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Fuel for Fitness: Take the Challenge, Make a Change!

Brought to you by the Washington State Beef Commission

Fuel for fitness

As a working mom of three young athletes, part-time coach, former collegiate player, and running enthusiast, I know how essential high quality nutrition is to feeling good and keeping up with my family’s fast-paced life. But paying attention to my nutrition and fitness goals isn’t where my job stops…

One small change in your diet can make a big difference in the way you feel, perform and make it through the day. It can also improve how your kids perform in the classroom and on the pitch. Some of the more remarkable benefits of eating protein throughout the day (not just during our usual American dinnertime dose) include feeling satisfied after a protein-packed meal, which helps reduce mindless eating. Also, meals with protein help to build muscle and reduce body fat. Strong muscles, fueled bodies and focused minds are something every mom wants their kids to have, but making a nutrition shift in a busy household can be a challenge. So, we made it easy to get you started and lead your family toward a future of Fuel for Fitness!

Registered Dietitians at Beef It’s What’s For Dinner have created a fun and interactive new nutrition challenge designed for busy families, active parents and young athletes. Putting solid nutrition research to work, the RD’s at Beef It’s What’s For Dinner have made it easy for you. Join the 30 Day Protein Challenge and you’ll receive daily emails with goals, tips and inspiration to keep you on track. Sign up now. And take a sneak peek at the Challenge by looking at what others have done with their #ProteinChallenge experience and shares on Twitter and Instagram.

Wondering how you get started on the job of eating more protein, more often? It’s really easy. It starts with breakfast! Step away from the baked goods, bowl of cereal or piece of toast... And step up to the nutrient-dense, satisfaction of a meal made to kick start your day. This Egg Cup recipe is a great make-ahead meal that stores in the refrigerator for quick reheats during the morning rush. It’s portable and it’s easy to customize with the protein, cheese and veggies that your family loves (my kids love tacos so this recipe is a great fit).

beef cups

Beef Sausage & Egg Cups (hyperlink:

1 recipe Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage (recipe below)

1 can (4-1/2 ounces) chopped green chiles, undrained or 4 ounces chopped spinach or kale

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese

5 large eggs

1/4 cup non-fat milk

1 to 2 teaspoons regular or chipotle hot pepper sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. To prepare Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage: Combine 1 pound 93% lean ground beef, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add beef mixture; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Drain fat, if needed.  
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 12-cup standard muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Stir chiles (or greens) and cheese into beef mixture. Evenly divide mixture into prepared muffin pan. 
  3. Whisk eggs, milk and hot sauce, as desired, in medium bowl. Evenly divide egg mixture over beef mixture in muffin cups. 
  4. Bake in 375°F oven 17 to 20 minutes or until egg mixture is set and just beginning to brown. Let stand 2 minutes. Loosen edges; remove from muffin pan. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with avocado, ketchup, salsa, plain non-fat Greek yogurt, etc as desired.

Nutrition information per egg cup, using 93% lean ground beef: 108 calories; 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat); 106 mg cholesterol; 144 mg sodium; 1 g carbohydrate; 0.3 g fiber; 12 g protein; 2.6 mg niacin; 0.2 mg vitamin B6; 1.0 mcg vitamin B12; 1.3 mg iron; 12.5 mcg selenium; 2.3 mg zinc; 88.3 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein; and a good source of niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, selenium, zinc and choline.

Want more tips for boosting your protein at meals and in between? Check out these tips for Adding Protein. To get it all, join the 30 Day Protein Challenge and you’ll receive daily emails with goals, tips and inspiration to keep you on track. Sign up now.

A note on identifying your young athlete’s protein needs: The amount of protein your child needs depends on his/her age, body size, gender, and activity level. But a good rule of thumb, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is that protein should make up about 15 to 20 percent of your child’s daily calories. According to the Kids Health from Nemours website, kids usually need to eat about 1/2 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. This means that a 70-pound child should eat around 35 grams of protein disbursed throughout a day. Very athletic older children and teens might need up to a gram of protein per pound of weight to sustain their energy, growth and athletic development. Seeking nutrition advice specific to your family’s needs is always encouraged