Dietitian says: Fresh packages from the supermarket are really healthy

Making a home-cooked meal has (largely) gotten easier lately. For example, you can have all the ingredients delivered to your home in a popular meal packet, but you can also buy fresh packets at more and more supermarkets. It has (almost) everything you need for soup, lasagna or Indian curry. But how healthy are these fresh packaging actually?

Here’s what dietitian Desiree van der Croek tells us Is a serving from one of these fresh packets just as healthy as if you were buying all the ingredients separately at the supermarket?

Meal boxes and fresh packaging

A while ago, we looked at the authenticity of meal boxes from brands like Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon: These are boxes you can get at home that hold fresh ingredients to make a particular dish. Useful if you don’t have the time (or desire) to go to the supermarket, but want to cook on your own. How healthy these meal boxes are depends on a number of factors, as you can read here.

But in addition to these meal boxes, you can also buy more and more of these types of packages in supermarkets. This relates to fresh packaging, which contains (almost) all of the ingredients for a meal. They are often a bit cheaper than the meal boxes you get at home, you don’t need a subscription and you can get them at your favorite supermarket.

How healthy are fresh packets?

Did you know that about 25 percent of households now buy such a new package? You’ve likely used one, too. Fresh ingredients give fresh packaging a healthy look. But is it really as good for you as we think? the The Consumers Association examined new packaging in 2019 From four supermarkets: Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Lidl and Plus. They looked at five different meal packages from each of those supermarkets. To assess the health of the fresh packages, they analyzed the amount of vegetables, salt and saturated fats in the food. The packages checked were Indian and Thai curries, lasagna, couscous and rolls.

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Benefits of fresh packaging

And good news for fans of the new packs: the majority score a pass when it comes to how healthy they are. On average, for example, they contain just over 200 grams of vegetables per serving. You are then roughly on the recommendation of 250 grams of veggies per day. And the average amount of calories in fresh packets isn’t too bad: 570 calories per person. That’s a lot less than the meal boxes you can get at home: They contain an average of 780 calories per serving.

Disadvantages of fresh packaging

In addition to vegetables, fresh packages often contain sachets of herbs or sauce, which makes them less healthy. These are often very salty. On average, all studied packages contain 2.5 grams of salt per serving. That’s while the Nutrition Center recommends a maximum of 2 grams of salt per serving. You can, of course, choose not to use seasoning blends for this reason, but this can make the meal less flavorful. Manufacturers in the Consumer Association survey indicate that it is difficult to add less salt, because the product is not appreciated by consumers.

In addition to salt, fresh packets also contain a good amount of saturated fat. The fresh packaging of lasagna in particular stood out in a negative way: mainly because of the cheese and ground beef that you still have to add yourself. In this study, the freshest package with couscous had the lowest percentage of saturated fat of all stores. In this case it depends on the package you buy

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Make fresh packages healthy by yourself

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry if you eat a fresh pack regularly: The Consumers Association concluded that with a fresh pack, you generally eat healthy food and a good, full meal at the table. In terms of veg quantity, it is (usually) good, but there are some areas that need improvement. Less saturated fat and less salt will make your meals healthier.

Do you like to eat healthy, but do you like fresh foods? Then you can make the dishes yourself a little better with a few modifications. For example, pay attention to the ingredients you have to add yourself, and go for the fat-free variants. For example, think of dairy and meat products. For example, mozzarella cheese contains much less saturated fat than 48+ cheese. If you have to add pasta or rice to fresh packages, the whole wheat version is the best option. enjoy your meal!

After receiving her BA in Nutrition and Dietetics, Desiree van der Croek (26 years old) began practicing as an online dietitian. , where you can go for e-consultations and tailor-made nutrition plans. She also enjoys writing articles on nutrition and health. follow her Instagram From Facebook social networking site For more information, tips and tricks.

text | Desire Van der Kroek
picture | Getty Images
picture | Private photo of Desiré van der Kruk

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