New research reveals high levels of salt in the family favourite: A Sunday roast

5th December 2010
Eating a Sunday roast made with pre-prepared products could mean you and your family exceed the adult maximum salt recommendation for a whole day in just one meal!
  • A portion of a stuffed beef joint from ASDA was found to contain more than a third of your daily salt recommendation
  • Pre-prepared vegetables, potatoes, gravy and stuffing could each contain more than 1g of salt per portion
  • It’s important to be extra careful when cooking for children as they should be having less salt than adults

Click here for some low salt roast recipe ideas >>

Winter is drawing in and we are turning to our Sunday roast for warmth and comfort. However, CASH has found that the quick and easy options such as pre-prepared meat, vegetables, potatoes, gravy, Yorkshire puddings, stuffing and a dessert could contain high levels of hidden salt. Having the highest of each product could cause you to have nearly 10g of salt –higher than the adult’s 6g maximum recommendation for a whole day and far higher than the maximum recommendations for children (see the table below).  

Daily Salt Maximums in different age groups:
Age group     Daily Salt Maximum(g)
1-3 years          2g
4-6 years          3g
7-10 years        5g
11 years +        6g

Pre-prepared meat joints are often high in unnecessary salt, sometimes containing a third of your daily maximum, and rotisserie chickens surprisingly contain three times more salt than home roasted chickens. You might expect certain parts of a roast dinner such as the meat, gravy and stuffing to be high in salt, but did you know that a vegetable side dish can be just as bad? Two vegetable side dishes can add up to 2.7g of salt, that’s nearly half of your daily maximum. Potatoes often have unnecessary salt added and a spoonful of mustard or horseradish sauce can be as salty as a packet of crisps. Choosing products carefully or cooking your own are the best ways to keep the salt in your Sunday lunch to within the recommendations.

What can you do?
When buying pre-prepared products, choosing the lowest salt options by reading the labels can significantly reduce how much salt you eat. Have a look at our product examples below, by choosing the lowest salt options rather than the highest you could save nearly 7g of salt in your roast dinner. Because of the large variations in similar sounding products, guessing simply isn’t an option! Remember rotisserie chickens aren’t labelled and are far higher in salt than home roasted chickens so be sure to avoid these.

Alternatively, to reduce your salt intake and save money, all the components of a roast such as vegetables, gravy and Yorkshire puddings can all be easily prepared at home without the need for any added salt. Our low salt recipes show you how you can make a really easy, tasty Sunday lunch without the need for salt.

Click here for some low salt roast recipe ideas >>


Table 1 – Highest and lowest examples for a typical roast meal

Table 2 – Highest and lowest prepared meat examples

Table 3 – 6th Edition McCance & Widdowson’s roast meat figures