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Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts are a source of protein, iron and other important nutrients.

Eat high-quality protein in at least two meals a day. This will help to keep you strong and protect your muscles.

What is included?

Choose lean fresh meat, poultry and fish. Include some meat-free meals in the week too. Eggs, pulses such as beans, peas and lentils, nuts and tofu all count.

How much should I eat?

Aim to have two to three servings from this shelf every day.

What is a serving?

  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup beans
  • 40g unsalted nuts or seeds
  • 50-75g cooked lean mince beef
  • 50-75g cooked lamb
  • 50-75g cooked pork
  • 50-75g cooked lean chicken or turkey
  • 100g cooked fish
  • 100g cooked tofu
  • ¾ cup lentils

The palm of your hand, width and depth without fingers and thumbs, shows how much you need in a day.

Eat fish

Aim to eat fish once or twice a week. It is a good source of protein. Oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon and pilchards, should only be eaten once a week. These contain omega-3 fatty acids which are important for a healthy heart.

Choose iron-rich foods

Red meat is the best source of iron, but iron is also found in pulses, oily fish and eggs. 

Having foods and drinks rich in vitamin C can enhance iron absorption. Have a small glass of orange juice or vegetables at meal time.

Green vegetables, peppers and tomatoes are good sources of vitamin C.

Limit processed meats

Processed and cured red meat including bacon, sausages, burgers and luncheon meats. These are high in fat and salt and lower in iron. If cooking these, bake or grill the meat on a rack instead of frying.

High protein meal ideas

  • 2 poached eggs on wholemeal toast
  • Baked beans on wholemeal toast
  • Mixed vegetable omelette
  • Pork and vegetable noodle stir fry
  • Lentil soup with wholemeal bread
  • Tuna, sweetcorn and lettuce in pitta bread
  • Chicken, lettuce and tomato sandwich on wholemeal bread

High protein snack ideas

  • Yogurt with chopped fruit
  • Bowl of milk pudding with berries
  • Stewed fruit with low fat custard
  • Hummus with vegetable sticks
  • Crackers and cheese

Download: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Beans and Nuts fact sheet

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