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Health Education


Go lean with protein

Proteins are building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. They also are essential components of enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. The healthiest way to meet your protein needs is by choosing proteins that are lean to keep your fat and cholesterol intakes low. Most people do not have difficulty getting enough protein in their diets, though vegans might find it somewhat difficult if they are unaware of the many sources of protein available. Many people think that meat is the only source of protein, but many other sources are listed below.

Tips for Going Lean with Protein
  1. Start by choosing lean sources of protein.*
    • Beef: round steaks, roasts (round eye, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin, chuck shoulder, and arm roasts.
    • Ground beef: The label should say at least "90% lean."
    • Pork: pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, and ham.
    • Poultry: Skinless chicken breasts and skinless turkey cutlets.
    • Sandwich meat: lean turkey, roast beef, ham, or low-fat luncheon meats instead of bologna or salami (But be careful of added sodium in sandwich meats!).
    • Fish: salmon, trout, and herring are good choices because they contain omega-3 fatty acids
    • Seafood
    • Dry beans and peas
    • Tempeh and tofu
    • Peanut Butter
    • Nuts: almonds are a great choice
    • Cottage Cheese
  2. *Additional protein suggestions can be found at

  3. Keep it lean
    • Trim away all visible fats before cooking.
    • Broil, grill, roast, poach, or boil meat instead of frying.
    • Drain off any fat that appears during cooking.
    • Avoid meats with breading.
    • Prepare dry beans and peas without added fats.
    • Choose and prepare foods without high fat sauces or gravies.
Tips for Keeping Protein Lean in your On-Campus Diet
  • Visit the hospital cafeterias—they offer lean protein choices daily (grilled chicken breast, roast chicken or turkey, and baked fish are offered most frequently).