PRE-READY meals are often loaded with salt, fat and sugar – but not all of them will blow your waistline.
In fact, some are quite high in protein and relatively low in calories, making them ideal for those who are watching their weight.
Experts have crunched the numbers to reveal the top ten ready meals to help you make informed nutritional choices.
Tesco’s controlled calorie fried chicken dinner came in first with a score of 85/100.
The 380g portion, which costs £3, contains gravy, potatoes, carrots and peas and packs 249 calories.
Second place, with an 83.8/100, went to Slimming World’s Sweet and Sour Chicken, available in Iceland for £4.25.
The 500g dish contains 300 calories and contains 39g of protein.
And the bronze medal went to Tesco’s calorie-controlled tomato and basil chicken offering.
It costs £3, contains 286 calories and has a score of 80/100.
The rest of the list consisted of chicken and steak dishes from Aldi, Tesco and Sliming World.
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All had fewer than 90 calories per 100g, were relatively high in protein and low in saturated fat and salt, scoring over 67/100.
While chef and nutrition coach Lisa Marley isn’t as good at preparing meals from scratch, ready meals aren’t necessarily unhealthy.
“If someone isn’t able to cook for themselves, then a healthy ready meal is better than takeout,” she said.
“For example, an elderly person who is unable to shop locally or cook regularly would benefit from a nutritious convenience meal.”
She also said that keeping an eye on nutrition labeling helps shoppers get a good understanding of how valuable — or not — a meal is.
“Things to look out for are the amount of saturated fat,” Lisa said.
“This number is important for a number of reasons, including heart health.”
“Foods with 1g or less per serving are considered low in saturated fat.
“For overall health, it’s best to avoid trans fats. Look for foods with 0 g trans fats.
“Avoid items with hydrogenated oils as they can lead to obesity and disease.
“Hydrogenated fat in processed foods is the main source of trans fats in foods.”
The data analyzed by Chemist4U is current as of March 2023.