It is commonly reiterated that every meal should be an equal fraction of vegetables and proteins. That seems like too much to ask for, especially when you're at work and need a quick refuelling.

That is why many people label bags of pre-washed salad leaves a genius addition to the food industry. But, experts think otherwise.

YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO GET ENOUGH NUTRIENTS FROM EATING BAGGED SALADS

Bagged salads typically look vibrant making you convinced that you'll be getting a load of nutrients from them. But, that is actually rarely the case as many contain very little nutritional benefits due to processing and storage methods.

Vegetables start to lose their nutritional value the moment they are harvested. While some (e.g. carrots and apples) can retain their nutrients for months, many others, especially those of thin and delicate leaves, can't.

salad

In addition, pre-packaged salads are bagged along with a mixture of gasses known as modified atmosphere which keeps them looking fresh and lasting for up to a week.

If you check the back of bagged leaves, you'll find something like “packaged in a protective atmosphere”. But, while that sounds good, it really doesn't help protect the nutrients. This is why you'll observe that such salad leaves quickly wilt after the bag is opened.

This means that you're never going to get enough nutrients from bagged salads, and unfortunately, you wouldn't even know that you aren't!

BAGGED SALADS CAN POSE A RISK OF FOOD POISONING

Salad leaves are pre-washed in chlorine before packaging. However, this doesn't make them automatically fit for consumption straight out of the bag. This is because factories that make the said salad leaves only wash them in an industrial bath of water mixed with chlorine that isn’t changed for hours.

This not only lowers the nutritional value of the  salad leaves, it means that the leaves may still harbour harmful microbes.

Thus, the warning from Professor Pennington, an expert of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, that pre-washed salads are one of the products most likely to cause food poisoning. He says:

“It is generally safer to eat a burger than the salad that goes with it.”

HERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO GET YOUR SALAD LEAVES

  • Contact a local grower. They usually select varieties of salad leaves that will naturally last longer without any chemicals. The cleaning process is also void of gasses or chlorine so you can be assured of its freshness.
  • Take gardening seriously. You can regrow salad on your windowsill, so you have fresh leaves on hand every time.
  • If you can't garden, consider buying vegetables that can be frozen like peas and spinach.