Where are meat and beans on the USDA MyPlate?

MyPlate combines meats and beans in the Protein Foods Group. 

According to the USDA, 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent from the Protein Foods Group.
MyPlate, USDA's food pyramid
Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics
Meat and beans fall under the "protein" category. When you look at the MyPlate icon (shown above) protein covers the bottom right of the plate in purple.

Your question touches on a key takeaway from MyPlate: meat should only cover a small portion of the plate not half of it. 

Remember the goal is to choose lean sources of protein whenever possible. There are many delicious ways to fill this corner. Check out these options:
  • Beans and peas such as chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas and edamame (soybeans) to name a few.
  • Soy products including tofu, tempeh and veggie burgers
  • Nuts and seeds (and nut butters too)  
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Chicken and turkey 
  • Lean cuts of beef, pork and lamb
For more information on MyPlate and lean protein foods, be sure to visit www.choosemyplate.gov. 
MyPlate, USDA's food pyramid
Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics
Meat and beans are located in the protein section of the plate. Sources of lean protein include poultry without the skin, lean cuts of beef and pork, seafood, beans, soy and nuts and seeds. Beans are a great source of fiber and protein, so if you are having beans at a meal, you do not need to have another protein source like beef or chicken. One quarter of your plate should be filled with a lean protein source.

Continue Learning about USDA MyPlate

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.