28 September 2015: A new safefood report shows that many lunch wraps purchased outside the home may not be as healthy as people think. The report, “What’s in your Favourite Wraps?” found that some wraps could contain up to 1,000 calories with many also high in fat and salti.
The survey which analysed almost 240 takeaway wraps from 80 outlets across the island of Ireland also found large differences in portion sizes, salt and fat content. Of portion sizes surveyed, the biggest portions were almost two-and-a-half times that of the smallest portion sizei while of the Chicken Tikka and Salad wraps surveyed, total calories ranged between 267 calories and 977 calories with total fat ranging between 6g and 59gi. The top three most popular wrap fillings were Chicken and Salad, Chicken Caesar Salad and Chicken Tikka & Salad.
Commenting on the report, Dr Marian Faughnan, Chief Specialist in Nutrition, safefood, said: “We know from research that 1 in 3 people believe wraps to be a healthier choice than a lunchtime sandwich but in reality, the average tortilla wrap on its own contains 149 calories, almost the same as two slices of bread which contains 158 calories. And with people busy and looking for a healthier lunch option, choosing a pre-prepared wrap is understandable. However, our report shows that eating a large chicken tikka wrap with soft drink and a bag of crisps could mean almost 1,400 calories are eaten just at lunchtime alone. Wraps and sandwiches are a healthy option but we need to choose smaller portion sizes and fillings such as lean meat or fish and plenty of salad and vegetables.”
The safefood report also revealed that on average all three of the most popular wrap varieties surveyed contained high levels of salt ranging from 49% of an adults’ Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) in a Chicken and Salad wrap, 54% in a Chicken Tikka and Salad wrap, to 72% in a Chicken and Caesar Salad wrapi.
While a typical chicken wrap delivers between 67% – 81% of an adults’ daily protein allowance, the average calorie, salt and fat content also varied greatly depending on the accompanying sauce:i
|WRAP||Calories||% Guideline Daily Amount (GDA)||Total Fat (g)||GDA%||Salt
|Chicken Caesar Salad||564||28%||26.3||38%||4.3||72%|
|Chicken Tikka and Salad||538||27%||24.1||35%||3.3||54%|
|Chicken and Salad||465||23%||17.8||26%||2.9||49%|
“Our research highlights the wide range of portion sizes, calorie, fat and salt content that people could be eating at lunchtime”, continued Dr Faughnan. “The advice for consumers is the same whether they’re ordering a wrap or sandwich – if you want a healthier option, choose a smaller portion size and go for grilled chicken instead of coated/deep-fried varieties. Cutting back on salty meats and sauces can also help, as can choosing wholegrain varieties to boost your fibre and adding more salad and vegetables.”
The research report “What’s in your Favourite Wraps”, which is part of safefood’s Nutrition Takeout Series, is available to download from www.safefood.eu along with a practical infographic on popular bread varieties and portion sizes.
[i] What’s in Your Favourite Wraps, Nutrition Take Out Series 2015; safefood