Everyday Meals

‘Healthy’ vegan ready meals that contain EIGHT times more salt than a packet of crisps

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It is equivalent to eight times the amount in a packet of crisps.

Veganuary, the global movement promoting meat and dairy free eating for a month, this year had its biggest ever uptake.

And 40 percent of those taking part will ditch meat for good.

But while shunning animal products might sound healthy, vegan meals are not all they seem.

Marks and Spencer added a range of new dinners to its Plant Kitchen range this month.

The £4 meat and dairy free lasagne (400g) took a year to perfect, according to the high street giant.

But with 4g of salt it contains almost eight times the amount as a 32.5g packet of Walkers salt and vinegar, which has 0.51g.

Nutritionist Amanda Ursell said: “The maximum intake recommended by the UK government is 6g a day for adults. In other words, this one ready meal gobbles up an astonishing two thirds of your daily maximum in this country. This is all the more shocking when most people would buy and eat it, believing that because it comes with the ‘vegan halo’, it is an overall healthy choice.”

M&S is not the only retailer selling meals which turn the food traffic light labelling system to red for salt. Sainsbury’s sell the Wasabi Home Bento Veg Gyoza Noodle Bowl to vegan diners in a hurry.

The 300g meal is made from Japanese dumplings known as Gyoza, fried wheat noodles, cabbage, carrot and green pea. But it is also packs 3.68g of salt.

Waitrose is the vegan Plantlife range, where the Green Thai Style Curry carries 2.85g of salt, almost as much as five portions of McDonald’s fries.

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Its own brand Keralan Butternut Squash Curry fairs marginally better, carrying 2.52g of salt – still almost half the UK’s recommended daily allowance upper limit.

A spokesman for Waitrose said: “We’re working to reduce salt across our products. This specific meal is from a much wider vegan range. Of these, only a few are rated ‘red’ for salt under the traffic light system, which we display clearly.”

Sainsbury’s declined to comment.

Marks and Spencer was approached for comment.

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