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The Food Guide Pyramid
Important Tips for Vegetarians


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Meats &
Meat Substitutes

2 to 3 Servings
Serving Size
2-1/2 to 3 ounces cooked lean meat, fish or poultry

These meat substitutes count as 1 ounce of meat:
1/2 cup cooked dried beans, 2-1/2 ounces tofu, 1 egg, or 2 tbsp peanut butter

Protein is the key nutrient provided by foods in the Meat and Meat Substitutes list, along with some important vitamins and minerals. Protein is essential for normal cellular growth, repair and maintenance. During pregnancy it is essential for fetal development; during lactation protein intake effects milk production. Most people in Western cultures eat adequate protein, some eat too much. Even during pregnancy, most women are eating plenty. Still, it is important to double check this for yourself.

The Food Guide Pyramid suggests 2-3 servings, each equal to 2.5 - 3 ounces. This translates to 5 to 9 ounces total meat for the day, or its equivalent in non-meat substitutes. Lowfat or lean options are always preferred.

Note: Nuts and Seeds (70% oil calories) are very high in fat. These two foods are also included in the Fats and Oil Group of the Power Food Exchanges. Dried Beans and Peas are referenced in the Starch Group because they are high in carbohydrate.

Return to the Food Pyramid

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