Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts

Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts are important sources of protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. This group includes plant foods and animal foods.

Some meats and meat products are high in fat. There are many ways to reduce the fat you get from these meats. You can choose leaner cuts like chuck, bottom round or top round of beef, pork loin or lamb shank. You can trim fat from meat before cooking and eating. You can take the skin off chicken. Many processed meats like hot dogs, sausage, pepperoni, bacon, ham and luncheon meats are high in fat and sodium. If you enjoy eating these meats, try having them less often and when you do, try eating them in smaller amounts.

Because eggs are a good source of iron and protein, they are counted as a meat serving. Most of the fat in eggs is found in the yolk. When you use the egg whites, you can cut the fat and keep the protein and vitamins you need.

Plant foods like lentils, black-eyed peas, chick peas and other dried beans and peas are inexpensive sources of protein. Unlike meats, beans are low in fat and high in fiber. Nuts and nut butters like peanuts and peanut butter are good sources of protein and iron; but they are higher in fat than other plant foods.

You can get the nutrients you need from this group without a lot of fat and without costing a lot. Many lean meats like beef chuck are also lower in cost. If you buy ground beef that is 70% fat because it is less expensive, you can still reduce the fat. Try draining the meat after you cook it or add other ingredients. Mix small amounts of meat with pasta, beans and rice to stretch your food dollar. You will get the same nutrients but it will cost you less.

To find out more about the nutrients in this group, read the files: Protein, Iron and B vitamins.

If you have questions about the types of foods in this group, go to "Ask the Nutritionist".

To test what you learned, take the Quiz on Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts.

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