Aug 27, 2023

What foods are in the Protein Foods Group?

The Protein Foods Group includes all food made from seafood; meat, poultry, and eggs; beans, peas, and lentils; nuts, seeds, and soy products. Beans, peas, and lentils are also part of the Vegetable Group.

Eating a variety of protein foods can give you more nutrients your body needs. Choose lean meats and poultry, such as 93% lean ground beef, pork loin, and skinless chicken breasts. Select seafood options that are higher in healthy fatty acids called omega-3s and lower in methylmercury, such as salmon, anchovies, and trout.

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, the advice to eat meat, poultry, and seafood doesn’t apply to you. Vegetarian protein options include beans, peas, and lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy products.

Why is it important to choose a variety of foods from the Protein Foods Group?

Protein foods provide essential nutrients needed to maintain your health and body. Many individuals get enough protein from meat, poultry, and eggs but fall short of recommendations for seafood or nuts and seeds Meeting this can help increase the amount of important nutrients your body needs, such as unsaturated fats, dietary fiber, and vitamin D. It also helps limit the amount of sodium and saturated fats you get from processed meat and poultry.

Health Benefits

Proteins serve as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. They are also building blocks for enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. Proteins are one of three nutrients that provide calories (the others are fats and carbohydrates).

Nutrients provided by various protein foods can differ. Different choices of protein foods can provide your body with a range of nutrients designed to help maintain your body’s proper functioning. B vitamins help build tissue and form red blood cells. Iron can prevent anemia. Iron can prevent anemia. Magnesium helps build bones and supports muscle function. Zinc can support your immune system.

EPA and DHA are omega-3 fatty acids found in varying amounts in seafood.

Why is it important to eat a variety of seafood each week?

Seafood contains a range of nutrients, particularly omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Eating a variety of seafood as part of a healthy diet can support health. Some fish, such as salmon and trout, are also natural sources of vitamin D, a nutrient that many people don’t get enough of.

Vegetarian choices in the Protein Foods Group

Vegetarians can get enough protein from this group as long as the variety and amounts of foods chosen are adequate. Protein sources from the Protein Foods Group for vegetarians include eggs (for ovo-vegetarians), beans, peas, and lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy products (including tofu and tempeh).

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