Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein

These foods are a rich source of protein. Protein is needed for lots of functions throughout the body, therefore we all need some protein in our diets.

Meat is also a good source of vitamin B12 and iron. A diet rich in iron will help prevent iron deficiency anaemia. This is a common condition found in children and can result in children having little energy and looking pale.

It is recommended that children and adults eat 2 portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily. Tinned fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and pilchards contain lots of omega 3 fatty acids and have been proven to be beneficial for heart health. White fish like cod, haddock and coley are good sources of protein but are also low in fat. Fresh tuna counts as a portion of oily fish but tinned tuna does not because the oils are destroyed by processing (tuna is the only tinned fish that this applies to).

Eggs are a convenient and tasty alternative to meat and are extremely versatile. They can be scrambled, boiled, poached or made into an omelette. Vegetable protein can be found in beans, peas and lentils -  these foods also contain fibre, B vitamins and iron.

Processed meats and chicken products are often a real favourite with children. They should not be offered too often (aim for no more than once a week) as they tend to be high in fat and salt. If using processed meat products such as chicken nuggets or burgers, grill or bake on a rack rather than frying.