Thursday , May 19 2022

Are Meal Packages as Healthy as They Make Out?


During the pandemic, helpful lunchbox distribution services help develop home cooking habits incorporating healthy ingredients such as vegetables, and a balance of less harmful fats and salt.

Meal kits services seem to be growing in popularity but there is very little research on those using meal kits and what the potential nutritional benefits and risks might be, ”says Australian nutrition and dietary researchers in a newspaper at Health Promotion International.

“For example, we don’t really know if they are better or worse than home cooking or takeaway food,” said lead author Dr Carly Moores, a Registered Nutritionist, a Flinders University graduate and now a research fellow postdoctoral degree at the University of Adelaide.

The researchers reviewed a year’s worth of recipes from a popular meal kit service, focusing on the merits of the recipes – including ingredients and time to prepare meals.

Flinders University Practical and Accredited Dietitian co-author Dr Kacie Dickinson says a typical recipe contains about nine different ingredients, on average three vegetables and three ingredients from the home pantry.

The meals took about 35 minutes to prepare and were found to be relatively high in energy from fat and protein. Meals were also relatively high in sodium with some exceeding the Australian Suggested Dietary Target for sodium (<2000 mg).

“This could be improved by increasing the vegetables and whole grain ingredients in meals, or by reducing portion sizes,” said Dr Dickinson.

Meal kits are widely advertised, including to families, so it was important to find out that meals also have positive features, for example containing many different vegetables. This is important knowing that vegetable intake is important for health, but intake is too low in most Australian adults and children.

“It is very important to understand the merits of these recipes, which vary from week to week, before deciding whether the meal package is a service for you for your family’s nutritional needs and preferences,” adds Dr Moores.

Moores CJ, Bell LK, Buckingham MJ, Dickinson KM. Do meal kits promote health? Nutritional analysis of meals from a meal kit service in Australia. Health Promotion Int. doi: 10.1093 / heapro / daaa095

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