PUBLISHED: 2:15 PM on Wednesday, June 15, 2005

From your kitchen! Taste bud-tingling beef salads feature favorite flavors and easy preparation, plus, they're a nutrition powerhouse. They are an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and zinc - and a good or excellent source of iron and fiber.

Beef Salad Basics

The recently released 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage making smart food choices from every food group. Beef main dish salads are a delicious way to add a variety of naturally nutrient-rich foods to your meals at home.

• Nutrient-rich salad ingredients include colorful fruits and vegetables (the deeper the color, the richer in nutrients); whole grains such as whole-wheat pasta or brown rice; and non or lowfat dairy products.

• Lean beef choices are perfect for salads. There are 19 cuts that meet government guidelines for lean such as these favorite steaks: top loin, top sirloin, tenderloin, T-Bone and top round. Beef also provides essential nutrients including zinc, iron, protein, niacin and vitamins B-6 and B-12.

• Recipes aren't even necessary. A delicious beef salad can be as easy as tossing fresh cut-up vegetables (bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, red onion), toasted walnuts or almonds and shredded Parmesan cheese with packaged salad greens. Top with strips of cooked lean beef and drizzle with a favorite vinaigrette or a prepared salad dressing. Serve with a whole grain roll.