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Nutrition Month: All about Protein Foods
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hamburger, tacos, chicken dish and turkey dish

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

Foods in the protein foods group:

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Beans and peas*
  • Soy products like tofu and tempeh*
  • Nuts and nut butters*
  • Seeds*

  *Plant-based sources of protein  

Festival Foods deli

Selection tips:

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.

preparing seafood

It is recommended that we get at least 8 ounces seafood each week from a variety of sources like salmon, tuna, oysters and trout. 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.  

Health benefits:

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:

chicken recipe

Chicken:

turkey dish

Turkey:

egg recipe

Eggs:

pork and beef dish

Pork and Beef:

fish recipe

Fish and Shellfish:

beans recipe

Beans and Legumes:

Have a question about nutrition? Our Mealtime Mentors would love to help! Reach out to Lauren, Brittany and Emily at AskFestivalDietitians.com or find us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

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.

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