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Ask Tufts Experts February 2018 Issue

Q. I would like to eat less meat. What other sources of protein do you recommend?


A. Katie Fort, a dietetic intern at Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts Medical Center, explains: “There is a growing body of data that demonstrates the health benefits of eating less meat and more plant-based foods. Though meat is an excellent source of protein, you get adequate amounts of protein from other foods. Here are some good ones:

Eggs: Eggs are a versatile, inexpensive and convenient source of protein. A large egg contains about 6 grams of protein.

Dairy: Dairy can be incorporated into meals or snacks. One container of non-fat Greek yogurt (5.3 ounces) has about 15 grams of protein, depending on the brand. Additionally, an 8-ounce glass of milk contains 8 grams and half a cup of cottage cheese contains 12 grams of protein.

Legumes: Beans and lentils are great sources of protein at about 6 to 9 grams of protein per half cup. You can use them to make a dip, add them to salad, put them in chili or stuff them in peppers, just to name a few possibilities.

Nuts and nut butters: Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, and one ounce of dry roasted almonds contains 6 grams. Nuts and nut butters are also very filling, because in addition to protein they contain healthy fat.

Meat substitutes: The quantity and quality of alternative ‘meat’ products, like tempeh (made from soybeans), seitan (wheat gluten), “veggie burgers,” and others are always improving, although these foods tend to be more processed than some of the whole foods mentioned above.”

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