Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ready meals (vegetarian) - supermarket fare

Vegetarian Lentil Moussaka ... sounds rather nice.

...and lets have a look under the hood (so to speak) ...

Tomato (16%), Potato (11%), Cooked Lentils (9%), Aubergine (8%)

Probably better titled Tomato and Potato Moussaka, that is just me being glib :)

Daily allowance of fat 70g, with only 20g of that allowed as saturates:
The clue to this using half your daily allowance of fat, and also having 10g of carbohydrate as sugars, is in the ingredients list.

Largest ingredient in the Vegetable stock is Sugar, followed closely by Salt.
Third place goes to Vegetable Concentrate.

The main ingredients list has Vegetable Oil & Double Cream listed.

Is this meal healthy?

Depends on your interpretation.

If you were watching your weight, then you certainly wouldn't want to eat it every day.

Adding Sugar and lots of salt to ready meals, is something I consider less than healthy, however some folks would argue that bland food is unhealthy also.

Things to note in particular is that this meal has 35% of your maximum daily intake of Salt.

This would not be in your weekly shopping if you fit any of these categories:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetic
  • Weak liver / renal treatment
  • Known predisposition / risk of Heart Disease
Not fitting any of those categories, you could happily eat such a meal, provided your other meal of the day was not also high fat.

But is the high fat content just because it is vegetarian?

Most folks who eats a meat reduced / meat free diet know that pulses, beans, and legumes are not 'low fat' foods.

However Tomato and Potato (the main ingredients) are not 'high fat' foodstuffs.

The legumes (lentils) make up 9% of the meal (by weight) and so are not what is making this a high fat meal on their own.

What I suspect is making it 'high fat' is the combination of lentils+vegetable oil+double cream+sbrinz cheese

That would probably do it!

But I really like the taste of this meal, what else could I do:

200g of this + a decent portion of Salad (no dressing) is a much healthier way to go.

300g is about right if it is eaten on it's own. If you are watching your weight, or want to eat a little more healthy, then toss a third of the portion away and add the salad to your plate.

Are trans fats an issue with this meal?

Hard to say for sure.

Going back 5 years or so in the UK, the major supermarkets were supposed to voluntarily stop adding trans fats to these sort of ready meals.

In fact only Sainsbury's made a public declaration, although other supermarkets were supposed, at the time, to be refraining from adding trans fats during preparation.

Notes and Further Reading:

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