Happy Monday everyone! Now I don’t know about you. But trying to find healthy, but affordable lunches is a challenge for me. While I know I should be better at getting organised and making my own lunches. I never am. I rely heavily on convenience food, which isn’t always the healthiest. But last week Greggs challenged me to eat healthier and try their new Balanced Choice salad range. Now while salads might not be the first food you think of when you think of Greggs. It really should be! Their new range is aimed at those of us who want something healthy, tasty and under 400cal. As part of the challenge, I got to try the new range – spoiler alert it was really tasty! And try some of their competitor’s salads to see how Gregg’s compare with the likes of Marks & Spencer, Boots, Pret and Starbucks.
Greggs Chargrill Chicken, Roast Vegetable & Grains Salad £3
Let’s start with Greggs. And the reason for this challenge. They have five salads to choose from in their Balanced Choice range including Cheese, Tomato and Basil Pasta, Honey Roast Ham, Free Range Egg and Potato, Coconut, Lime and Chilli Chicken, Falafel, Harissa, Roast Vegetable and Grains. And the one I picked. Which as the name suggests is made up of chargrill flavour chicken, fresh leaves, cucumber, sun blushed tomatoes, roasted vegetables and mixed grains. Plus a tiny pot of vinaigrette dressing. Not only was this salad full of flavour, but at just 235cal this is a great lunch option for when you want something quick and healthy.
Starbucks Buttermilk Chicken Mango Salad £4.99
Now the first thing I have to say is that this salad is huge! It was the most expensive though at £4.99. With a lovely mix of shredded carrot, rice, edamame beans, mango, buttermilk chicken and red peppers. And a tiny pot of chipotle dressing. This salad gives you the right amount of kick to transform a plain meal. Into something that brings together beautiful flavours and definitely fills you up. Surprisingly this is under 400cals, but just. It’s 351cals which is the most calorific salad out of the five I tried.
Pret-A-Manger Chef’s Italian Chicken Salad £4.50
Back when I worked in London, Pret was always a firm favourite when it came to lunch destinations. I just love how their food is always super fresh. But at times quite expensive. And while this one wasn’t the most expensive. It also wasn’t the cheapest. But it was very tasty. I went for the Italian Chicken Salad which is a combination of Caesar dressed chicken with roasted red pepper, kalamata olives and finished with toasted pistachios. And at 345cal per salad, its not the most calorific either.
Boots Moroccan Style Chicken Couscous Salad £3
Now this salad actually has the fewest calories out of all five at just 209cals. And unfortunately that was pretty clear when it came to taste. Not only that, but after eating this, I was hungry again within an hour or so. Which is a shame, as I normally like the Boots meals and the flavours sounded promising.
Marks & Spencer Sesame Chilli Chicken & Red Rice Salad £3
Now this is also a super lower calorie salad at just 229cals. But it is also the smallest. It is pretty tasty though, as you would expect from Marks and Spencer. With Sesame Chicken, Red Rice Salad and a hot sriracha chilli dressing, this salad certainly packs a punch when it comes to flavour and spice.
Out of all five, I definitely have a favourite. And while the Greggs one was lovely. It just didn’t compare to the Starbucks one. But then the Starbucks one was the most expensive and most calorific. In a close second was the Greggs one. Followed by Pret-A-Manger, Marks and Spencer and then Boots in fifth place.
So there you have it. Who would have thought that Greggs offer tasty and healthy lunch options? But they do!
Which salad would you like to try? Where’s your favourite healthy lunch spot?