Health | December 22nd 2016

Packing on the Protein: The Best Way to Cook Steak

Good news for meat-lovers — eating steak isn’t so bad for you after all. In fact, if you cook it right and balance your healthy meals out with lots of vegetables, steak can be great for you.


Even though eating too much excess red meat can put your digestive system under some unnecessary wear and tear, there’s a lot of incredible protein power, B vitamins, and iron in meat that your body needs. And especially for fitness fans who are practicing food plans that limit your sources of iron and fiber — including adhering to a Paleo diet food list — it’s important that you get your protein in with the best way to cook steak.

The healthiest way to cook steak starts with a lean cut — steaks are rarely super fatty, so it should be easy to find a cut of beef that’s low on fat and high in protein-rich meat. However, that means they can turn out tough if not given enough tender love and care during cooking.


If you’re worried about cooking time, rest easy — there’s no difference in terms of nutrients between rare, medium, or well done steak. However, reducing cooking time is generally healthier, because cooking red meat for longer periods of time can affect the formation of something called heterocyclic amines, which form when amino acids and creatines react at high temperatures. In small doses, these chemicals are nothing to worry about. But large hits of them all at once can increase the likelihood of colon complications in humans. That’s also why it’s often healthier to limit your portion size when eating steak.

If you want to maximize your protein and iron intake, pair steak with lots of dark leafy veggies like spinach or kale — just 1/2 cup of spinach provides you with 20 percent of your daily nutrition value of iron. It’s strong stuff.


Most people enjoy grilling steak, but that high heat in a short time can sometimes toughen out the meat if you’re not experienced with how to cook a steak. As well, grilling with charcoal can expose you and your food to unhealthy ingredients in the charcoal smoke. Instead, gas grilling, broiling, or pan-searing in a low-fat oil is often the most healthy way to cook steak.

For an easy, healthy steak recipe that’s low in calories and big on flavor, try this citrus-rubbed pan-fried skirt steak — short on prep time, and any extra portions are easy to add to salad!