Home Health Revealed: The meal deals with the MOST calories – and some very surprising tweaks that can stop you piling on the pounds at lunchtime

Revealed: The meal deals with the MOST calories – and some very surprising tweaks that can stop you piling on the pounds at lunchtime

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Revealed: The meal deals with the MOST calories - and some very surprising tweaks that can stop you piling on the pounds at lunchtime

Don’t have the time or inclination to prepare your own lunch to take to work every day? A meal deal, which usually includes a sandwich, snack and drink for between £3.50 and £5, can be a tempting alternative.

In fact, a third of us have food deals every week, according to research by The Grocer.

Earlier this week, the meal deals hit the headlines, with Sainsbury’s shoppers up in arms because some yoghurt products had been put in the “main dish” category, rather than the “snack” category.

The supermarket argues that yoghurts with granola are a popular breakfast “entree”, and that regular yoghurts are preferred as a lunchtime snack.

Revealed The meal deals with the MOST calories and

But a bigger concern is that unless you choose wisely, your lunch could be high in calories and overloaded with fat, sugar or salt, which will inadvertently lead you down the path of weight gain and poor health. health if you have regular food offers.

“The average woman needs no more than 600 calories at lunchtime,” says dietician Dr. Sarah Schenker.

“Exceeding this by 100 calories each day for a month could result in weight gain of almost half a kilo.”

However, research last year by the University of Birmingham found that 23 per cent of food offerings in supermarkets and high street shops exceeded the recommended government guidelines of 600 calories at lunchtime.

And in addition to potentially sabotaging your waistline, many of the options are firmly in the ultra-processed foods (UPF) camp, meaning they’re highly processed, full of artificial additives, salt, sugar, and saturated fats, and every increasingly related to obesity and obesity. poor health.

“The High Street food scene has become an unhealthy minefield and it’s very easy to fall into the trap unless you take the time to analyze your food choices and examine the labels,” says Sarah Schenker.

“Considering the options available, it’s not easy to create a healthy lunch from most meal offerings.”

She admits that sometimes she goes for a meal deal herself, but opts for a protein-rich salad, fruit, and a bottle of water.

Sarah Schenker recommends looking for the healthiest food you can find. “Choose sandwiches on whole wheat bread or a salad with dressing on the side so she can control how much she uses, and choose a piece of fruit as a snack,” she says. You should also opt for foods with the least amount of processing (‘avoid anything with a long list of chemical ingredients’) and plain drinking water or coffee or tea, rather than pumpkin, juice, or a fizzy drink.

“Instead of worrying about minimizing calories, focus on maximizing protein and fiber: 20g of protein and plenty of fiber in the form of vegetables, legumes and nuts should give you the nutrients you need and help you feel fuller for longer “, it states.

To find out which food deals are a good choice, we asked Sarah Schenker for her verdict (and health rating) on ​​a selection of High Street deals.

Sainsbury’s, £3.50

Brie, bacon and chili chutney sandwich PLUS butter flapjack PLUS Coca Cola

Total: calories, 1,014; saturated fat, 17.4 g; protein, 28.3 g; sugar, 88.5 g; salt, 2.23 g

Expert Verdict: There are all the calories you need for lunch (580) in this steak sandwich, so you don’t really need the extra 224 calories from the flapjack or the 210 from the cola. And despite being a good source of protein (25 g) and fiber (5 g), the sandwich also provides 25 g of fat and 2 g of salt, which are unhealthy and are linked to high blood pressure.

In fact, this combination of meals adds up to half of a woman’s recommended daily calorie limit and 17 teaspoons of sugar. If you make this decision every day, you will quickly be on the path to obesity and poor health.

Buying all three items as a meal deal could save you £2.35, but you would be much better off choosing fruit as a snack and water to drink, or buying the sandwich alone for £3 (saving 50p) and washing it down with a glass of tap water . 2/10

Tesco, £3.90

Salmon and Tuna Sushi MORE Kit Kat Chunky Duo MORE Lucozade Still Orange Sports Drink

Total: calories, 859; saturated fat, 9.7 g; protein, 13.54 g; sugar, 74.4 g; salt, 3.26 g

Expert Verdict: Sushi is a popular lunchtime option and you get some healthy omega-3 fats from fresh salmon and tuna, but this meal is low in protein and fiber so it’s unlikely to be very filling. . Throw away the bottle of soy sauce to reduce your salt intake. More worrying is the huge increase in sugar you would get from the drink and chocolate; It would be better to choose the egg protein pot (two hard-boiled eggs) and a sugar-free drink to provide a more balanced meal. 4/10

Co-op Premium Meal Deal, £5.50

Hey! Salmon and avocado poke bowl PLUS carrots and hummus sauce PLUS sparkling water

Total: calories, 568; saturated fat, 4.3 g; protein, 20.3 g; sugar, 18.3 g; salt, 4.2 g

Expert Verdict: Sometimes it’s worth paying a little more for a good, nutritionally balanced meal: this salad bowl contains a healthy amount of filling protein (18g), healthy fats in the salmon and avocado, as well as vegetables and rice.

The meal deal (saving you £1.69) allows you to add a nutritious snack of carrot sticks and hummus, further improving your nutritional intake (with more fiber and extra protein in the chickpea dip).

When choosing a salad, look for lots of mixed greens like beets and squash (not just lots of leaves) and a protein source (fish, meat, or a combination of legumes and nuts). 9/10

Morrisons, £3.50

Ham and Cheese Sandwich PLUS McCoy’s Salt and Vinegar Fries PLUS Diet Coke

Total: calories, 635; saturated fat, 6.9 g; protein, 25.4 g; sugar, 4.7 g; salt, 2.65 g

Expert Verdict: The sugar-free drink keeps the total calories low, but be careful with any ham and cheese sandwich: the combination is noticeably salty (this one contains 1.7 g) and with chips (0.95 g) it increases the total towards the amount daily salt (which is 6 g per day), increasing the risk of high blood pressure. Choose a sandwich with some salad to improve the nutrient profile; opt for cheese either ham (not both) and, while you’re at it, swap those fries for a fruit bowl. 4/10

Sainsbury’s, £3.50

Coronation Chicken Sandwich PLUS Strawberry Muller Rice PLUS Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino Iced Coffee

Total: calories, 734; saturated fat, 6.97 g; protein, 34.15 g; sugar, 53.3 g; salt, 2.08 g

Expert Verdict: There are 11.4g of sugar in this sandwich, 20.4g (five teaspoons) in the pot of rice pudding, and 21.5g in the iced coffee, which adds up to 53.3g (five teaspoons) of sugar in this deal. of food for lunch. which is well above the NHS recommended daily limit of 30g and is equivalent to five bowls of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, with very little nutritional benefit to help the body and brain function throughout the afternoon. A sugar spike like this is very likely to interfere with concentration and energy levels, and you’ll be tempted to reach for a sugary cookie with your afternoon cup of tea.

The sandwich choice is redeemed by its high protein content (21.8 g), but this meal would get a higher score if I had chosen one with whole wheat bread, a fruit snack and a sugar-free drink, such as water. 2/10

Morrisons, £3.50

Chicken salad sandwich PLUS black and green olive snack PLUS Plenish Turmeric Defense shot

Total: calories, 500; saturated fat, 3.22 g; protein, 26.84 g; sugar, 9.78 g; salt, 1.91 g

Expert Verdict: This is a great sandwich option because it provides 25.7 g of protein with 5.1 g of fiber and very little salt or unhealthy fats.

A salty snack, such as olives, will increase your intake of healthy fats and fiber, but could increase your overall salt intake, increasing your risk of high blood pressure. As an added bonus, you get a vitamin boost (100 percent of your daily vitamin B12 needs) with this turmeric shot. Not only will you get a varied nutritional mix with this meal deal, but you’ll also save £2.45 if you had purchased the items separately. 8/10

Waitress, £5

Huel PLUS complete vanilla drink Kind protein double dark chocolate bar with walnuts PLUS Virtue strawberry and lime yerba mate drink

Total: calories, 677; saturated fat, 7.8 g; protein, 31.5 g; sugar, 13 g; salt, 0.74 g

Expert Verdict: If your goal is to be healthy, why would you choose an ultra-processed meal replacement drink like Huel when you can get all the nutrients you need, in the form we are designed to consume, in one of the salads or sandwiches available? on these meal deals at premium prices? Yes, this meal provides a lot of protein (31.5 g), but the fat and sugar levels are high. And don’t be fooled by the soda’s apparent health halo: it’s just water with sweeteners and caffeine. 3/10

Tesco, £3.40

Spicy Chicken Pasta Pot PLUS Propercorn Sweet and Savory Popcorn PLUS Tropicana Orange Juice

Total: calories, 658; saturated fat, 1.3 g; protein, 20.7 g; sugar, 41 g; salt, 0.2 g

Expert Verdict: You get a good amount of protein in this meal and the orange juice counts as one of your five a day. But the hidden sugars in the pasta (11.6 g) combine with the orange juice (26 g) to raise blood sugar levels too high for one meal. Again, water and whole fruit would improve your meal mix. 6/10

Waitress, £5

Spicy Bean and Sweet Potato Wrap PLUS Lindt Chocolate Bar PLUS Innocent Invigorate Super Shake

Total: calories, 798; saturated fat, 19 g; protein, 13.6 g; sugar, 54.3 g; salt, 1.06 g

Expert Verdict: This healthy-looking combination shows how easy it is to fall into unhealthy habits at lunchtime. You won’t get enough protein to feel full throughout the afternoon. When choosing a vegetarian option, it’s good to increase your protein by choosing a high-protein snack (such as a packet of nuts and seeds which offers 4.6g of protein) and, although the shake counts as one of your five a day, sugar of fruit (33 g) raises sugar levels too much at lunch time. 5/10


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