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Power Proteins


The protein group includes all meat, poultry, seafood, beans, peas, eggs, soy products, nuts and seeds. Proteins build and maintain body tissues like bones, muscles, skin, and blood. It’s also a good source of energy, helps to fight infections and serves as building blocks for enzymes, hormones and vitamins. Next to water, protein is the most plentiful substance in your body.

How Much Protein Is Needed Each Day?

The MyPlate Daily Checklist provides a personalized food plan; this includes the amounts you need from each food group. Most people, ages 9 and older, should eat 5 to 7 ounces of protein foods each day depending on your age, gender, and level of physical activity. What counts as an ounce of protein? 1 ounce lean meat, poultry, or seafood; 1 egg or 1/3 cup egg substitute; 2 tablespoons hummus; 1/4 cup cooked beans or peas; 1/2 ounce nuts or seeds; 1/4 cup soybeans or 1 tablespoon peanut butter.

Best Nutritional Value

Most Americans get enough foods from the protein foods group but could make leaner and healthier choices. Some types of protein foods are higher in fat or contain saturated fat which is bad for your heart if you eat them in large amounts. When you choose animal protein foods, choose those that are lower in fat like lean meat and low-fat or non-fat milk. Choose lean cuts of meat and consume in moderation. Consider alternating lean red and white meats.

Tips to Make Wise Choices from the Protein Foods Group

-Choose lean cuts of meat like round or sirloin and ground beef that is at least 93 percent lean. Trim or drain fat and remove poultry skin.

-Eggs can be an inexpensive protein option. Place scrambled eggs in a whole wheat tortilla wrap for a quick meal or enjoy a salad with chopped, hard boiled eggs.

-Choose unsalted nuts or seeds as a snack, on salads, or in main dishes. Because nuts and seeds are high in calories, eat them in small portions.

-Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or baking methods – they don’t add extra fat.

-Make a healthy sandwich using turkey, roast beef, can