Beef in the Early Years with the Selchow Family

Life with a toddler is hectic, to say the least. Their little brains are working harder than they literally ever will (fun fact: from birth to age three, children’s brains are learning something every second resulting in a million neural connections per second). And do they ever stop moving? Tiffany Selchow, Director of Social Marketing and Consumer Outreach at the Arizona Beef Council, shares in this blog how her family includes beef in their busy lifestyle, made only that much sweeter (and crazy) by their young daughter, to help ensure all nutrient needs are met.


Hayes Katherine, my three-and-a-half-year-old spit fire, is as active as ever and learning more every day. She only holds still for a few seconds at a time and is taking in every word those around her dare to let past their lips. Luckily for us, we live on a working cattle ranch so there are lots of places for her to go to burn off her abundance of energy. During the cooler months, we like to go on long walks down the dirt roads, learning about the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert and sometimes do so in her best Elsa dress. She also enjoys helping her dad check on the cows, splashing in muddy puddles, and dragging the ranch dogs along with her on most of these adventures. The heat doesn’t stop this girl. Even when it is hot, she wants to be outside, riding her bike or one of the patient ranch horses.

Keeping up with her energy and nutrition needs tends to be a challenge, because another difficulty of toddlerhood is finding food you can both agree on. Children at this age are literally supposed to question everything we tell them, and they take that job VERY seriously. This is where beef saves the day for us. It’s probably pretty obvious that in our house, we eat a lot of beef and should come as no surprise that beef was one of Hayes’ first foods.

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Women Infants and Children’s Program (WIC) and now, for the first time ever, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, all recommend the introduction of solid foods, like beef, to infants and toddlers, in order to pack every bite with protein, iron, zinc and choline. Babies’ tummies are small, but their nutrition requirements are great. It’s our job as parents to ensure that nutrient-dense foods, like beef, get into that small space and fulfill those requirements.

Beef contains 10 essential nutrients including zinc, iron, and protein in just a few calories. For example, one recommended serving size for adults is 3 ounces of beef. This single serving contains about 160 calories while also including almost half of your daily needs for protein. Break that down into a toddler size portion of beef (1 ounce of beef) and you have something your small human enjoys eating because it’s tasty while also offering you the peace of mind knowing they are getting the nutrients that they need.

Hayes enjoys beef in many ways, but her favorite is in the form of her dad’s delicious and almost world-famous spaghetti sauce served over pasta. While this is a closely held secret family recipe, I’ll give you a small hint: Try ground beef and some Prego sauce and you’ll come pretty close to finding out the secret. We love to do family dinners at the dining room table or out on our ranch house porch and often grill up a Flat Iron Steak while Hayes runs around with the dogs in the ranch yard. The Flat Iron Steak happens to be the second most tender cut of the whole animal so you can basically add whatever seasoning you want, grill it up, let it rest, and then slice against the grain and you are almost always guaranteed a good eating experience. As a smaller kiddo, we used to give Hayes a long slice of beef to let her gnaw away and not worry about choking. Now that she’s a little older, we cut up bit size pieces and put those next to some grapes or other fruit and cheese and she has a plate full of healthy foods she is happy to chow down.

Photo courtesy of http://www.BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com

Serving nutritious foods babies and toddlers love to eat, like beef, is simple and easy—puree, mash, chop or shred meat at various stages to meet their changing feeding needs. Check out https://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/nutrition/beef-in-the-early-years for more information on feeding beef to your small ones and don’t forget to click on the recipes tab for inspiration and kid-friendly beef meal ideas.

Unless noted, photos provided by the author.

12 Days of Beef-y Recipes

The big day isn’t far away (we won’t remind you of just how few days you have left to shop) and we thought you might be searching for ideas on what to serve your holiday guests. We’ve compiled a list of 12 beef-y recipes, ranging from appetizers to the main course and everything in between! You may not have your Christmas shopping done, but at least you’ll know what’s on the menu!

Mini Meatball Appetizers with Apricot Dipping Sauce

They’re bite size. They’re delicious. Tooth pick worthy and hungry guest approved.

Tiny Taco Beef Tarts

Okay. Let’s be real here. Who doesn’t love a good taco? Make it tiny, self-contained, and bite-sized and people are going to flip! Shake it up with different toppings such as guacamole, sour cream, and salsa. ¡Feliz Navidad!

Teriyaki Steak Skewers

Because anything you can serve on a stick is a great idea for appetizers. Well, maybe not anything. But these Teriyaki Steak Skewers – they are definitely a good idea.

Beef and Couscous Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers

Some are trying to stay on track with healthy eating during the holiday season. Not us. But other people. For those folks (and really everyone else), try out these bad boys. They are bite size and low cal disguised as delicious!

Cranberry Balsamic Roast Beef

This holiday season, impress your guests with this delicious Cranberry Balsamic Roast Beef! A little tangy, a little sweet and a whole lot of mouthwatering. Perfect to feed a crowd!

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Pecan Pomegranate Tabbouleh

For Chef Justin Turner’s vision of a Texan beef centerpiece combines a signature low-and-slow braise with a Southern riff on tabbouleh—a bejeweled side dish studded with pomegranates and local pecans and designed around easy entertaining. Yum.

All About Prime Rib

This is what you’ve been waiting for. The center of the plate. The crown jewel of any self respecting Christmas smorgasbord. The prime rib. This one isn’t really a recipe, per say, but it’s a resource to help you ensure your prime rib is perfect and has people day dreaming about it well into the new year.

Tamale Pie

Here in the Southwest, tamales are a holiday tradition. Some are talented at the construction and execution of making tamales, while the majority of us are at the will and mercy of those talented tamale makers to provide these delicious corn husk wrapped delicacies. When you are in a pinch, and just need that tamale fix, give this one a whirl!

Caprese Steak Salad

Thinking ahead (i.e. the day after Christmas) you might crave something a little lighter. This salad is fresh, perfect for the leftover roast, and gives you an opportunity to add some greens back into your world.

Sunny’s Sunset Park Noodle Bowl

The holidays are a great time to spend with family and friends. And their germs. Sunny Anderson cooks up this recipe when she starts to feel under the weather because it’s warm, helps to relieve congestion, and is easy to make.

Ribeye Hash

What do you do with all the leftovers?! Make a hash! Costco has a lot of great beef ideas, but this is one of our favorites. No one likes a food waster.

Peanut Butter, Chocolate-Hazelnut and Chocolate Chip Beef Jerky Cookies 

Wait! Before you click out of this blog post because you are looking at the title of this recipe saying, “They’ve finally lost it over there at the beef office,” give this one a chance. These cookies are an excellent way to sneak some extra protein into your diet through an unlikely source.

From all of us to all of you, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!