Beans, Pulses, Fish, Eggs, Meat and Other Proteins

Foods in this group, along with foods from the milk and dairy foods group, are an important source of protein in our diet. This group also provides us with a range of important vitamins and minerals essential for us to remain healthy

What foods are included in this group?

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans, lentils and peas
  • Tofu
  • Quorn
  • Nuts

How much do people need and why?

About one sixth of our diet should be from this food group. For most people this means two to three portions each day. As well as being good sources of protein, foods in this group are an important source of iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins.

Which foods should you choose?

Try to choose lower fat types of these foods. Some meats are high in fat, particularly saturated fat, high intakes of which can be harmful to people’s health. Choosing lean cuts of meat and removing visible fat such as the skin on chicken or fat on a pork chop makes a huge difference to the amount of fat in the your food. Also consider how the food is cooked- choose methods that don’t use extra fat such as grilling and dry roasting.

Be careful of processed meat items such as sausages and burgers. They often have high levels of fat- use the nutrition labels to see how much fat is in the product and choose ones with a lower fat content. Government advice for people who consume more than 90g of red or processed meats (such as sausages, bacon, cured meats and reformed meat products) is to cut down to no more than 70 g per day. Fish is an important part of this group. We should be eating two portions of fish per week (2 x 140g), one of which should be oily.

How much is a portion?

One portion counts as:

  • 50-70g meat or poultry (cooked weight)
  • 100-150g white or oily fish
  • 3 tbsp beans or pulses
  • 2 thin slices cold meat
  • 2 grilled sausages
  • 2 eggs