LUNCHBOX

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The Independent Online
Dave Smith, 33, stand-up comic

Pitta bread spread with sunflower margarine and filled with cheese, wafer- thin ham and lettuce; followed by an apple and two mugs of tea with semi- skimmed milk

According to Juliette Kellow, a state registered dietician and associate editor of Slimming magazine, such a meal would provide Dave with 645 calories, of which 19 per cent came from protein, 35 per cent from carbohydrates and 46 per cent from fat, of which 21 per cent came from saturates.

"Although this looks like a relatively healthy lunch time choice, this meal has a very high fat content with most of this being provided by the cheese and margarine," says Juliette. "Intakes of saturates are also high ... Cutting out the margarine would be the easiest way to bring the overall fat content more in line with guidelines. However, even if you did this the proportion of calories from saturates would stay the same so having less cheese or a reduced-fat variety would be the best way to reduce intakes.

But there were very good intakes of other nutrients, she said. "In particular the calcium content is excellent, due to the cheese and milk. Semi-skimmed milk and reduced-fat hard cheeses contain similar amounts of calcium (and most other nutrients) to full-fat products.

"The fibre intake of this meal is a bit on the low side, so choosing a wholemeal pitta bread would be an easy way to improve this. Adding extra tomatoes would also give extra fibre and would increase the vitamin C content five-fold"n

Glenda Cooper

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