Dietitian Picks to Vary Your Protein Routine

Dietitian Picks to Vary Your Protein Routine

Dec 28, 2022Danielle Matthies, RD, CD, LD

A well-balanced diet includes sources of lean protein. Protein at meals and snacks helps you feel full longer. And keeping proteins lean (lower in fat) helps reduce saturated (unhealthy) fat intake for better cardiovascular health.

When you think lean proteins, you probably think chicken – but there are so many more options! After all, meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds and soy products all fall into the protein food group, and it’s important to vary it up to ensure you’re getting a good mix of nutrients.

Some suggestions:

  1. Beef

Does this surprise you? In addition to protein, beef is a great source of essential nutrients like iron, zinc and B vitamins. And there are actually plenty of lean options to choose from. (PRO TIP: Look for the words “loin” or “round,” such as Strip Loan Roast or Tenderloin Roast, when picking out a cut of beef.) With such a versatile protein, you can definitely work in some new delicious and nutritious recipes.

Lemon-Garlic Roast with Herbed Oregano-Horseradish Sauce

Serves 12


All you need:

  • 1 beef strip roast (3 to 4 lbs)


  • 2 tbsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp minced garlic


  • 1 cup regular or reduced-fat dairy sour cream
  • ¼ cup horseradish
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano or chives
  • ¼ tsp salt


All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine seasoning ingredients; press evenly onto all surfaces of beef strip roast.
  2. Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of beef, not resting in fat. Do not add water or cover. Roast in 325°F oven 1¼ to 1½ hours for medium rare; 1½ to 1¾ hours for medium doneness.
  3. Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients in medium bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F for medium rare; 145°F for medium. Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°-15°F to reach 145°F for medium rare; 160°F for medium.)
  5. Carve roast into slices; season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with sauce.


Nutrition Facts per serving (1/12 of recipe): 192 calories; 81 calories from fat; 9g total fat (4g saturated fat; 3g monounsaturated fat;) 63mg cholesterol; 128mg sodium; 2g total carbohydrate; 0.4g dietary fiber; 25g protein; 1.7mg iron; 7.2mg niacin; 0.6mg vitamin B6; 1.4mcg vitamin B12; 4.7mg zinc; 29.3mcg selenium; 98.5mg choline


  1. Nuts

For a plant-based protein option that also packs a punch of fiber and healthful fats, try throwing nuts into the mix. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, many Americans have no problem meeting protein needs from meat, poultry and eggs, but we struggle when it comes to protein from sources like seafood, nuts, seeds and soy products. My current solution? Adding Blue Diamond Almonds to meals and snacks. The roasted dark chocolate flavor feels like a treat when I toss it into my trail mix, yogurt or oatmeal, but I’m also getting a punch of vitamin E and magnesium. Try one of their many other delicious flavors on top of a salad or rice dish!


Looking for more ideas to vary your protein routine? Hy-Vee dietitians offer a wide array of virtual classes like Wellness Wednesdays and Freezer Meal Workshops to introduce you to new recipes and ingredients!


*The blog articles, recipes and recommendations found on this site are not intended as medical advice and should not replace consulting with your medical provider. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

About the Registered Dietitian

Dani Matthies, RD, CD, LD has been a registered, certified and licensed dietitian and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for nearly 10 years. With degrees in Community-Medical Dietetics and Spanish from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI, as well as additional training in Health Communication from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, she is able to take science-based nutrition information and translate it into easy-to-understand and practical advice.

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