This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation –  all opinions are my own.

Beef and Your Brain: how adding high quality protein, like beef, to a healthy diet can improve your function at work and school

Friends, today I want to bring you a recipe that is a total game-changer for this time of year. You’re probably starting to think about back to school (or perhaps just trying to stay healthy with the change of seasons). Lately, I’ve been thinking about ways I can improve my own brain health and boost productivity. Whether I’m sitting in a meeting or brainstorming new recipes in the kitchen, it’s so vital that I keep my brain sharp.

The nutrients we obtain from food play a huge role in our overall health. I’m constantly looking for extra benefits I can obtain from my meals, to boost overall productivity and brainpower. And with so many of us, and our children, getting back into school and work this time of year, it is especially important to get those benefits early in the day to set us up for success.

How can incorporating high-quality protein, like lean beef, benefit your brain power?

Several components of meat, and especially beef, in combination with an overall healthy diet, have been found to be great additions to a nourishing breakfast. So how are we accomplishing this? What we’re after is a recipe that incorporates complex carbs, healthy fats, and plenty of high-quality protein.

The brain relies on nutrients to thrive. Several important brain nutrients like iron, zinc, b-vitamins are found in meats, like beef. Consider the consequences of just being low in one of these nutrients, like iron. Iron, which is distributed throughout the brain, can be found in one of two forms (called heme or non-heme), and the form found in beef is the most accessible to the body. Iron deficiency one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the world, and when you are low in iron, or anemic, it can affect your energy, processing time and brain power. Think about this: We’ve been eating meat for over 2.6 million years – its credited with helping us develop bigger, smarter brains. And healthy fats are important for the brain too! Healthy fats, like polyunsaturated fats found in walnuts and quinoa are essential to the brain. Whole grains, like quinoa, are complex carbs, which gives you the energy it needs to operate and retain info, and they can also help you stay alert.

We all want to lead our happiest, most energetic lives. Well-balanced meals that offer nutrients and great taste are key – not just for your physical health, but your brain health and mood, too.

So how does this translate into your performance in school or work? We know that nutrients are essential for learning, retaining information, preventing memory deficits and protect against memory loss! Add some whole grains, like the quinoa in this dish, to your breakfast for a boost of energy and brain power.

How to build a brain-boosting meal with beef

With back to school on the mind, I wanted to combine flavors that would be especially delicious in your morning breakfast bowl. This might seem more non-traditional than your classic bowl of cereal or yogurt, but I promise it is just as delicious! Consider yourself covered for your next hearty back-to-school breakfast.

We’re building this bowl with 93% lean ground beef crumbles that add high-quality protein and essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, quinoa for an additional protein and complex carb boost, and a vibrant green herb & garlic sauce to tie it all together. The flavors are ideal for those mornings when you wake up craving something hearty and savory, but still light and fresh. With lean beef added to the bowl, you’ll be getting all your essential amino acids as well as a brain boost and energy from B12, zinc, iron, and fatty acids. This makes it an absolute winner in my book! For more information on beef’s nutrition make sure to check out

Recipe: Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Beefy Crumbles and Green Garlic Sauce

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cost: $10-12
Skill: Easy

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

1 lb 93% Lean Ground Beef
1 Cup White Quinoa
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Fennel Seeds
1 Garlic clove
Pinch of Salt
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 Red Pepper Sliced
1 Cup button Mushrooms halved

Green Garlic Sauce

2 Garlic Cloves
1/4 Cup Walnuts
1/2 Cup Parsley
1/2 Cup Dill
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp Olive Oil
Juice of half a Lemon
Pinch of Salt


  1. Add quinoa and 2 cups of water to a medium pot on high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until quinoa opens up, set aside.
  2. In a skillet on medium heat, add the olive oil and fennel seeds, sauté for one minute before adding the garlic and caramelizing for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add Ground Beef; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally.
  4. Season with a pinch of salt and oregano. Transfer to a plate, before cooking the peppers and mushrooms for 5-7 minutes or until slightly golden.
  5. For the sauce put all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  6. To serve, portion out quinoa, crumbly beef and colorful vegetables before topping off with the green garlic sauce.

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