In this article, you will find information for the general public who are interested in knowing about healthy eating and beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins in the diet.

We will cover:


Key messages:

  • This food group is a really important part of a healthy, balanced diet, as these foods are good sources of protein, and lots of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Beans and pulses are inexpensive, high in fibre and naturally lower in fat than animal sources of protein, and one portion per day can also count as one of your 5 A DAY!
  • Aim for at least two portions (2 x 140 g) of sustainably sourced fish each week, one of which should be oily fish.
  • High consumers of red and processed meats (over 90g per day), should be limiting their intake and consuming no more than 70 g per day on average.

Why eat these foods?
These foods provide a range of nutrients:

  • Protein – for growth and maintenance of normal muscles and maintenance of healthy bones.
  • Iron – found in red meat. Contributes to the normal formation of red blood cells and transport of oxygen around the body.
  • Zinc – found in meat. For maintenance of normal skin, hair, nails, vision and the immune system.
  • Vitamin B12 – found in meat and fish. For healthy red blood cells and nerve function.
  • Vitamin D – found in oily fish. For healthy teeth, bones and muscles.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – found in oily fish. Helps to maintain normal and healthy heart.


What counts?

  • Beans and other pulses: including chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, peas, butter beans, baked beans, haricot beans, flageolet beans, soya beans
  • White fish (fresh, frozen or canned): including cod, coley, haddock, pollock, hake, plaice and tuna
  • Oily fish (fresh, frozen or canned): including salmon, sardines, mackerel, whitebait and trout
  • Shellfish (fresh, frozen or canned): including prawns, scallops, mussels, oysters, squid and crab
  • Meat, poultry and game: including chicken, turkey, beef, pork, lamb duck, goose, bacon, sausages and burgers
  • Vegetarian meat alternatives:  including tofu, mycoprotein for example ‘Quorn™'
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

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