Sunday 25 September 2016

The salads that have more calories than a Big Mac and chips

Published 05/05/2015 | 02:30

What's in our lunches?
What's in our lunches?
A lunch-time salad can contain more calories than a Big Mac and chips

A lunch-time salad can contain more calories than a Big Mac and chips.

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Sunnier weather is encouraging consumers to pick lighter lunch options, but the Irish Independent found that some handy meals on the go are loaded with calories, fat or salt.

Some seemingly healthy options contain up to three-quarters of the maximum daily recommended salt allowance.

We looked at various salads and sushi on sale in popular supermarkets and cafes, in order to assess how they measured up nutritionally.

While many come in at under 500 calories, we found some salad options can actually be fattening.

A Dunnes Stores curried pasta and chicken salad contained a hefty 768 calories in a small 250g tub.

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That's more than the 720 calories you'd get in a Big Mac and chips from McDonalds.

This salad also contained 57g of fat - which is more than 80pc of your recommended daily intake.

Pasta salads are often high in calories - a Marks & Spencer chicken, bacon and sweetcorn one has 642 calories, 28g of fat and 2.58g of salt.

That makes it more calorific than a Whopper from Burger King.

A Starbucks Moreish Meze contains 632 calories, though it does also contain noticeably more vegetables than many of the other salads we looked at.

High calories and fat aren't the only thing consumers need to be careful of - some low-calorie options can be surprisingly high in salt.

A M&S Sticky Teriyaki contains 385 calories, but also has 3.5g of salt which is over half the maximum salt allowance of 6g a day recommended by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

And while sushi has become increasingly popular with health-conscious consumers in recent years, Sushi King's Salmon of Knowledge sushi box at SuperValu contain 4.45g of salt - three-quarters of the daily allowance.

A study released last week showed that two-thirds of people in Ireland over 50 have high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and health experts recommend reducing salt intake to prevent this developing.

Audrey Gargan of Sushi King said that their award-winning sushi was made in the traditional manner which involves coating the rice in a sugar, salt and vinegar solution for its characteristic taste and texture.

"It's a traditional recipe that's been made that way for 1,000 years, so how would you change that?" she said.

M&S spokesperson said they had a wide range of food and drink including a low-fat range and "very clear nutritional labelling on all our products so it's really easy for our customers to see at a glance what they're eating".

Dunnes did not respond to requests for a comment.

Irish Independent

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