Lunchbox

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The Independent Culture
Julie Monteith, 24, a paediatric nurse, ate a chicken fillet burger and drank a glass of water.

"I don't often have time for lunch and if I do it has to be really quick. I generally grab food during the day and fill up on drinks," she says.

According to Juliette Kellow, state registered dietician and deputy editor of Slimming magazine, such a meal would give Julie 375 calories of which 39 per cent came from carbohydrate, 24 per cent from protein and 37 per cent from fat, of which 6 per cent was saturates.

"The total fat content of this meal is a little on the high side - healthy eating guidelines recommend that no more than one third of our calories should come from fat," says Juliette. "In contrast, the proportion of calories coming from saturates and unsaturates are well within guidelines.

"As with many take-away meals this chicken burger contains a lot of calories in a very small amount of food. In general, fast food isn't very filling with the result that many people soon feel hungry shortly after eating and end up snacking on fatty and sugary food such as biscuits, crisps, sweets and chocolate during the afternoon. This has the effect of further increasing fat intakes for the rest of the day. If you do feel hungry after eating fast food it's better to choose a piece of fruit or a pot of low-fat yoghurt rather than crisps or sweets.

"This meal provides a good intake of the B vitamins including thiamin, niacin and B6 - both the bread roll and the chicken are good sources of this nutrients. In contrast this meal is a poor source of calcium so including plenty of other calcium-rich foods during the day is important. Dairy products are especially good sources of calcium so having a yoghurt or a milky drink after the meal would be a good idea.

"This meal doesn't provide any fruit or vegetables with the result that it may be difficult to eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Snacking on fruit throughout the day would help achieve this and would also improve the fibre content of the meal which is on the low side. Fruits such as bananas and apples also have the advantage of being easy to eat on the move so are ideal to munch on if you're short of time."

Glenda Cooper

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