Meat, Fish and Alternatives 



This food group is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, particularly iron. The iron found in meat is absorbed well by the body, and meat has the added advantage of helping the absorption of iron from vegetables and cereals.




  • Eat food from this group two to three times a day
  • Try to have a variety of lean red meats (beef, pork and lamb)
  • Try to combine meat with vegetables
  • Try to have variety of poultry (chicken and turkey)
  • Try eating fish twice a week
  • Try eating oil-rich fish such as mackerel, sardines or salmon at least once a week




  • Protein
  • Iron
  • B vitamins (especially B12)
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Fatty acids




  • Buy the leanest meat, there's less waste
  • Choose trimmed, lean or extra-lean varieties
  • Look out for the easy-to-prepare options that often come with recipe ideas
  • Convenience dishes are a useful standby but can be expensive



  • Cut the visible fat off meats
  • Dry fry meats and discard any remaining fat prior to further cooking
  • Drain off fats from roast meats
  • Skim gravies and sauces to remove any excess fat
  • Grill, bake or microwave without adding fat
  • Add pulses such as peas, beans and lentils to casseroles, stews and mince dishes
  • Pulses and nuts can be added to salads



  • Separate raw and cooked meats and always store cooked above the raw in the refrigerator
  • Wash your hands before and after handling any raw or cooked meat, poultry or fish
  • Drain off fats from roast meats
  • Skim gravies and sauces to remove any excess fat



  • 2-4oz (50-100g) lean meat, poultry or oily fish
  • 4-6oz (100-150g) white fish
  • 3 tbsp peas, beans or lentils (cooked)


The fat content of red meat is now lower than ever before. Red meat is an excellent source of iron and zinc. Lack of iron can cause anaemia. Zinc is needed to help wound healing and for fertility. A lack of iron and zinc is sometimes a feature of the diets of young children and adults. Red meat is also a useful source of vitamin D. Fish, particularly shellfish, is also a good source of selenium. Oil-rich fish contains a type of fat which may help reduce the risk of fatal heart disease. The fibre in beans and lentils may help reduce blood cholesterol

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