How to Beef Up Your Fitness Game with High-Quality Protein this Fall
This fall, look to nutrient-rich protein foods, like beef, to help build muscle and jumpstart healthy routines
DENVER, Sept. 16, 2019 – After a long summer of pool party snacking and meals on-the-go, fall is the perfect time to reset diets and jump back into a health and fitness routine. Pairing physical activity with a balanced diet that includes high quality protein, like beef, is a recipe for success that doesn’t require sacrificing taste for results.
Protein plays an important role in building muscle and fueling muscle recovery after physical activity,i,ii,iii and beef is a great source of high-quality protein, along with other essential nutrients including iron, zinc and B-vitamins.iv In fact, one 3 oz. cooked serving of beef provides 25 grams of protein on average, which is roughly 50% of the recommended Daily Valueiv.
When considering the role of protein in a healthy diet, it’s important to keep in mind that not all protein is created equal.v Real beef is an authentic and complete source of protein. It contains the optimal mix of amino acids, which the body cannot produce on its own, that are needed for building and repairing muscle.iv,ix In contrast, most plant proteins are incomplete protein foods providing fewer essential amino acids than animal proteins.iv,ix Additionally, the iron in beef, which is more easily absorbed than iron from plant sources, can help prevent fatigue.vi,vii No other protein source offers the same nutrient mix.viii
“Simply put, beef is a protein powerhouse, especially when compared to some of the most popular plant-based protein options,” said dietitian and health and wellness expert Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD. For example, you would need to eat 3 cups of quinoa or 6.5 tablespoons of peanut butter to get the same amount of protein in 3 ounces of cooked beef.iv And this would mean consuming more than three times as many calories.iv
Beef is also a smart choice for those looking to shed a few pounds before the holidays. Research shows that following a balanced diet that includes nutrient-rich beef, combined with physical activity can help people lose weight while maintaining lean muscle and supporting a healthy heart.vi,ix Furthermore, people report feeling fuller longer after eating a meal that includes high protein foods such as beef, and this can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.vii,viii
“Now is a great time to add nutrient rich, high-quality proteins into your diet that can make it easier to stick to your health routine,” added Goodson. “People love beef’s rich flavor, and, thanks to its high-quality protein, lean beef is a smart choice for anyone wanting to up their fitness game this fall.”
Whether you’re ready to get back on track or want to take your current nutrition and fitness routine to the next level, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. has you covered with hundreds of recipes for delicious, well-balanced beef meals. Some favorites include:
- Beef Sausage Savory Oats – This tasty breakfast dish is sure to get the day off to a solid start. Topped with cherry tomatoes and cheddar cheese, these oats offer a well-rounded protein-packed meal.
- Grilled Steak and Vegetable Salad – Perfect for lunch or dinner, this hearty salad pairs Strip Steak with sweet potatoes and a variety of vegetables.
- Beef Tenderloin Cranberry and Pear Salad – Ready in just 25 minutes, this refreshing salad is low on calories and high on protein.
- Dijon-Wine Steak Kabobs with Mushroom Wild Rice – This quick and nutritious recipe pairs Sirloin Tip Steak with fresh vegetables for the perfect weeknight meal.
All Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. recipes are developed and triple-tested in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Culinary Center, funded by the Beef Checkoff. This ensures they meet USDA nutrition standards and can be replicated at home, making it easier than ever to incorporate beef into a healthy diet.
About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.
About NCBA, a Contractor to the Beef Checkoff
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. The Beef Checkoff Program is administered by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, with oversight provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
i Morton RW, et al. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults. Br J Sports Med 2018;52:376-84.
iiLiao CD, et al. Effects of protein supplementation combined with resistance exercise on body composition and physical function in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 2017;106:1078-91.
iii Reidy PT, Rasmussen BB. Role of ingested amino acids and protein in the promotion of resistance exercise-induced muscle protein anabolism. J Nutr 2016;146:155-83. Obes Sci Pract 2017; 3:298–310.
iv US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Legacy. Version Current: April 2018. Available at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata (NDB#13364 for beef, 20137 for quinoa, 16167 for smooth peanut butter)
v Guoyao W. Dietary protein intake and human health. Food Funct 2016; 7:1251-65.
vi Winter WE, et al. The molecular biology of human iron metabolism. Lab Med 2014;45:92-102.
vii Clark SF. Iron deficiency anemia. Nutr Clin Pract 2008;23:128-41.
viii US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Legacy. Version Current: April 2018. Internet: /nea/bhnrc/ndl
ix Sayer RD, et al. Equivalent reductions in body weight during the Beef WISE Study: beef's role in weight improvement, satisfaction and energy. Obes Sci Pract 2017;3:298-310.
Director of Media Relations
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association