Skip to main content

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Knowledge Gateway

A reference point for public health policy makers with reliable, independent and up-to date information on topics related to promotion of health and well-being.

Page | Last updated: 09 Aug 2023

Food-Based Dietary Guidelines in Europe - table 8

Summary of FBDG recommendations for meat for the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

Due care was taken to ensure factually correct information. Food groupings and food group names differ across individual FBDGs; the ones used here are a compromise to present the information in a structured way. Differences such as those in number of portions and portion sizes were kept unaltered. The original country FBDGs and the responsible national public health authorities remain the only qualified points of reference.


Quantitative recommendations

Qualitative recommendations

Portion size


- Up to 300 g of red meat per week.

- Limit the consumption of processed meat to 30 g per week.

- Limit the consumption of red meat, especially processed meat.

- Red meat can be replaced by e.g. legumes, fish, eggs or poultry.

- Replace deli meats with canned fish, legume or vegetable fillings, fruit or fresh cheese


Notes: “Red meat” includes beef, pork, veal, mutton, and goat meat and horse meat. “Processed meat” means any meat which is smoked, dried or salted for preservation purposes or treated with (chemical) preservatives such as nitrites or nitrates. The definition of processed meat includes all meat-based products, including ham, bacon, salami and sausages.


Consume skinless poultry and lean red meats up to 3 times a week

- Choose lean meat.

- Limit the consumption of sausages.

- Replace meat and meat products with fish, poultry or legumes.

- Remove visible fat from meat before cooking.

1 portion corresponds to 100 g


- Reduce high-fat meat cuts (e.g. pork belly, sausages, charcuteries). -


- About 350 g of meat a week is adequate when eating a plant-rich and varied diet.

- Limit especially beef and lamb.

- Limit processed meat, such as smoked and salted meat, as much as possible.

- Choose mainly meat and meat products with a maximum of 10 % fat.

- Introduce meat-free days and cut down on meat in your meals.

Note: Processed meat is meat that, for example, has been smoked or salted, including cold cuts, sausages and bacon


No more than 300-600 g of prepared meat and (low-fat) cold cuts per week.

- Meat and sausages in moderation.

- Choose low-fat products. White meat (poultry) more favourable than red meat (beef, pork).

100-150 g meat, 15-25 g cold cuts


Quantitative recommendations

Qualitative recommendations

Portion size


- 3-4 portions.

- Fish, poultry, eggs, meat, and products made from them (1-2 meat, poultry, & products made from them).

- Red meat max. 500 g/week (raw weight 700 g).

- Heart and liver products max. once per week.

- Poultry: prefer small poultry, without skin, cuts without visible fat.

- Red meat: prefer lean.

- Processed meat products: as little as possible, prefer with higher meat content, less fat and/or salt.

Poultry (cooked): 60 g fillet, 40-50 g skinless,  15-25 g with skin. Poultry products: 120 g chicken liver, 50 g chicken sausage, smoked turkey, or broiler chicken, 20 g chicken ham. Red meat: 35 g beef, cattle, lamb, veal, 30 g minced meat, 50 g elk or venison, 40 g rabbit or wild boar. Red meat products: 30 g escalope, rotisserie, Frikandel, etc., 50 g ham, grilled sausage, canned meat, 20 g smoked sausage, salami, 100 g aspic 2-5% fat, 70 g aspic 5.1-10% fat, 40 g aspic >10% fat, 45 g cooked liver, kidneys, 30 g boiled beef tongue, 25 g smoked bacon, 10 g fried bacon, 40 g liver or meat paté 15% fat, 20 g fatty liver or meat pate 30% fat. 1 portion ≈ 80 kcal.


Quantitative recommendations

Qualitative recommendations

Portion size


2 servings a day of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts

- Choose lean meat, poultry (without skin) and fish.

- Limit processed salty meats such as sausages, bacon and ham.

50-70 g cooked lean beef, lamb, pork (half size of palm of hand), 50-70 g cooked mince or poultry (half size of palm of hand), 100 g soy or tofu
Note: Use healthier cooking methods like grilling instead of frying or roasting with oil or fat


Up to 1 serving of red meat per week; 1-2 servings of white meat/poultry per week

- Red meat: limit consumption; choose lean cuts; avoid processed meat.

- White meat & poultry: discard the skin; avoid processed meat.

120-150 g (cooked)
Note: Separate advice on fish


From 0 to a maximum of 3 servings weekly

- Prioritise the consumption of white poultry and rabbit meat and minimise the consumption of processed meat.

- Reduce the amount of meat in the diet and increase the consumption of other sources of protein such as legumes.

- If you consume meat, it is recommended to choose lean cuts if you need to control your calorie intake.

One serving= 100-125 g

Examples: 1 medium fillet, ¼ chicken, ¼ rabbit


- For those who like red meat, limit consumption to max. 500 g per week.

- For those who like charcuterie, do not exceed 150 g per week.

- Limit red meat consumption (beef, pork, veal, lamb, goat, horse, wild boar, venison) and favour the consumption of poultry.

- Limit the consumption of charcuterie, and favour boiled ham.



Quantitative recommendations

Qualitative recommendations

Portion size


- Prefer fish and lean meat -
Note: Source of proteins


1 portion red meat and 1-3 portions white meat per week

- Reduce meat consumption.

- Red meat could be totally replaced with white meat.

- Prefer lean cuts and eliminate visible fat before cooking.

- Avoid processed meat.

100 g beef, pork, chicken, rabbit, etc; 50 g cold cuts


2-3 portions per day meat or equivalent (cheese & legumes, eggs, peanut butter, tofu and fish included in meat)

- Alternate between red meat, poultry, eggs, tofu, pulses, fish.

- Remove skin and visible fat from the meat, even before starting cooking.

30 g ham / cured pork tenderloin "lountza", 30 g chicken (without skin), 30 g rabbit, 1 egg, 30 g minced meat, 30 g pork, 30 g beef, 1/2 cup (120 ml) pulses, 1/4 cup (60 ml) tofu (approx. 60 g), 2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut butter.
Note: Meat is included in one group together with cheese, legumes, eggs, peanut butter, tofu, and fish


Quantitative recommendations

Qualitative recommendations

Portion size


- 2 to 3 servings per day of legumes, fish or lean meat, as well as eggs, nuts and seeds.

- Limited amount of red meat (including pork, beef, mutton) up to 500 g per week.

- Choose lean meat without visible fat.

- Prepare meat in a small amount of oil, but preferably cook the meat by stewing it in a small amount of water, boiling or baking in the oven at a lower temperature.

- Meat is not necessarily included in the daily menu and can be replaced, for example, by legumes or eggs.

80-100 g or palm-sized cooked, stewed, oven-baked chicken or turkey, lean pork, beef or other meat


Up to 500g per week or 80 g per day of red and processed meat

- Prefer lean meat.

- Limit processed meat and red meat. Replace with legumes, fish or chicken.

- Choose meat and meat products with fat content ≤ 10%.

- Choose less processed, smoked, salted and preserved meat products; consume only few times a month in small quantities.

Note: Red meat is pork, beef, lamb and goat



- Alternate between various protein sources and use low-fat modes of preparation (baking, steaming, grilling).

- Give preference to lean cuts and eat cold cuts sparingly.

- Good alternatives: tofu, seitan, quorn.



Offal max. once per week

- Each meal should have complete protein.

- Every week eat a variety of complete protein-rich foods such as lean meat or eggs.

1 slice of meat = roughly size of your palm (100 g)


Quantitative recommendations

Qualitative recommendations

Portion size


- Red meat: less than 2 servings per week.

- White meat: 2 servings per week.

- Eat red meat in smaller quantities and less frequently.

- Processed meats are to be eaten only occasionally.

- Trim excess fat and remove skin from poultry before cooking.

- Opt for lean meat.

Red meat: 90 g (raw).

White meat: 100 g (raw).


- 1-8 yr: maximum 250 g per week.

- 9 yr and older: maximum 500 g per week, including maximum 300 g of red meat per week.

- Eat less meat and more plant-based foods, and vary with fish, pulses, nuts, eggs and vegetarian products.

- Processed meat is not part of the Wheel of Five.

- It is advised to limit the consumption of processed meat.

100 g raw meat
Note: Included in protein-rich products


Max. 3 portions/week of lean meat or lean sausage (up to 3 hand palm-sized thin slices) Eat  meat (e.g. beef, pork, lamb) and sausages rather rarely 1 hand palm-sized finger-thick piece of meat, up to 3 hand palm-sized thin slices of sausage


Red meat and processed meat max. 500 g per week

- Choose lean cuts of meat.

- Favour poultry (turkey, chicken) over red meat (beef, pork).



Quantitative recommendations

Qualitative recommendations

Portion size


1.5-4.5 servings of meat/fish/eggs/other source of protein per day

- Moderate consumption.

- Offal and viscera should not be consumed frequently.

30 g of raw meat, 25 g of cooked meat


2-3 servings of lean meat (preferably poultry) or fish, egg per day

- Limit your intake of meat.

- Remove visible fat from meat and remove the skin from chicken.

- Include a variety of lean meat, poultry, pulses, eggs, fish.

- Limit your intake of liver or other organ meats.

- Choose fish or white meat over red meat.

100 g cooked meat


Less than 300 g of red meat or processed meat products per week

- Choose lean cuts of meat with little or no visible fat, removing the skin as well.

- Replace fatty meat and salty and fatty meat products with legumes, fish, poultry or lean meat.

- Introduce a meat-free day once or twice a week.

- Avoid processed meat products as much as possible.



- 0-2 portions of meat, fish and eggs per day.

- Limited portion for children 60-90 g.

- Red meat once per week.

- Eat in moderation.

- Buy fresh, not frozen meat - limit fat content.

- Non-smoked meat products with reduced salt.

- Give preference to white, lean meat, fish.



Quantitative recommendations

Qualitative recommendations

Portion size


Max. 500 g a week of red meat (cooked weight; raw weight = 700-750 g)

- Red meat (beef, lamb, pork): choose low-fat and low-sodium.

- Limit intake of red and processed meat products.

- Reduce the use of meat products and red meat.

100-150 g meat (cooked weight)


Not more than 500 g red and processed meat a week Eat less red and processed meat -
Note: Equivalent to 600-750 g of raw meat

United Kingdom

If you eat more than 90 g of red or processed meat per day, try to cut down to no more than 70 g per day

- Eat less red and processed meat.

- Choose lean cuts of meat, go for leaner mince and remove any visible fat.

Notes: Included in "Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins"


Quantitative recommendations

Qualitative recommendations

Portion size


- 1 portion of meat/fish/eggs/tofu/cheese per day.

- Max. 2-3 times meat per week (incl. poultry).

- Processed meat max. once per week.

- Alternate between these protein-rich foods.

- Replace more often meat with other protein-rich foods (e.g. dairy products, eggs, tofu, seitan, legumes).

1 portion = 100-120 g meat / poultry / tofu / quorn / seitan (fresh weight)


Max. 500 g of red meat per week; specially limit consumption of processed meat products

- Choose mostly unprocessed lean meat.

- Choose meat products with the Keyhole label if possible.

500 g equals 2-3 portions of meat a week and includes a small quantity of meat toppings


Limit the amount of red meat and processed red meat to less than 500 g per week. This equals 2-3 dinners and a small amount of meat topping.

- Choose lean meat and lean meat products.

- Limit the amount of processed meat and red meat.

- Choose poultry, lean meat and lean meat products that are low in salt.

- Limit the amount of processed meat that are smoked, salted or preserved with nitrates or nitrites, such as bacon or salami.