NEW RESEARCH EXPOSES THE SALT HIDDEN IN RESTAURANT MEALS

  • 50% of high street restaurant, café and fast food meals surveyed were HIGH in salt
  • 13 meals surveyed had more than 6g of salt per meal – the maximum recommendation for a WHOLE DAY

Many of us eat out more than we think we do – picking up breakfast on the way to work, grabbing lunch on the go, or going to a local restaurant for dinner. Indeed we are eating out more and more; food eaten out of home makes a significant contribution to our daily diets with an estimated 1 in 6 meals being eaten out of home.  Although we can try and keep track of how much salt we eat at home, it is harder to eat less salt when eating out.  

54% of people surveyed now find restaurant meals too salty and 70% of people surveyed think chefs should be responsible for helping them eat less salt. Our recent survey has lifted the lid on the hidden amount of salt in food served by chef, chain, café and fast food restaurants. We need to ask them to add ‘Less Salt Please!’ – tasty food doesn’t need salt, and we have plenty of tips to help you below.

CASH Nutritionist Kawther Hashem provides some tips on eating less salt:

What can you do while eating out?
• Always ask for ‘Less Salt Please!’ Tell the waiter if you find your meal too salty
• Ask if the restaurant has nutrition information available to help you choose a lower salt meal
• Avoid choosing meals with salty ingredients such as ham, bacon, cheese, smoked fish, olives and capers
• Don't add any salt at the table – it really shouldn’t need it!
• Try not to add too much gravy or sauce, as it will add unnecessary salt to your meal
• Ask for a low salt soy sauce

What can you do while cooking at home?
• Try to use more herbs, spices, lemon, chilli, garlic and ginger
• Try to use less salty ingredients such as bacon, ham, bacon, cheese, soy sauce, smoked fish, olives and capers
• Check the labels when shopping to make sure you choose lower salt ingredients such as stock cubes, spreads, table sauces and cooking sauces

Examples of main meals in restaurant chains with the high salt and low salt content

High exampleSalt/portion (g)Low exampleSalt/portion (g)
J D Wetherspoons 10oz gammon with eggs, chips, peas, tomato and flat mushroom8.9J D Wetherspoons Jacket potato and chilli con carne, sour cream without creamy salad dressing1.6
Carluccio’s Gnocchi al Gorgonzolao5.15Carluccio’s Tortellini di cervo0.3
Wagamama’s Yaki Udon7.0Wagamama’s Mixed selection with three salmon sashimi slices sushi1.7
Leon Grilled meatballs hot wrap3.4Leon Garlic Chicken with seasonal salad0.4
Nando's Veggie wrap3.7Nando's Chicken breast in pitta1.9

Examples of main meals in café chains with the high and low salt content
High exampleSalt/portion (g)Low exampleSalt/portion (g)
EAT. Macaroni and cheese hot pot6.0EAT. Chicken and mushroom pie1.3
Itsu Duck hoisin boxu with 15g red top soy5.4Itsu Smoked chicken 'no carb' salad1.2
Caffe Nero Brie, bacon and caramelised onion panini3.0Caffe Nero Tostati - ham mozzarella and emmental1.0
Costa Ham and cheese sourdough panini2.9British chicken and roast pepper panini1.3
Pret a Manger Swedish meatball hot wrap4.6Pret a Manger Chunky hummus salad wrap1.8
Starbucks Tuna melt and mature cheddar panini2.5Starbucks Tuna potato and pea bistro box1.0

Examples of main meals in fast food restaurant chains with the high and low salt content
High exampleSalt/portion (g)Low exampleSalt/portion (g)
Burger King Chicken royale with cheese4.5Burger King Hamburger1.4
Domino's Pepperoni passion - delight mozzarella (Personal Pizza)4.8Domino's Vegi volcano (Personal Pizza)1.9
KFC Dippin' strips5.3KFC BBQ rancher twister1.8
McDonalds Big Tasty with Bacon3.4McDonalds Hamburger1.2
Pizza Hut BBQ meat feast pizza (9 inch)6.4Pizza Hut Chicken Delight Pizzetta1.9
Subway Spicy Italian wrap3.3Subway Chicken temptation (6" regular, grain wheat)1.7


Check out our soup recipe: Butternut Squash and Rosemary Soup by Charlton House  

Ask cash@qmul.ac.uk if you want us to send you a postcard with cooking tips for you to put on your fridge