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Nutritional Standards for Health and Social Care settings

HSC Nutritional Standards: proteins

Northern Ireland specific

Nutritional Standards: Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins.

Last updated: 25 February 2022

Nutritional Standards

4.1 Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat or other proteins must be offered at each main meal service.

4.2 A portion of fish must be offered at least twice a week, one portion of which must be oily fish, for example salmon or mackerel. A portion of fish is 140g.

4.3 A vegetarian option must be offered at each main meal service. All vegetarian meals must contain a protein source. Cheesebased vegetarian options must not be offered more than twice each week.

4.4 A portion of red or processed meat and processed poultry products must not exceed 70g on average cooked weight.

4.5 There must be at least two days each week when no processed meat or processed poultry is offered at each main meal service. This also applies to salad and sandwich counters. Consider this standard in conjunction with standard 6.3 when menu planning.

4.6 At least 75 per cent of processed meat used and on display must meet UK-wide salt targets for industry, Public Health England, Salt reduction targets for 2014.

4.7 Meat and processed meat used or on display must be lower in saturated fat where available.

4.8 Salt must not be added to this food group during cooking or before service.

What foods are included

  • beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat, poultry, nuts, seeds and other non-dairy sources of protein
  • meat includes all cuts of fresh and frozen beef, lamb and pork
  • processed meat includes ham, bacon, salami, corned beef, beef burgers, and sausages
  • processed poultry includes chicken goujons, chicken burgers, chicken kievs and chicken nuggets. Poultry includes any fresh or frozen products. Fish includes any fresh, frozen and tinned fish
  • fish products include fish cakes and fish fingers
  • examples of oily fish are salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, herring and pilchards. A portion of oily fish is 140g.
  • eggs – boiled, poached, scrambled or fried – and omelettes
  • beans and pulses, for example baked beans, chickpeas, butter beans, kidney beans and lentils, provide a good source of protein for people following a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • other protein products suitable for people following a vegetarian or vegan diet include nuts, tofu, mycoprotein (a fungal protein source) and textured vegetable protein products (a soy protein source)