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Getting to the Heart of a Healthy Diet: Protein-Rich Foods
- Create, repair, and maintain tissue
- Help build enzymes and hormones
- Help build immunity to fight infection
How Protein Choices Affect Your Health:
Fat and Cholesterol
To Help Lower Blood Pressure
Understanding Serving Size
- 1/2 of a chicken breast or a chicken leg with thigh (without skin)
- 3/4 cup of flaked fish
- 2 thin slices of lean roast beef
- Albacore tuna
- Light meat of chicken, Cornish hen, and turkey without skin
- Lean cuts of beef, such as round, sirloin, chuck, and loin
- Lean or extra lean ground beef that has no more than 10% fat
- Lean ham and pork, such as tenderloin and loin chop
- Lean cuts of emu, buffalo, and ostrich. These choices are very low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
- Use ground turkey in place of ground beef.
- Buy "choice" or "select" grades of beef instead of "prime."
- Use turkey sausage in place of regular breakfast sausage.
and vegetable-based products; often with the other flavors of the recipe, you will barely notice the difference:
- Textured vegetable protein in place of ground meat
- Veggie or soy burgers and hot dogs in place of the meat versions
- Add beans to chili, rice, or salad
- Have some baked beans as a side dish
- Try hummus (ground chickpeas) instead of other dips on a whole grain cracker or pita bread
- Top a baked potato with sautéed black beans, onions, scallions, and some salsa.
- Use a bean spread on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.
- Toss white beans and tomatoes with pasta and fresh basil.
- Fold eggs around pinto beans and tomatoes for your next omelet.
In the Dairy Case
- If you are used to full fat or 2% milk, mix your regular milk with 1% at first to wean yourself off the higher fat milk. Slowly add more 1% until you are used to the lighter taste.
- If you cannot get used to skim milk, 1% is still a good low-fat option.
- Mix cheeses, too. Use some regular and some low-fat, so you will not feel you are missing out on the flavor.
- When choosing low-fat yogurts, note that the calorie levels are often lower in the versions that are "light," as well as being low in fat.
- Make an omelet with one egg yolk and a few egg whites.
- In cooking and baking, use two egg whites, or one egg white plus 2 teaspoons of unsaturated oil, in place of one whole egg.
- Try cholesterol-free commercial egg substitutes.
American Dietetic Association http://www.eatright.org/
Food and Nutrition United States Department of Agriculture http://www.usda.gov/FoodAndNutrition/
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca/
Health Canada Food and Nutrition http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/index-eng.php
Meat, Poultry, and Fish. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Meat-Poultry-and-Fish%5FUCM%5F306002%5FArticle.jsp. Accessed November 19, 2012.
DASH Diet. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated Augus 26, 2012. Accessed November 19, 2012.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services websites. Available at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/PolicyDoc/PolicyDoc.pdf. Accessed November 19, 2012.
Dietary Recommendations for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated November 14, 2012. Accessed November 19, 2012.
Eat More Chicken, Fish and Beans Than Red Meat. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/WeightManagement/LosingWeight/Eat-More-Chicken-Fish-and-Beans-than-Red-Meat%5FUCM%5F320278%5FArticle.jsp. Accessed November 19, 2012.
Fish Consumption Advisories. US Department of Environmental Protection website. Available at: http://www.epa.gov/mercury/advisories.htm. Accessed November 19, 2012.
Mozaffarian D, Rimm EB: Fish Intake, contaminants, and Human Health: Evaluating the Risks and the Benefits. JAMA . 2006;296:1885-99
Savica V, Bellinghiere G, et al. The Effect of Nutrition on Blood Pressure. Annual Review of Nutrition. 2010;30:365-401.
The Power of Protein. American Academy of Nutrion and Dietetics Foundation website. Available at: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442460042&terms=protein. Accessed November 19, 2012.
Tips to Help You Make Wise Choices from the Protein Foods Group. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/protein-foods-tips.html. Accessed November 19, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian P. Randall, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012
- Update Date: 11/19/2012