With health and budgeting being top of every household agenda, we ask how often you should eat red meat and how we can make it go that little bit further.
Red meat has always been a bone of contention from a health viewpoint, with varying schools of thought from experts over the years regarding the amount of red meat that is considered healthy to consume per week.
The name “red meat” is not a form of trickery to deter consumption; it simply describes the colour of the meat when it’s in its raw state. If we look at beef versus chicken, it’s obvious to see which one is which!
We consider red meat to be beef and lamb; however, other meats fall into the red meat category, such as pork, which you could argue is significantly paler than beef or lamb but is still classified as red meat.
Intensive farming has made red meat more obtainable than ever. You will readily find shelves full of steak, burgers, lamb shanks, and diced beef in every supermarket you enter.
While they are all conveniently vacuum-packed and portioned for consumer convenience, it poses another question of, actually, is this the reason red meat consumption is increasing because it’s farmed and priced to sell?
Is this really the right way to consume what should be a fantastic (and luxurious) product?
How Often Should You Eat Red Meat Per Week?
Current guidance states that you should limit consumption of red meat to around three portions per week, which equates to approximately 350g to 500g a week which doesn’t sound that much, does it?
But red meat does have some fantastic health benefits.
Eating the recommended weekly amount could help you improve your iron levels, which is particularly useful if you suffer from Iron Deficient Anaemia or are pregnant.
It is an excellent source of protein and a pure source of vitamin B12, which can prevent Megaloblastic Anaemia, as well as keeping your blood and nerve cells healthy.
So, with these health benefits in mind, is there really such thing as too much red meat in your diet? Yes, actually…there is!
Stick to 3 Portions of Red Meat Per Week (Roughly 350g to 500p Weekly)
Is It Bad to Eat Red Meat Every Day?
In essence, yes, it is! Certainly, if it falls way over your recommended weekly allowances!
While we have these great plus points of red meat and the fact that, when cooked really well, it can be absolutely delicious, we also need to be aware of the reasons why there might be cautions in place with the amount of red meat you can eat each week.
These cautions are:
- Higher risk of coronary heart disease
- Increase the chance of potentially developing type 2 diabetes
- Increased cholesterol level
- Higher-level than usual of sodium in the body
Now, these all sound scary, and they’re not to ever be dismissed as severe health concerns, which is why it is imperative to get the best quality red meat you absolutely can and space your weekly recommended allowances over the whole week if you so choose to!
How to Find the Best Quality Red Meat
So here’s the deal… You can find red meat in most supermarkets. You know this, we know this.
However, it’s potentially not the best quality you can get, as it is mass-produced for the consumer market, sometimes with undesirable conditions for the living animal, and there is undoubtedly better available.
If you are going to have red meat, the very least you can do is purchase the very best you can and stop buying cheap meat, so you know the quality is the best available, and it has been ethically produced.
Here are some great avenues to explore to obtain the best quality red meat available:
Contact your Local Butchers
They are experts in the quality and ethical production of meat in all senses. They often will only deal in fresh, locally sourced, and quality meat products.
The great thing about a local butcher is that they know the provenance of the meat. They can tell you where it was raised, what the conditions were, where it was slaughtered and when. Traceability is important when buying meat and you’ll get the best traceability from a local butcher.
Head to a Local Farm Shop
Farm shops usually have close contact with local meat producers and will stock their quality produce. Although secondary to finding a butcher, these places will have the best of local products available.
Many farm shops will also have an in-house butcher who can provide you with tips on the best cuts of meat and how to cook them.
Avoid anything that is “stacked high” and sold unusually cheap. This could be a clear indication of a diminished quality for the mass market.
Take note of the packaging. This can be a great indication of the quality and freshness of the meat inside.
The idea that everyone should hold close is that while we can (and should!) eat red meat in moderation; care needs to be taken to where the red meat is sourced from.
For our weekly quota, we should be finding the very best quality we can, from experts who are knowledgeable regarding ethical sourcing, care of the animal while it is being reared and how to give the consumer the very best available to them.
How to Make Your Weekly Red Meat Quota Stretch
While you may find a higher price point for quality red meat, your budget is still a huge consideration for your purchase. This is incredibly important to create an outstanding balance that won’t make you run back to the supermarket to grab it from the shelves!
Budgeting your meat is an excellent way of taking your red meat allowance and turning it into some delicious family meals with some really clever tricks and ideas to make it stretch all week!
Here are some ways you can try:
Packing your minced beef out into a beautiful vegetable-laden tomato sauce makes a decadent and freezable instant dinner that’s full of vitamins and minerals.
You can include a range of vegetables in a bolognese such as: Carrot, celery, onion, courgette, pepper, mushroom.
You can even bulk it out with equal quantities of lentil to minced beef.
Chunky Venison in Red Wine Sauce
This is outwardly a fancy dish, but it is an effortless way to make an expensive red meat cut stretch further. When you add mushrooms, you can duplicate the meaty texture!
Layering lamb cubes on kebab skewers with alternating peppers, onions, and sweet potato will make your meat stretch further and take on the other flavours for ultimate gourmet!
There will always be a place to buy red meat, but even so, getting the best quality available and making sure it has been ethically handled by experts should always be a consideration when you make that purchase.
Red meat is great for improving certain aspects of health, especially blood health.
Still, we must consider the risks of consistent over-consumption, such as high cholesterol and a higher risk of coronary heart disease.
As a consumer, we should always be looking for the absolute best, for the best value.
And where we can get the best, we should definitely find ways to make it go that extra mile, such as bulking out meals with beautifully sourced local vegetables (in season is always best!) And using innovative ways to make the best go further!
This was a really great breakdown of the information around red meat consumption. My husband and I don’t eat any (I’m vegetarian and my husband was told by his doctor not to eat it anymore) but it’s always good to have the information about certain foods even if we don’t eat them ourselves. Thank you for sharing this!
As a Nutritionist, my motto is: “No food is Unhealthy Until You Overeat” Red meat have received a alot of bad rap becuse of their health implications. Eating any food, even the named junked foods, moderation is key. A balanced meal is highly recommended. Very good to include fruits and vegetables with your meals.