Switch Up Your Protein Routine

Photo of woman eating nut butter.
  • Mix it up! Try seafood, beans, nuts, seeds, soy, eggs, lean meats, and poultry.
  • Think small when it comes to meat portions. Get the flavor you crave but in a smaller portion. Make or order a small turkey burger or a petite-size steak.
  • Swap out meat for seafood twice a week. That includes fish and shellfish.
  • Get your protein from veggies. Add beans or peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, and soy in main dishes and snacks. 
  • Choose lean or low fat cuts of meat like round or sirloin and ground beef that is at least 90% lean. Trim or drain fat from meat and remove poultry skin. 
  • Pull out the slow cooker. Some lean meats need slow, moist cooking to be tender—and delicious – and the crock pot can save you time as well as money.
  • Eggs are a great source of protein. An egg a day, on average, doesn’t increase risk for heart disease, so make eggs part of your weekly choices. Only the egg yolk contains saturated fat, so east as many egg whites as you want. 
  • Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or baking—they don’t add extra fat. 
  • Avoid breading meat or poultry, which can add calories. Try an herb coating instead for better flavor.
  • Watch the salt! Look at the nutrition label, as many processed meats are high in sodium and some fresh chicken, turkey, and pork are brined in a salt solution.


We all need protein, but most Americans eat enough, 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.

What counts as an ounce of protein foods? 1 ounce lean meat, poultry, or seafood; 1 egg; 1⁄4 cup cooked beans or peas; 1⁄2 ounce nuts or seeds; or 1 tablespoon peanut butter.