Nutrition tip of the week: Vary your protein sources

Vary your protein sources

We know, we know, bacon is great—but there is always a limit and knowing that limit is important.  Red meat can be a great source of protein, zinc, iron, and other micro nutrients but when over consumed it can be a bad thing.  Everything in moderation.  “Most Americans eat enough (protein), and some eat more than they need. How much is enough? Most people, ages 9 and older, should eat 5 to 7 ounces* of protein foods each day depending on overall calorie needs.” (USDA, 2016)


Some foods that we think of as protein foods actually contain more fat than protein—examples include some cuts of steak, fried chicken, nuts, and nut butters.  Is that bad?  Not necessarily, but it is important to consider when attempting to plan a balanced diet.


The USDA recommends varying your protein sources.  Try to include protein sources from beans, plants (try quinoa or edemame), nuts, eggs, and seafood in addition to chicken, pork, and beef.  Variety can help ensure we are getting different micronutritients (vitamins) from different foods and enough protein without overconsuming saturated fat or any one food item (this may also help prevent boredom from eating the same foods over and over).




United States Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. (2016).  Dietary Guidelines TipSheet No. 6; Vary your protein routine.  Retrieved from:

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