Beef-up your family’s breakfast

Farm Forum

April is full of school actives, including standardized tests and increased outdoor sporting activities. Parents may be interested to know that many studies show a direct link between nutritious, well-balanced family meals and children’s academic and physical performance. Daily family meals start with breakfast.

Breakfast is often the overlooked meal of the day. In general, people tend to consume about 65 percent of their protein in one sitting at dinnertime, not realizing all the benefits of spreading protein intake throughout the day. A growing body of evidence indicates that many people may benefit from eating high quality protein foods throughout the day to maximize optimal health, manage weight, maintain muscle and prevent disease. Having a healthy weight and maintaining muscle mass ultimately helps to prevent injury during sporting activities.

Did you know beef is the No. 1 food source of zinc? Research indicates that in healthy, school-aged children, an increase in zinc intake improves cognitive performance, visual memory, word recognition tasks, reasoning, psychomotor function and attention skills.

Beef is also a good source of iron. Iron is the most common nutritional deficiency in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 60 percent of girls ages 12-19 are not meeting the Recommended Dietary Allowance for iron each day. Research shows that even mild, short-term iron deficiency affects academic performance.

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. Sufficient protein is essential for children to perform their best both physically and mentally.

A variety of healthy family meals can be created with beef, including breakfast. This Basic Country Beef Breakfast Sausage is a delicious and easy

(Continued from Previous Page)

way to add a little protein to your favorite breakfast recipe any morning. As with any meal, be sure to incorporate fruits, vegetables and a side of low-fat/non-fat dairy to help keep it balanced.

For more information on recipes, nutrition information and about how to include nutrient-rich lean beef in your daily breakfast routine, visit or contact Holly Swee, RD, LN, Director of Nutrition & Consumer Information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council at 605-224-4722.

Basic Country Beef

Breakfast Sausage

Total recipe time: 15 to 20 minutes

Makes 2-1/2 cups crumbles or 4 patties


1 pound ground beef (96% lean)

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


1. Combine beef and seasonings in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Form mixture into patties or use as crumbles following directions below.

2. To make patties, lightly shape beef mixture into four 1/2-inch thick patties. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add patties; cook 10 to 12 minutes or until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160 F, turning occasionally.

3. To prepare crumbles, 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.

– Recipe courtesy of the Beef Checkoff Program