We'll show you the healthiest choices (and splurge-only dishes) to help you order wisely at a Steak House

October 14, 2009

Depending on the cut, beef isn’t much fattier than other meats. Still, some big prime- and choice-grade steak house servings pack enough saturated fat to last you days―and that’s before you factor in the side dishes. We analyzed six steak house entrées from popular U.S. restaurants to help point you to healthier choices. Nutrition numbers are estimates: Results vary widely according to portion size. And if sodium is a concern, ask the kitchen not to use added salt, and watch your intake the rest of the day. Now, let’s get to the meat of the matter.

Smart Steak Strategies
Prime-grade beef (the highest quality) has more marbling than choice-grade, which makes prime steaks tastier, juicier, and, of course, fattier. But expertly cooked steak of either grade won’t need buttery sauces―or the butter dollop some steak houses put on top―to be delicious.

What You Need to Know About Ordering Sides

  • Go naked: Plain baked potatoes are healthy, but toppings can double the calories and add 18g saturated fat.
  • Hold the cream: Creamed spinach has more than three times the calories and fat of sautéed spinach.
  • Dress for success: Swap classic blue cheese dressing for vinaigrette. It has one-third fewer calories.

Splurge Only: Rib-Eye Steak
56g sat fat
Arguably the juiciest, tastiest menu item, in part because the exquisite marbling delivers two days' worth of saturated fat.

Healthy Choice: Petite Filet Mignon
15g sat fat
Your best bet for beef, but less fat also means less flavor. Order prime grade: The superior taste is worth the few extra calories.

Ask Your Server: Porterhouse
48g sat fat
Can be 38 ounces or more. Orer for a group: Figure 6 ounces per person, cutting fat intake more than 80 percent.

Healthy Choice: Grilled Tuna Steak
.5g sat fat
Nutritionally it's a good choice, but unless you're a pescetarian, enjoy what you came for: beef.

Ask Your Server: Strip Steak
28g sat fat
Watch portions: It's less fatty than rib-eye, but strips can weigh in at a pound or more

Splurge Only: Prime Rib
49g sat fat
Sliced from a whole roast rib-eye. Look for smaller "queen-size" cuts.