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Beef. It's what's for breakfast

Beefy Sweet Potato Hash can be served alone, or in a whole-grain tortilla as shown. (Submitted photo)

Summer break is over and school is in full swing with extracurricular actives before and after school. Even though our schedules may be hectic, let's not forget about taking time to prepare a delicious breakfast.

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day because it provides the "fuel" that gives us energy to get through the day.

It's especially important to think outside "the cereal box" when it comes to breakfast because high-quality protein foods like lean beef can be an important and delicious addition to your morning plate.

According to the British Journal of Nutrition, research suggests that including protein like lean beef at breakfast promotes satiety, which means students can focus more on learning rather than when the next snack or meal will be served.

High-quality protein, like lean beef, is especially important for children because it supports the growth, repair and maintenance of all body tissues, makes red blood cells and boosts the immune system, according to The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food & Nutrition Guide. And, sufficient protein is essential for children to perform their best both physically and mentally.

Research also shows that balancing protein intake across three meals, specifically by increasing protein intake at breakfast and lunch, helps to preserve muscle mass.

Lean beef is a naturally rich source of 10 essential nutrients, and a perfect partner for your everyday breakfast favorites like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, making it simpler to start your day in a balanced way.

In honor of September's National Breakfast Month, I'm sharing this Beefy Sweet Potato Hash recipe.

This recipe makes the most of leftovers by mixing remaining beef with sweet potato, onion and taco seasoning into a flavorful hash. You can even put the mix in a whole-grain tortilla for a hand-held meal.

Pair it with your favorite fruit and low-fat or non-fat dairy and you have a balanced breakfast ready to go.

For more healthy beef recipes and information contact Holly Swee, RD, LN, Director of Nutrition & Consumer Information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council at (605) 224-4722 or

Beefy Sweet Potato Hash


12 ounces cooked beef (such as steak, roast or pot roast), cut into ½- inch cubes (about 2-1/2 cups)

1 large sweet potato, unpeeled, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix ¼ cup water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons reduced-fat or regular dairy sour cream

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions: Combine sweet potatoes, onion and taco seasoning in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Add water.

Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender and water has almost evaporated, stirring once.

Stir in oil; continue cooking, uncovered, 4 to 6 minutes or until potatoes are tender and begin to brown, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine sour cream and hot sauce in small bowl.

Set aside. Add beef to potato mixture.

Continue to cook 5 minutes or until beef is heated through, stirring occasionally, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water if needed to avoid sticking. Garnish with cilantro, as desired.

Serve with sour cream mixture.

Total recipe time: 35 to 40 minutes Makes 4 servings.