South Dakota celebrates its beef industry throughout the month of May.

"This tradition began more than 40 years ago and recognizes beef production as one of South Dakota's largest economic sectors," explained Holly Swee, the Director of Nutrition & Consumer Information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council.

Because beef is so important to the state's well-being, Swee said South Dakota cattlemen and women take great care in their production practices. "Cattle producers are constantly finding ways to improve beef production and sustainability practices to help ensure a safe, wholesome and nutritious product now and well into the future," she said.

The South Dakota Beef Industry Council utilizes checkoff dollars paid in by South Dakota beef producers from the sale of beef cattle to fund research. "This research supports the fact that animal protein, like lean beef, provides a complete, high-quality protein which contains all the essential amino acids the body needs for optimal health," Swee said.

She added that new research indicates many consumers may benefit by spreading their protein intake evenly throughout the day to achieve health and wellness goals.

"Unfortunately, people tend to consume about 65 percent or roughly two-thirds of their daily protein needs at dinnertime," Swee said. "This doesn't leave much room for spreading protein intake throughout the day during other meals and snacks."

By distributing protein more evenly throughout the day, Swee said people have a tendency to feel more satisfied, which helps reduce mindless eating. "Additionally, meals and snacks with high-quality protein also help to build muscle and reduce body fat, which helps to boost your metabolism," she said.

Celebrate with a 30-Day Protein Challenge

Recently the Beef Checkoff Program developed the 30 Day Protein Challenge across the country. This health challenge is a step-by-step way to get an optimal amount of protein throughout the day.

"This designed to help consumers better balance their protein consumption within their calorie limits," Swee explained.

Swee said if you are looking for a way to kick-start your overall health and wellness goals, this 30 day challenge may just be for you. "Once you sign up, this free online resource will provide you with helpful tools and a quick email every day for 30 days that includes tips, advice and inspiration to keep you dialed in for the duration of the challenge," she said.

For more information and beef recipe ideas, contact at 605-224-4722 or visit www.sdbeef.org.