Bacon Breakfast Roll
Verdict: Pretty delicious, but unfortunately not very nutritious. I wouldn’t recommend this as a breakfast staple because bacon is a processed meat. The evidence is pretty solid that higher consumption of processed meat is associated with an increased risk of cancer.
Healthy Alternative? The Omelette Breakfast Roll. Eggs are highly nutritious and packed with vitamins and antioxidants. They’re also the perfect source of protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Eggs used to get a bad rap with concerns over cholesterol content, but research has shown this isn’t the case.
Vegan Sausage Roll
Verdict: Being vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy. This is a huge misconception, as many vegan meat substitutes are often highly processed, higher in salt and contain added sugars and additives. This vegan sausage roll is high in saturated fats (nearly 9g), contributing 44% of your recommended daily intake.
Healthy Alternative? Ambitious perhaps but, if you’re looking for a nutritious snack, the Fruit Medley would be a much better alternative. Fruit is a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, which are especially needed at this time of year to defend against cold and flu germs.
Tuna Mayo Roll
Verdict This roll is packed with protein (22g) and low in saturated fats (<1g) – a win-win. Tuna is a great source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, which is necessary for optimal immunity and bone health.
Healthy Alternative? You could try making your own tuna mayo sandwich at home, using a wholemeal bread roll and adding an extra portion of veg, such as sliced tomatoes. These two simple changes will make your roll more nutritious and help to balance blood sugars, keeping energy levels steady and cravings at bay.
Verdict If you’re worried about your saturated fat intake, this tomato soup would be a healthier alternative to the pastry bakes and processed meats. However, this soup has no halo – it’s low in protein (6g), high in salt (nearly 2g) and super high in sugar (21g). That’s nearly as much sugar as you’d find in a bar of Dairy Milk.
Healthy Alternative? To make it healthier, add a source of protein such as a chicken breast, or swap it for the Spicy Chicken and Red Pepper Soup.
Verdict Due to the puff pastry and beef, this bake is incredibly high in saturated fats (13g – which is 65% of your daily recommended intake). Although beef can be high in saturated fat, it can still be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. It’s also a good source of protein that helps muscle growth, and contains iron, which can reduce fatigue.
Healthy Alternative? The Roast Chicken Salad Roll would be a far healthier alternative – chicken is a better meat option when it comes to cardiovascular health.
Verdict This may be a Greggs classic, but nutritionally it’s very poor. It’s high in saturated fat (12g or 60% of your recommended daily intake). Saturated fat is a ‘bad’ fat, connected to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. In contrast, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are 'good' fats that support health and lower disease risk. Foods that contain these good fats include olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and oily fish.
Healthy Alternative? Opt for the Tuna Mayo sandwich, which contains barely any saturated fats – the fibre in the brown bread will keep you fuller for longer too.
Sausage And Omelette Breakfast Baguette
Verdict I have a couple of concerns here. One is the high level of salt: this baguette contains 3g, which is over half of your recommended daily intake. The other is the saturated fat content, which comes in at nearly 8g. These are significant contributors to rising blood pressure, which increases the risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases. Sausages also fall under the umbrella of highly processed meat – I’d recommend reducing your intake of all processed meats to once every couple of weeks.
Healthy Alternative? The Omelette Breakfast Baguette – ditch the sausage.
Feta and Tomato Pasta
Verdict This is one of the healthier options on the Greggs menu, although it’s not perfect as it’s pretty low in both protein and fibre. White pasta is a refined carb, meaning it’s been stripped of many nutrients (including fibre) during processing. When eaten, the body breaks it down into glucose and is rapidly absorbed, causing a spike in blood sugar.
Healthy Alternative? In an ideal world, this would contain more protein, so pair with a chicken breast if you can – you can buy these pre-cooked in most supermarkets. You can even consider making your own pasta salad at home – use wholewheat pasta for maximum health points.
Ham and Cheese Toastie
Verdict The classic ham and cheese toastie may be comforting, but it doesn’t bring much on the nutrition front. It’s high in protein (26g per serving) which will keep you full, but it’s downfall is the high saturated fat content (10g) and high salt content (2.5g).
Healthy Alternative? The Honey Roast Ham Salad Baguette is a better option – it contains just 1g of saturated fat, with the tomato and cucumber providing additional nutrients.
Verdict Hash browns are made with shredded potatoes, oil and salt, which provide minimal nutritional value. They’re considered a high glycaemic index food and are low in protein, meaning they’re rapidly digested, causing havoc with your blood sugar, which in turn can affect mood. The vegetable oils used to fry hash browns are high in omega-6 fats, which oxidise when heated. In this form, they become more dangerous to body tissues, increasing inflammation.
Healthy Alternative? If you’re craving carbs, go for Greggs’s Simply Creamy Porridge instead. This is made with complex carbs and is a good source of fibre, which will aid digestion and prevent constipation.
Mexican Chicken Baguette
Verdict This sandwich contains 3g of salt – 50% of your daily intake. The sugar content is also high at 16g and it contains 80g of carbs. Carbs aren’t the devil as they’re an essential macronutrient that play a primary role in supplying our bodies with fuel. We just need to be mindful of the types of carbs we eat, and this baguette is classed as simple carbs because it’s made with white, refined flour.
Healthy Alternative? Removing the top layer of bread would make a big improvement on the carb front. I’d also recommend the Tandoori Chicken Baguette, as it has 10g less of sugar (that’s over two teaspoons less) as well as fewer carbs and less saturated fat.
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