Health & WellbeingProduct Reviews

Pre-Packaged Meals

Pre-prepared packaged meals are highly convenient, but how ‘healthy’ are they? 

That really depends on how often you consume them. If you only purchase them occasionally, you don’t need to be too concerned as long as they are contributing toward your macros they are fine to eat. However if you have them regularly, there are some key nutrients that you should be looking at.

There are three main nutrients to compare across product nutrition panels to help you make the best choice:

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Saturated fat – some foods containing saturated fat may increase blood cholesterol levels, with high levels increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease. Try to choose meals with <1.5g (low or < 5g (moderate) per 100g.

Dietary fibre – essential for good gut health, it lowers the glycaemic load of a meal, supplying your body with a slower and steady stream of glucose from the carbohydrates you consume for refuelling. Choose meals with >5g of dietary fibre (high) or >3g (moderate) per 100g. If a meal doesn’t meet this particular requirement, it probably isn’t contributing much toward your daily serves of vegies. Add some vegies to bulk a meal up that meets the other requirements but falls short here. Steam packs and salad mixes are a quick and convenient way to do this.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines advise choosing foods that are high in dietary fibre, low in saturated fat,

with minimal or no added salt. All three can be difficult to find in pre-prepared meals, so we’ve done some of the hard work for you.

Following are some of the better pre-packaged meal options we found in a recent supermarket and online survey.

Beef

Core Powerfoods Deep South Chilli 350g (Frozen) RRP $9.00 Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA & online

Energy (cals/serve)415
Protein (g/serve)40
Carbohydrate (g/serve)43.1
Sugar (g/serve)9.8
Sodium (mg/serve)216
Dietary fibre (g/serve)Unavailable
Saturated fat (g/serve)2.1

Core Powerfoods Holy Meatballs 350g (Frozen) RRP $9.00 Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA & online

Energy (cals/serve)442
Protein (g/serve)48.8
Carbohydrate (g/serve)35.8
Sugar (g/serve)7.1
Sodium (mg/serve)398
Dietary fibre (g/serve)Unavailable
Saturated fat (g/serve)2.5

Core Powerfoods Smokey Mountain Meatballs 350g (Frozen) RRP $9.00 Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA & online

Energy (cals/serve)461
Protein (g/serve)44.8
Carbohydrate (g/serve)51.8
Sugar (g/serve)21.6
Sodium (mg/serve)390
Dietary fibre (g/serve)Unavailable
Saturated fat (g/serve)2.1

Fitness Outcomes Beef Chilli Con Carne 350g (Chilled) RRP $9.00 Available from Coles, Woolworths & online

Energy (cals/serve)413
Protein (g/serve)34.6
Carbohydrate (g/serve)43.4
Sugar (g/serve)4.2
Sodium (mg/serve)529
Dietary fibre (g/serve)7.7
Saturated fat (g/serve)3.5

Lean Cuisine 5 Hour Slow Cooked Beef with Veg and Grains 350g (Frozen) RRP $8.50 Available from Coles, Woolworths & IGA

Energy (cals/serve)291
Protein (g/serve)26.3
Carbohydrate (g/serve)32.6
Sugar (g/serve)3.5
Sodium (mg/serve)847
Dietary fibre (g/serve)7.0
Saturated fat (g/serve)1.1

Lamb

Lean Cuisine Lamb & Rosemary Hotpot 280g RRP $4.50 Available from Coles, Woolworths & IGA

Energy (cals/serve)238
Protein (g/serve)10.1
Carbohydrate (g/serve)29.7
Sugar (g/serve)6.2
Sodium (mg/serve)683
Dietary fibre (g/serve)4.8
Saturated fat (g/serve)1.7

Super Nature Superfood Meal Slow Cooked Lamb Ragu 350g (Frozen) RRP $6.30 Available from Coles, Woolworths & IGA

Energy (cals/serve)325
Protein (g/serve)18.8
Carbohydrate (g/serve)38.1
Sugar (g/serve)6.2
Sodium (mg/serve)641
Dietary fibre (g/serve)Unavailable
Saturated fat (g/serve)2.8

Youfoodz Lamb Risoni Power Bowl 306g (Chilled) RRP $9.95 Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA, 7-11, BP Connect, Coles Express, Enhance Petroleum

Energy (cals/serve)392
Protein (g/serve)23.4
Carbohydrate (g/serve)43.0
Sugar (g/serve)14.7
Sodium (mg/serve)249
Dietary fibre (g/serve)3.9
Saturated fat (g/serve)2.4

Pork

Lean Cuisine Slow Cooked Glazed Pork with Parisian Carrots and Mash 350g RRP $8.50 Available from Coles, Woolworths, & IGA

Energy (cals/serve)301
Protein (g/serve)25.2
Carbohydrate (g/serve)31.5
Sugar (g/serve)10.2
Sodium (mg/serve)795
Dietary fibre (g/serve)8.1
Saturated fat (g/serve)2.5

Chicken

Simply Super Bowl of Goodness Chicken Satay & Wild Rice Mix 350g (Frozen) RRP $3.99 Available from Aldi

Energy (cals/serve)382
Protein (g/serve)22.4
Carbohydrate (g/serve)46.9
Sugar (g/serve)9.1
Sodium (mg/serve)634
Dietary fibre (g/serve)10.5
Saturated fat (g/serve)3.2

Super Bowl of Goodness Butter Chicken & Ancient Grains 350g (Frozen) RRP $3.99 Available from Aldi

Energy (cals/serve)336
Protein (g/serve)16.8
Carbohydrate (g/serve)38.9
Sugar (g/serve)6.0
Sodium (mg/serve)791
Dietary fibre (g/serve)8.8
Saturated fat (g/serve)4.6

Core Powerfoods Chipotle Chicken 350g (Frozen) RRP $9.00 Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA & online

Energy (cals/serve)389
Protein (g/serve)40.6
Carbohydrate (g/serve)37.3
Sugar (g/serve)5.6
Sodium (mg/serve)315
Dietary fibre (g/serve)Unavailable
Saturated fat (g/serve)1.8

Core Powerfoods Going Nuts Crunchy Satay Chicken 350g (Frozen) RRP $9.00 Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA & online

Energy (cals/serve)494
Protein (g/serve)47.8
Carbohydrate (g/serve)46.0
Sugar (g/serve)6.8
Sodium (mg/serve)385
Dietary fibre (g/serve)Unavailable
Saturated fat (g/serve)2.8

Fitness Outcomes Portuguese Chicken 350g (Frozen) RRP $9.00 Available from Coles, Woolworths, & online

Energy (cals/serve)335
Protein (g/serve)34.0
Carbohydrate (g/serve)34.3
Sugar (g/serve)12.3
Sodium (mg/serve)487
Dietary fibre (g/serve)6.7
Saturated fat (g/serve)1.8

Super Nature Super Pulses Lemon Ginger Chicken 300g (Frozen) RRP $4.00 Available from Coles, Woolworths, & IGA

Energy (cals/serve)282
Protein (g/serve)15.6
Carbohydrate (g/serve)46.2
Sugar (g/serve)15.3
Sodium (mg/serve)699
Dietary fibre (g/serve)9.9
Saturated fat (g/serve)0.6

Youfoodz Chicken Sweet Potato & Broccoli 300g (Chilled) RRP $9.95 Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA, 7-11, BP Connect, Coles Express, Enhance Petroleum

Energy (cals/serve)349
Protein (g/serve)30.9
Carbohydrate (g/serve)29.1
Sugar (g/serve)13.8
Sodium (mg/serve)214
Dietary fibre (g/serve)8.3
Saturated fat (g/serve)1.8

Fish

Super Nature Super Pulses Wholemeal Sicilian Tuna Bake 300g (Frozen) RRP $4.00 Available from Coles, Woolworths, & IGA

Energy (cals/serve)279
Protein (g/serve)15.3
Carbohydrate (g/serve)38.4
Sugar (g/serve)11.7
Sodium (mg/serve)624
Dietary fibre (g/serve)7.8
Saturated fat (g/serve)1.3

Youfoodz Salmon Fettucine 370g (Chilled) RRP $9.95 Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA, 7-11, BP Connect, Coles Express, Enhance Petroleum

Energy (cals/serve)562
Protein (g/serve)35.4
Carbohydrate (g/serve)52.0
Sugar (g/serve)13.4
Sodium (mg/serve)618
Dietary fibre (g/serve)5.3
Saturated fat (g/serve)6.6

Vegan

Lean Cuisine Spiced Cauliflower Lentils & Cous Cous Available from Coles, Woolworths, & IGA

Energy (cals/serve)221
Protein (g/serve)13.7
Carbohydrate (g/serve)35.3
Sugar (g/serve)5.6
Sodium (mg/serve)560
Dietary fibre (g/serve)10.6
Saturated fat (g/serve)0.8

Super Nature Super Vegan Wellness Bowl Vegan Sri Lankan Curry 350g (Frozen) RRP $6.30 Available from Coles, Woolworths, & IGA

Energy (cals/serve)270
Protein (g/serve)11.6
Carbohydrate (g/serve)36.4
Sugar (g/serve)8.4
Sodium (mg/serve)473
Dietary fibre (g/serve)8.1
Saturated fat (g/serve)4.6

Youfoodz Loaded Lentil Lasagne 300g (Chilled) RRP $9.95 Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA, 7-11, BP Connect, Coles Express, Enhance Petroleum

Energy (cals/serve)396
Protein (g/serve)11.2
Carbohydrate (g/serve)46.0
Sugar (g/serve)10.4
Sodium (mg/serve)454
Dietary fibre (g/serve)3.9
Saturated fat (g/serve)5.4

Vegetarian

Super Nature Super foods Split Pea & Lentil Dahl 350g (Frozen) RRP $6.30 Available from Coles, Woolworths, & IGA

Energy (cals/serve)434
Protein (g/serve)21.0
Carbohydrate (g/serve)61.6
Sugar (g/serve)8.8
Sodium (mg/serve)826
Dietary fibre (g/serve)13.0
Saturated fat (g/serve)2.8

Youfoodz Mango & Sweet Potato Tagine 350g (Chilled) Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA, 7-11, BP Connect, Coles Express, Enhance Petroleum

Energy (cals/serve)303
Protein (g/serve)9.7
Carbohydrate (g/serve)51
Sugar (g/serve)14
Sodium (mg/serve)968
Dietary fibre (g/serve)6.9
Saturated fat (g/serve)1.8