Meat, Fish and Alternatives

Introduction

Cut off the fat

Cutting down on fat when cooking meat

Vegetarian alternatives

Fish

 

 


Introduction

These foods have high protein content which is important in the body to help with growth and repair.  Protein helps strengthen the immune system and also contains the mineral iron which we need for healthy blood.

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Cut off the fat

Meat and poultry are good for us in a balanced diet but we need to make sure we cut off the fat from meat and remove skin from chicken.

In addition:

  • Make healthier choices when buying meat
  • Ask your butcher for a lean cut
  • If you're buying pre-packed meat, check the label to see how much fat it contains and compare products
  • Go for turkey and chicken, without the skin, because these are lower in fat
  • Try not to eat too many meat products such as sausages, salami, pâté and beefburgers; these are generally high in fat and are often high in salt too.
  • Remember that meat products in pastry, such as pies and sausage rolls, are often high in fat

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Cutting down on fat when cooking meat

If you're trying to eat less fat, it's a good idea to cut off any visible fat and skin before cooking.  Fat, crackling and poultry skin are much higher in fat than the meat itself. Here are some other ways to reduce fat when you're cooking meat:

  • Grill meat rather than fry it
  • Try not to add extra fat or oil when cooking meat
  • Roast meat on a metal rack above a roasting tin, so fat can run off
  • Try using smaller quantities of meat in dishes, add more vegetables, pulses or starchy foods.

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Vegetarian alternatives

If you prefer a vegetarian diet there are plenty of alternatives available and many of these also provide other health benefits.  For example, lentils, beans and peas are low in fat and high in fibre.

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Fish

There are two main types of fish, oily and white, both of these are very good for us for different reasons.  It is recommended that we eat at least 2 portions of fish per week and at least one of these portions should be oily fish.

Types of oily fish:

  • Sardine
  • Herring/Kippers
  • Salmon
  • Pilchard
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Tuna (fresh only*)

Oily fish contains beneficial oil called Omega 3 which helps to prevent heart disease and maintains healthy joints.

* tinned tuna does not contain Omega 3 oils due to the processing but it is still a good source of protein and is recommended for a healthy diet. 


Types of white fish:

  • Haddock
  • Cod
  • Sole
  • Turbot
  • Whiting
  • Plaice
  • Bass
  • Bream

These fish are low in fat and high in protein.  You should avoid frying and try grilling, poaching, baking or microwaving instead.


Food Note

The Food Standards Agency recommends that we eat no more than 4 portions of oily fish in a week.  If you are pregnant, breast feeding or become pregnant, you should avoid eating shark, swordfish and marlin and limit oily fish to two portions a week.  Within these safe levels of consumption the benefits of eating oily fish once a week outweigh the possible risks due to mercury and/or pollutant content.

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