Pieces missing from “the plates” of adolescent diets

Farm Forum

The New Year is here and we are well into the 2nd year of USDA’s MyPlate. This brings a good question to mind: What’s really on your plate? Are you getting the recommended servings of fruits, veggies, grains, dairy and protein each day? Is your family? Are your friends?

Like most Americans, we struggle from time to time getting our plate just right, but many were surprised to learn that a 10-year study published in the journal Nutrients found that adolescent girls did not consume the recommended amounts of fruit, vegetables and dairy, and that three out of four consumed less than the recommended amounts in the Protein Foods group. Even more surprising is more than 90 percent of adolescent girls surveyed consumed about five times the recommended maximum intakes of solid fat and added sugars.

Unfortunately, many adolescent girls shy away from protein for fear of weight gain. Recent research points to the importance high-quality protein plays in overall health, including weight control, by increasing satiety and helping build and maintains muscle mass. Because protein is one of the most satiating nutrients, eating a protein-rich meal or snack can help them feel full longer, helping them reduce snacking on empty calories.

Did you know beef is a unique protein which provides essential nutrients critical to healthy brain development and function? Emerging research shows the iron, zinc and B vitamins found in beef play an essential role in developing and maintaining cognitive ability in children.

Lean beef, with its 10 essential nutrients, is a perfect partner for fruits, vegetables and whole grains to nourish growing bodies and minds. Give this Mu Shu Steak and Apple Wrap recipe a try. Serve with a side of low-fat or non-fat dairy and you have a delicious and nutritionally balanced meal the whole family can enjoy.

To access the study, go to: To learn more about lean beef’s nutritional benefits, please visit For more information contact Holly Swee, RD, LN at the South Dakota Beef Industry Council at 605-224-4722, or visit

Mu Shu Steak & Apple Wraps


4 beef Tri-Tip Steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 4 ounces each)

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon honey

Salt (optional)

3 cups tri-color coleslaw mix (with green cabbage, red cabbage and carrots)

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and thinly sliced

8 medium whole wheat flour tortillas (8 to 10-inch diameter), warmed


1. Combine cinnamon and pepper; press evenly onto beef steaks. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook 9 to 12 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.

2. Combine hoisin sauce and honey in large bowl. Carve steaks into thin slices; season with salt, if desired. Add steak slices, coleslaw mix and apple to hoisin mixture; toss to coat.

3. Place equal amounts of beef mixture down center of each tortilla, leaving 1-1/2-inch border on right and left sides. Fold bottom edge up over filling. Fold right and left sides to center, overlapping edges; secure with wooden picks, if necessary.

*Recipe courtesy of the Beef Checkoff Program