Food & Nutrition

Are Dairylea Lunchables healthy? We take an honest look at the popular lunch product

Dairylea lunchables

Published by Finn Hayden

If you've never had a Dairylea Lunchable then you might be surprised at how simple they are - essentially, it's just crackers, meat, and cheese in a box. On paper, it seems like a perfectly fine and healthy lunch. But is that really the case? We wanted to take a close look at how good for you Dairylea Lunchables actually are. We'll be looking at the ingredients used and the nutritional stats, let's get into it:

What type of Dairylea Lunchables did we look at?

It's quite strange in that despite how popular Dairylea Lunchables are, there are only 2 varieties - Ham & Cheese, and Chicken & Cheese. This made it quite easy for us instead of having to consider a wide range of products like we had to do with Charlie Bigham meals. We'll be looking at how healthy both of the Dairylea Lunchables varieties are.

What are the ingredients used in Dairylea Lunchables?

We should start by looking at the cheese, as both varieties of Dairylea Lunchables use the exact same cheese. What immediately struck us as odd is that in the ingredients, the cheese is listed as being only 75% cheese. The rest of the ingredients include things like whey powder, Skimmed Milk Powder, and anti-caking agent. It's definitely not a great start as of all of the ingredients used in Dairylea Lunchables, we would have expected the cheese to be the most straightforward. Anti-caking agent is often used in grated cheese to prevent clumping, so it seems odd to us that the cheese slices in Dairylea Lunchables need to contain this ingredient. The cheese is fortified with Vitamin D which is a positive, but we're a bit confused about all the other rubbish in there.

back of a Dairylea lunchables box

What about the meat?

Both the chicken and the pork follow the same pattern as the cheese in that they're not 100% pure meat, with the ham being 85% pork and the chicken being 88% chicken breast. None of the meat in Dairylea Lunchables contains any added artificial flavours or colours, but both the chicken and ham contain artificial preservatives in the form of Sodium Ascorbate, which is considered to be safe to consume, but it's still not great to be consuming artificial ingredients when you could be eating 100% meat.

And the crackers?

Of all the components of a Dairylea Lunchables box, we expected the crackers to contain the most artificial ingredients, and this actually was the case. Rather than just being a straightforward cracker, they contain ingredients such as Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Palm Oil, and Whey Powder. It really seems like overkill and a lot more artificial ingredients than we would have expected to find in a simple cracker.

What about the nutritional stats?

So we've established that Dairylea Lunchables are full of ingredients that you might be surprised to find in a product which seems so simple, but what about the nutritional stats? Let's take a look:


Despite not being too impressed with the ingredients, we have to admit that we're quite impressed with the calorie content of Dairylea Lunchables. The Ham & Cheese Lunchables contain 215 calories per pack, and the Chicken & Cheese Lunchables contain just 208 calories per pack. Compared to other popular lunch items, this is actually really low - for example, even something as simple as a ham and cheese sandwich from Tesco contains almost double the amount of calories compared to a box of Dairylea Lunchables. Considering that eating a Dairylea Lunchables would probably fill you up as much as a sandwich, it's quite impressive that they contain almost half as many calories.

Fat & Salt

We're also impressed by the low fat and salt content of Dairylea Lunchables when compared to other popular lunch choices like a sandwich. You'll find just 9.2g of fat in the Chicken & Cheese Dairylea Lunchables, compared to 15.5g of fat in the Ham and Cheese sandwich from Tesco. Similarly, you'll find just 1g of salt in a box of Dairylea Lunchables, whereas the sandwich from Tesco contains 1.5g, quite a significant amount more.

So, can we describe Dairylea Lunchables as healthy?

There is no denying that compared to other lunch options, Dairylea Lunchables are low in calories, salt, and fat. However, the long list of artificial ingredients and preservatives used to make them makes it hard for us to really describe Dairylea Lunchables as a healthy snack.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you to decide how healthy Dairylea Lunchables are. Let us know what you think of our guide and what you think of this popular instant noodles brand!

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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