Dietary guidelines around the world encourage lean, low-fat protein sources, including those that come from plants 1,2. When choosing the right protein for your recipe, you’ll want to consider many factors, such as flavour and texture, fat content, nutrients, potential allergens, and price.
Planning the plate with protein
The ideal portion for protein is the size of the palm, which represents 25% of the plate. When serving meat, try cutting it into smaller pieces and fanning it across a larger section of the plate. This plating approach can give the perception of abundance without disrupting the guests’ value equation, which will in turn, help them adjust to right-sized portions.
Each of these foods can provide protein and other nutrients to your guests. However, it’s good to be mindful of the calories, types of fats, other nutritional pros and cons, and environmental consequences of each protein source. Plant-based proteins tend to have a very high nutritional value and low impact on the environment, and they are also aligned with the current trend of eating less meat.
Nutrition facts based on 100g of each food source 3
|Energy||Protein||Nutritional pros and cons|
Kg of protein per hectare of farmland
|320 kcal||26 g||High in saturated fat but also high in iron|
4 kg/ha / Uses 100x more water than plant protein
|Fish||220 kcal||15g||High in fats but good source of omega 3|
65 kg/ha / Overfishing has long-term effects on sustainable aquaculture
|Chicken||175 kcal||26g||Lean source of protein when skin is removed|
|Eggs||140 kcal||13g||Excellent source of protein but egg yolks are high in cholesterol|
|Dairy||140 kcal||3.4g||Good source of calcium|
|Legumes||115 kcal||5g||Good source of fibre but not a complete source of protein|
|Soy||95 kcal||10g||Complete source of protein but is a common allergen|
|33 kcal||4g||Good source of fibre|
1 The Chinese Dietary Guidelines. 2016.
2 Canada’s Food Guide. 2019.
3 USDA Food Composition Databases. 2018.
The Chefs’ Manifesto encourages Chefs to take action and lead by example when it comes to choosing the right protein-sources for their menu.
Read more: Chefs’ Manifesto http://www.sdg2advocacyhub.org/chefmanifesto