The remaining 1/4 to 1/3 of your plate is for lean protein sources like fish, poultry and meat. Other protein-rich sources are eggs and vegetarian options such as soybeans, beans, legumes and peas. Select protein sources that are baked, grilled, broiled, or roasted rather than fried.
Adults need to consume at least 3 oz. of animal protein or the plant equivalent at meals in order to reach their protein needs. Three oz. of animal protein is approximately the size and thickness of a deck of playing cards or the size of a checkbook. This amount supplies just over 20 grams of protein and is the quantity required to begin the muscle building process.
Vegetarians can substitute 3 oz. of animal protein for the equivalent amount from plant sources. In addition to the vegetarian choices listed above, you can enjoy:
- Whole grains
For instance, 1 cup of beans provides 16 grams of protein and a 2-oz. serving of whole grain Einkorn pasta supplies 9 grams of protein. You should also enjoy at least one cup of non-starchy vegetables and a small portion of heart-healthy fat at each meal.
Non-starchy vegetables include:
- Sweet peppers
These foods are essential for optimal sports performance and health because they provide fiber, a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, and a myriad supply of phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals occur naturally in plants. They serve to protect the plant and provide positive health benefits. Add color to every meal to ensure that you receive your daily dose of these health-promoting substances.
Here are some ideas:
- Add tomato and spinach to a sandwich
- Enjoy a salad with different colored vegetables
- Add frozen vegetables to soup
- Roast or grill vegetables with a touch of olive oil
The possibilities to add color to your meals are endless.