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Beef Buzz News


Shalene McNeill on Why You Should Feed Your Baby Beef

Tue, 07 Sep 2021 12:20:04 CDT

Shalene McNeill on Why You Should Feed Your Baby Beef What products come to mind when you think of baby food? Where you live, your cultural background and what is available are just some aspects of what dictates the images popping in your mind now. If beef was an option swirling among the colorful jars of pureed fruits and vegetables, you're not alone in your thinking.

Registered Dietician and Human Nutrition expert with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Shalene McNeill told Ron Hays about a shift in thinking about red meats in the diet - even for Americans as young as six months old, in the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

"If you think about advice about meat-eating, (it used to be) more of, 'eat less red meat,'" McNeill said.

That advice has been changing and is reflected in the 2020 - 2025 dietary guidelines, according to McNeill. She said more encouragement of lean meats in the diet is sparking a renewed interest in the importance of introducing iron-rich foods, like beef, to infants.

"Many infants in the U.S. are not getting the iron they need and beef, of course, is a very good source of iron," McNeill said.

Despite nutrient-dense meats, like beef, being recommended in the infant diet by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Beef-Checkoff-funded market research shows many pediatricians are slow to start families on feeding meat in infancy, McNeill said.

"What are (pediatricians') barriers - and what holds them back in recommending meat in the early years?" McNeill said.

She said the Beef Checkoff program provides continuing medical education and tips so pediatricians can hear the latest science and feel more confident while educating parents on introducing meat to their baby's diet.

For example, McNeill said many parents, and some pediatricians, still believe beef can be a choking hazard for infants, when it is no more dangerous than any other food when first being introduced.

The latest dietary guidelines recognize the value of beef as a nutrient-dense food, but McNeill said it hasn't always been that way.

"It has been a long, uphill battle to clearly recognize meats as nutrient-rich food," McNeill said.

Previous guidelines pushed Americans to look to plant-based options, focusing on fruits and vegetables as key players in a healthy diet, according to McNeill. While fruits and vegetables are important for a healthy diet, so are meats like the high-quality beef products on supermarket shelves today.

Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Shalene McNeill on the shift in how Americans are thinking about beef and how to include it in a baby's diet.

For more information, visit the Beef. It's What's For Dinner website.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

   

   

Listen to Ron's conversation wtih Shalene here
right-click to download mp3

 

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