By Shala Watson

Meat. It’s still the center of the table in my home. Despite the fact that meat consumption has dropped more than 14 percent in the U.S. over the past decade, according to a recent study by Texas A&M University.

Why is it the main part of my meals?

Because meat—beef, chicken, turkey and pork—are excellent sources of essential nutrients, like protein, zinc, vitamin B12 and so much more.

The power of protein fuels our active lifestyles. You don’t want to be hungry while you’re shopping, playing sports, chasing after the kiddos or any of the other fast-paced activities in which we take part.

So why the drop in meat?

The spread of false information, according to one of the researchers in the study that was published in the American Society of Animal Science.

That’s why you should talk to a farmer or rancher and even a registered dietitian. They can answer questions about how your food is raised and the health benefits that come with it. Check out some of the Texas farmers on Twitter or county Farm Bureaus on Facebook, too!

And today, meat is easily accessible. Pre-packaged meals can come in all shapes and sizes. You can stroll the supermarket aisle and find many options to prepare for your family.

Eating meat can help to give you the boost of long-lasting energy and helps carry out vital metabolic functions.

Meat is a great source of iron, which helps form hemoglobin that transports oxygen to different parts of your body. It contains zinc, which helps in tissue formation and metabolism. And selenium, which breaks down the fat and chemicals in the body.

Vitamins A, B and D are also commonly found in meat. These vitamins promote good vision, stronger teeth and bones.

They also support the central nervous system, promoting mental health. Eliminating meat from the diet can lead to neurotransmitter imbalances that result in mental and physical health conditions like anxiety, depression and hyperactivity.

Did you know eating meat helps keep your skin healthy, too?

Meat is versatile and can be prepared many ways. Grilled, broiled, roasted or baked. Even a sandwich or a casserole.

Add some veggies and fruits to that dish and you have a meal fit for a Texas family. Check out some of the recipes we have here on Texas Table Top!