Expert advice

Emily Hope: Registered Nutritionist

Emily is the Nutritionist at Healtheries. She believes being healthy is about balance and moderation, and that food should be nutritious and enjoyable. For more information, visit or phone 0800 848 254. ASK ME A QUESTION

How much meat should we eat?

Emily Hope
Friday, September 14, 2012
Image: Thinkstock
Question: I feed my family meat once with every dinner meal and I’ve recently been told this could be too much. How often should we be consuming meat per week?

Answer: Meat and other animal products (such as poultry, eggs, fish and seafood) are great sources of protein and other nutrients such as iron, zinc, selenium and vitamin B12. Vegetarian protein alternatives (e.g. legumes, nuts, seeds and tofu) are also great sources of nutrients, except Vitamin B12. Experts recommend that you eat some of these foods each day. However, the number of servings you should have each day depends on your age. Preschoolers and children (2-12 years) should have 1-2 servings per day, young people (13-18 years) should at least 1-2 servings per day, and adults should at least 1 serving per day.

The most important thing to remember is to vary the type of meat or seafood you have each day to ensure you and your family receive a wide-range of nutrients from the different foods.

You also need to watch serving sizes: one serve is much smaller than people often think. For example, 1 serve of cooked steak for an adult is just 120g, while 1 serve of cooked chicken is around 110g.

Aim to have 2-3 meals each week with lean, unprocessed red meat, 2 with fish, and 1-2 with chicken or pork. You could also try one vegetarian meal each week using legumes, such as chickpeas, beans or lentils. Alternatively, add these vegetarian superfoods to meat-based dishes such as Spaghetti Bolognese or curries to increase the fibre content.

Don’t forget to add in plenty of colourful vegetables and some wholegrain carbohydrates to make each dinner a complete meal.

HealtheriesEmily is the Nutritionist at Healtheries. For more information about Healtheries, one of New Zealand's most trusted health brands, visit or phone 0800 848 254.

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