Meat is one of several food sources of protein and is a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as B12 and iron. Meat can be part of a healthy diet, but it is not necessary for everyone. Other sources of protein include eggs, dairy, nuts, beans and fish. Proteins function as building blocks for body tissues, and adequate intake of protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass.
FNIC’s Dietary Guidance includes more information about the components of a healthy diet. Here you can find links to general nutrition and health information, as well as the USDA’s MyPlate resources. In particular, the MyPlate Food Groups(link is external) illustrates the five food groups that make up a healthy diet.