Protein Foods


fishIt can be a surprise to find out how often you eat more than the suggested amount of protein. But, simply cutting back on other food groups to keep your calories in line won’t solve the problem because you’ll be missing out on the nutrients those food groups give you. In addition to watching how much food with protein you eat, try to choose lean or low-fat foods. Higher fat choices count as added fats and oils. Try to eat seafood instead of meat at least twice a week to balance your proteins.

Here's a Tip

Are you confused about whether beans, peas, and foods made from soybeans should be counted as vegetables or protein foods? It’s up to you. Here’s an example: if you eat ½ cup of baked beans with dinner, you get to choose whether to count the beans as ½ cup of vegetables or 2 ounces of protein foods, depending on what else you’ve eaten during the day.


One ounce serving equals:

almonds, pumpkin seeds, and peanut butter
12 almonds, 24 pistachios, or 7 walnut halves Half ounce seeds such as hulled and roasted pumpkin, sunflower, or squash seeds Tablespoon peanut butter
a bowl of soup, a bowl of beans, and a bowl of tofu
Half cup split pea, lentil, or bean soup Quarter cup cooked beans Quarter cup tofu
an egg, a felafel patty, and hummus
One egg Falafel patty (2-1/4 inches, 4 ounces) Two tablespoons hummus


What's On Your Plate? is based on the nutrition recommendations for older adults in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).