Protein: Smart Choices for Everyone

About This Tip Sheet

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists from Dairy Council of California and the Washington State Dairy Council came together to answer the following common questions about protein:

  • Which foods are high in protein?
  • What are affordable protein foods? 
  • Why is protein important for breakfast? 
  • Can I drink milk past the sell-by date?

This tip sheet suggests answers to these questions as well as information on health topics such as how to build strong bones and muscles and how to divide protein throughout the day (by eating breakfast and lunch) to get more energy. It also provides some simple, low-cost nutritious recipe ideas to get protein using foods found in most kitchens. 

References used in this and other protein tip sheets:

Ajala O, English P, Pinkney J. Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Different Dietary Approaches to the Management of Type 2 Diabetes. Am J ClinNutr. 2013 Mar;97(3):505-16.

Beasley JM, Shikany JM, Thomson CA. The Role of Dietary Protein Intake in the Prevention of Sarcopenia of Aging. Nutr Clin Pract. 2013 Dec;28(6):684-90.

Beelen M, et al. Nutritional Strategies to Promote Postexercise Recovery. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Dec;20(6):515-32.

Bendtsen LQ et al. Effect of dairy proteins on appetite, energy expenditure, body weight, and composition: a review of the evidence from controlled clinical trials. Adv Nutr. 2013 Jul 1;4(4):418-38.

Berner LA, Becker G, Wise M, Doi J. Characterization of Dietary Protein Among Older Adults in the United States: Amount, Animal Sources and Meal Patterns. JAND 2013;113:809-815.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FastStats; Diet and Nutrition; NHANES 2007-10. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/diet.htm. Accessed Jan 29, 2014.

Clifton P. Effects of a high protein diet on body weight and comorbidities associated with obesity. Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug;108 Suppl 2:S122-9.

Dairy Research Institute—NHANES 2003-2006; Age 2+ Years. From: World Dairy Summit 2012 Presentation: Dairy Nutrition and Environmental Sustainability: Setting the Record Straight. Original source: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm

FAO 2013. Dietary Protein Equality Evaluation in Human Nutrition: Report of an FAO Expert Consultation, FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 92. Rome: FAO.

Fry CS, Rasmussen BB. Skeletal Muscle Protein Balance and Metabolism in the Elderly. Curr Aging Sci. 2011 Dec;4(3):260-8.

http://www.healthcalculators.org/calculators/protein.asp  Accessed Jan 29, 2014.

Mangano KM, Sahni S, Kerstetter JE. Dietary Protein is Beneficial to Bone Health Under Conditions of Adequate Calcium Intake: An Update on Clinical Research. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014 Jan;17(1):69-74.

U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/statistics/#fast  Accessed Jan 29, 2014.

Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Nijs I, van Ooijen M, Kovacs EM. High Protein Intake Sustains Weight Maintenance after Body Weight Loss in Humans. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Jan;28(1):57-64.

Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lemmens SG, Westerterp KR. Dietary Protein: Its Role in Satiety, Energetics, Weight Loss and Health. Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug;108 Suppl 2:S105-12.

Wolfe RR. The role of dietary protein in optimizing muscle mass, function and health outcomes in older individuals. Br J Nutr. 2012 Aug;108 Suppl 2:S88-93.