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    

= 170g meat, this is assuming you didn't have meat at lunch. 170g is too high. 


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. But if you want to improve your diet and make healthy choices, it's important to get into the habit of checking the label.

How do I know if a food is high in fat, saturated fat, sugar or salt?

There are guidelines to tell you if a food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar, or not. These are:

  • Total fat
  • High: more than 17.5g of fat per 100g
  • Low: 3g of fat or less per 100g
  • Saturated fat
  • High: more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g
  • Low: 1.5g of saturated fat or less per 100g
  • Sugars
  • High: more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g
  • Low: 5g of total sugars or less per 100g
  • Salt
  • High: more than 1.5g of salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
  • Low: 0.3g of salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium)

Taken from the British Heart Foundation website

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Cheap and healthy recipes


  • 2 aubergines
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 400g paella rice
  • 1½ l Kallo vegetable stock
  • 2 x 175g packs chargrilled artichokes
  • 2 lemons 1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges to serve


  1. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan or paella pan. Fry the aubergines until nicely coloured on all sides (add another tbsp of oil if the aubergine begins catching too much), then remove and set aside. Add another tbsp of oil to the pan and lightly fry the onion for 2-3 mins or until softened. Add the garlic and parsley stalks, cook for a few mins more, then stir in the spices and rice until everything is well coated. Heat for 2 mins, add half the stock and cook, uncovered, over a medium heat for 20 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking.

  2. Nestle the aubergine and artichokes into the mixture, pour over the rest of the stock and cook for 20 mins more or until the rice is cooked through. Chop the parsley leaves, stir through with the lemon juice and season well. Bring the whole pan to the table and spoon into bowls, with the lemon wedges on the side.