A salad lunch from a High Street chain sounds virtuous, but is that always the case?
Here, dietitian Helen Bond considers at five of the best and five of the worst.
Look at the pictures and see which option you should go for.
SOME OF THE WORST
A. Leon superfood salad
The Leon superfood salad, pictured, looks healthy and is made up of several ingredients such as broccoli, peas and quinoa
358g, take away £5.35, eat in £6.40. Calories, 515; saturated fat, 11.4g; sugar, 4.9g; fibre, 8g; protein, 16.6g; salt, 2g.
This looks healthy, with broccoli, peas, quinoa, avocado, cucumber and cheese, but it has nearly the same amount of calories as Leon’s Thai green chicken curry and twice the fat, with 57 per cent of your daily maximum saturated fat and a third of your daily salt. However, the peas and quinoa provide a third of your daily protein and fibre intake.
Health rating: 4/10
B. McDonald’s crispy chicken and bacon salad, with balsamic dressing
Although McDonalds is usually more associated with burgers, pictured is their crispy chicken and bacon salad, with balsamic dressing
276g, £3.89. Calories, 341; saturated fat, 2.9g; sugar, 6.2g; fibre, 1.9g; protein, 25g; salt, 1.7g.
Mixed leaves, cucumber and tomatoes might sound healthy, but the chicken is fried, pushing up the total fat content. With only 47 fewer calories than a McChicken Sandwich, it also has more than a quarter of your salt limit and nearly a teaspoon of added sugar. 3/10
C. Tesco cheese layered salad
Tesco’s cheese layered salad, pictured, contains carrot, cheddar, mayonnaise, cucumber, sweetcorn, lettuce and peppers
380g, £2.50. Calories, 594; saturated fat, 15.4g; sugar, 7.6g; fibre, 4.2g; protein, 19.8g; salt, 1.6g.
Pasta salads are a source of resistant starch, which feeds good bacteria in the gut. But at nearly 600 calories, this one — containing carrot, cheddar, mayonnaise, cucumber, sweetcorn, lettuce and peppers — uses up all your lunch calorie allowance. It has as much saturated fat as one-and-a-half Big Mac burgers. 1/10
D. Pret chef’s Italian chicken salad
Pret chef’s Italian chicken salad combines chicken, Caesar dressing, cucumber, red peppers, tomatoes, olives and nuts
323g, take away £4.75, eat in £5.70. Calories, 636; saturated fat, 6.1g; sugar, 9g; fibre 5g; protein, 25g; salt, 2.1g.
Combining chicken, Caesar dressing, cucumber, red peppers, tomatoes, olives and nuts, this salad exceeds your lunchtime calorie allowance. It has around a third of your saturated fat limit and almost as much salt as six handfuls of salted peanuts.2/10
E. Subway Italian B.M.T. salad with chilli sauce
Subway’s Italian B.M.T. salad, with chilli sauce, contains lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers topped with meat
359g, £3.30. Calories, 248; saturated fat, 6.6g; sugar, 4.1g; fibre, 3.9g; protein, 15g; salt, 3g.
This provides two of your five-a-day with lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers topped with meat. But it has 33 per cent of your daily saturated fat and a lot of salt.2/10
THE BEST PICKS
A. Greggs honey roast ham, egg and potato salad
Greggs honey roast ham, egg and potato salad is one of the expert’s best pics for a high street lunch
255g, take away £3, eat in £3.60. Calories, 232; saturated fat, 1.8g; sugar, 9.3g; fibre, n/a; protein, 14g; salt, 1.3g.
Egg salad generally is a good source of protein and vitamin D, while the greenery counts as one of your five-a-day. But don’t have more than one a week — processed meat is linked to bowel cancer. Eat it with a Greggs tomato soup for heart-healthy antioxidants. 7/10
B. Leon squash, sage and kale salad
Although the other Leon salad was a ‘worse’ option, Leon squash, sage and kale salad is a much better and healthier bet
285g, take away £4.95, eat in £5.95. Calories, 525; saturated fat, 5g; sugar, 6g; fibre, 8g; protein, 10g; salt, 1g.
The kale, cabbage, lentils, squash and pine nuts provide two of your five-a-day, while containing more than a quarter of your daily fibre needs. It’s reasonably low in salt, and the kale and squash also give vitamin A, needed for a healthy immune system.9/10
C. M&S avocado and egg nourish bowl
The M&S avocado and egg nourish bowl is made with wholegrains sorghum and quinoa, and also contains cabbage and kale
285g, £3.50. Calories, 333; saturated fat, 3.7g; sugar, 4.3g; fibre, 23.7g; protein, 18g; salt, 1.65g.
Made with wholegrains sorghum and quinoa, this also contains cabbage and kale and provides 80 per cent of your fibre needs. As one of your five-a-day, the only downside is the salt. 9/10
D. Subway turkey salad with light mayo
Subway turkey salad with light mayo has lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers
345g, £3.50. Calories, 158; saturated fat, 0.8g; sugar, 6.7g; fibre, 3.6g; protein, 13.8g; salt, 1.2g.
With lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, this provides two of your five-a-day as well as vitamins A, C, K and folic acid. It’s low in salt, calories and fat, but high in protein and immune-boosting selenium.9.5/10
E. Boots Shapers chicken Caesar salad
Another option is the Boots Shapers chicken Caesar salad, which the expert says will fill you up
200g, £3. Calories, 162; saturated fat, 2.1g; sugar, 2.5g; fibre, 2.3g; protein, 15g; salt, 0.97g.
Low-fat creme fraiche saves this Caesar salad from being a diet disaster. It is also 24 per cent chicken, which will help fill you up. For a more rounded lunch, add fibre and carbs with a wholegrain pitta and a veg pot.6.5/10
F. Sainsbury’s On The Go chicken and 4 grain salad with mango and chilli dressing
The Expert’s choice is Sainsbury’s On The Go chicken and 4 grain salad with mango and chilli dressing
285g, £2.80. Calories, 390; saturated fat, 1.4g; sugar, 10.3g; fibre, 12.8g; protein, 23.5g; salt, 1.19g.
This will keep you fuelled for hours thanks to nearly 24g protein and 13g fibre in the wheat, red quinoa, spelt, black rice, chicken, butter beans and cashew nuts. It provides one of your five-a-day and lots of magnesium for a healthy nervous system.10/10