Most of us generally accept that we're buying ready meals because they're convenient and quicker to consume, not because they're going to be very tasty or particularly healthy. But there are a few ready meal brands which are trying to buck this trend, with the Charlie Bighams brand emerging as a leader in the premium ready meal category.
What factors are there to consider when considering how healthy these meals are?
There are a number of factors to consider when trying to assess how healthy the Charlie Bigham meals are, but we think the 3 most important are what meal you look at, the ingredients used, and the nutritional information. Let's look at both in a bit more detail:
The Charlie Bigham's range of ready meals includes everything from hearty meat-based dishes to lighter vegetarian dishes, so it's hard to give a single answer to the question of how healthy these ready meals are as they're all quite varied in terms of ingredients. But one thing which all of the meals have in common is that they're made with fresher ingredients than most ready meal brands, which feels like a huge advantage but might not actually be.
Although research shows that fresh food can often retain Vitamin C better than frozen or canned food, it seems that some foods actually retain more nutrients when they are frozen or canned, such as broccoli and blueberries. So although the fact that these ready meals from Charlie Bigham are made with fresher ingredients might feel like it makes them healthier than your standard ready meal, we're not convinced this is the case.
The image below shows the ingredients in the Thai Green Chicken curry from the Charlie Bigham range, which is quite useful to look at when trying to determine how healthy this meal is. As you can see, there is nothing artificial in the ingredients list, but high-fat foods like milk and cream are among the first ingredients listed, as well as demerara sugar.
Final thoughts - are Charlie Bigham meals healthy?