts

t-bone steak

Choosing a lean cut of steak can help reduce the saturated fat you consume while providing key nutrients you need throughout your day.

"A cut of cooked fresh meat is 'lean' per the FDA when it contains less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams (or 3.5 ounces)," says Amidor.

She also says that in addition to lower levels of fat, "3 ounces of cooked lean beef provides high-quality protein, essential amino acids, is an excellent source of key nutrients like niacin, zinc, vitamins B6 and B12, and selenium, and is a good source of phosphorus, riboflavin, choline, and iron."

The different types of lean cuts

skirt steak

There are plenty of lean cuts of beef out there so you can still enjoy a deliciously juicy steak while not having to forfeit your health goals. Certain types of lean cuts include top sirloin, strip steak, and flank steak, for example.

"One of my favorite lean cuts of beef is a boneless tenderloin, which is a long, narrow, and lean muscle located within the Loin, and is the most tender cut of beef available," says Amidor, "and these types of tender cuts of beef are great roasted, grilled, or broiled and can be found at most Costcos and other grocery stores."

Amidor also suggests trying lean ground beef, which you can make even "leaner" by draining and rinsing after cooking.

"Ground beef often comes in higher fat forms (as high as 30% fat), but you can find at least 85% lean ground beef for burgers and 90% or leaner when it's used as an ingredient for tacos or pasta dishes," says Amidor.

Cuts you may want to limit

baby back ribs

While there are many lean options out there, there are a few cuts of steak that contain high amounts of saturated fat and should be limited when possible.

"The fattier cuts of beef, like brisket, are the ones to limit, which come with 12 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving, or beef ribs, which are higher in fat with about 17 grams per serving," says Amidor.

She suggests opting for a brisket flat half, which is a lean cut with half the fat, or at least pairing your meat with lower-calorie veggies and lower-fat whole grains.

"This is why I find it so handy to use the Beef It's What's for Dinner as a resource—it gives you all these swaps so you can keep it lean and still enjoy your favorite cuts," says Amidor.

Here are 25 Tips for Grilling the Perfect Steak.

Healthy steak recipes


For the steak-lovers out there, there are plenty of healthy ways to cook and try new recipes with your favorite cuts.

"A 3-ounce cooked portion of lean beef complemented with the nutrients in plant-based foods like steamed broccoli, baked potatoes, or rice and beans really gives you the most nutritional bang for your lean dinner (or lunch!) buck," says Amidor.

If you want to try a new recipe, you can try this Bloody Mary Skirt Steak recipe, these Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps, or these Low-Calorie Steak Nachos.

For more steak tips, read these next:

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha