Meat belongs on Canadians' plates, says dietitian

Beef is always on the plate as the main dinner for the Saskatchewan Stock Growers convention held at Moose Jaw each June. Increasingly, though,  beef and other animal-based protein is being eliminated from the menu — in fast food restaurants and at home.

Carol Harrison, registered dietician and consultant, spoke at the 106th SSGA convention about why beef belongs in Canadian diets and on the dinner plate.

“Beef is a whole, naturally nutrient-rich food. There are very few foods that can match the nutrient density of beefm meaning it packs in a lot of vitamins and minerals and protein, into a modest number of calories,” she says. “So you’re getting 100 per cent of vitamin B12, an amazing source of iron that will be really well absorbed all for about 250 calories which is what you would get in about 100 grams of cooked lean beef.”

Although the flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan diets continue to gain momentum among young adults, Harrison says 95 per cent of Canadians still choose to eat animal meat products.

In her presentation, Harrison pointed out Canadians currently eat about three servings of beef per week. That being said, with the launch of the new Canadian food guide recently, some people might have thought the Health Canada was saying to eat less meat, which is in fact not true, she says.

“It’s good for people to know that the foods that are shown on that quarter of a plate are really just examples, so they’ve got a quarter of an egg, that doesn’t mean that’s how much you need to eat as a serving, they just wanted to give a snap shot of foods that should be on your plate.”

To help get the message out more as to why beef belongs on the plate, Harrison says it’s a good idea to offer farm tours to help the consumer understand where their food is coming from adding that she’s learned a lot by attending them.

“Just being hands on and seeing and meeting the people that produce the food is such a wonderful experience, but the key takeaway for me is that i’ve got an amazing trust in farmers who produce our high quality, nutritious, safe and affordable food.”

Listen below to the interview between RealAgriculture’s Jessika Guse and registered dietician, Carol Harrison below.

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