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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Ankeny)

1055 Southwest Oralabor Road
Ankeny, IA 50023

Current Estimated Wait:
0 hr 20 min

UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Jordan Creek)

180 Jordan Creek Pkwy
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Current Estimated Wait:
0 hr 59 min

UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Waukee)

950 E Hickman Rd
Waukee, IA 50263

Current Estimated Wait:
0 hr 44 min

UnityPoint Clinic Behavioral Health Urgent Care - Des Moines

1250 East 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50316

Current Estimated Wait:
0 hr 24 min

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Altoona

2720 8th Street Southwest
Altoona, IA 50009

Current Estimated Wait:
0 hr 55 min

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Ankeny Medical Park

3625 North Ankeny Boulevard
Ankeny, IA 50023

Current Estimated Wait:
0 hr 8 min

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Ingersoll

2103 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312

Current Estimated Wait:
0 hr 28 min

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Lakeview

6000 University Avenue
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Current Estimated Wait:
1 hr 16 min

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Southglen

6520 Southeast 14th Street
Des Moines, IA 50320

Current Estimated Wait:
0 hr 56 min

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Urbandale

5200 NW 100th Street
Urbandale, IA 50322

Current Estimated Wait:
1 hr 29 min

Powerful Protein: An Important Building Block for Your Body

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Powerful Protein


This month we are talking protein. Protein is an important building block for many parts of the body including skin, hair, nails, bones, muscles, cartilage, organs, blood, and the immune system. Without protein, your body can not repair muscle after exercise or develop red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout your body. Our bodies do not store protein like they store fat and carbohydrates which means that we need to consume protein every day to make sure our bodies have enough to function in a healthy manner.

What Foods Contain Protein?

The protein group can be a little tricky because the foods may not all seem like they go together. Almost everyone knows that meats and fish contain protein. This includes beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, and meat from other animals like bison or deer. Nuts and seeds, including nut butters, beans such as black, pinto, or kidney beans, as well as eggs are also in the protein groups. Dairy products, like yogurt, cheese, and milk contain protein also. Those foods are usually considered to be in the Dairy Group and will be discussed in the November 2016 article.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

The daily amount of protein you need depends on your age, gender, and activity level.  Very active people might need a little more protein each day.  The table below from ChooseMyPlate.gov shows how many ounces of protein is recommended for ages two-adult.  

Daily Protein Recommendations

Children            2-3 years old
4-8 years old             

2 ounce equivalents
4 ounce equivalents

Girls 9-13 years old
14-18 years old

5 ounce equivalents
5 ounce equivalents

Boys 9-13 years old
14-18 years old

5 ounce equivalents
6 ½ ounce equivalents

Women 19-30 years old
31-50 years old
51+ years old

5 ½ ounce equivalents
5 ounce equivalents
5 ounce equivalents

Men 19-30 years old
31-50 years old
51+ years old

6 ½ ounce equivalents
6 ounce equivalents
5 ½ ounce equivalents

*These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically 
active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.

How Much is an Ounce-Equivalent?

We don’t always have a food scale available when we are cooking or eating to know how much an ounce is.  More often, we have a measuring cup or spoon on hand.  The following list contains the general guidelines for what counts as a one-ounce serving of different protein foods.

  • 1 ounce meat, poultry or fish
  • ½ ounce or ¼ cup of nuts or seeds
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 medium egg
  • ¼ cup cooked beans

An ounce-equivalent of a chicken breast equals about 1/3 of a small chicken breast.  One ounce-equivalent of a burger is about 1/3-1/2 of a small burger. An ounce-equivalent is also equal to ¼-1/3 of a can of tuna, 12 almonds, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, ¼ cup of tofu, and 2 tablespoons of hummus.  If you are choosing meat proteins, be sure to look for lean sources that don’t have much or any fat.  The fats in nuts and seeds are healthy fats and are ok to eat.  

For more information about protein, go to ChooseMyPlate.gov, KidsHealth.org, or eatright.org.
Check out these healthy protein recipes for snack and meal ideas.