The warmer weather means more salads with meals. Get the most from your store-bought option and increase your daily vege serves.
There’s a huge range of bagged or packaged salads available at the supermarkets. You can buy individual serves or share-packs.
There are single leaf packs (such as baby spinach or cos) and mixes (such as mesclun or baby spinach and kale) and, of course, coleslaw mixes. Salad mixes are an easy and convenient way to get fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients which are essential to keeping us healthy and active.
Some packs of salad are sold without the dressing, meaning it’s easier to make your own healthy choice when choosing how to dress your salad. But if you opt for a bag of salad with dressing included, here’s how to choose the best ones.
It’s the dressing and any nuts, seeds and cheese in the salad bag that increase the saturated fat content. Several of the bagged salads with dressings we found had sachets of seeds, croutons and cheese, as well as the dressing sachet. Because these are packaged separately it allows us to choose whether we have them or not, and how much we want to add.
We recommend choosing bagged salads that contain 2g or less saturated fat per 100g.
We find sodium in the dressing or additional toppings.
Having too much sodium in our diet can increase our blood pressure which is a risk factor for heart disease, and it’s easy to consume more than recommended. So, when buying packaged foods, it’s important to read and compare nutrition labels. The sodium content of the rest of our meal is important too, so if other components of your meal are higher in sodium be sure to choose a lower sodium salad or simply reduce the amount of dressing or topping you use.
We recommend choosing bagged salads that contain 200mg or less sodium per 100g.
The World Health organization recommends we limit the free sugars in our diet. Using the dressing in these bagged salads adds to our daily sugar total, but it doesn’t have to add a lot.
We recommend choosing bagged salads that contain 5g or less sugar per 100g.
How to choose
Use these criteria to compare bagged salads/salad mixes
Given these salads range from 69-89 per cent veges, the rest being the dressing, 100g is a close enough approximation to a vege serve.
Prices gathered from a range of supermarkets and may vary at time of publication.
Any product examples given here were correct at time of publication. However, remember to check the ingredients and nutrition information every so often, as these can change over time. Prices gathered from a range of supermarkets and may vary at time of publication.
Some different bagged salads we found:
Cost $3.99 per bag
Per 100g: 262kJ, 0.3g saturated fat, 2.8g sugar,
91mg sodium, $0.89
Nice crunchy veges.
Cost $5.50 per bag
Per 100g: 512kJ, 1.7g saturated fat, 3.1g sugar,
200mg sodium, $1.10
Delicious dressing and great range of veges.
Tasty Japanese Coleslaw
Cost $4.49 per bag
Per 100g: 454kJ, 0.8g saturated fat, 3.3g sugar,
180mg sodium, $0.95
Lovely sesame dressing.
Southwest Chopped Salad
Cost $5.99 per bag
Per 100g: 590kJ, 1.5g saturated fat, 3g sugar,
140mg sodium, $1.71
Great flavour and crunch.
Classic Caesar Salad
Cost $3.99 per bag
Per 100g: 436kJ, 1.4g saturated fat, 2.5g sugar,
193mg sodium, $1.60
The croutons were a great touch for a different salad style.
Ranch Salad with Dressing
cost $6.99 per bag
Per 100g: 442kJ, 2g saturated fat, 3.8g sugar,
186mg sodium, $2.69
Creamy, classic ranch salad with all the toppings.
Lite Slaw with Dressing
cost $4.49 per bag
Per 100g: 308kJ, 0.3g saturated fat, 5.4g sugar,
163mg sodium, $0.90
Looks homemade. A good Kiwi salad.
Energising Super Slaw
cost $4.99 per bag
Per 100g: 508kJ, 0.9g saturated fat, 5.5 sugar,
250mg sodium, $1.05
Zingy dressing. It’s nice having the beetroot in there.