Protein is made of
building blocks called
amino acids. Although the human body can make some of
these amino acids, nine of them (the essential amino acids) must be obtained
from food. Soy foods and animal sources of protein (milk, eggs, meat, poultry,
fish, and seafood) contain all the essential amino acids in the amounts our
Most plant foods contain some of the essential amino acids in
varying amounts. Beans have some amino acids, and grains have other amino acids. Eating these different types of food throughout the day will provide your body with adequate protein.
Foods that contain protein
Most adults should eat 5 to 7 ounces of protein foods a day.
Lean meat, poultry, or fish. A cooked serving is 2 to 3 ounces.
(3 oz is about the size and thickness of a deck of cards or the
palm of your hand.) You can
use your hand to judge other portion sizes.
Protein isn't just found in meat. If you are a vegetarian or just looking for alternatives to meat, the following are equal to approximately 1 oz of meat:
¼ cup cooked beans, peas, or lentils
¼ cup tofu (about 2 ounces)
2 Tbsp hummus
½ ounce nuts or seeds (for example, 12 almonds or 7 walnut halves)
1 Tbsp peanut butter or other nut or seed butter
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