5 Ways to Lighten Up Your Classic Meat and Potatoes Dish

While meat and potatoes is a well-loved dish, it isn’t always the healthiest meal. Red meat can be high in saturated fat and potatoes tend to come loaded with butter and salt. But all’s not lost: A few tweaks can transform the plate of food, making it a lot more nutritious while still tasting great. Here are five suggestions from Grace Derocha, a registered dietitian and certified health coach with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, for improving your next meat-and-potatoes dinner:

  1. Change the cut of meat. Instead of cooking up a rib-eye, T-bone or New York strip, use a leaner option like top round or sirloin steak. While these cuts do still contain saturated fat, it’s at  much lower levels. If you’re cooking up a burger, try swapping in ground chicken or turkey for the ground beef.
  2. Don’t add fat when cooking. If you’re pan-searing your steak, use cooking spray instead of oil and butter. Or cook it up on a grill—it cooks without sitting in its own fat. (Just make sure not to char your meat too much on the grill to avoid carcinogens!)
  3. Make the steak a supporting character. A typical serving of steak ranges from 8 to 12 ounces, while a serving size is actually less than half that. Keep the size of the red meat to three or four ounces (the size of a bar of soap) and fill the rest of the plate with sides that are fresh and nutritious.
  4. Change the color of your potatoes. Speaking of side dishes, switching to a sweet potato means you’ll have more fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A with fewer calories and carbohydrates.
  5. Don’t stop with just the one side. While you could make a whole meal out of steak and a sweet potato, this is a great opportunity to fill the rest of your plate with healthy greens, like Brussels sprouts, broccoli or sautéed spinach in olive oil. You’ll still enjoy your favorite meal, plus a good dose of vitamins and minerals from your vegetables.


Photo Credit: jeffreyw

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