Eating Clean: Are ready meals cheaper than 'proper' food?

09 March 2013

The risks associated with eating processed foods have been highlighted once again this week in the BBC health article ‘Processed meat ‘early death’ link’ (see BBC Health).

Processed foods, such as ready meals, are often seen as a cheap and convenient way to eat. One area of health concern has been the amount of salt contained in ready meals, but are they cheaper and more convenient than a ‘proper’ meal?

Think about this ‘proper’ meal, it is a Goulash*, the main ingredients are:

  • 250g lean braising steak
  • one large onion
  • 300g potatoes
  • one red pepper
  • tin tomatoes.

This meat and two veg meal takes 15 minutes to prepare the vegetables and brown the braising steak, after that it is cooked in the oven for 1 3/4hrs (this can be done the previous day or made and frozen).

The meal serves two people at a cost of £4.96.

So the question is...
.. can you buy a ready meal cheaper, prepare it quicker… and most importantly know exactly what ingredients went into making it and where they came from?

*Recipe taken from the Weight Watchers cook book.

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