Nutritional content of supermarket ready meals and recipes by television chefs in the United Kingdom: cross sectional study

To cook or not to cook, that is the question

26 December 2012

Conventional wisdom tells us that homemade meals are healthier than the ready-made fare at supermarkets. This study suggests that it depends on the home cook's recipe: did it come from a TV chef? Chances are using a TV recipe is worse than the fast, frozen stuff in nutritional value.

So what does this mean? Does it mean that we can stop cooking from scratch and buy everything pre-packaged because it is better? Of course not.

People who choose to cook from ingredients instead of heating up packaged foods are generally pretty well informed about the healthiness of the ingredients they are using. They should be able to look at a recipe that is loaded with cheese or sugar or bread and realise the end product will be high in fat, sugar or carbohydrates. The key is to cook from recipes like that only once in a while and choose recipes that are healthier on a regular basis.

Competing interests: None declared

C Albert Yeung, Consultant in Dental Public Health

NHS Lanarkshire, Kirklands, Fallside Road, Bothwell G71 8BB

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