Food Foundations

Lean Meats update from the new Dietary Guidelines

Food Foundations News Sub Food Foundations News

This week, we look at the lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legume/beans group.

This group is a good source of many nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc, and other vitamins.  Nuts and seeds can also provide valuable essential fatty acids and vitamin E.

Lean meats are a good source of iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Iron is especially important during infancy and for growing children, as it transports oxygen in the blood, making it essential in providing energy for daily life, growth and development.

Eggs are cheap, easy to use and prepare, and a valuable source of protein and other nutrients. Provided they are handled, stored and prepared in a safe manner, they are safe to serve to children from 6 months. Consider asking parents to try these foods first at home before you serve young children at your setting.

Fish and seafood are a valuable source of long chain omega 3 fatty acids. Fish such as herring, sardines and salmon and other Australian fish are considered good sources.

Fresh, frozen and canned varieties of meats, poultry or fish are in this group, but choose canned varieties that are low in fat and have no added salt. Processed meats such as salami or mettwurst are not part of this group – they are considered to be discretionary choices.

Sausages are only counted in this group if they are made from lean meat and contain low levels of fat and salt. Regular supermarket sausages are classified as discretionary choices.

Legumes, including beans, chickpeas, and lentils provide similar nutrients to the other foods in this group, so have been included here and also in the vegetables group. They are good sources of protein, and a relatively cheap way to bulk up salads, meat dishes and other menu items.

Note: Whole nuts and seeds are not recommended for children under 3 years of age due to choking risks. *Pastes from nuts such as peanut paste can be included from 6 months of age, however this may not be suitable for settings adopting a nut free policy.

How much do children require from this group?

 Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans
   Serves Required per day  Serve size 

65g cooked meat (90-100g raw) e.g. beef, veal, lamb, pork, kangaroo or goat

80g cooked poultry (100g raw, skinless)

100g cooked fish fillet or small can of fish

2 large eggs

1 cup cook or canned legumes/beans

170g tofu

30g nuts, seeds or peanut/almond butter

2 – 3 1
4 – 8
2 – 3 1
4 – 8
Infants 7 – 12 months 1 serve a day (30g)
Toddlers 1 -2 years 1 serve a day (65g)


For more information, please email or phone 07 3257 4393.