April 12, 2021
As you follow your path to wellness, protein is a fundamental part of your food routine.1 Proteins function as building blocks for everything from bones, muscles, and skin to enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. Learn more about the power of protein and how you can integrate quality proteins from a variety of sources into your diet.
Mix up your proteins.
When it comes to protein, quality and variety carry more weight than quantity. So rather than worrying about how much protein you’re consuming, focus on choosing diverse protein sources that include nutrient-dense and plant-based options.
Add a variety of protein foods into your routine, incorporating seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), nuts and seeds, and soy products.2
Pick the best protein options.
When selecting proteins, be sure to vary your sources.3 Here are some pointers to help you make wise choices.
Beef. Look for cuts with round or loin in the name—top round steak, top loin steak, or tenderloin. Choose ground beef with a higher lean-to-fat ratio, such as 90/10 or 93/7.
Pork. Again, find round or loin cuts, such as pork loin, tenderloin, and center loin.
Poultry. Start with skinless white meat chicken, or try skinless dark meat cuts.
Seafood. Eat seafood at least twice a week. Great choices include omega-3 sources such as salmon, trout, oysters, crab, mussels, catfish, clams, and flounder. White fish such as tilapia, cod, snapper, and grouper make great lean options.
Eggs. Add eggs to your weekly routine. On average, one egg a day does not increase risk for coronary heart disease.3
Dairy. Include fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt—as well as less-fat or reduced-fat cheeses—in your repertoire.
Plant-based protein sources.
Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or trying to eat more plant-based foods, there are plenty of options out there. And combining different protein sources in the same meal is not necessary.5
Try these tips for building a variety of plant-based proteins into your meal plan.
Nuts and seeds. Enjoy unsalted nuts or seeds as a snack, on salads, or in main dishes. Eat small portions to keep calories in check. Check out Publix snacks, such as sunflower seeds and cashews, located in our Produce department.
Beans. Choose reduced-sodium or no-salt-added canned beans, such as GreenWise Low Sodium Black Beans, or simply drain and rinse canned beans to reduce the sodium. Or prepare dry beans, such as Publix Great Northern Beans, in your favorite recipe.
Meat alternatives . Vegans and vegetarians can find a variety of meatless protein options, such as tofu and tempeh, in our Produce department, as well as meatless burgers and entrées in our frozen section.
Better choices . Look for our green Better Choice shelf tags, which help you identify items that have more of the nutrients you need, like fiber, and less of the things you don’t need, like saturated fat, or added sodium, or added sugar.
Source: FoodData Central. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): Agricultural Research Service. Accessed April 6, 2021.
Looking for more? Check out our articles about plant-based eating styles.
1 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Why is it important to make lean or low-fat choices from the protein foods group? http://MyPlate.gov. Accessed April 6, 2021.
2 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Key Recommendations: Components of Healthy Eating Patterns. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 8th ed. November 21, 2016.
3 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Vary Your Protein Routine. http://MyPlate.gov. Accessed April 6, 2021.
4 Palmer, Sharon, RDN. Protein in Vegetarian and Vegan Diets. Vegetarian Nutrition; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Accessed April 12, 2021.
5 FoodData Central. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): Agricultural Research Service. Accessed April 6, 2021.