DON'T BELIEVE THE HIGH-STREET HYPE. //​

-LILY SOUTTER, NUTRITIONIST

 

You've destroyed a session and are heading to your local favourite lunch spot on the way back to the office. Pret, Pod, Wasabi and the other high-street offerings provide a range of lunch options that seem healthy and nutritious. However these places that we perceive as 'healthy' aren't always what they seem and can be worse for you than some fast food.

 Lily Soutter has the lowdown on what you should and shouldn’t be ordering from your favourite high street eateries…

PRET A MANGER

With a Pret A Manger located at almost every corner in London, this eatery is a hard one to miss.

 

Whilst Pret serves food veering on the unhealthy side, they also stock some amazingly healthy foods, which are freshly made each morning. Pret are completely up to date with food trends whilst also catering for those who are diary, gluten, wheat or carb free.

Whilst their marketing message is all about their fresh and natural food, it’s still essential to pick your food wisely. Sandwiches, wraps, soups and granola’s can be jam packed full of hidden salt, sugar, and saturated fats. The sandwich to watch out for is their ‘Posh Cheddar & Pickle Baguette’ which contains more calories than a Big Mac. This baguette has a mammoth 621 calories and a shocking 2.7g of salt, 70g of white refined carbohydrates, and 9.2g saturated fat per small portion. 

 

However they have also made healthy snacking a whole lot easier. One of their best products so far must be their ‘Pret Pots’. These little snack pots are all under 200 calories each, and are full of fresh and healthy whole foods.

 

Best choices at Pret:

 

  • Any of their ‘Pret Pots’

  • Avocado and crayfish salad

  • Pret’s protein packed superbowl

  • Beets, squash and feta superbowl

  • Asian tofu salad

  • Tuna nicoise salad

  • Dairy-free 5 grain porridge

  • Coconut yoghurt

  • Coconut water or carrot juice

  • Healthiest sandwiches: Avocado and egg on rye, beetroot & radish on rye, cucumber & hummus on rye

 

WASABI

Whilst Asian food tends to be known for health, this doesn’t necessarily always translate to Wasabi. Many of their sushi meals are overloaded with white refined rice, which can lead to blood sugar imbalances, fatigue, afternoon energy slumps and weight gain.

 

Watch out for their sauces and white rice noodle soups, these are often laden with salt and sugar. And lastly be wary around fried and tempura food which are full of unhealthy trans fats.

Best choices at Wasabi:

 

  • Wakame seaweed salad

  • Edamame

  • Sashimi

  • Miso soup

  • Brown rice sushi

  • Salmon poke salad pot

  • Brown rice sushi - Yasai roll set, Chumaki set, Harmony set, Rainbow set, Salmon nigiri set 

 

POD

Pod’s ethos is all about fresh food from good ingredients and the vast majority of their food is great. Their salads are always tasty, and they have a super healthy range of snacking pots.

 

However at Pod it’s also easy to pick a seemingly healthy meal, which in reality is not so healthy at all. Watch out for their breakfast smoothie. This smoothie contains up to 46g of sugar, the same amount found in a 100g bar of chocolate.

 

It’s also important to take note of the salt content – a regular sized  ‘protein feast’ scrambled egg breakfast contains 4g of salt coming close to our 6g daily allowance.

 

Before eating at Pod, it’s vital to look at the nutrition content of their food to double check the salt and sugar content as these vary dramatically between dishes.

Best choices at Pod:

 

  • Peanut butter power porridge, berry boost porridge, gluten free porridge

  • Energizer scrambled egg – low salt

  • Picking pots

  • Avocado and chilli bibimbap

  • All salads  – research the salt content as some can be very high

  • Healthiest sandwiches: avocado, chilli & Greek style cheese sandwich, avocado & chilli toasted sandwich 

 

EAT

EAT caters for all. It has the super food salads for their health conscious customers as well as 800 calorie beef an ale pies for those craving comfort food! It’s real mix of unhealthy vs healthy foods so researching the menu is key to making the right choices. Soups can hide up to 3g of salt per portion and sandwiches up to 3.4g of salt – over half our daily allowance.

 

The great news is that EAT is on par healthy food trends, providing alternative dishes like the high protein quinoa and buckwheat porridge and avocado on toast! 

Best choices at EAT:

 

  • Avocado on sourdough toast with feta

  • Healthiest sandwiches: simple roast chicken

  • Coconut chilli chicken and raw slaw protein pot

  • Smoked salmon, edamame and egg protein pot

  • Harissa humous rainbow salad protein pot

  • Chipotle chicken and avocado salad

  • Tuna nicoise salad

  • Harissa humous & rainbow vegetable

  • Miso & tahini beef salad

  • Quiona and buckwheat porridge

  • Chia pots

 

Lily Soutter Bsc (Hons) Nutrition, Dip ION, mBANT, CNHC

 

Lily is a Nutritionist and weight loss expert providing one-to-one nutrition consultations for health optimisation. She has obtained a Food and Human Nutrition degree from Newcastle University and a Nutritional Therapy diploma from The Institute of Optimum Nutrition. Lily's  has an extensive knowledge of the science of food and health, which enables her to regularly write for The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Mirror, Women's Health, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan.

Check Lily's website here.