Red meat is often seen as something to cut down on, but these messages are actually leading to an epidemic of iron deficiency, confusion over how much to eat and how often to eat it. New research has shown that 51% of people did not know how much red meat you can safely eat and 85% of people are likely to underestimate the amount of red meat that can be consumed.(1)
This “eat less red meat” message is leading to some of our population not eating enough iron rich foods. 27% of women aged 19-64yrs and 48% of girls aged 11-18yrs are not meeting their iron needs.(2) Why is this a concern? Lack of iron can result in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, heart palpitations and pallor. It can be quite debilitating for some people. Red meat is also a fabulous source of protein, providing the body with all the amino acids that it needs. Other notable nutrients include the B vitamin complex including B12, zinc, selenium and phosphorus.
What is a portion?
A portion of red meat is 70g of cooked meat. This quite simply is a palm sized portion. I love using hands as a way of measure portions as our hands grow with us, so a child’s portion of red meat is their palm size.
For example (adults portion sizes):
- A palm size chop or steak
- 3 slices of back bacon
- 5 or 6 cubes of meat in casserole
- 6 thin slices of beef, pork or ham
- 1 and a half standard sausages
- 4 to 5 meat balls
How often can I eat red meat?
If you are sticking to the portion guide above then 70g of red meat can be eaten 5 times a week. This includes red meat at breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it shows how red meat really isn’t something to be avoiding. The Meat Advisory Panel are running a “5 A WEEK” campaign and I think this is a really invaluable and important message to be highlighting.
So to get on board with the campaign here is a super tasty recipe that makes a wonderful lunch time soup:
If you would like to make this recipe at home (and I highly recommend it) then here are the step by step instructions:
- 450g/1lb lean beef stir-fry strips
- 10ml/2tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 15-30ml/1-2tbsp soy sauce
- 15ml/1tbsp prepared chilli or Schezuan sauce
- 1.2L/2pint good, hot beef or vegetable stock
- 2.5cm/1inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 175g/6oz fresh or dried fine egg/rice noodles
- 200g/7oz pak choi or green cabbage, shredded
- 1 small red pepper, cored, deseeded and finely sliced
- Small bunch spring onions, finely chopped
- Large bunch freshly chopped coriander
- In a medium bowl dust the stir-fry strips in the Chinese five-spice powder. Add the soy sauce and chilli or schezuan sauce. Cover and set aside.
- In a large pan add the stock, ginger and garlic. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the noodles and pak choi or cabbage. Simmer for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the beef with the marinade mixture and the red pepper. Simmer for a further 2-3 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Remove from the heat, season if required and stir through half the spring onions and coriander.
- Divide the broth between four bowls and garnish with the remaining, spring onions and coriander.