There’s nothing quite like rewarding yourself with a thick, juicy rib-eye steak after a long work week. While you want to enjoy yourself, you don’t want to ruin your waistline. Restaurant portions tend to be quite a bit larger than the ideal healthy serving size, which is only about 3 ounces of cooked meat. You can enjoy your steak, just share it with your partner or save some for lunch tomorrow.
Protein Allotment per Day
Women only need 5 to 5.5 ounces or ounce equivalents from the protein group each day, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov. Meat is counted by the ounce, whereas other protein sources, like beans and tofu, have different measurements of 1-ounce equivalents. Since you only have 5 to 5.5 ounces to work with for the entire day, you’ll have to spread out your protein portions between each meal.
Ideal Serving Size
If you know you’re going out to dinner later, save most of your protein servings for that meal. Have an ounce of protein at breakfast – one scrambled egg or an ounce of crushed walnuts in your oatmeal. Let yourself have another ounce at lunch – an ounce of finely diced chicken or one-quarter cup of black beans on a salad. That leaves room to enjoy a modest 3 to 3.5-ounce rib-eye steak at dinner. So if you’re eyeballing a thick 10-ounce rib-eye on the menu of your Friday night hotspot, you’ll be getting triple your ideal serving size.
The Fat Consideration
Rib-eye meat is high in saturated fat, and if you wind up having an enormous piece, you’ll get way too much of it in your diet. Saturated fat is a natural part of animal foods, so you can’t avoid it all together, you just need to limit it in your diet. Too much saturated fat ups your chances of developing heart disease. Because it’s so detrimental to your health, you need to limit your saturated fat intake to no more than 10 percent of your total calories, reports the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. So if 1,500 calories daily is normal for you, 150 calories from saturated fat – or 16.5 grams of saturated fat -- is the maximum amount you can have each day. The 3.1 grams you’ll get from a 3-ounce rib-eye, takes up nearly 20 percent of your allotment for the entire day for a 1,500-calorie diet.
Keep it Healthy
Avoid adding any extra fat and unnecessary calories to your rib-eye entrée by ensuring it is cooked without any fat. If you’re eating out, request for your rib-eye to be prepared with nonstick cooking spray, instead of oil or butter. You can do the same thing at home. Always weigh the meat when it's raw to make sure it's the right portion size. Four ounces of raw meat equals roughly 3 ounces of cooked meat. Add a little extra flavor by poking a raw rib-eye with a few small holes and shoving rosemary and thyme sprigs inside. Forgo the salt shaker and coat the rib-eye with fresh cracked pepper and a touch of garlic powder. You’ll get a mouthful of robust flavor, without adding any extra calories or sodium to your diet.
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Much Food from the Protein Foods Group is Needed Daily?
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Beef, Ribeye Filet, Boneless, Separable Lean Only, Trimmed to 0" Fat
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- MayoClinic.com: Exchange List: Meat and Meat Substitutes
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.