Cartoon Pear holding roasted chicken

Protein can be found in foods that come from both plants and animals. Mix it up and choose from meat and non-meat protein sources so you can get a variety of nutrients. 

dad and daughter grilling chicken and veggie skewers

List of Proteins

Animal Sources: beef, lamb, pork, poultry, bison, deer, eggs, fish, shellfish, cheese, cottage cheese, greek yogurt

Plant Sources: beans, nuts, seeds, peas, lentils, soy. 

woman eating nuts

Portion Size

  • 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish
  • ¼ cup cooked beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • ½ ounce of nuts or seeds. 
woman sitting on a couch and eating peanut butter with a spoon

How many servings do you need?

Most adults need between 5-7 ounce equivalents of protein per day.

Everyone needs a different amount of protein. This is based on age, sex, height, weight, and amount of physical activity. Protein needs can also depend on whether a person is pregnant or breastfeeding. Most Americans eat enough from the Protein Group, but may need to select leaner varieties and include more protein from plant sources. Find the right amount for you by getting your MyPlate Plan.

Health Benefits of Eating Protein
  • Some animal-based protein options are high in saturated fats, including sausages, hot dogs, bacon, as well as high fat cuts of beef, pork and lamb.
  • Varying your protein sources to include non-meat options such as beans, peas and lentils provide important nutrients such as fiber, folate and potassium that are not found in meat sources.