Beef is Part of a Healthy Diet

Chris Freland

Iowa has the most fertile soil and abundant land for agriculture, but Chris Freland says it’s the people who make it great! “I have been blessed to work with some of the industry’s greatest people who represent Iowa values. Working with many agriculture partners to make a bigger impact is what it is all about, and the dedicated staff at Iowa Beef Industry Council makes promoting beef every day a great experience.”

Right after the first of the year, headlines in major magazines and newspapers are filled with tips for losing weight and eating healthy. Truth is, many of those headlines are either vague or misleading.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest lean meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Did you know that beef is a small package with beef nutrition? One serving of beef, which is 3 ounces or about the size of an iPhone, provides our bodies with nearly half of its needed protein plus 10 essential nutrients including zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins.

Eating beef also can help stimulate muscle growth in older Americans, and that protein can play a key role in weight management. According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating four ounces of lean-beef protein each day can help enhance muscle development by 50 percent.

Evidence from a second study published in the Journal suggests that a moderate increase in dietary protein combined with physical activity can help a person manage weight by increasing heat produced in the body, which helps a person feel full longer, prolongs energy expenditure, helping maintain lean muscle mass and improves metabolism.

“Being able to educate consumers about agriculture and their food choices is vitally important. Iowa’s beef farmers are dedicated to raising safe and wholesome beef – and that is a promise from their families to yours,” says Chris Freland, who graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Kinesiology and Public Health. She has a nursing degree and experience in the health care community.

Before being selected recently as the executive director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, Freland owned and operated a dairy for 20 years. She also served as Industry Relations Manager for the Midwest Dairy Association, as well as Associate Director for the Iowa State Dairy Association.

“Iowa’s beef farmers do an incredible job every day caring for their land and their animals. It is our job at the Iowa Beef Industry Council to be their eyes, ears and voice to market their great products,” adds Freland. “We want consumers to understand with confidence where their beef comes from, and we want to help Americans continue to choose lean beef more often as a part of their diet.”

Beef is the perfect partner to fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains. Today the beef industry council is sharing a recipe that pairs skillet steak with bright colored vegetables. It’s not yet officially grilling weather in the Midwest, so this quick and easy recipe will let you serve up a meal that will take your taste buds on Spring Break!

Beef & Heirloom Tomato Salad with Balsamic Dressing


2 beef Ranch Steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (about 8 ounces each)

1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

4 cups arugula leaves, torn into pieces

6 small heirloom tomatoes (2 each red, green and yellow), sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan shavings


Balsamic Syrup:

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. To prepare Balsamic Syrup, bring vinegar to a boil in medium saucepan; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until reduced to about 1/3 cup (consistency will be syrupy).
  2. Remove from heat; cool. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Whisk in oil.
  3. Meanwhile, press thyme and garlic evenly onto beef steaks. Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat until hot.
  4. Place steaks in skillet; cook 8 to 11 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning twice.
  5. Carve steaks into thin slices. Arrange arugula and tomatoes on serving platter; drizzle with Balsamic Syrup. Top with steak slices; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cheese shavings.


Recipe and photo as seen in The Healthy Beef Cookbook, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt