Protein Sources: For Your Body
For your body and the planet, choose these healthy protein sources.
RED MEAT: (buffalo, pork, lamb and beef): Look for pasture-raised or grass-fed, which are leaner due to grazing, and typically free from added hormones or antibiotics. Think much smaller portions than what’s traditionally served: For dinner serve three to four ounces for children and women, and no more than six ounces for men. Limit all red meat to twice a week.
POULTRY: Look for organic or hormone/antibiotic free. It’s a leaner, versatile protein source that’s much more sustainable for the environment and has much less saturated fat than red meat.
FISH: Look for wild, if possible. Sustainable, farm-raised fish is a good choice if farmed under U.S. regulations or in countries that follow similar regulations. Avoid third-world countries that do not have sustainable regulations and anti-pollution laws in place.
SOY PROTEIN: Look for non-GMO and organic. Soy is high in phytonutrients that can actually help reduce cancer risk, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Good choices are tempeh (a fermented soybean cake that has probiotics), firm tofu-higher in protein than other tofu-and soy milk, which has the highest in protein of all the plant-based milks.
NUTS & SEEDS: Seeds-like chia, hemp, flax and sunflower-and pistachios, almonds and walnuts are a few of the other plant-based proteins that range from seven to 10 grams of protein per quarter cup.
BEANS & LENTILS: Excellent source of protein, as well as fiber, iron and calcium. A cup of cooked beans is equal to two ounces of protein, and when teamed with a grain becomes a complete protein. Lentils are slightly higher in protein than other legumes.
GRAIN PROTEIN: Textured vegetable protein products, or just the whole grains, add protein to the daily diet. One cup of cooked barley has six grams, while quinoa has eight grams. Triticale has the highest protein, at 25 grams per cooked cup.