Is your supermarket salad as good for you as you think? Our research has found sandwiches and salads that have more calories and fat than a Big Mac or pizza…
When I started researching this article I didn’t think I’d find anything too surprising – I know most fast food is packed with fat, sugar and/or salt and is high in calories. But I was surprised, and in some cases shocked, by just how much can be packed into a relatively small snack or drink.
I found salads that contain more calories than a Big Mac, and sandwiches with more calories than a pizza.
How healthy is your salad?
Choosing a ‘salad’ isn’t always the safest option either, especially pasta salads with creamy, mayonnaise dressings. We found supermarket pasta salads, such as Asda’s Piri Piri Chicken Pasta Salad, that contain more fat than a Burger King Bacon and Cheese Whopper. And sandwiches, such as M&S’s Chicken and Smoked Bacon Salad on Soft Multigrain Farmhouse Bread, with as many calories as a Pizza Express Classic Margherita pizza.
And while mayonnaise in a sandwich adds to the calorie and fat content, a chutney adds sugar. I found several examples containing three teaspoons of sugar per sandwich, for example Pret’s Posh Cheddar and Pickle Artisan baguette contains 17.6g sugar.
You can find these examples and more in our ‘Fast food foes’ article in the May issue of Which? magazine. Perhaps they explain why two-thirds of adults and a third of children in the UK are overweight or obese.
Better food labelling
Many of us are leading increasingly busy lives and rely on supermarkets and chains to provide our lunch or a snack when out and about. Luckily many outlets now provide nutritional information on packaging, shelf labels or menus allowing us to make informed choices. But this information isn’t always available for every item.
We want all manufacturers to adopt traffic light nutrition labelling, and restaurants to display calories so you can see exactly what products contain.
Have you been shocked to find out how much fat, sugar or salt was in something you thought was relatively healthy? Do you use nutritional information to try and choose healthier options or do you pick what you fancy?