Meat, fish and vegetarian alternatives such as eggs, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds provide protein, which contributes to muscle growth and helps to maintain muscle mass.
As well as protein, meat and fish provide important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, iron and zinc.
Did you know:
1 in 3 British women under the age of 50 has low iron stores, which can lead to tiredness and anaemia.
- Oil-rich fish includes salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, herrings, sardines, pilchards, trout and kippers.
- A portion of pulses (peas, beans and lentils) counts as one of your 5-a-day.
A portion of protein
Adults should eat 2-3 portions of protein every day. A portion is 50-100g of cooked, lean red meat, poultry or oily fish; 100-150g cooked white fish; 1-2 medium-sized eggs; 3 tablespoons of pulses or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or unsalted nuts.
Is red meat bad for you?
Red meat provides important nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12. The World Cancer Research Fund advise eating no more than 500g (cooked weight) of red meat per week and to avoid processed meat as much as possible. Look for ‘lean’ or ‘extra lean’ red meat to cut down on saturates and enjoy in moderation.
Choose leaner cuts of meat, and remove excess fat and the skin from chicken. Add pulses, nuts or seeds to meat dishes as a healthier, affordable way to make meat go further and try alternatives such as tofu.
Lower fat sources of protein
Canned pulses are a lower-fat source of protein and are great for vegetarians. Cheaper than meat or fish and pulses can also help you shop to a budget.
Eat two servings of fish a week, one of which should be oil-rich like mackerel, fresh tuna, or fresh or canned salmon. This type of fish contains long chain Omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, which help the heart work normally. Always eat sustainable fish.