Nebraska Beef Council: Elite nutrition experts learn about beef in Kansas City
KEARNEY, NE – The Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska beef councils recently hosted “A Nutrition Adventure: Connecting Food, Farm and Science” for 43 elite registered dietitians from Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, New York, Minnesota, Washington, Utah, Kentucky, California and Florida. These health professionals gathered in Kansas City, KS May 23-25 to participate in a seminar designed to explore the many benefits of beef.
“This event is a unique opportunity for influential dietitians to learn about beef nutrition, cookery and cuts and current issues about the beef production process from experts within the beef community,” said Kaiti George, registered dietitian and director of nutrition and education for the Nebraska Beef Council.
During the three-day seminar, culinary and research experts, as well as local cattle farmers and ranchers, taught the dietitians about all aspects of beef – from pasture to plate.
On the first day, the dietitians learned about beef and nutrition and how the carcass is broken down into the cuts they find in grocery stores and restaurants – including the 29 lean cuts of beef. They heard from a variety of chefs and culinary experts about flavor pairings and beef cookery. The dietitians participated in a hands-on cooking competition where they were able to practice grilling, sauteing and pan-broiling steaks at Sysco in Olathe, KS. That evening, the group learned more about flavor pairings in a beef and wine pairing class at Pierpont’s at Union Station in Kansas City, MO.
“There are so many different varieties of cuts of beef and so many things you can do with beef that are nutritious,” said Kristen White, RD, LD, Hy-Vee dietitian from Springfield, MO. “It’s going to be helpful to take this back to my patients and customers with a breakdown of cuts and tips they can use at home.”
Day two of the seminar highlighted nutrition research. Heather Leidy, Ph.D., with the University of Missouri discussed the importance of eating high-quality protein, like lean beef, at breakfast in order to curb appetite and improve satiety throughout the day. Mike Roussell, Ph.D., one of the authors of the new BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) study discussed lean beef’s role in a heart-healthy diet.
“Beef is low in saturated fat. It can be recommended for a heart-healthy diet,” said Heather Comstock, MS, RD and president of the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “This is a huge take-home message for me – that lean beef can be incorporated into a diet like the gold-standard DASH diet.”
A highlight for many participants was a tour of Tailgate Ranch in Tonganoxie, KS. There, the group mingled with beef producers and heard first hand from a producer panel made up of Kirk Sours, a cow-calf producer and manager of Tailgate Ranch; Ken Real, a feedyard operator and manager of Real Cattle Company in Nebraska; and Patti Dollarhide, a registered dietitian with Cargill Meat Solutions.
Jennifer Egeland, RD, LD, dietitian and natural foods buyer for Balls Foods (Hen House and Price Chopper Markets) in Kansas City, MO, said she learned useful information about current issues in the beef industry.
“Especially in the Hen House market, we do get a lot of questions,” Egeland said. “People want to know where their food comes from, how it’s grown and who touches it. So, it’s a really great experience to be able to feel confident to tell them the process beef goes through to make it from the ranch to the store.”
The last morning of the three-day event focused on communicating about food and health. Liz Weiss, MS, RD, with Meal Makeover Moms, led the dietitians through a workshop where they learned to utilize branding and social media. Attendees were tasked with brainstorming how to take the information learned at the program back to their local media, patients, clients and fellow health professionals.
Tailgate Ranch has hosted this program for three years. “They had great questions and lots of them – pretty rapid-fire,” Sours said about the producer panel. “We talked about everything from implants and antibiotics to forage management, genetics, breeding programs, herd health and animal handling practices. We really take a lot of pride in being able to help educate these folks and allow them a chance to see producers on a face-to-face, one-on-one level.”
The state beef councils designed the Nutrition Adventure program to educate key nutrition influencers throughout the country about food and nutrition trends surrounding beef. The event already has yielded several blog posts, media stories and 375,244 Twitter impressions under #NutritionAdventure.