Do you know what’s really in store-bought lunches? While your high street sandwich might sound like a cheap and convenient option for your lunch, it might not be the best thing for your diet. Store-bought lunches are known to contain high levels of sugar and salt that are well above your recommended daily intake, and could be laden with calories you wouldn’t expect from a small lunch.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, and many high street chains offer fantastic healthy options that can help you keep the calories down, and still feel satisfied at lunchtime.
The truth about store-bought lunches
High street lunches have been in and out of the national press in recent years, as people start to become more health-conscious and concerned about what they’re eating. There’s been concerns about their salt content, as well as the amount of unnecessary sugar contained in these items that you wouldn’t be consuming if you were eating homemade food.
There are many articles and news stories about the best and worst things you can eat at various high street stores, and you might find it useful to familiarise yourself with some of the worst offenders so that you can avoid them in future.
Choosing healthier store-bought lunches
While many high-street stores stock unhealthy food options, that doesn’t mean you can’t grab your lunch at them. If you can look beyond your standard sandwich at the different options that are available, you’ll find that there are some tasty and nutritional lunches you can buy that are just as convenient. Some tips for choosing a healthier high street lunch include:
Read the label
Reading the label can reveal a lot about what’s inside your food. Retailers have made it easier for you to understand the nutritional value of what you’re eating – so you can get a lot of the information you need just from looking at the front of the packet. Avoid sandwiches, pastas and salads that have multiple red boxes – particularly in the fat and salt categories. Keep an eye out for green options that will be just as tasty without the poor effect on your diet.
Look beyond the sandwiches
Sandwiches are great for lunching in a hurry, but when you buy them ready-made at the supermarket – you could find that they’re not as healthy as you’d hoped. Instead of going straight to the sandwiches, look to the other options that are available such as salads, rice bowls and grains – these will have a higher nutritional value and will keep you feeling just as full.
Half today, half tomorrow
It’s easy to overindulge during your lunch break – especially if you’re having a tough day and need a pick me up. Instead of eating all of your favourite sandwich in one go, why not have half tomorrow instead? You can substitute the rest with a salad or a healthy snack so that you still feel like you’re eating a full meal. Pre-packed salads and pasta are also great for splitting over two days, halving the calorie intake while still giving you a tasty option for lunch.
Make your own
Of course, another option to enjoy a healthier lunch is to make your own. You can make your lunch at home to help you save money and eat better, or you could buy different ingredients to make your own in the office. By making your own lunch you’ll have control over exactly what’s in it to help you stay on track with your health goals.
Store-bought lunches have their benefits, but if you indulge in the foods that are high in salt, fat and sugar then you could soon find yourself facing issues with your weight. Be savvier when shopping for your store-bought lunch and enjoy choosing healthier options.
Want to know more about healthy eating and what to look for on a nutrition label? Visit the NHS Choices website for more detailed information.