How to Vary Your Protein Routine - Making Healthy Choices for Adults Ages 60+

November 10, 2022


You may know that protein foods include meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. But did you also know about plant proteins like beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy? By choosing from a variety of protein sources, you can get a better range of nutrients to help you maintain strong bone and muscle health.

So make the healthy choice of mixing up your protein. Here's how:

Power up with plant protein.

You can save money, limit saturated fats and calories, and boost protein and fiber by choosing beans, peas and lentils, often. Nuts, nut butters, tahini, and chia, flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, or squash seeds are good sources of plant protein. Tofu too!

Be planful with animal protein.

Choose lean. Select beef and pork cuts with "loin" or "round" in the name, and trim any fat from the edges before cooking. For ground meat and poultry, choose 85% lean or higher varieties when possible.

Keep it small. The recommended serving size of meat, poultry, or fish is 3 to 4 ounces. This is about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand.

Opt for baked, broiled or grilled, not fried.

Limit processed meat, which has been linked to an increased risk for cancer. Processed meats include hotdogs, bacon, sausage, and deli meats such as salami, baloney, ham, and turkey.

Favor fish. Eating fish at least twice per week may help reduce the risk for heart disease thanks to the healthy fats found in fish.

To support your best health, aim for 6 ounces of protein per day. Here's what a mixture of proteins could look like for you:

1 scrambled egg, 2 ounces tuna, a handful of almonds, 2 falafel patties or 1 small hamburger patty.


1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1/4 cup cooked black beans, 1/2 ounce pepitas (pumpkin seeds), 1 small chicken breast.

Small changes - like varying the protein you eat - can make a big difference toward building healthier habits. So, mix it up!