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.