Top tips to eat less red meat and avoid processed meat

26 November 2019

Did you know that if Canadians reduced their consumption of red or processed meat by a half serving per week, about 8,700 or 16,600 cancer cases could be prevented respectively, by 2042?

Adjusting your intake of red and processed meat is an easy and effective way to reduce your cancer risk. Heading into the holidays, rethink your plate by trying these healthy and inventive tips:

1. Shift the focus on your plate

Make vegetables the main focus of your meal, as opposed to the side dish. Vegetables and fruit should make up half of your plate, while proteins and wholegrain foods should each fill up one quarter of your plate.

2. Try plant-based proteins

Incorporate more plant-based proteins into your diet, such as nuts and seeds, pulses and soy products. Pulses include beans, peas and lentils – there are frozen, canned or dried options to choose from.

3. Swap processed meats for alternatives

Substitute processed and cured meats for options like roasted chicken, flaked tuna and hard-boiled eggs. They are high in protein and make a great addition to salads, sandwiches and wraps.

4. Aim for variety

Eat a wide selection of healthy foods each day for a balanced diet. This includes eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, whole grain foods and protein foods including eggs, poultry, nuts and seeds, fish and shellfish, peas and lentils, and soy products like tofu.

5. Consult Canada’s Food Guide

If you are unsure about the amount and type of protein you should be incorporating into your diet, consult Canada’s Food Guide! The Food Guide can help you make it easier to eat a variety of healthy food each day.

To learn more, check out CCS’s cancer prevention recommendations at