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From Pret-a-Manger to Itsu: the healthiest and most indulgent options on the menu

high street
March 3, 2017
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Many of us have the best intentions and try to bring lunch in to the office, but we've all been guilty of occasionally ditching home-cooked meals in favour of sandwiches or sushi on the high street. Whether you're a regular at Pret-A-Manger, Caffé Nero and Costa, love the sushi at Itsu or can't get enough of Leon, there are some dishes on offer that won't ruin your healthy diet – just like there are some indulgent servings you should save for Fridays and treat days! Clinical nutritionist Filip Koidis took a look at what's on the offer and reveals the healthiest/most indulgent offerings to look out for…

pret a manger


Healthy options: Edamame beans, Protein Pot, crisped kalePret's salads are fairly balanced nutritionally (300-450 kcal, good amount of protein, low in fat), good portions and with clearly defined ingredients. Dressing comes separately, which allows good control over it.

Save for treat days: Hot wraps, Mac & CheeseHot wraps are quite calorific – the vegetarian option contains more than half our daily salt requirements. Meanwhile, the calories in the Mac & Cheese can go up to 700 with more than half coming from saturated fats: some can reach up to 90 per cent of the daily intake requirements for a female.

MORE: Check out some great healthy eating tips here


Healthy options: Most vegetable and fish-based sushi, a side of edamame beansVegetable and fish-based sushi can be a healthy option as long as you control your portions: use the palm of your hand as an indicator, and opt for 6-8 pieces. Avocado and salmon rolls can give you a great omega 3 boost, while a side of edamame beans is a filling alternative.

Save for treat days: teriyaki dishes, double bed saladsBe mindful of teriyaki sauces as these contain lots of sugar. Meanwhile, the double bed salads are great if you want to load up on carbs, but keep them as an occasional treat: the roast beef Vietnam option has 80 per cent of your daily salt requirements.



Healthy options: Fruit salad, free range egg sandwichA free range egg sandwich is not ideal, but it is one of the options with the lowest saturated fats: 3.1g compared to 3.5g for the roast chicken salad.

Save for treat days: Italian Panini, Fruit caramel crispy bites, Chai LatteWhile many of us kickstart the day with a whole milk Chai Latte, these actually contain almost 20 teaspoons of sugar per serving! As for lunch, a panini can be a great indulgence – but these do contain 1/3 of our recommended intake of salt.


Healthy options: Most salads, the 'smart sides'Most salads at Leon are nutritionally balanced and the sides on offer such as the fresh pea salad or baked potatoes are great low fat and low sugar additions.

Save for treat days: Grilled Chaloumi wrapAs delicious as the grilled Chaloumi wrap is, it has almost double the saturated fats of other wraps and burgers – so keep it as a Friday treat!

cafe nero


Healthy options: Chicken salad sandwich, leek and potato soupThe chicken salad is the healthiest options amongst the sandwiches, with the lowest fat and sugar content. Meanwhile, the leek and potato soup also has the best nutritional ratio of all the soups.

Save for treat days: Brie and bacon panini, sundried tomato and basil soupCheese and bacon never make for a healthy meal – and Nero's indulgent brie and bacon panini has 624 calories. If you're opting for soup, the sundried tomato and basil soup is higher in sugars and saturated fat than the other soups – so while it's not particularly unhealthy, there are more nutritional options.


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