Enjoyment Without Regret: Five Essential Tips for Healthy Dining at a Steak House

Dining at a steak house can be an amazing and decadent affair, but that doesn't mean it has to be unhealthy. If you want to keep your eating goals or your diet intact the next time you eat at a steak house, take a look at these tips.

1. Opt for fishy rather than fried starters

When kicking off your meal with a plate of starters, avoid the fried fare. Instead, pick a low-fat fishy option to complement your steak mains and keep your waist trim.

To that end, stay away from potato skins and wings, and opt for shrimp cocktail, raw oysters or some crab sprinkled over a salad.

2. Choose grass-fed over grain-fed beef

When it's time to choose your steak, the dietary history of the cow is important. Typically, there are two types of beef, based on feeding methods, and those are grass fed and grain fed.

Grass-fed beef is slightly less fatty than its grain-fed counterparts, but the real difference lies in the quality of the meat and its fatty acids. Grass-fed beef has less monounsaturated fat and five times more omega-3 fats than grain-fed beef, and it also has about twice as much conjugated linoleic acid or CLA. CLA is a fatty acid with a range of benefits including reduced body fat. 

As a result, a plateful of grass-fed steaks will keep you healthier in the long run than a plate of grain-fed beef.

3. Cover your steaks carefully

If your steak comes smothered in a tasty sauce, remember to choose that sauce carefully. Cream-based or cheesy sauces are usually full of fat and calories. Instead, look for sauces based on beef stock such as a peppercorn sauce, a wine or brandy-flavoured sauce or a simple demi glace.

4. Mash the potatoes or keep the bakers low-fat

If you are having spuds on the side, try to make that choice as healthy as possible too. If your options are baked, mashed or fried potatoes, avoid the fried potatoes, and instead, pick mashed potatoes.

Similarly, stay away from bakers if you know that you will be tempted to load them with everything. However, if you are happy to just dip them in the sauce that comes with your steak, order them -- they have less butter and cream than most steak house mashed potatoes.

5. Drink dry wine

Of course, even the alcohol you pair with your food at the steakhouse can affect how healthy your meal is. When choosing a pre-dinner cocktail, stay away from creamy, sugar-laden cocktails. Instead, have a shot of spirits with a diet mixer.

When it's time to start on the wine, pick a drier variety. They usually have less calories than their sweet counterparts.