Protein challenge: Thirty-day program encourages increased consumptionWritten by Natasha Wheeler
Last year, Beef It’s What’s For Dinner launched the 30-Day Protein Challenge, a beef checkoff campaign to educate consumers about the benefits of protein, and now the challenge is back.
“We definitely saw great feedback. We were all blown away by the response we received when we launched it,” says Lindsay Kearns, coordinator of integrated communications at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).
Over 14,600 consumers signed up to receive daily motivation emails last year, and this year, participants can choose to receive daily or weekly motivation.
“The beauty of the challenge is that it can be customized, so if it is someone’s second time around, they can change it up a little bit, try new recipes and set new goals,” Kearns describes.
Joining the challenge
Participants can begin the challenge at any time by visiting the Protein Challenge web page on the Beef It’s What’s For Dinner website. They can sign up for motivation emails, learn about the benefits of protein and find a 30-day challenge calendar to follow.
To begin, participants are encouraged to keep a food journal, documenting what foods they eat and how they feel throughout the day. Next, they are asked to review their eating patterns and compare them to how they feel.
The calendar includes days with increased protein consumption, balanced with normal-diet days.
“It’s all about taking 30 days to eat protein-rich foods at snack and meal times,” she says. “When we include more protein in our diets, we feel more full, we’re not as hungry, we notice we have more energy, and we’re not craving sugar.”
Beginning the day with donuts often leads to sugary snacks like cookies later in the day and cravings for more sugar, such as an afternoon soda, she explains.
“If we fill ourselves up with protein, we’re going to feel more healthy, and we will go for healthier snacks and healthier meals. We’re not going to feel tired, and we’re going to want to work out. We’ve found that eating more protein really helps with everything in our lives,” she adds.
Tips and tricks
To help participants reach their goals, the website includes information about how to choose lean proteins, as well as potential menu selections at a number of popular restaurants, such as Starbucks, Wendy’s and Subway.
The website also provides snack ideas such as cheese, nuts and beef jerky, as well as a full range of recipes for every meal. With ideas such as beef breakfast burritos, steak and blue cheese wraps and Szechuan beef stir-fry, participants can find meals they may have not tried before.
“We have done a lot of work for beef at breakfast and our culinary center has developed a ton of recipes,” Kearns comments.
The challenge also promotes protein as a whole, although the checkoff program hopes that beef is included on the menu. Foods such as eggs, yogurt and other animal proteins are listed on the website to promote the benefits of protein incorporated in a balanced diet.
“We promote the challenge on social media, so people can find it on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which sometimes has great recipes for the Protein Challenge,” notes Kearns.
The challenge was inspired by other 30-day lifestyle challenges that are seen on social media platforms, but it is not designed to be hard to complete.
“It’s not one of those really strict challenges. We can really customize it to our own lifestyle and not beat ourselves up if we don’t follow exactly what it says,” she explains.
Beef It’s What’s For Dinner hopes that participants will find easy ways to include protein in their diets and feel the positive benefits of consuming it throughout the day.