Too much or too little; What does an ounce of protein look like?

Become more familiar with the recommended serving sizes for your favorite protein foods to be sure you are not sabotaging your waistline by over indulging.

If you are ever confused about the amount of protein you eat each day, wondering if you are eating too much or too little, then you are not alone. Part of the confusion stems from the wide variety of foods within the protein food group and the differences in serving sizes. For your overall health, keeping your protein foods within recommended daily servings is a heart healthy and important weight management habit. Whether you are a vegetarian or a meat lover, the MyPlate website provides helpful protein information to help you better understand this important food group.

Foods in the protein food group include; eggs, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, seafood, processed soy-products and processed meats. Looking at this list of foods you can see that the variety within this food group could make it easy to eat more calories than is recommended for your specific daily food plan. Eating more calories than you expend through daily physical activity can lead to weight gain and other chronic health issues. Because of this, it is important to understand the actual amount of protein you are eating each day. The MyPlate protein food chart shows different protein foods in one ounce equivalents. This chart is a great tool to print out and keep handy for future reference.

Monitoring your daily serving sizes for all food groups is a healthy lifestyle habit for everyone, but particularly helpful with the protein food group, because Americans tend to eat more protein than is recommended. Perhaps you are a parent or caregiver with a child still living at home, talking about healthy serving sizes is critical for combating the obesity epidemic and developing healthy eating habits for a lifetime. You can rely on the resources at the USDA MyPlate website for accurate nutrition information to guide you and your family.

The Michigan State University Extension website contains other good articles about the protein food group. You can use the search function found at the top of the Michigan State University Extension page to find additional articles on this topic. There are so many delicious protein foods to choose from throughout the week. I encourage you to eat a variety, closely monitor your servings from this food group and finally, to echo the key recommendation by the USDA, to select meat and poultry choices that are lean or low-fat.