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 bodies need.
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.
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
ounce nuts or seeds (for example, 12 almonds or 7 walnut halves)
Tbsp peanut butter or other nut or seed butter
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