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Including protein

assorted proteins

What is protein?

You might think protein means animal products, but it can also come from grains, beans, nuts, and other plant sources.

Animal/Poultry/Fish Sources
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Meat such as pork and beef 
  • Goat, cow and sheep milk
  • Cheese and yogurt
Plant Sources
  • Tofu, tempeh, miso and other soy foods 
  • All nuts, seeds and nut butters 
  • Dried and canned beans, peas, lentils 
  • Whole grain such as quinoa, buckwheat and oats 
  • Protein powders containing hemp, pea, whey, soy or rice protein

Why Include Protein?

  • Protein is found in every cell and tissue.
  • After water, protein is the second most plentiful substance in the body. 
  • It is used to build and repair bone, muscles connective tissue, skin, internal organs and blood cells.
  • Protein is important for nail and hair growth, preventing unusual hair loss. 
  • Used in the detoxification system and immune system.
  • Assists the body in creating and regulating energy. 
  • Critical ingredient in making hormones for mood and sleep. 
  • Involved in the building of RNA and DNA. 
  • Involved in wound healing.
How to Use Protein

Protein is an important part of a well balanced meal, and every meal should include a form of protein. Protein can be added with varying levels of effort. For example:

  • Keep it simple and assemble a smoothie with a handful of nuts, fruit, avocado and spinach.
  • With some prep work and light cooking, make the black bean salad recipe featured on the next page. 
  • Feeling creative? Try baking fish or chicken and adding a simple sauce made with fresh ingredients like chopped tomatoes, torn basil leaves, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. 
Building a Pantry: Proteins
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