Whether you’re bulking, cutting, or maintaining your weight, you simply cannot go wrong with a lovely cut of steak. Steak is the ultimate fitness food, particularly if your training involves a lot of resistance work. Protein is the macronutrient responsible for muscle growth, function, and repair, and steak has protein aplenty, so of course it’s a natural winner in many people’s eyes. The great thing about steak is that it has a place in pretty much any meat eater’s diet, as it is so adaptable, and so beneficial. What a lot of people don’t realize however, is that they can actually gain some degree of control over just how healthy a steak really is, by simply knowing how to prepare it correctly. If you’re watching what you eat and are trying to eat healthily, please do not think that steamed vegetables, white fish, and boiled chicken is the way to go, because it’s not. In actual fact, if you prepare and cook the steak correctly, it can become a staple part of your weekly diet, so you get to enjoy something that tastes great, that also happens to be very good for you in the process. If you’re a steak lover, here are a few healthy and delicious ways to prepare and cook a good steak.
Select leaner cuts when you’re dieting
If you’re dieting, chances are that you’ll be following a calorie-restrictive diet, which means that you will need to remain in a caloric deficit if you wish to lose weight. As mentioned, this does not mean that you have to eat bland, tasteless, low-calorie foods because it doesn’t. There are countless cuts of steak currently available, with each one coming from a different part of the animal. This means that certain cuts are naturally leaner than others. For example, a ribeye steak is going to contain much more fat than a rump steak, which is naturally very lean. For when you’re dieting, make sure you choose lean cuts of steak, such as rump, to keep calorie intakes low. You’re in control when choosing the steak, because you can look at each cut and identify how much, or how little, each cut contains. Choose the cut with the smallest amount of visible fat to keep yourself nice and lean.
Remove visible fat
As mentioned, when you browse for cuts of steak at the supermarket, or in the butchers, you can basically take a look for the leanest cuts you can find. Some cuts however, will still naturally contain fat, though this doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Before you prepare your steak, take a sharp knife and trim away as much visible fat as possible, if you are trying to stay lean.
Lightly oil your steak, not the pan
A lot of people make the mistake of adding oil to the frying pan before cooking their steak, and wondering why it goes so greasy. When you add oil to the pan, you will likely use more than is needed, and will end up shallow frying the steak. To cut back on the amount of oil used, instead, lightly oil both sides of your steak, and keep the pan dry. This will prevent it from sticking and will help lock in the flavour, without causing you to consume more oil than is needed.
Get your pan smoking hot
The secret to a delicious and moist steak is to cook it in a smoking hot pan. Some people get their pan on, get some heat under it, and add the steak before allowing the pan to reach temperature. This then results in the steak stewing in its own juices, instead of cooking as it should, which leaves you with a grey, dry, and tasteless cut of meat. Your pan should be smoking hot so that it caramelizes the outside of the steak, the second it touches the metal. You may need to crank a window, or get your extractor fan on to prevent your kitchen getting all smoky, but it will be well worth it. You should also try not to flip the steak too much, as this can cause it to become tough. Ideally it will only want flipping twice.
Grill your steaks
If you have a BBQ, and if the weather permits, to help make your steak even healthier, and arguably even tastier, grill it on the BBQ. Grilling over an open flame is very healthy because the heat is high so it cooks quickly. It’s also very good for you because the fat from the meat drips through the grates and drains away. In a pan, the steak sits in its own juices and fats, where it soaks some of it back up. This can result in the steak retaining more fat than if it had been grilled, which obviously will increase the caloric value.
Another great way of getting plenty of taste into your steaks is to marinate them before you prepare them. You can select a number of different marinades, but just make sure that you give them plenty of time to work their magic. Ideally you should marinate your steaks overnight in the fridge, as this will allow the marinades to penetrate the meat and do their stuff. You can go with oil-based marinades, rubs, herbs, seasonings, or anything else that you feel may work. A particularly tasty marinade to use with steak is rosemary, garlic, black pepper, and olive oil. One thing to remember is to always leave the salt out until the last minute, as salt draws moisture from the meat, causing it to dry up.