We all know that our health is strongly related to a balanced diet. It is important to supply our bodies with all the nutrients it needs to function well. As omnivores, we cannot survive on eating only one type of food.

A balanced diet generally consists of lots of fruit and vegetables and a good amount of foods high in protein such as organic meat and fish. But how much meat do we need and how much is too much?

It’s no secret that Australia is a meat-lover’s country. On average, Aussies consume more than 100kg of meat per person each year. That is almost 300gr of meat every single day. If you’re unsure about what 300gr of meat looks like, it’s the amount of meat you get from 6 McDonalds Hamburgers. In other words, way too much.

The nutritional guidelines in Australia recommend 60 to 100gr of meat every day, which doesn’t seem like much, but we have to understand that meat should not be the main ingredient of our meals, but a side. Eating a small portion of organic meat every day, or a medium sized portion 3-4 times a week is more than enough to supply our bodies with zinc, iron, and vitamins.

As red meat is much higher in fat than poultry, try to have it not more than once a week. Another great source of iodine and omega-3 is organic fish and seafood. Moreover, most fish is low in fat and therefore a great alternative to meat.

So what happens when we eat more meat than we need? Gaining weight is one negative effect, but the problems go deeper than that. Eating too much red meat increases the risk of bowel cancer, and eating processed meats can make you more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Also, stay away from grain fed meat and opt for grass fed organic meat as grain fed meat contains less nutrients and is higher in fat. When it comes to seafood, avoid farmed fish as antibiotics and pesticides are commonly used in fish farms to treat diseases resulting from overcrowded tanks and nets. Moreover, it is not sustainable: To produce 1kg of salmon for example, it takes up to 4kg of other fish used to feed the salmons.

In a nutshell, meat and fish are a great source of protein and vitamins which are important for us. Stick to unprocessed and organic meat and fish and eat small portions for a healthy, balanced diet.