City: Lunchbox

Compiled by Juliette Kellow BSc SRD, a state registered dietician and deputy editor of Slimming Magazine
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The Independent Culture
Graham Parsons, 29, a mining project manager, ate two fried sausages, chips, baked beans and a fried egg. He drank a mug of coffee with milk and sugar.

"This isn't a normal lunch for me. I work abroad and am on holiday in England for a few days. I met up with a friend today who persuaded me to go to the local cafe for a fry-up. I don't think I want to know the results of this meal - it's bound to be unhealthy," says Graham.

Such a meal gives Graham 910 calories, of which 14 per cent come from protein, 36 per cent from carbohydrate, 50 per cent from fat of which 12 per cent saturates.

As you might expect, this fry-up is packed with fat because the sausages, egg and chips were fried. To keep healthy we should aim to have no more than one third of our calories from fat, whereas half the calories in the meal came from it. Choosing sausages or an egg, rather than both, would help to reduce the fat content. Alternatively, having just one sausage and a scrambled egg would keep the fat content down. Similarly, asking for a smaller portion of chips and filling up with a slice of bread (without butter) would be a good idea.

It's not all bad news, though, because it provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals - in particular, more than half the daily iron needed by men, mostly from the baked beans and sausages. The meal is also packed with most of the B group vitamins which the body needs for good health. In addition, the fibre content is really good, thanks mainly to the baked beans. Fibre helps to keep the bowel healthy by preventing constipation and fills you up so you'll be less likely to snack between meals.

Because Graham's lunch doesn't provide any fruit or vegetables, it may be difficult for him to eat the recommended daily five portions, so a glass of unsweetened fruit juice would be the ideal accompaniment to this lunch. As well as providing one serving of fruit, the vitamin C would help the body to absorb the iron in the baked beans.. What this meal shows is that traditional fry-ups aren't automatically off the menu if you want to eat healthily - it's just a case of choosing sensibly."

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