Happy National Nutrition Month! March is a time to celebrate the importance of making sound food choices and being physically active in ways that fit your lifestyle. When assessing your needs, don’t forget to factor in the potential for satisfaction! More on the “S factor,” here.
Disclosure: this post is brought to you in partnership with Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative. As always, thoughts are my own, and my love and support of the beef community is genuine. Thank YOU for your support of Enjoy Food Enjoy Life!
“Oh, you’re a dietitian? So you’re a vegan, right?” If I had a dollar for every time this query came my way, I’d have my steak budget covered from now through the next presidential election. If you’re familiar with this blog, you’re well aware that not only do I consume all foods, but that I encourage others to do the same.
Here’s why: nutrition is so much more than just calories and macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins). Of course, food is fuel, but it’s also an experience, and each one can have an impact on the next eating occasion to come. That being said, I encourage clients - and all of you! - to think of not only what’s on your plate, but how it makes you feel in the minutes and hours after. Are you rummaging the cabinets 45 minutes after consuming a salad for dinner? Did you forego a cheeseburger at your favorite restaurant, only to spend hours after filling up with other foods to (unsuccessfully) satisfy your craving? Think it over a moment.
I choose beef as many as five times per week (ok, sometimes six including beef jerky!) because, in addition to giving my body what it needs to hit goals in the weight room, it delivers the aforementioned “S Factor” - satisfaction. And that factor lingers long after I’ve lovingly cut, chewed, and savored every bite.
While the past two years of abstinence of alcohol have taught me firsthand the positive domino effect of one lifestyle change, being more inclusive of beef has provided a similar lesson. Just as eliminating alcohol - and the loosening of inhibition around foods that often accompanies a night of clinking glasses - has helped to stay on track with my body composition goals, adding my favorite lean protein to more meal occasions has had a similar effect. More lean beef has increased the satisfaction factor of my overall dietary pattern, allowing me to put my best foot forward for an active lifestyle.
Looking to put YOUR best foot forward with beef but are unsure where to start? Here are a few ways to reap the benefits - and satisfaction - of beef.
-Think beyond dinner. Leftover ground beef ups the nutrition ante of egg cups for an easy, make-ahead breakfast. Check out this recipe.
-Love your leftovers! A steak dinner is a no-brainer. Next time you fire up the grill, mind your portion sizes (3 oz. is considered a serving), and save some to add to a salad for a satisfying lunch the next day. Think outside the box and blend in whole, cooked grains (farro is a fun one to try!) for a complete, desk-friendly meal.
-Don’t forget the jerky! Snack bars are great, but try giving yourself some variety with a beef jerky “trail mix” - one serving of beef jerky, a handful of nuts, and a serving of dried fruit. This fibrous, protein-packed combination will hold you over between meals.
Tell me: how will YOU put your best foot forward with beef? Tell me in the comments below!
Happy National Nutrition Month!
Enjoy your food. Enjoy your life!