The Ultimate Trifecta: Fruits, Vegetables + Beef, United On The Plate

Our celebration of everyone’s favorite and flavorful plant foods – fruits and veggies – never ends! Living a happier, healthier life is a life-long journey that’s built on small steps. Seriously, I’m a registered dietitian, and I’m still working on it! Health and happiness is so NOT about deprivation and despair. Making the choice to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day means finding ways to make meals fun and flavorful. Because why not mix it up and enjoy fruits and veggies with other delicious, nutrient-rich foods?

Sure, we know we should eat more plant foods like fruits and vegetables. Nutrition research has resoundingly demonstrated that produce – in all of its glorious forms – promotes physical and mental well-being (1), and the public health community has long touted the importance of filling half our plate with fruits and veggies (2) …. and still 90% of us aren’t getting enough each day (3). What gives? To make this guidance stick (and be fun!), let’s create meals and snacks that are delicious, satisfying and downright crave-worthy.

That’s why pairing produce with beef is pure magic. United on the plate, they’re the ultimate culinary combo! It’s like the chic little black dress meets the eye-popping statement accessory – you can’t go wrong. (Guys, you’ll just have to trust me on this one.) To celebrate the perfect union between beef and produce, PBH is partnering with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, for a special “Better Together” collaboration. Our #UnitedOnThePlate partnership showcases how the crisp, bright notes of fruits and veggies are the perfect complement to beef’s hearty umami flavor – not to mention the nutrient powerhouse this combo delivers.

Most importantly, this star-power union has style and substance. Beyond their great taste together, beef, fruits and vegetables make for a supremely nutrition-packed plate. With high-quality, complete protein, zinc, iron, and B vitamins, beef adds a range of essential nutrients (in a relatively small amount of calories!) to your meals that you can miss out on when eating plant foods alone. Eating beef along with fruits and vegetables can also help boost the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. For example, vitamin C, found in foods like red peppers, broccoli and tomatoes, helps increase absorption of iron in foods like beef. (4) Similarly, even small amounts of fat from beef can improve absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin A from foods like spinach, sweet potatoes and carrots, and vitamin K found in lots of green vegetables like kale, Brussels sprouts and green beans. (5) (And did you know about half the fat in a serving of beef is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat?)

Here’s the bottom line: When it comes to balancing nutrition and taste, beefing up your plant-forward dishes is a no-brainer. Beef offers so many wonderful ways to truly enjoy more fruits and vegetables with tons of flavor and key nutrients. If you’re looking for more mealtime inspiration, here are a few of my favorites:

It’s clear: beef and produce truly enhance each other – and that’s why I’m so excited about our partnership that will celebrate how we’re #UnitedOnThePlate! The partnership highlights delish recipes, perfect pairing ideas and new and unique meal hacks (not just salads my friends!), reinforcing how beef and produce add more nutrition and taste to the plate, with unique flavor explosions.

I hope you’ll celebrate #UnitedOnThePlate with us in style – #haveaplant and have a blast pairing nutrient-rich beef with colorful fruits and veggies for healthier, happier lives. We want to hear from you! Sharing fun and easy ways to enjoy more plants – like #UnitedOnThePlate with beef – is the ultimate way to pay it forward! Find us on Facebook @fruitsandveggies; on Twitter @fruits_veggies; on Instagram @fruitsandveggies; on Pinterest @fruits_veggies; and on LinkedIn at Produce for Better Health Foundation.

  1. Wallace TC, Bailey RL, ,Blumberg JB, Burton-Freeman B Chen CO, Crowe-White KM, Drewnowski A, Hooshmand S, Johnson E, Lewis R, Murray R, Shapses SA, Wang D. (2019): Fruits, vegetables, and health: A comprehensive narrative, umbrella review of the science and recommendations for enhanced public policy to improve intake, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2019.1632258
  2. USDA. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Accessed September 10, 2020.
  3. Lee-Kwan SH, Moore LV, Blanck HM, Harris DM, Galuska D. Disparities in State-Specific Adult Fruit and Vegetable Consumption — United States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:1241–1247. DOI:
  4. Tuecher B, Olivares M, Cori H. Enhancers of iron absorption: Ascorbic acid and other organic acids. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2004;74(6):403-19
  5. Wax E, Zieve D, Conway B. (2019): Vitamins, MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved September 15, 2020 from

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