What foods are included in the meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts (meat & beans) group?
All foods made from meat, poultry, fish, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds are considered part of this group. Dry beans and peas are part of this group as well as the vegetable group. For more information on dry beans and peas click here.
Most meat and poultry choices should be lean or low-fat. Fish, nuts, and seeds contain healthy oils, so choose these foods frequently instead of meat or poultry. (See Why is it important to include fish, nuts, and seeds?)
Some commonly eaten choices in the Meat and Beans group, with selection tips, are:
Lean cuts of
Lean ground meats:
Lean luncheon meats
ground chicken and turkey
Dry beans and peas:
chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
lima beans (mature)
tofu (bean curd made from soy beans)
texturized vegetable protein (TVP)
Nuts & seeds*
Finfish such as:
Shellfish such as:
Canned fish such as:
Choose lean or low-fat meat and poultry. If higher fat choices are made, such as regular ground beef (75 to 80% lean) or chicken with skin, the fat in the product counts as part of the discretionary calorie allowance. Click here for more details on discretionary calories.
If solid fat is added in cooking, such as frying chicken in shortening or frying eggs in butter or stick margarine, this also counts as part of the discretionary calorie allowance. Click here for more details on discretionary calories.
Select fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, and herring, more often (See Why is it important to include fish, nuts, and seeds?).
Liver and other organ meats are high in cholesterol. Egg yolks are also high in cholesterol, but egg whites are cholesterol-free.
Processed meats such as ham, sausage, frankfurters, and luncheon or deli meats have added sodium. Check the ingredient and Nutrition Facts label to help limit sodium intake. Fresh chicken, turkey, and pork that have been enhanced with a salt-containing solution also have added sodium. Check the product label for statements such as “self-basting” or “contains up to __% of __”, which mean that a sodium-containing solution has been added to the product.
Sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts (filberts) are the richest sources of vitamin E in this food group. To help meet vitamin E recommendations, make these your nut and seed choices more often.