How healthy are ready-to-eat meal salads?

A busy life is sometimes difficult to combine with sufficient attention for your health. If you run up and down all day between work, the gym and your social obligations, it may seem impossible to cook healthily. The solution that many people therefore choose is to get their food ready-made in the supermarket.

At first glance this does not seem like a bad idea. Especially the to-go supermarkets often offer huge shelves with ready-made meal salads and similar dishes that you can eat. The question is, however, are those ready-to-eat meal salads indeed as healthy as the label would have you believe? We are going into this question in detail today.

Calorie-rich ingredients

One of the most important points is of course that all ready-made meal salads are different. The ingredients vary enormously per brand and salad. They often have something in common: they contain relatively high calorie ingredients. In this way, the producers ensure that their meal salads are also really filling …

Popular culprits are cheeses, such as cubes of mozzarella, parmesan pieces or pieces of goat’s cheese . Also note you relatively often found in salads back. Then there are pieces of meat; fried bacon, for example, is anything but slim. And greasy croutons and cubes of avocado do not do too well either. Remember that many salads combine several of these ingredients, and you see where this is going to be a problem!

The dressing of meal salads

Then there is the dressing , which is often supplied in a separate bag. Dressings do not have to be caloric, of course. Yet that is rarely the case with ready-made meal salads. The dressing often consists of a huge proportion of fatty and relatively unhealthy ingredients. For example, they are often based on enormous quantities of oil.

For example, others use full yoghurt as a base. You may think that such a small bag can do very little harm, but a portion of dressing can contain as many as 200 calories , depending on the salad you choose. This fits nicely with the other high-calorie ingredients.

Calories in ready-made meal salads

The individual ingredients are not necessarily unhealthy, but all these factors add up to a proper calorie bomb. There are several ready-to-eat salads that provide a total of more than 700 calories! That applies especially for goat cheese salads, mozzarella salads or some salads with nuts.

Of course there are people for whom a meal of that size is not a problem. On average, people who want to lose weight, however, eat significantly less calories per meal – and that is why such a salad does not help at all.

Those few leaves of lettuce may look so healthy, but a whole tray contains about as much calories as an average small pizza . And you would not even order that if you try to work some centimeters around your waist …

Eat with your meal salad

To make matters worse, many people often eat something besides the meal salad. Such a bowl of lettuce is only boring, after all. For example, they get a sandwich to eat with the salad. Or they only eat the salad as a ‘snack’ in the train from work to home. Once at home, another meal follows – which only increases the total amount of calories.

The problem of meal salads is, in short, not only that they contain a lot of calories. Even more annoying is that many people do not realize how many calories they actually are!

Salt, sugar and preservatives

Then there is the problem of the unnecessary additives that are often put into ready-made meal salads. The reason is of course very simple. Because these leaves are often in their packages for days , they lose some of their usual taste. And how do you prevent the whole salad from feeling a bit soggy and dull? Simple: you add a generous scoop of sugar and salt .

Usually the culprits are in the dressing room again. Other ingredients, such as meat and cheese , often contain additional preservatives afterwards to ensure that they remain good. All in all a lot of nonsense that your body absolutely does not need.

Always read the label carefully!

Does that mean that all ready-to-eat salads are junk? No, that is not the case now. Of course there are relatively healthy salads on the market that meet the normal standards for portion sizes. You will only have to look a little bit to find them.

Do you want to get a meal salad at the station? Do not do that when you have to catch a train and only have two minutes. Invest a little time in reading labels and ingredients, and if necessary make a list of the good salads. So you can quickly make a good choice in the future.

Or make yourself a meal salad

And of course it can be just as easy to make your own meal salads. Cook a small portion of quinoa, spelled, pasta or whatever else you use, add some vegetables , and ready. Lack of time? Then just prepare three trays at once, so that you are already provided for half a week.

If you implant it handy, you will be ready in half an hour. The advantage of making yourself is that you can vary much more than with supermarket salads. And even better: it is the ideal way to make up your leftovers. We advise you to just try it: you will see that it is less of a hassle than you think.

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