Are Ready Meals Bad for You?

Tarragon chicken ready meal top down

Ready meals - those convenient packages of pre-cooked food that you just need to heat up - often get a bad rep. But are they really as bad for your health as they're made out to be? Let's dive into the truth behind the myths and find out whether ready meals deserve their not-so-great reputation.

Are Some Ready Meals Healthier Than Others?

The answer is a resounding yes! While some ready meals might be consist of ultra processed food, loaded with unhealthy additives, excessive salt, and unhealthy fats, there are others that are surprisingly nutritious. The key lies in reading labels!

How to Find Healthier Ready Meals

Healthier ready meals are out there, you just need to be a savvy shopper. If you’re shopping in the supermarket, check the labels to find the healthier options within their range.

It’s also worth looking online for services that offer ready meal delivery, as these will often be fresher and healthier than their supermarket alternatives.

What to Look for on the Label

When you're scanning the labels, pay attention to:

  1. Ingredients List: Aim for a short list of ingredients that you can understand. Avoid products with a laundry list of additives and preservatives.
  2. Nutritional Information: Check the calories, sodium, saturated fat, fiber, and protein content. Look for meals that offer a good balance of these nutrients.
  3. Portion Size: Make sure the portion size matches your needs. Don't assume that the entire package is meant for a single serving. You may want to check how many calories you need in a day to use as a guideline.
  4. Allergen Information: If you have allergies or sensitivities, check for potential allergens in the ingredients list.
  5. Certifications: Look for options like low-carb meals, or "gluten-free," which can contain a better calorie balance. Some ready meals might include a nutri-score which shows how they rank compared to other ready meals – look for items rated A or B on this colour scale.
  6. Cooking Methods: Opt for meals that are steamed, grilled, or baked rather than fried.


Is It OK to Eat Ready Meals Every Day?

If you’re going to eat ready meals every day, there are a few things to be careful of. First you will want to select the healthier ready meals that contain nutritious whole ingredients, but even the healthiest ready meals can lack the variety and balance that your body needs. Try and ensure that you pick up a range of different meals to make sure you’re eating lots of different fruits and vegetables. Relying on the same supermarket ready meals every week isn’t a good idea as you may be missing out on essential nutrients.

Are Ready Meals Healthier Than Takeaway?

In some cases, yes. Ready meals often come with nutritional information on the packaging, allowing you to make more informed choices. While takeout can sometimes be higher in calories, unhealthy fats, and sodium, some ready meals are carefully portioned and designed with nutritional balance in mind. However, it's not a black-and-white answer – both ready meals and takeaway can have their healthy and not-so-healthy options.

In Conclusion

The verdict on ready meals isn't a straightforward one. While some ready meals can indeed be unhealthy due to high levels of salt, unhealthy fats, and additives, there are healthier options out there. Moderation and informed choices are key.

Carefully selected ready meals can strike a balance between convenience and health. So, the next time you're eyeing that ready meal, take a moment to read the label and make a choice that aligns with your overall wellness goals.


Have healthy ready meals delivered weekly.

At Powermeals we’re on a mission to make healthy eating easier. Our chefs cook fresh ready meals every week in our Swiss kitchen and deliver them to any address in Switzerland. Our meals are cooked with whole ingredients and balanced to ensure your body gets what it needs. Plus, we rotate our menu every week so there’s plenty of variety. Have a look at this week’s menu.

Leave a Comment