With Halloween behind us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are soon upon us- the season of over-eating, indulgence and sinful treats is creeping closer and making our consciouses quiver. Soon enough, January 1 will be here and we-along with many others, with our tails dragging between our legs, will drag our 5,10, maybe even 15(!?) pounds of holiday weight gain to the gym. We get on the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike and we sweat out, what feels like sugar cookies, mashed potatoes, and fudge all covered in egg nogg. This motivation and commitment will likely last for a good week or two, maybe a month for some of the over achievers out there. But ultimately, our weekly gym visits trickle down to what hardly qualifies you as that gym rat you resolved to be at the beginning of the year.
Along with our shaky exercise routines, our healthy eating ambitions seem to follow a similar pattern. We convince ourselves that boiled chicken breast, steamed vegetables, rice cakes and meal replacement shakes really don’t taste all that bad, and hey, I can live off of this!…..Then you receive that invitation to your neighbors Superbowl Party- you know how the rest of the story goes!
If this sounds all too familiar to you and you find yourself guilty of these failed ambitions year after year, let’s truly do something different. Instead of waiting around until after the New Year to start your new healthy lifestyle, let’s start it today- on National Start Eating Healthy Day. (Is there really a better day to do it??)
In 2010, the American Heart Association (AHA) launched an ambitious goal to get our nation on the road to better heart health.
“By 2020, we want to improve the cardiovascular health of Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent. We can’t reach this aggressive goal alone. But together we can make a significant impact- and perhaps save the lives of people you know.” -AHA
Heart disease and stroke are American’s No.1 and No. 4 killers, eating an overall healthy diet reduces a majority of the controllable risk factors for these diseases. Adopting better dietary habits and choosing a varied combination of healthy foods is your first step. Consuming the right amounts of the proper foods may be the single most important thing you can do to lower your risk. The AHA lists the following dietary recommendations to reduce your risk:
- Fruits & Veggies
- Whole-grain, high fiber
- Oily Fish
- Lean Meats
- Fat-Free, skim, low fat, 1% dairy
- Limit added sugars
- Limit saturated and trans fats
- Little or no salt
- If alcohol, moderation
In addition, limit your intake of added sugars to no more than 1/2 of your daily discretionary calories. Limit saturated fat to less than 7% and trans fat to less than 1% of daily caloric intake. Limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day and limit sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day.
We, at the South Dakota Beef Industry Council, agree with all of these great recommendations to start eating healthier. What is even more thrilling to us, is that the AHA includes BEEF in these healthy eating guidelines as well! That’s right, lean beef is part of a heart healthy diet!
Three fresh beef cuts are now certified to display the coveted heart-check mark, signifying they meet the American Heart Association’s criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol:
- Boneless Top Sirloin Petite Roast (USDA Select quality grade)
- Top Sirloin Filet (USDA Select quality grade)
- Top Sirloin Kabob (USDA Select quality grade)
In addition to these healthy and delicious cuts, there are 29 cuts that meet government guidelines for lean, so it’s easy to find a variety of heart-healthy beef options. These 29 cuts all have less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving and per 100 grams. For more information on the 29 lean cuts, visit http://www.beefnutrition.org/cmdocs/beefnutrition/beefitsnotyourfatherssteakanymore.pdf