Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: January 21, 2023

Red meat, in all its juicy glory, is delicious. But it’s also bad for your heart and waistline.

I’ve been on a carnivore diet for over a decade, so it goes without saying I’ve tried all kinds of meat, with steak being my favorite.

I wanted to be more mindful of what I eat, so I consulted a nutritionist and spent hours checking the research on different cuts of meat.

Here’s the ultimate list of the leanest cuts of steak.

Quick Summary

  • There are several lean steaks you can choose if you’re watching your fat intake.
  • Lean steaks are usually dry and should be marinated and slow-cooked.
  • Lean steaks are low in fat and high in protein content.

7 Leanest Cuts of Steak

1. Sirloin Tip Side Steak

An image of sirloin tip side steak

Sirloin tip-side steak is one of the leanest cuts you can find. This lean cut is taken from round primal. The muscles in this area are used to power the hind legs.

As a result, sirloin tip-side steak is low in fat and high in protein [1].

The lack of fat makes it prone to drying, which makes this lean cut chewy. You can braise or use it in a stew to make sure it remains juicy.

3 oz sirloin tip steak has:

  • 207 calories
  • 12 g total fat
  • 4.8 g saturated fat
  • 23 g protein 
  • 78 mg cholesterol
  • 48 mg sodium 

This cut is inexpensive, has a beefy flavor, and goes great with marinades.

2. Lean Top Round Steak

The lean top round steak comes from the cow’s rump. This area generates a lot of movement, which leaves little fat on the muscles.

This steak is relatively inexpensive and one of the most common lean cuts you can find in supermarkets. However, it’s rare to see this lean meat in restaurants because it comes from a tough cut [2].

The nutrition info for top-round steak is as follows:

  • 145 calories
  • 3.9 g total fat
  • 1.5 g saturated fat
  • 26 g protein
  • 73 mg cholesterol
  • 66 mg sodium

Top-round steak has a beefy flavor and should be cooked slowly, for example, in a stew or a braised dish.

Also Read: How to Cook Top Round Steak?

3. Eye of Round Steak

An image of a lean eye of round steak cuts

The eye of round steak comes from the cow’s hind leg, so it’s found between the top round and the bottom round.

This is an extra lean cut, but it’s very flavorful. It resembles tenderloin, but it’s not as tender [3].

Eye of round steak nutritional profile is:

  • 135 calories
  • 3.8 g total fat
  • 1.42 g saturated fat
  • 25.2 g protein
  • 78 mg cholesterol
  • 68 mg sodium

Eye of round steak is often cooked as a whole roast but can also be sliced into steaks, cubes for stew, or kebabs. It’s best braised and slow-cooked.

4. Bottom Round Steak

Bottom-round steak is another affordable, lean, high-protein cut. It comes from the outer part of the round.

This steak is firm and flavorful, with tight grain.

Bottom round steak nutritional profile is:

  • 155 calories
  • 6.04 g total fat
  • 2.16 g saturated fat
  • 23.4 g protein
  • 77 mg cholesterol
  • 58 mg sodium

You can reduce the toughness by using a marinade and slow cooking. You can also grill and have a delicious lean steak.

Overall, this lean meat is a great choice if you’re worried about heart health [4].

“If you are shopping at the butcher case, look for cuts of beef with less fat marbling throughout, and trim the fat from the edges of the meat prior to eating for a great protein serving with less fat.”
- Jim White RDN, ACSM for Healthline

Also Read: How to Cook Bottom Round Steak?

5. Top Sirloin

An image of a top sirloin with its extra lean cut of steak

Top sirloin steak is an extra lean cut with a lot of protein. This thick sirloin steak has a lot of flavor and is juicier than other lean cuts.

This is one of the leanest steaks you can get, and it comes from the sirloin area behind the loins [5]. Like other lean cuts of steak, it can be chewy and tough.

Top sirloin steak nutritional info: 

  • 207 calories
  • 12 g total fat
  • 4.8 g saturated fat
  • 23 g protein
  • 78 mg cholesterol
  • 48 mg sodium

Top sirloin steak is great if you’re on a healthy diet. It should be cooked to medium-done doneness in a skillet. You can also make a grilled steak dinner.

6. Flank Steak

Flank steak comes from the cow’s flank area. It has a somewhat higher fat content than other lean steak cuts, but it still falls into the lean red meat category [6].

Flank steak nutrition info:

  • 163 calories
  • 7 g total fat
  • 2.9 g saturated fat
  • 27.7 g protein
  • 79 mg cholesterol
  • 56 mg sodium

It comes from hardworking muscles, which can make it tough to chew on if not properly cooked. You should cook a flank steak to medium rare and slice thinly against the grain. You can marinate, grill it on high heat, and char the outside.

7. Tenderloin Steak

An image of raw tenderloin steak

The leanest cuts aren’t very tender. However, tenderloin steak is the exception. This lean steak has a mild beefy flavor. Its main downside is the high price.

Tenderloin steak nutritional info:

  • 179 calories
  • 7.6 g total fat
  • 3 g saturated fat
  • 26 g protein
  • 79 mg cholesterol
  • 48 mg sodium [7].

Cook tenderloin medium-rare. It gets dry fast, so use a thermometer to check the internal temperature.

FAQs

What is Sirloin Tip-Side Steak Good for?

Sirloin tip-side steak is good for kabobs, cubed steak, and stew meat.

What are Lean Beef Examples?

Lean beef examples are round roast, sirloin steaks, tenderloin, the eye of round steak, and more. These are cuts of steak that have under 4.5 g of saturated fat.

Is Ribeye Lean?

No, ribeye isn’t lean. It doesn’t fall into the leanest steaks because it’s fatty and has a lot of saturated fat.

What are the Best Lean Cuts of Beef for You?

There are many lean steaks you can choose from and still have a healthy diet. Round steaks, filet mignon, top sirloin, and T-bone steaks are only a few examples.

Apart from looking for lean cuts of beef, you should also check the meat quality and how the animal has been raised. ButcherBox is an online meat delivery service that sells the highest-quality meat I’ve tried in the past two years.

You can choose between beef, poultry, pork, and more. They have a huge steak selection that includes New York Strip Steak, Porterhouse steak, Rib Eye steak, Top Round Roast, and many more. Each steak cut comes from grass-fed and grass-finished animals. Check them out, and lower your fat intake with quality steaks.


References:

  1. https://www.nutritionix.com/food/sirloin-steak/3-oz
  2. https://www.nutritionix.com/i/usda/beef-round-top-round-steak
  3. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173993/nutrients
  4. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172135/nutrients
  5. https://www.nutritionix.com/food/top-sirloin-steak
  6. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168733/nutrients
  7. https://www.nutritionix.com/i/usda/beef-tenderloin-3-oz/513fceb575b8dbbc21001bbd
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