Table 1. Average weights of commonly consumed meats
|Type of meat||Cooked weight (g)||Raw weight (g)||How to measure|
|Lean beef mince a||100||125||About a quarter of a 500g pack size – use the size of pack as a guide|
|Beef burger a||80-100 (grilled)||120-150||Ready portioned|
|Lean rump steak a||130 (grilled)||175||About half the size of your hand|
|Lean diced pork a||100||150||Use the size of pack as a guide|
|Lean diced lamb a||100||140||Use the size of pack as a guide|
|Lean beef stewing steak||100||125||Use the size of pack as a guide|
|Portion of roast meat b||90||130 c||3 thin-cut slices of roast lamb, beef or pork, each about the size of half a slice of sliced bread|
|Lamp or Pork chop (edible portion) c||75 (fried or grilled)||110||Ready portioned|
|Sausages (2 standard size) a||90 (grilled)||114||Ready portioned|
|Bacon (2 slices) a||50 (grilled)||75||Ready portioned|
|Ham (1 slice) b||23||N/A||Ready portioned|
Be guided by pack size. For example if an average portion of raw weight is 125g this is a quarter of a 500g pack or around a third of a 400g pack.
Table 2. Suggestions of how meat combinations can represent about 500g maximum recommended intake over a week (using cooked weights) with meal suggestions
|Total for the week|
|Lean beef mince||Lean beef rump steak||2 pork sausages (grilled)||Lean diced lamb||Pork chop (edible portion)|
|Use in a Bolognese sauce||Cut in strips and use for fajitas with plenty of peppers, and mushrooms||For a weekend brunch with poached eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms||In a lamb kebab with pitta, salad and herby yogurt dressing||Use in a tray bake, with roasted vegetables|
|Beef burger (grilled)||Pork or lamb mince||Lean beef steak (grilled)||2 x small lamb chops (grilled)||1 ham slice|
|Served with sweet potato wedges and reduced fat or yogurt dressed coleslaw||In meatballs in a tomato sauce (e.g. made with canned chopped tomatoes & herbs) with rice or pasta||Served with homemade chips, grilled tomatoes and peas||Served with quinoa or couscous, mint leaves, chickpeas and broccoli||In wholegrain bread, with mustard and plenty of salad|
|Lean lamb mince||Roast beef||2 bacon slices (grilled)||Beef stewing steak||Lean pork loin steak|
|In a potato topped pie or Moussaka||For a Sunday lunch||In wholegrain bread, with lettuce and tomato, and a small amount of reduced fat mayo||In a beef, bean and vegetable stew||Thinly sliced in a stir fry with noodles and vegetables|
The portion sizes given are averages for healthy adults, based on a daily calorie allowance of 2000kcal – the amount estimated for an average, healthy weight adult woman. A smaller person or people trying to lose weight, may need smaller portions. If hand measures are used like in the example of rump steak, portion sizes will vary with the size of a person’s hands and so generally, bigger people will get bigger portions and smaller people will get smaller portions.
The current UK Government advice is that individuals who are high consumers of red and processed meat, in other words who eat more than 90g (cooked weight) per day, cut down to 70g (this equates to approximately 500g a week), as high intakes are associated with an increased risk of colorectal (bowel) cancer. This is in the context of a healthy, balanced diet containing plenty of plant-based foods such as wholegrains, vegetables and fruit.
For high consumers of red and processed meat, NHS suggest the recommendations can be met by eating smaller portions of red and processed meat, eating these meats less often or swapping them for meat alternatives or beans and pulses.