Cattlemen’s Corner: What’s on the plate? | TSLN.com

Cattlemen’s Corner: What’s on the plate?

For the June 11, 2011 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

On June 2, U.S. Deptartment of Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack and First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled a new food icon, called MyPlate, that will serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices. MyPlate, replaces the My Pyramid image we currently know. Instead of a pyramid, the MyPlate icon is shaped as a plate that includes four primary segments: fruit, vegetables, whole grains and protein as the primary food groups. It also includes a “glass” icon on the side to indicate a serving of dairy. Thankfully, the new plate icon still includes protein, such as lean beef, as part of a healthy, balanced diet. While we’ve known all along that beef is vital to a balanced diet, there are many people in the world influencing consumers with false nutritional information about beef.

MyPlate offers simple and actionable steps to build healthier diets. This straightforward visual gets back to the basics, illustrating how to create a healthful plate with a balanced mix of nutrition from a variety of foods. Recognized by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee as a nutrient-dense food, lean meats – including lean beef – make it easier to “enjoy our food, but eat less.” For example, for around 150 calories, a consumer can enjoy a 3-ounce serving of lean beef, providing them with nearly half of the daily value for protein. With more than 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for “lean,” consumers are sure to find a cut they like. Lean beef cuts include sirloin, tenderloin, T-bone steak and 95 percent lean ground beef.

Many health critics today believe beef is full of fat and shouldn’t be included as part of a well-balanced meal. However, with this knowledge of how lean beef fits perfectly into the Dietary Guidelines recommendations and MyPlate graphic, it will be hard to deny the health benefits of lean beef. Consumers also need to know that lean beef supplies nearly half of their daily value for protein, as well as nine other essential nutrients, including zinc, iron and Vitamin B12 – plant foods are not naturally good sources of these nutrients.

Research suggests that including lean beef in a heart-healthy diet provides more variety to the diet, which can help improve long-term adherence to a healthy lifestyle. Research also shows that enjoying lean beef as part of a balanced diet is associated with improved overall nutrient intake, diet quality and positive health outcomes. Another advantage to lean beef is that it is easily paired with, and nutritionally complementary to, vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy. It’s quickly added to a salad, stir-fry, or vegetable-rich casserole.

Through the beef checkoff, America’s farmers and ranchers help promote positive messages about the nutritional quality of the wholesome beef we raise. While we producers know the nutritional benefits of the product we raise, many consumers are easily misled by today’s media, which is why it’s so important to share this message and support your beef checkoff.

For more information on the MyPlate program, please visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov. You can also learn more about your favorite cuts of lean beef, find delicious recipes, and discover how to use lean beef to build a healthy meal by visiting http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com.

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On June 2, U.S. Deptartment of Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack and First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled a new food icon, called MyPlate, that will serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices. MyPlate, replaces the My Pyramid image we currently know. Instead of a pyramid, the MyPlate icon is shaped as a plate that includes four primary segments: fruit, vegetables, whole grains and protein as the primary food groups. It also includes a “glass” icon on the side to indicate a serving of dairy. Thankfully, the new plate icon still includes protein, such as lean beef, as part of a healthy, balanced diet. While we’ve known all along that beef is vital to a balanced diet, there are many people in the world influencing consumers with false nutritional information about beef.

MyPlate offers simple and actionable steps to build healthier diets. This straightforward visual gets back to the basics, illustrating how to create a healthful plate with a balanced mix of nutrition from a variety of foods. Recognized by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee as a nutrient-dense food, lean meats – including lean beef – make it easier to “enjoy our food, but eat less.” For example, for around 150 calories, a consumer can enjoy a 3-ounce serving of lean beef, providing them with nearly half of the daily value for protein. With more than 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for “lean,” consumers are sure to find a cut they like. Lean beef cuts include sirloin, tenderloin, T-bone steak and 95 percent lean ground beef.

Many health critics today believe beef is full of fat and shouldn’t be included as part of a well-balanced meal. However, with this knowledge of how lean beef fits perfectly into the Dietary Guidelines recommendations and MyPlate graphic, it will be hard to deny the health benefits of lean beef. Consumers also need to know that lean beef supplies nearly half of their daily value for protein, as well as nine other essential nutrients, including zinc, iron and Vitamin B12 – plant foods are not naturally good sources of these nutrients.

Research suggests that including lean beef in a heart-healthy diet provides more variety to the diet, which can help improve long-term adherence to a healthy lifestyle. Research also shows that enjoying lean beef as part of a balanced diet is associated with improved overall nutrient intake, diet quality and positive health outcomes. Another advantage to lean beef is that it is easily paired with, and nutritionally complementary to, vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy. It’s quickly added to a salad, stir-fry, or vegetable-rich casserole.

Through the beef checkoff, America’s farmers and ranchers help promote positive messages about the nutritional quality of the wholesome beef we raise. While we producers know the nutritional benefits of the product we raise, many consumers are easily misled by today’s media, which is why it’s so important to share this message and support your beef checkoff.

For more information on the MyPlate program, please visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov. You can also learn more about your favorite cuts of lean beef, find delicious recipes, and discover how to use lean beef to build a healthy meal by visiting http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com.

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