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. They complement each other to form a whole protein.
Beans and tortillas
Black beans and
Chili and corn bread
Pita bread with hummus
(ground garbanzo beans and sesame seed paste)
Foods that contain protein
Lean meat, poultry, or fish. A cooked serving is 75 grams. 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 75 grams of meat:
¾ cup (175 mL) cooked beans, peas, or lentils
¾ cup (175 mL) tofu
¼ cup (60 mL) nuts or seeds
2 Tbsp (30 mL) peanut butter or other nut or seed butter
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ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator