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What Are the Food Sources of Protein?

We all need protein in our diet, regardless of our age. A nutritious, well-balanced diet is especially important for children as they grow.

Children ages 4 to 8 need 4 ounce equivalents per day, while boys and girls (ages 9 to 13) need 5 ounce equivalents. Men and women need 5 to 6½ ounce equivalents of protein foods per day. See www.choosemyplate for more information.

  • 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup of cooked beans (such as pinto beans), 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter = 1 ounce equivalent

Plant and animal foods contain protein. If protein foods such as meat, fish and poultry become more expensive, you can stretch your protein food dollars with your recipes. Try making casseroles, stir-fry, soups and other recipes with a variety of vegetables and grains mixed with the proteins. Try adding cooked lentils to extend the meat in tacos or sloppy joes.

Food

Protein content (grams*)

3 ounces ground beef, cooked

28

3 ounces chicken, cooked

26

3 ounces pork, cooked

22

3 ounces tuna, canned

22

1 cup edamame, frozen, cooked

18

6 ounces Greek yogurt

18

½ cup pinto beans, cooked

11

½ cup fat-free cottage cheese

13

Soy nuts

12

½ cup cooked lentils

9

1 cup low-fat milk

8

1 cup cooked quinoa

8

½ cup chickpeas, cooked or canned

7

½ cup canned kidney beans

7

1 ounce peanuts

7

1 ounce string cheese

7

1 Tbsp. peanut butter

7

1 cup brown rice

6

1 ounce sunflower seeds

6

1 large egg

5

3 ounces tofu, soft, silken

5

1 slice whole-grain bread

4

*28 grams = 1 ounce
Note: Foods differ in protein content, so read the labels.

 

Julie Garden-Robinson, food and nutrition specialist, NDSU Extension

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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