Meat, Fish, Poultry and Pulses

Web Resource Last Updated: 05-10-2020

 Contents

The role of meat, fish, poultry and pulses

These foods are all good sources of protein, vitamins and minerals including iron. They provide us with important nutrients for building healthy muscles, skin and other tissues of the body.

In the UK, most of us eat more protein than our bodies need. For most adults, 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight is enough to meet our dietary requirements. For example, if you weigh 65 kg, a protein intake of 65 g will meet your requirements.

How often should I eat meat, fish, poultry and pulses?

  • You should aim to have some food from this group every day.
  • All adults are advised to eat no more than 500 g of cooked red meat every week.
  • If you have diabetes, you should eat at least two portions of oily fish every week.

Oily fish and omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fats are a type of healthy fat called an essential fatty acid. Your body cannot make these in sufficient amounts, so you have to get them through food. They can lower blood triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood) and help protect against heart disease.

Oily fish are excellent sources of omega 3 fats. These include the following:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Tuna (fresh or frozen)
  • Sardines
  • Kippers
  • Herring

Although tinned fish counts, some brands of tuna may have the omega 3 removed during processing so it is important to check the label.

Healthy choices

  • Choose lean cuts of red meat, chicken and turkey.
  • Choose lean mince when making burgers, meatballs or kebabs.
  • Remove any visible skin or fat from meat and chicken before cooking.
  • Where possible, use low-fat cooking methods, e.g. grilling, boiling, steaming, dry roasting, microwaving or poaching.
  • Limit your intake of processed meat products, e.g. sausages, sausage rolls, Scotch pies, burgers, pork pies and corned beef.
  • When you are cooking dishes such as chilli con carne, bolognese or casseroles, heat the meat first before you add any other ingredients. This will help the fat to separate from the meat, allowing you to drain the fat off.
  • You can also reduce the amount of meat you use and bulk the dish up with pulses such as chickpeas or kidney beans.
  • Choose fish that is fresh, frozen or tinned in brine, water or tomato sauce.

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