Sign up for protein challenge

By Tanya Davis | Published Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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We hear about protein everywhere nowadays. It is one of the hottest topics in nutrition due to its increasing popularity in food products and the media.

Protein is important for building and repairing muscle tissue and cells within our bodies, but significant research also shows that on average 20 to 30 grams of high quality protein at each meal improves metabolism, healthy aging and weight loss and maintenance.

AgriLife Extension’s Dinner Tonight program is teaming up with Texas Beef Council. Last week they kicked off a 30-day protein challenge (one can join the challenge at any time).

If you choose to take the challenge, you will strive to eat 20 to 30 grams of protein at each meal for 30 days. You are encouraged to keep a journal to document how you feel physically when you consume protein rich meals. Think about your energy level and satiety.

To help you through the challenge, sign up at the Dinner Tonight website: dinnertonight.tamu.edu and use great resources from the Texas Beef Council.

Since the protein challenge was started, the folks at Dinner Tonight report that people indicated they have a hard time meeting the 20 to 30 grams for breakfast. Research has shown a high protein breakfast helps reduce hunger all day long.

This breakfast recipe, adapted from the Texas Beef Council, is one you will want to try. One of these buns will keep your hunger at bay and help you reach your protein goals.

Enjoy with a glass of milk or Greek yogurt!


  • 3/4 lb. extra lean ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup onions chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (13.8) oz. refrigerated pizza crust whole grain
  • 1/3 cup low fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • jalapeno jam (for serving)
  • cream cheese, reduced fat (for serving)

In a large skillet, brown ground beef and add sage, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and salt until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Set aside.

In the same skillet, add onions, and mushrooms and saut until tender. Add the meat mixture back to the skillet with mushrooms and onions. Add spinach and let wilt for 2 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out your pizza dough to a large rectangle. Leave 1/2 inch on the short side and place the beef and vegetable mixture on the dough. Top with 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese. Roll the dough with the beef mixture. Cut 8 sections of the roll and place on a baking pan. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Serve with warm jalape o jam and reduced fat cream cheese. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: calories 201; total fat 4g; saturated fat 1g; sodium 543 mg; total carbohydrates 27g; dietary fiber 2g; sugars 4g; protein 16g.


Wise County’s Dinner Tonight Cooking School is 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, at Weatherford College Wise County. To register, call the Extension office at 940-627-3341. Space is limited. Your $20 registration fee ($30 for couples) includes: goody bags, taste samples, cookbooks and great door prizes, including a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer and indoor grill.

Tanya Davis is a Wise County Extension agent.

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