Kidney Health: Protein in Your Diet
Proteins are known as the building blocks of life. Protein is needed for all the body functions and helping to maintain and grow body tissues. It is important that we meet our daily protein needs to achieve good health. You may have high protein needs or you may need to limit your daily protein intake.
Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products are high quality protein. At least two-thirds of your total protein intake should be from these sources. Vegetable and grain products are lower quality proteins and may make up the rest of your total protein intake.
Foods that contain protein are put into groups. The groups include the milk, meat and meat substitutes, vegetables and grain product groups. The number of servings you need to eat from each group is listed below. If you are someone who needs to restrict your protein intake, you will also find a list of foods which you will also need to limit.
Your daily goal for protein is ___________________________grams.
Milk ______________choices daily
Each choice provides 8 grams protein. Each of the items that follow is equal to 1 choice.
1 cup milk, all kinds
1 ounce cheese
1 cup yogurt
¼ cup cottage cheese*
1 cup light cream or half and half
1 cup milk pudding
¾ cup custard
1 cup cream soup, made with milk*
1 cup ice cream
Meat and meat substitutes _________________ choices daily
Each choice provides 7 grams protein. Each of the items that follow is equal to 1 choice.
1 egg, large
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 ounce beef, lamb, pork, poultry, or fish
¼ cup cottage cheese*
1 hot dog or 2 small sausages*
⅓ cup or 5-6 oysters
½ cup tofu, soft type
1/4 cup tofu, firm type
¼ cup salmon, tuna, crab, lobster, clams
1 ounce or 5 medium shrimp
1 slice cold cut (4½ inches by ⅛ inches)
2 ounces vegetarian meat analog (Boca Burgers® , Garden Burgers®)
½ cup cooked soybeans, pinto beans, navy beans, black beans, lentils, or split peas
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
Breads and cereals ______________ choices daily
Each choice provides 2 grams protein. Each of the items that follow is equal to 1 choice.
1 biscuit (2 inch)
1 slice bread
½ hamburger bun
1 dinner roll
3 Tablespoons Grapenuts®
½ cup cooked rice
1 pancake (4 inch)
½ cup cooked cereal
¾ cup dry cereal, flakes
6 graham crackers (2½ inch square)
2½ tablespoons flour
½ cup cooked pasta
Foods you may need to limit to ____________ choices daily
Do you need to limit protein? Each of the following items contains 1 to 2 grams of protein per choice.
1 2-inch slice of cake
½ cup flavored gelatin
1 cup popcorn*
20 potato chips*
16 ounce ale or beer
2 tablespoons cream cheese
3 tablespoons gravy or white sauce
1/10 of a 9 inch fruit pie
2 sugar wafer cookies
2 sugar or sandwich cookies
4 shortbread cookies
Foods you do not need to limit.
These foods contain little or no protein and may be eaten when you want. This list is useful to those people needing to restrict the protein in their diet.
Decaf coffee or tea
Soft drinks or Kool-Aid®
Broths or bouillon*
Fruits and vegetables
Herbs and spices
Catsup or mustard
Oils, butter, margarine, shortening, or mayonnaise
French or Italian dressing
Sugar, honey, syrup, or molasses
Jams and jellies
Hard candy, mints, or gum drops
Candies without chocolate, eggs, milk, or nuts
Frosting without chocolate, eggs, milk, or nuts
Items that contain alcohol à
*Foods that may be high in sodium.
Note: Alcoholic beverages should only be used on doctor’s approval.
If you have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the phone numbers listed below.
2880 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
UW Health West Clinic
451 Junction Road
Madison, WI 53717
UW Health East Clinic
5249 East Terrace Drive
Madison, WI 53718
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 01/02/2013
Copyright © 01/02/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#304
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