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Nutrition and MyPyramid: Meat and BeansLa nutrici³n y MiPir¡mide: las carnes y legumbres

Nutrition and MyPyramid: Meat and Beans

This group includes foods that are high in protein. Protein helps the body build new cells and keeps tissues healthy. Most Americans get enough protein without even trying. It can be harder for vegetarians, but plenty of non-meat foods are rich in protein, too. Try to eat 5½ ounces of food from this group each day. It's best to get protein from a variety of sources.

Nutrient-Rich Choices

There's a lot more to this food group than just meat and beans. It also includes nuts, seeds, and eggs. There are all sorts of nutrient-rich choices:

  • Chicken and turkey with the skin removed

  • Fish and shellfish

  • Lean beef, pork, or lamb (without visible fat)

  • Soy products, such as tofu, soybeans (edamame), tempeh, or soymilk

  • Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, chickpeas,

    and lentils

  • Peanuts, almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, and sunflower

    seeds, as well as foods made from these (such as peanut butter or tahini)

  • Eggs and foods made with eggs (such as quiche or frittata)

What Makes Meat and Beans Less Healthy?

  • Fatty meat is not healthy. Before you cook meat, trim off all the fat you can see. Chicken and turkey skin is also high in fat, and should be removed before cooking.

  • Breading and frying make food less healthy. This includes dishes like fried chicken, fried fish, and refried beans.

  • Sausage and lunch meats tend to be high in fat and salt. Buy low-fat, low-sodium versions.

One Small Change

Make a meal that includes a non-meat source of protein (such as tofu, lentils, or any other food listed above). Have a better idea? Write it here:


Date Last Reviewed:

Date Last Modified: 2005-12-30T00:00:00-07:00



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