Your body’s need for animal protein varies throughout the year. Here are guidelines, based on principles of Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine.

Spring.

Emphasize lighter meats, like chicken, white-meat, and turkey. Fish is very moist, so in the damp spring months, it’s best cooked with techniques that don’t add liquid.

Best dishes: Grilled chicken breast, baked white fish, broiled salmon

Summer.

Eat less animal protein in general, and emphasize white fish and mollusks, which are cooling and moist. White-meat chicken is okay, especially if eaten cold.

Best dishes: Steamed mussels, lightly sautéed scallops, boiled shrimp, chicken salad

Fall.

You can begin to increase your intake of animal protein, and add some heavier selections, like dark-meat chicken and turkey or lean beef. Oily fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines are ideal now.

Best dishes: Broiled salmon, lean steak

Winter.

Dark, heavy meats cooked with more liquid bring warmth and moisture to the body during the cold winter months. Or choose fatty fish in thicker cuts to allow longer cooking times.

Best dishes: Roast beef, lamb stew, buffalo burgers, bouillabaisse