Beef for all ages - Eat to thrive

Beyond the special memories around the table and the tasty delights we experience across a lifetime, the foods we eat provide our bodies with fuel to thrive and grow.

Let's explore how beef's nutrients can help you live vibrantly through all life's ages and stages.

Beef as a First Food

For infants and young kids, nutrients such as iron and zinc have been identified as critically important in supporting proper growth and development. Experts agree that breastfed infants need a good dietary source of iron and zinc by 6 months of age, which cannot be met by breastmilk alone. One way that you can boost iron and zinc for your child is by introducing pureed beef as a complementary food, while continuing to breastfeed. Doing so may provide long-lasting benefits for your baby, such as developing a healthy immune system, improving recall skills and reasoning, as well as promoting growth and learning milestones. This fact sheet provides tips on how to start infants on solid foods and explains the nutrients that are of critical importance to their physical and mental development.

Tips for introducing your baby to beef include:

  • Start by offering fully cooked, pureed beef. You can choose to buy pre-packaged baby food or make your own in the blender.
  • Once your baby gets more teeth, introduce tiny pieces of soft foods, such as Ground Beef crumbles or fork-tender Pot Roast.

Pediatrician David Hill, MD, FAAP reminds parents to introduce a variety of foods early -- to avoid picky eating later on. For more information, visit Dr. David Hill also has some quick tips on starting babies on solid foods that can be seen here.

Laying the Foundation for Children: Toddlers to Teenagers

The foundation for a lifetime of good health can begin early when children and teens start to enjoy a variety of foods. At this life phase, it is important to help kids start to eat smart!  Just one 3 oz. cooked serving of beef provides protein, iron and zinc, which are often lacking in diets of kids and teens. Making sure your children get the right nutrients will provide energy for their active bodies, aid in brain development and support a healthy immune system.

View our Kid-Friendly recipe collection for meals like these that help kids eat smart:

Serve this classic chili atop whole wheat noodles and offer kids a variety of toppings.

Serve classic Ground Beef chili atop whole wheat noodles and offer kids a variety of delicious toppings.

see recipe 

Rock and Roll Beef Wraps

Rock and Roll Beef Wraps

A colorful way to introduce quinoa to your kids with ranch-seasoned Ground Beef and slaw.

see recipe 

Confetti Beef Tacos Horizontal

See More kid-friendly recipes!

Make meals like mini meatballs, pizza and tacos even more nutritious by adding pureed or diced vegetables.

see collection 

Fueling Busy Adults

We all seem busier than ever. Trying to fit it all in has become a daunting task and sometimes our food choices begin to (literally) weigh us down.  As you strive to achieve balance, you’ll need foods that do more than just get you through the day, you need foods that will provide energy, protein, vitamins and minerals. To this end, aim to eat a variety of delicious foods that balance the taste you love with good nutrition. Including one 3 oz. cooked serving of beef will deliver on that goal with B-vitamins, protein, iron and zinc.

When you’re in a hurry, look for recipes that balance taste, nutrition and simplicity!

Moroccan Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Moroccan Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Let your slow cooker do the work, while your house is filled with the scent of cinnamon, garlic and onions. Serve over couscous for a balanced meal.

see recipe 

Mediterranean Beef and Veggie Wraps

Mediterranean Beef and Veggie Wraps

In about 10 minutes you've got an easy, portable wrap made with common ingredients and fresh vegetables. Take it for lunch or dinner on the run!

see recipe 

Eating for Two

Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life! While you do need to be mindful of your body’s need for more nutrients, don’t be fooled into thinking you should be eating twice as much. Throughout pregnancy, your body needs about 10 extra grams of protein each day to support the growing baby. It is also important to get enough iron for red blood cell production, zinc for the baby’s brain development, choline to help build the brain and spinal cord, and B vitamins to utilize energy efficiently. Including just one additional high-protein snack (like half of a roast beef sandwich on wheat bread) will help you meet these important nutrient goals.

Here are a few ideas for quick ways to add some extra nutrition to your daily meals:

  • Add a little extra beef to your standard casserole and enjoy it all week
  • Include beef jerky as a snack
  • Serve scrambled eggs with a little taco-seasoned Ground Beef
  • Ask for slices of grilled steak on your salad at lunch
  • Load up your classic Ground Beef tacos with extra veggies and lowfat cheese

Live Well and Age Vibrantly

There’s great news if you’re looking for delicious ways to fuel your life as you age. Adding more protein to your meals – from foods in the meat and dairy groups, for instance – can be a simple way to help manage several age-related health issues. One of the most notable benefits of including beef in your diet is its ability to build and maintain muscle. As we age, getting the right amount of protein becomes increasingly important to fight off diseases like sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass), type-2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

Try these easy and delicious protein-rich recipes:

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

Spaghetti squash and meat sauce 

It's easy to add extra veggies to this recipe! Ground Beef in tomato sauce with cooked spaghetti squash makes a great family meal.

see recipe 

Southwest Meatloaf

southwest Meatloaf

Spice up the traditional, down-home meatloaf by adding red bell peppers, corn, chopped onions, salsa, and much more to give your meatloaf an added layer of flavors.

see recipe 

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