In our Skinny Myths series, we’ll be busting some health myths and comparing the nutritional value in everyday meals. Today we are covering Caesar Salads, discovering which is the healthiest and unhealthiest Caesar Salad option available on the market and finding out whether or not they are as healthy as they seem.
(highest to lowest)
When looking at the caloric content, Asda and Lidl have the unhealthiest Caesar Salads on the high street with 552 calories and 560 calories in the salads respectively. The salad with the lowest calorie content that we identified was Aldi with 295 calories. Asda’s Caesar salad is also the largest, weighing in at 300 grams, weighing 40 grams more than the second largest salad which is Aldi (260 grams). In comparison with supermarket sandwiches, the Morrisons Prawn Mayonnaise sandwich contains 399 calories which is higher than all salads other than the Asda and Lidl variants.
However, when identifying if a certain type of food is healthy, it is beneficial to identify the nutritional content of the products rather than just the calorie count alone. Saturated fat, sugar content and salt are important parameters to consider when identifying if food is healthy. This is further exemplified by the NHS recommendation that the consumption of saturated fat, sugar and salt should be reduced where possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
An excess of saturated fat intake can lead to increased amounts of cholesterol, leading to a higher risk of developing heart disease which stresses the importance of controlling saturated fat intake in your diet. The general assumption is that salads are a healthy alternative for your midday meal, however, we found that all of the salads on our list had a higher saturated fat content than the assumed unhealthy alternatives such as the Tesco Chicken and Bacon Mayonnaise Sandwich.
Lidl had the largest saturated fat content with 7 grams whereas Aldi once again took the healthiest spot on the list with the least saturated fat content. However, in terms of saturated fat content, Caesar salads appear to be an unhealthy option when compared to supermarket sandwiches.
Regularly consuming foods with high sugar contents can increase your chances of tooth loss and obesity with the NHS recommending adults having a maximum of 30 grams of sugar a day. In regards to the supermarket caesar salads that we analysed, the sugar content was in a reasonably low quantity with the largest being 6 grams at Lidl. The lowest sugar content was present in the Asda Caesar salad which only contained 1.8 grams. M&S Foods’ version was once again relatively high on the list, claiming the second largest sugar content.
When compared to other midday ready to go meals, the sugar content in the Caesar salads is relatively low as for example, an Asda Chicken Salad Sandwich contains 5.1 grams of sugar which is higher than all the salads covered on our list other than Lidl’s.
Large salt consumption can also lead to health risks, including raising your blood pressure which can lead to the risk of developing heart disease or a stroke. Aldi’s Caesar salad had by far the highest salt content with 1.5 grams in each salad which is 25% of your daily recommended intake. In comparison, a Mcdonalds large fries contain 0.82 grams of salt, which is almost half that of the supposedly healthy alternative of an Aldi salad.
The salad with the least salt content was the Lidl salad, containing 0.74 grams of salt which is considerably lower than the salt content in the Aldi salad.
We compiled the position of each salad based on calories, saturated fat, sugars and salt and calculated an average overall position, displaying the healthiest UK supermarket Caesar salad based not only on the calorie content, but also on the other nutritional content.
(best to worst)
Health Score was calculated by the position of the supermarket for each parameter when compared with the other supermarkets ranked 1-8 (1 being highest content, 8 being lowest content). For example, Aldi had the lowest calorific content, meaning that it scored 8 for that parameter. The ‘Health Score’ is the sum of all parameters.
As is displayed in the above table, the healthiest supermarket Caesar Salad in the UK is Morrisons’ when considering nutritional and calorific information. Even though it didn’t have the lowest of any parameter, Morrisons Caesar salad had the third lowest calories and salt content and the second lowest sugar and saturated fat, making it overall the most healthy option.
The unhealthiest Caesar Salads are both Lidl and M&S Foods’ which are both considerably more unhealthy than the other competition. Notably, Lidl had the largest amount of calories, saturated fat and sugar even though it contained the least salt. M&S food on the other hand had the third highest calories, and the second highest sugar, salt and saturated fat.
Aldi was the healthiest in terms of calories and saturated fat, whereas Asda was the healthiest in terms of sugars content and the second healthiest in terms of salt content which could be perceived as quite surprising due to the Asda meal being the largest in quantity and containing bacon.
We hope this article has been helpful in providing a good understanding of the healthiest and least healthy UK supermarket Caesar salads and in helping to bust the ‘skinny myth’ that supermarket salads are always the healthiest quick lunchtime option.