Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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It's What's For Dinner!

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Have you heard the tagline, "Beef: It's What's for Dinner?" Why would a dietitian be recommending beef? Let me tell you the many reasons!

Beef is what I consider to be a naturally nutrient rich food. It has 10 essential nutrients that are essential for all different stages of life. Beef has nutrients for everyone, but specifically thinking about pregnancy again this time (3.5 weeks to go!).

Iron: Blood volume during pregnancy can double, so extra blood means extra iron is needed. Iron has also been shown to help decrease risk of preterm deliveries and prevent low-birthweight babies. Beef is the #1 source of easily absorbed iron. Anemic? Eat beef!
B-vitamins: B Vitamins are essential for everyone to unlock energy in the food we eat. It is part of the whole metabolism of food to get energy out of it. They are essential to keep you going all day long!
Choline: Plays a critical role in normal development of babies' brains. Also found in egg yolks. Very important yet not known to many people nutrient.
Protein: Beef is about as high quality as you can get when it comes to protein. When pregnant, your body is "under construction" and protein needs go up quite a bit!
Zinc: Part of what helps produce the baby's DNA. It is also part of energy production, brain development, and keeping the immune system strong.

So beef is nutrient rich, but isn't it bad for you because of the fat? That is "old school" thinking. There are actually 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for lean. Each one contains less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3.5 oz. serving. Sirloin and tenderloin are probably the most common and favorites for many people. As long as you choose lean beef, you can enjoy it several times per week without worrying about getting too much unhealthy fat.

3 ounces of lean beef on average only has 154 calories! It is not a high calorie food as long as you keep it lean and watch the portion. No 20 ounce Ribeyes!

Also, beef can actually be a great food to feed as one of the first foods for a 6 months or older infant. It has the zinc and iron that they are missing from breastmilk after the age of 6 months, so along with iron fortified cereal, you can try feeding pureed beef! This research was published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

For recipes and more information, visit www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com
Also check out The Healthy Beef Cookbook for great recipes.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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