Did you know that we’re made up of about 20% protein? The only other substance in our body that is more prevalent is water.
So, it’s no surprise that protein is a pretty important part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. This vital nutrient provides energy and helps us stay feeling fuller, longer. When we think of foods containing protein, we often think of meat, seafood and poultry. These foods are indeed excellent sources of protein, but it’s important to know that plant-based foods can also provide protein.
Foods in the protein foods group:
- Beans and peas*
- Soy products like tofu and tempeh*
- Nuts and nut butters*
*Plant-based sources of protein
When selecting animal sources of protein, we recommend going lean with protein. This means selecting “loin” or “round” cuts of beef or pork; opting for skinless poultry; and choosing plain, untreated seafood whenever possible. Opting for a higher percentage lean ground beef or switching to ground turkey are great ways to trade up your nutrition in this category. Our team loves using ground turkey in dishes like spaghetti, tacos or chili. If you’re a little hesitant about completely switching over to turkey, we have something special in our Meat & Seafood department called the Turkey Beef Blend. This special blend of 50% ground beef and 50% ground turkey offers the flavor of beef without all of the fat.
It is recommended that we get at least 8 ounces seafood each week from a variety of sources like salmon, tuna, oysters and trout. Salmon, one of our favorite sources of protein, is not only delicious, but it is also one of the highest scoring animal protein options with a NuVal® score of 93. As many processed, breaded or marinated protein options tend to be higher in fat and sodium, we generally recommend starting with plain options and adding your own flavor.
Protein is an important and necessary source of calories in our diet and as their name implies, protein foods provide protein. Proteins are made up of amino acids and serve as the building blocks for many parts of our body including muscles, bones and skin. This important nutrient and all of its many roles allow for us to be able to move and function.
B Vitamins are a collection of key vitamins found in protein foods that help our bodies produce energy, build tissues and maintain a healthy nervous system.
Iron, a mineral found in many protein foods, is important for transporting oxygen in our body. As many women and teenage girls are at risk for not getting enough of this key nutrient, they are encouraged to eat foods rich in iron like lean meats, seafood or plant-based protein foods with sources of vitamin C to increase absorption.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are important heart-healthy fats. Some protein foods, particularly fatty fish like salmon and tuna, are a good source of these types of fats. Some plant-based sources of protein like chia seeds, walnuts and flax also contain heart-healthy omega-3’s.
How we savor the flavor of protein foods:
- Sesame Chicken with Mango (Gluten Free)
- Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pockets
- Chicken Sausage and Gnocchi Skillet with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil
- Asian Peanut Chicken Noodle Bowl (Gluten Free)
- Cilantro Lime Chicken with Zucchini Noodles (Gluten Free)
- Summer Grilled Veggies and Chicken Sausage (Gluten Free)
- Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls (Gluten Free)
- Roasted Tomato, Pesto and Chicken Sausage Zoodles (Gluten Free)
- Thai Chicken Pizza (Gluten Free)
- Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf Minis
- Curried Waldorf Turkey Salad (Gluten Free)
- Turkey Noodle Soup
- Turkey Monte Cristo Sandwich
- Sweet Potato Chili
- Grilled Turkey Breast with Cranberry BBQ Sauce (Gluten Free)
- Potato and Kale Soup with Italian Sausage (Gluten Free)
- Slow Cooker Lasagna
- Delicious Deviled Eggs: 3 Ways (Gluten Free)
- Apple, Potato and Bacon Hash (Gluten Free)
- Chorizo Breakfast Hash (Gluten Free)
Pork and Beef:
- Pork Carnitas with Tomatillo Salsa (Gluten Free)
- Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry (Gluten Free)
- Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash (Gluten Free)
- Hamburger Buddy
- Apple Cheddar Sliders (Gluten Free)
- Chili-Rubbed Pork & Pineapple Kebabs (Gluten Free)
- Mushroom & Swiss Blend Burgers (Gluten Free)
- Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup
Fish and Shellfish:
- Ahi Tuna Burgers with Sriracha Aioli (Gluten Free)
- Cedar Plank Mustard Salmon (Gluten Free)
- Double Decker Fish Tacos
- Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Seafood Stew (Gluten Free)
- Seared Scallops with Orange-Ginger Sauce (Gluten Free)
- Shrimp Pad Thai (Gluten Free)
- Grilled Fish Tacos (Gluten Free)
- Tuna Melts 3 Ways
- Pistachio Crusted Cod with Roasted Kale and Red Onions (Gluten Free)
Beans and Legumes:
- Pumpkin & Bean Curry
- Black Bean Burrito Bowl (Gluten Free)
- Seven Can Soup (Gluten Free)
- Black Bean & Corn Burgers (Gluten Free)
- Slow Cooker Lentil Masala (Gluten Free)
Emily Schwartz is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with Festival Foods and is certified by the state of Wisconsin.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is intended for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice. Health information changes frequently as research constantly evolves. You should not rely on any information gathered here as a substitute for consultation with medical professionals. Information may not be reproduced without permission from Festival Foods. We strongly encourage guests to review the ingredient lists of suggested products before purchasing to ensure they meet individual dietary needs. All products not available at all Festival locations.