Meat, fish and alternatives

Meat, fish and alternativesThis food group is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, particularly zinc. Beef is a natural source of iron. Beef helps the body to absorb more iron from other foods that contain iron, when eaten together.


  • 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


Click here to see Essential nutrients

  • Protein
  • Iron (in beef)
  • B vitamins (especially B12) 
  • Zinc 
  • Selenium (in pork)
  • 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

Click here for some buying, cooking and preparing tips


  • 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

Click here for some recipe ideas


  • 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)

For more information about red meat, click here


The fat content of red meat is now lower than ever before
Beef is an excellent source of iron and zinc
Lack of iron can cause anaemia
Zinc contributes to normal cognitive function, fertility and reproduction
A lack of iron and zinc is sometimes a feature of the diets of young children and adults
Fish, particularly shellfish, is also a good source of selenium
Oil-rich fish and pork are sources of a type of fat which may help reduce the risk of fatal heart disease

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