Top tips for a healthy diet lower in red and processed meat

We often hear in the news we should reduce our meat intake, yet many of us are guilty of consuming it at most meals. In essence we are confused about what it means to 'reduce our meat intake', how much we should reduce it by and what benefits we would reap.

It is recommended we consume no more than 70g of cooked red or processed meat a day. 


What does 70g equate to?

A full English with 2 sausages and 3 rashers of bacon = 70g meat

The average portion of spaghetti bolognaise = 100g meat    


Why should we reduce the amount of red and processed meat in our diet? 

1.      Reduces our risk of coronary heart disease: Saturated fat and added salt in both red and processed meats increase our risk of coronary heart disease

2.      Reduces our risk developing cancer:  Processed meat is classified as a definite cause of cancer and red meat is a probable cause 


Red meat = Beef, lamb, pork

Processed meat = bacon, sausages, ham, salami, pepperoni


Simple swaps

1)      Swap your mince: Opt for the lowest fat content - 5%

2)      Try meat free mince

3)      Change the type of sausage you buy

  • Opt for pork sausages lower in saturated fat

  • Swap to a chicken sausage – lower in saturated fat and a white meat

  • Swap to a meat free sausage

4)      Increase the vegetable, bean and lentil content of your meals to reduce the             meat content

5)      Swap red meat for white meat – turkey or chicken. White meat is not shown             to increase our risk of coronary heart disease or cancer

6)      Reduce the portion, only 1/4 of our plate should be meat

6)      Aim for a meat free meal at least once a week


Could you try making one simple swap this week as a way of reducing your red and processed meat intake? 


If you need inspiration for meat free meals or would like more information on the benefits of reducing your meat intake please visit: 




Food Labels - How to Read Them

Food labels contain so much information it’s often difficult to know what you should be looking for and what it all means. If you want to improve your diet and make healthy choices, it's important to get into the habit of checking the label.

Top tips:

1) Use the traffic light system on the front of packaging:

Green labels mean the food is LOW (fat, saturates, sugars or salt), this will be the healthiest choice.

Amber labels mean the food is MEDIUM (fat, saturates, sugars or salt), this is fine as part of a balanced diet.

Red labels mean the food is HIGH (fat, saturates, sugars or salt), try to limit your intake of this.

2) If there aren’t colours on the front of the packet… use the following guide to work it out for yourself.

Using the Nutrition Typical Values chart on the back or side of the packaging, focus on the per 100g column and use the numbers below to work out if it’s GREEN, AMBER or RED.

For more guidance, including examples, please click here to visit the British Heart Foundation website to download or order your free copy of the food label guide.

British Heart Foundation

British Heart Foundation