CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Protein is a powerful nutrient that is important not just at dinner, but throughout the day.

Recent checkoff-funded research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that eating a protein-rich breakfast, including high-quality proteins such as beef and eggs, leads to improved appetite control and satisfaction throughout the day, which could help combat obesity.

For example, study participants who consumed a high-protein breakfast experienced a significant reduction in unhealthy evening snacking.

“The checkoff is committed to helping Americans build healthier diets with beef, which is why we support nutrition research to further examine beef’s role in health,” said Becky Walth, beef producer from Glenham, S.D., and member of the national checkoff’s Nutrition and Health Subcommittee. “This study suggests that a protein-rich breakfast, including beef and eggs, could help combat obesity.

“Beef isn’t just for dinner anymore. This research adds to the growing body of scientific evidence, which we share with health professionals and consumer media through ongoing outreach and relationships. Ultimately, we’re giving Americans even more reasons to enjoy their favorite protein.”

Animal proteins — such as lean beef — are complete high-quality proteins that contain all the essential amino acids a body needs for optimal health. Even better, a 3-ounce serving of lean beef is about 150 calories on average and provides about half of the recommended daily value for protein.

Lean beef also is a naturally rich source of 10 essential nutrients and is a perfect partner for everyday breakfast favorites such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy, making it a simple way to start the day in a balanced way.

Here are a few protein-rich breakfast suggestions:

* Beef and Spinach Breakfast Sandwich — This portable sandwich comes together in a snap with leftover steak or roast, eggs, spinach and tomato;

* Beef Breakfast Pizza Ole — A completely unexpected breakfast option made with pizza crust, a do-it-yourself beef breakfast sausage and eggs done to your liking; and

* Beef Breakfast Burrito — This take on the classic breakfast burrito includes plenty of veggies and gets cooled down with a lime-cilantro cream.

Additional breakfast recipes are available on the checkoff's BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com. For more information about the beef checkoff, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.