Which ready-meal brand is the healthiest?

Ready-made weight loss meals offer a convenient way to control energy intake while ensuring your basic nutritional needs are taken care of.

But with so many products on the market, making sense of what’s on offer can be overwhelming.

SEE VERDICT

To help you decide which meals are best suited to your lifestyle, we compared four popular brands of ready-meals for weight loss to find out how they stack up nutritionally.

To do this, we compared similar types of meals (chicken, fish and beef) on the following scores

Kilojoules or calories

The Competitors

Youfoodz delivers ready-meals within Australia, as well as grocery essentials and fruit/veg boxes.

Their focus is on quality and healthy eating rather than weight loss.

Weight Watchers is a long-standing international weight loss company.

They offer tools like workshops and an app, as well as ready meals that are sold in supermarkets.

Lite ‘n’ Easy is a weight loss meal delivery service in Australia. 

Their program options focused on either weight loss or convenient weight management. 

Be Fit Food (that’s us!) delivers fresh, healthy meals within Australia. 

We have a variety of science-backed programs tailored to different weight loss and healthy eating journeys. 

Kilojoules or calories

What are kilojoules/calories?

Kilojoules and calories are two different units for measuring energy - they represent the same thing, so you can compare products with either (as long as you’re consistent).

In terms of meals, they represent the amount of energy that goes into your body as a result of eating that meal.

Your body burns energy from food as fuel, and can store the excess in the form of body fat.

That’s why ‘counting calories’ is so often involved in weight loss. It’s important to keep in mind that your body needs energy input even if you’re aiming to lose body fat. 

Kilojoules/calories on a label

Nutritional information labels should show the total contained in a serving of the product, as well as per 100g.

Not all products have the same serving size, so the 100g measure is included for comparison by a standardised quantity.

When comparing ready-meals, you want to look at the kilojoules per serve, as this is what you’re going to be consuming. 

Brand comparison for kilojoules/calories

Weight Watchers and Lite ‘n’ Easy have the highest kilojoule count, although it’s worth noting that their serves are the biggest.

Be Fit Food has the lowest kilojoules across the board.

BRANDMEALKILOJOULES
Be Fit FoodItalian Beef Meatballs777
Be Fit FoodChilli & Ginger Baked Fish
928
Be Fit FoodSmokey Chicken & Chorizo Paella
1050
YoufoodzClean Fish with Creamy Garlic Sauce1140
YoufoodzSlow-Cooked BBQ Beef & Mash1260
YoufoodzCreamy Garlic Chicken Kiev and Chips1440
Weight Watchers
Peri Peri Chicken11580
Lite N' EasyFlame Grilled Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy1657.9
Lite N' EasyHoney Soy Chicken1768
Lite N' EasyTasmanian Salmon Pasta1913.3
Weight WatchersMassaman Beef Curry2220
Weight WatchersSalmon & Chickpea Pasta2240

Saturated Fat

What is saturated fat?

Fats in food aren’t the enemy - in fact, certain kinds of fats are an essential part of your diet, even if you’re aiming to lose weight.

The key thing to know is that not all fats are equal, and there are some that should be minimised in your diet - namely, saturated fats.

When consumed in excess, these have effects such as raising cholesterol, clogging arteries and increasing your risk of heart disease.

You should steer clear of meals high in saturated fat.

Saturated fat on a label

Nutritional labels show the total fat content of the product, with the saturated fat written underneath this as a subcategory.

In some cases, you may find that a product has a higher total fat content than a competitor, yet is lower in saturated fat (or vice versa).

That’s why it’s important that both measures be included on the label.  

Brand comparison for saturated fat

All four brands have roughly similar saturated fat content, with Be Fit Food being the lowest overall. All Be Fit Food meals are low in saturated fat, with less than 1.5g of saturated fat per 100g.

Be Fit Food also had the most consistent level of saturated fat across all three meals. 

BRANDMEALSATURATED FAT
Be Fit FoodChilli & Ginger Baked Fish1.4
Be Fit FoodItalian Beef Meatballs
1.4
Weight WatchersPeri Peri Chicken
1.6
Be Fit FoodSmokey Chicken & Chorizo Paella2.4
Lite N' EasyHoney Soy Chicken2.6
Lite N' EasyTasmanian Salmon Pasta2.7
Youfoodz
Slow-Cooked BBQ Beef & Mash2.9
YoufoodzCreamy Garlic Chicken Kiev and Chips3.3
Lite N' EasyFlame Grilled Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy4.4
YoufoodzClean Fish with Creamy Garlic Sauce5
Weight WatchersSalmon & Chickpea Pasta5.7
Weight WatchersMassaman Beef Curry9.4

Carbohydrates

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates, or carbs are found in grains, fruits, vegetables, milk products, carbs take the form of starches, fibres and sugars.

As they’re found in so many foods, carbs are an essential part of our diet, but most of us consume far more of them than we need.

In many science-backed weight loss diets, such as mild nutritional ketogenic diets, a low-carb approach is favoured and is optimal to enter a state of mild nutritional ketosis. 

Carbohydrates on a label

It’s fairly simple to read the carbohydrate content on a product label.

You’ll notice that it’s grouped with sugars, as these are a class of carbs.

Sugars

What are sugars?

Most of us know that sugars taste sweet, but did you know that they’re also a class of carbohydrates?

Types of sugars include fructose, lactose, glucose and sucrose. These occur naturally in fruits, vegetables and milk products, and the body can use them as fast-release fuel - up to a point.

Consumed in excess, sugars can have numerous adverse effects on the body, including sending your metabolism and concentration haywire.

Sugars on a label

You’ll find a product’s sugar content listed underneath carbohydrates on the nutritional table.

Even though sugars are a form of carbs, it’s possible for a product to be lower in carbs compared to a competitor, yet higher in sugars (or the other way around).

Brand comparison for carbohydrates

Lite ‘n’ Easy is the highest on sugar, with Weight Watchers coming in second.

Youfoodz is significantly lower in sugar, but Be Fit Food achieved the lowest level of sugar content in comparison to the other three brands due to our strict no added sugar policy in 100% of our products.

This policy includes hidden sugars like syrups, honey, fructose or other sources. In addition, all our products follow a strict ‘no artificial sugar’ policy, to minimise any potential risk of health implications. 

BRANDMEALCARBS
(Total)
CARBS
(Sugar)
Be Fit FoodChilli & Ginger Baked Fish10.3
2.7
Be Fit FoodSmokey Chicken & Chorizo Paella
13.63.8
Be Fit FoodItalian Beef Meatballs
15.35
Weight WatchersPeri Peri Chicken
1616
YoufoodzClean Fish with Creamy Garlic Sauce21.73.4
Weight WatchersSalmon & Chickpea Pasta27.37
Lite N' Easy
Flame Grilled Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy28.610.6
YoufoodzCreamy Garlic Chicken Kiev and Chips32.411.5
YoufoodzSlow-Cooked BBQ Beef & Mash35.717.3
Weight WatchersMassaman Beef Curry50.314.8
Lite N' EasyHoney Soy Chicken54.523.8
Lite N' EasyTasmanian Salmon Pasta619.1

Sodium

What is sodium?

Most people know sodium through salt.

Actually, it’s a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods (as well as in salt), and small amounts of it are essential for our bodies to function.

However, the salt added to many food products as seasoning makes excess consumption all too easy, and this can have numerous adverse effects on the body.

This includes water retention, high blood pressure and even increased wet weight (weight from excess fluid in your body).

Sodium on a label

Reading sodium content on a label is pretty straightforward.

Unlike carbs, sugars, fats and protein, it’s measured in milligrams rather than.

That’s because it occurs in much smaller quantities than the other components. But a little sodium goes a long way, so it’s still important to look at. All Be Fit Food meals are classified as low in sodium, with less than 120mg of sodium per 100g.

Brand comparison for sodium

Lite n’ Easy meals have the most sodium by a long shot - more than triple that of the meals from Be Fit Food, which won out in the low-sodium stakes.

Youfoodz was the second highest in sodium, with Weight Watchers coming in higher than Be Fit Food. 

BRANDMEALSODIUM 
(per meal)
Be Fit FoodItalian Beef Meatballs
143
Be Fit FoodSmokey Chicken & Chorizo Paella
173
Be Fit FoodChill & Ginger Baked Fish
209
Weight WatchersSalmon & Chickpea Pasta
282
Weight WatchersPeri Peri Chicken
452
YoufoodzClean Fish with Creamy Garlic Sauce531
Youfoodz
Creamy Garlic Chicken Kiev and Chips643
Weight WatchersMassaman Beef Curry757
Lite N' EasyTasmanian Salmon Pasta809.2
YoufoodzSlow-Cooked BBQ Beef & Mash893
Lite N' EasyFlame Grilled Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy907.4
Lite N' EasyHoney Soy Chicken989.5

The verdict

When it comes to healthy eating for weight loss, it’s all in the balance - not only of the nutritional components of a meal, but also of how these align with your individual goals and requirements.


Especially if you’re just starting to explore your options for weight loss or weight management, it’s worth speaking with a dietitian to ensure you choose the right approach for you.

SHOP BE FIT FOOD

To systematically review and rank the meals, we gave points to each meal. 

For the meal that came in the best, i.e. least amount of sodium, it was awarded 12 points. Then 11 for the second best, so on and so forth ... 

SHOP BE FIT FOOD
BRANDPOINTS
Be Fit Food131
Youfoodz71
Weight Watchers63
Lite N' Easy40

With that said, this comparison makes it clear that Be Fit Food has one of the cleanest offerings on the market, coming in as the lowest on kilojoules, saturated fat, carbs, sugars and sodium.

Our meals are all natural, full of veggies and with zero artificial thickeners.

It's also no surprise that Be Fit Food customers lose 5kg on average in two weeks*.

SPEAK TO A DIETITIAN

Disclaimer: Nutritional comparison data was collated on 3 June 2020 from relevant websites. This information is only accurate on 3 June 2020 and will require review.  

*Average 5.1kg lost by 212 Be Fit Food customers over 2 weeks on Be Rapid/Metabolism Reset. Individual results may vary and may be impacted by numerous factors including food plan type and individual circumstances and existing health/medical conditions or medications. We advise you to talk to your health professional prior to commencing and during your weight loss journey.