When it comes to protein, you have more options than you think: meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts and seeds are all part of the MyPlate protein category. The USDA recommends mixing up your menu to get the widest variety of nutrients, and opting for lean versions of meat products.
Dawn Jackson Blatner, a Chicago-based registered dietitian and author of the book The Flexitarian Diet, likes to use beans as a staple protein. Who says beans have to be reserved for side dishes?
• 1% milk latte (8 ounces of milk)
• 2 slices whole grain cinnamon raisin toast, with ½ tablespoon almond butter
• 1 apple
• Rice and beans with veggies: 1 cup chopped baby spinach, ¼ cup chopped tomatoes, ¼ cup shredded carrots, 1 cup cooked brown rice, ½ cup canned black beans (rinsed and drained), ¼ avocado (chopped), salsa/pico de gallo
• Pasta with beans: 1 cup cooked whole grain pasta, ½ cup canned white beans (rinsed and drained), 1 cup steamed broccoli, marinara sauce, ½ ounce parmesan cheese
• 1 ounce mozzarella cheese and ½ cup grape tomatoes
• 8 ounces plain yogurt and 1 cup berries