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FOOD: Have a hot, beefy breakfast

February is American Heart Month, dedicated to educating the public about heart health. Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, including diet, nutrition and exercise, helps combat heart disease.

(Photo courtesy of the Beef Checkoff Recipe System)
(Photo courtesy of the Beef Checkoff Recipe System)

February is American Heart Month, dedicated to educating the public about heart health. Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, including diet, nutrition and exercise, helps combat heart disease.

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from Pennsylvania State University concluded that animal protein foods-including lean beef-can be just as effective as plant proteins in achieving weight loss and improving risk factors for metabolic syndrome as part of a heart-healthy dietary pattern. This research adds to the growing body of evidence that lean beef can be part of a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle.

When choosing beef, look for lean cuts. Sixty-seven percent of all beef muscle cuts sold at retail meet the government guidelines for lean. An easy way you can identify lean beef choices is by looking for the words "loin" and "round" in the name.

We are also pleased to have support from the American Heart Association through its Heart-Check mark program for these beef cuts that meet AHA's criteria for saturated fat, cholesterol and overall healthy eating.

The Heart-Check mark cuts include:

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• Sirloin Tip Steak (USDA Select grade)

• Bottom Round Steak (USDA Select grade)

• Top Sirloin Strip (USDA Select grade)

• Boneless Top Sirloin Petite Roast (USDA Select grade)

• Top Sirloin Filet (USDA Select grade)

• Top Sirloin Kabob (USDA Select grade)

• Top Sirloin Steak, Boneless, Center Cut (USDA Select grade)

• Extra Lean Ground Beef (96 percent lean, 4 percent fat)

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February is also National Hot Breakfast Month. Research shows spreading protein intake evenly throughout the day and staying within your calorie goal supports overall health and wellness. Researchers suggest balancing 25-30 grams of protein at each meal.

Building a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle around foods that you enjoy is important for diet adherence. Be sure you include plenty of fruits and vegetables every day, as well as whole-grains and low-fat or non-fat dairy along with your lean protein.

This Beef and Egg Breakfast Mug is a quick and easy breakfast option. It's packed with high-quality protein and vegetables. For more beef recipe ideas, contact Holly Swee at (605) 224-4722 or visit www.sdbeef.org .

Beef and egg breakfast mugs

Total Recipe Time: 5 to 10 minutes (breakfast preparation and cook)

• Makes 8 servings.

Ingredients

• 1 recipe Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage (recipe follows)

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• 1 cup chopped fresh vegetables such as tomato, baby spinach, bell pepper, zucchini or green onion

• 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheese such as Cheddar, Monterey Jack or American

• 8 large eggs

• Salt and pepper (optional)

• Toppings (optional): Dairy sour cream, salsa, sriracha, ketchup

Instructions

1. Prepare Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage. Remove skillet from heat; let cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Evenly divide beef and vegetables into eight food-safe quart-size plastic bags. Close securely and refrigerate up to 4 days.

2. For each serving, spray one 6 to 12-ounce microwave-safe mug or bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Add 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water; whisk with fork. Stir in 1 bag refrigerated beef-vegetable mixture.

3. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 30 seconds. Remove from oven; stir. Continue to microwave on high 30 to 60 seconds or until egg is just set. Stir. Top with cheese. Let stand 30 seconds or until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with Toppings, if desired.

Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage:

Combine 1 pound ground beef (93 percent lean or leaner), 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 1/2-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally.

Taco Seasoning Variation: Prepare beef as directed above, substituting 1 packet (1 ounce) reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix for herbs and seasonings in step 1.

Test Kitchen Tips: Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed Ground Beef. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness.

-- Recipe courtesy of the Beef Checkoff Program

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