• 10 Best Ready Meals 2022 | UK Nutritionist Reviewed 1
  • 10 Best Ready Meals 2022 | UK Nutritionist Reviewed 2
  • 10 Best Ready Meals 2022 | UK Nutritionist Reviewed 3
  • 10 Best Ready Meals 2022 | UK Nutritionist Reviewed 4
  • 10 Best Ready Meals 2022 | UK Nutritionist Reviewed 5

10 Best Ready Meals 2022 | UK Nutritionist Reviewed

Ready meals have had somewhat of a bad rep since their conception in the 1950s, but we say, quash those thoughts of unappetising foil-trayed TV dinners! Instant food has never looked so good, with supermarkets now catering to all of our foodie desires, be it calorie-controlled or muscle-building meals, a vegetarian or vegan lasagne or a healthy take on a curry or Chinese. 


Talk to any household and they'll all give a completely different answer when it comes to taste preferences, budget and dietary requirements, so what constitutes the best ready meal? Our guide and top picks are here to reveal all. We've got recommendations for camping and fussy kids, gourmet suppers for one and everything in between, all ready for delivery from Tesco, ASDA, Waitrose and Amazon. Also, we have partnered with Nutritionist Tara Corbett for reviewing and fact-checking the article so that we can deliver the best information to our users.

This Article's Contributors

Tara Corbett
mybest Editing Team
  • Last updated: 09-05-2022
Table of Contents

Compare the Best Ready Meals

For those after a quick look, here is our Top 5:

  1. Tesco - Finest Chicken Madeira & Mushroom Rice for £3.75
  2. Weight Watchers - Red Thai Curry & Sticky Jasmine Rice for £2.65
  3. Charlie Bigham's - Lasagne for Two for £8.25
  4. Ashoka - Punjabi Choley for £1.50
  5. ASDA - Spaghetti Bolognese for £2.75

For a more in-depth look at the comprehensive top 10 selection, make sure to read on to learn more about the different types of ready meals available and understand how our ranking was determined.

This article's chosen EC site price listings are reflective of its publishing date.

Image
1
Tesco Finest Chicken Madeira & Mushroom Rice 1

Tesco

2
Weight Watchers Red Thai Curry & Sticky Jasmine Rice 1

Weight Watchers

3
Charlie Bigham's Lasagne for Two  1

Charlie Bigham's

4
Ashoka  Punjabi Choley 1

Ashoka

5
ASDA Spaghetti Bolognese 1

ASDA

6
Amy's Kitchen Gluten-Free Rice Mac & Cheese 1

Amy's Kitchen

7
Mr Lee's Noodles Meat Lovers Box  1

Mr Lee's Noodles

8
ASDA Chinese Sweet & Sour Chicken with Egg Fried Rice 1

ASDA

9
Morrisons The Best Garlic & Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms 1

Morrisons

10
Morrisons The Best Green Vegetable Medley With Jersey Butter 1

Morrisons

Name

Finest Chicken Madeira & Mushroom Rice

Red Thai Curry & Sticky Jasmine Rice

Lasagne for Two

Punjabi Choley

Spaghetti Bolognese

Gluten-Free Rice Mac & Cheese

Meat Lovers Box

Chinese Sweet & Sour Chicken with Egg Fried Rice

The Best Garlic & Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

The Best Green Vegetable Medley With Jersey Butter

Features

Utterly Divine Comfort Food in Under 10 Minutes

Ideal for Takeaway Lovers Watching the Calories

A Rich, Beefy and Satisfying Lasagne That Tastes Like Homemade

A Mouthwatering Shelf-Stable Curry Meal

A Comforting Pasta Dish That Can Be Ready in under 3 Minutes

An Organic, Gluten-Free and Kid-Friendly Version of a Classic

A Healthier Cup Noodle for a Quick Lunch

Your Go-to Chinese Takeout Dish

A Vegetarian Meal Using Only the Finest Ingredients

An Assortment of Green Vegetables for 1 of Your 5 a Day

Price£3.75£2.65£8.25£1.50£2.75£2.70£13.50£1.60£1.99£2.75
Meal TypeComfort food, Italian Diet, Thai Italian IndianComfort food, ItalianPasta, organicVarious, East AsianAsianVegetarianVegetarian
Diets Suitable For Gluten-free recipe Gluten-free recipe -Vegan, gluten-free, halal-Gluten-free, vegetarian, Kosher Gluten-free-VegetariansVegetarians
Sugar/Sat. Fat/Salt Per Serving4.6 g, 7 g, 1.3 g 5.3 g, 3 g, 1.3 g9.3 g, 17.3 g, 1.9 g 0 g, 10 g, 1.7 g1.6, 1.5, 0.426 g, 10 g, 1.5 gVarious 8.7 g, 0.7 g, 0.54 g3.2 g, 10 g, 1.12 g7 g, 2.6 g, 0.1 g
Calories Per Serving 571350 650240440400218, 222, 274475298108
5-a-Day ---1----11
Portion Size 450 g, serves 1380 g, serves 1 690 g, serves 2280 g, serves 1-2400 g, serves 1255 g, serves 16 x 1-serving pots400 g, serves 1200 g, serves 2260 g, serves 2
Heating MethodsMicrowave MicrowaveOven only Hob, microwave Microwave, ovenMicrowave, oven Add hot waterMicrowave, ovenMicrowave, ovenMicrowave
StorageFridge (6+ days), freezer Fridge Fridge (4+ days)CupboardFrozenFreezer CupboardFreezerFridgeFridge
Link

Fact-Checked & Approved by Nutritionist Tara Corbett

Fact-Checked & Approved by Nutritionist Tara Corbett

Tara is a nutritionist and energy coach who helps clients to lose weight, improve their eating habits, and get their energy back through better nutrition. She specialises in helping busy parents improve their diets without overwhelming them with information, and get them back on track so that the whole family can benefit.

How to Choose a Ready Meal in the UK

Key Points to Consider

  1. Pick a Type of Meal According to Your Dietary Needs
  2. Take a Look at the Nutrition Facts to Assess If Your Meal Is Healthy
  3. Check the Serving Size, Pack Size, and Whether Additional Dishes Are Required
  4. Ensure You Have the Right Appliances for Storing and Heating

1. What's on the Menu? Think About the Type of Meal and Any Dietary Requirements

1. What's on the Menu? Think About the Type of Meal and Any Dietary Requirements

Pick the Type of Meal Based on Preference, Budget and Quality

Whether you see food as a necessary fuel or one of life's great pleasures, you're still going to want a meal you like the taste of. Try narrowing your online search to your favourite cuisines and parts of the world you like to eat from. Then, you can decide which of these are within your budget.


For maximum taste and quality, look for ready meals that are made from mostly real, whole ingredients. A great way to check is by reading the ingredient list - if the majority of the items listed are real foods you recognise and would have in your fridge and cupboard, then it's a healthier ready meal.


You could also plump for organic meals or those made with free-range or British ingredients if shopping and eating ethically are important to you. They normally result in a higher quality meal, too.

Dietary Needs Don't Mean Missing Out on Your Favourites

Nowadays supermarkets are stacked to the rafters with dedicated dietary-friendly items, so don't think you'll have to miss out when buying a ready meal online. Whether you're vegetarian, vegan, or avoiding dairy or gluten, chances are a brand or supermarket have an entire free from ready meal range, or at least a few variations of old favourites like curries and pasta dishes. 


The demand for meals that meet our dietary needs has also meant that supermarkets are getting better at listing whether each product is halal, vegetarian and so on, as well as any common allergens. It may be worth checking what's inside the meal you like the look of anyway, as there's a chance it's suitable for you even if it's not part of a dedicated range! 


For days when you don't mind putting in some work, these meal kits can give you a hearty meal in minutes!

2. Scan the Nutritional Information to Know Whether Your Ready Meal Is Healthy

2. Scan the Nutritional Information to Know Whether Your Ready Meal Is Healthy

Follow the Recommended Guidelines: Less Than 1.5 g Salt and 7 g Saturated Fat With Around 700 Calories

Whether you're actively counting calories or other nutrients or you'd just like to have the guesswork taken out so you can grab and go, the key is to check the nutritional information.


While your calorie intake will vary depending on your body type and energy expenditure, there are some guidelines to follow to make sure you're not overdoing it on the other nutritionals. Although don't forget the odd treat meal or indulgence is fine, and healthy for the mind if nothing else! 


  • Sugar: The daily recommendation is 30 grams, which can be divided between each of your meals. 
  • Saturated Fat: 7 grams or less per serving. 
  • Salt: 1.5 grams or less per serving. 
  • Calories: Up to 700 per serving (as an evening meal), based on the recommended 2000-2500 daily intake for most normal, active adults.

Check for Lighter Ranges and Meals That Contribute to Your 5-a-Day

Not all of us are into calorie counting or have time to scan the labels – hence the ready meal – but there are some other tricks you can employ to ensure you're getting a balanced, nutritious meal. The first is to choose one marketed as a balanced or healthier choice, as these are often lower in calories and fat. 


Secondly, check how many portions of vegetables are included in the ready meal – if it has any worthy health credentials, it'll proudly display how many on the packet. This is also a good tip if you're trying to get more veg into your diet. Otherwise, look for vegetables in the first few ingredients, alongside protein and carbohydrate sources.

3. Note the Serving Size, the Pack Size and Whether Additional Sides Are Required

3. Note the Serving Size, the Pack Size and Whether Additional Sides Are Required

Ready meals are a great way to take the strain off cooking for both multiple and single mouths, so to make sure you and your diners don't finish the meal as hungry as when you started, always check the portion size.


Meals for one not sufficient? Some supermarkets now offer bundles or multipacks of meals with 3-5 different dishes to sample. This is a great way to order what you need for you or your household without hours of browsing, plus it often works out a little cheaper. 


It could also be beneficial to note exactly what's included in the portion, as some ready meals are intended to only be part of your plate, and may require you to prepare extra side dishes such as vegetables or rice. On the plus side, this is a way of saving time while filling up on fresh veg (and pretending you cooked it all yourself). 


If you enjoy cooking at home but don't enjoy doing the shopping, check out our favourite recipe boxes that will give you just the right amount of ingredients you need to whip up a delicious meal!

4. Make Sure the Heating and Storing Requirements Will Work for You

4. Make Sure the Heating and Storing Requirements Will Work for You

Believe it or not, some ready meals aren't actually safe for microwave cooking! Make sure to check how your meal is able to be reheated to save yourself disappointment and forego a potential safety hazard. 


Don't forget to check the storage information, too, as some meals will be best kept frozen, some chilled, and some will even be fine in the cupboard. The beauty of ordering ready meals online, particularly those that are freezer-safe, is that you can stock up – which is why the storage duration is also an important factor to consider. 


Browse our low-calorie ready meal suggestions here!

10 Best Ready Meals in the UK

This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.

1

TescoFinest Chicken Madeira & Mushroom Rice

£3.75

Meal TypeComfort food, Italian
Diets Suitable For Gluten-free recipe
Sugar/Sat. Fat/Salt Per Serving4.6 g, 7 g, 1.3 g
Calories Per Serving 571
5-a-Day -
Portion Size 450 g, serves 1
Heating MethodsMicrowave
StorageFridge (6+ days), freezer
2

Weight WatchersRed Thai Curry & Sticky Jasmine Rice

£2.65

Meal TypeDiet, Thai
Diets Suitable For Gluten-free recipe
Sugar/Sat. Fat/Salt Per Serving5.3 g, 3 g, 1.3 g
Calories Per Serving 350
5-a-Day -
Portion Size 380 g, serves 1
Heating MethodsMicrowave
StorageFridge
3
Meal TypeItalian
Diets Suitable For -
Sugar/Sat. Fat/Salt Per Serving9.3 g, 17.3 g, 1.9 g
Calories Per Serving 650
5-a-Day -
Portion Size 690 g, serves 2
Heating MethodsOven only
StorageFridge (4+ days)
4
Meal TypeIndian
Diets Suitable For Vegan, gluten-free, halal
Sugar/Sat. Fat/Salt Per Serving0 g, 10 g, 1.7 g
Calories Per Serving 240
5-a-Day 1
Portion Size 280 g, serves 1-2
Heating MethodsHob, microwave
StorageCupboard
5

ASDASpaghetti Bolognese

£2.75

Meal TypeComfort food, Italian
Diets Suitable For -
Sugar/Sat. Fat/Salt Per Serving1.6, 1.5, 0.42
Calories Per Serving 440
5-a-Day -
Portion Size 400 g, serves 1
Heating MethodsMicrowave, oven
StorageFrozen
6

Amy's KitchenGluten-Free Rice Mac & Cheese

£2.70

Meal TypePasta, organic
Diets Suitable For Gluten-free, vegetarian, Kosher
Sugar/Sat. Fat/Salt Per Serving6 g, 10 g, 1.5 g
Calories Per Serving 400
5-a-Day -
Portion Size 255 g, serves 1
Heating MethodsMicrowave, oven
StorageFreezer
7

Mr Lee's NoodlesMeat Lovers Box

£13.50

Meal TypeVarious, East Asian
Diets Suitable For Gluten-free
Sugar/Sat. Fat/Salt Per ServingVarious
Calories Per Serving 218, 222, 274
5-a-Day -
Portion Size 6 x 1-serving pots
Heating MethodsAdd hot water
StorageCupboard
8

ASDAChinese Sweet & Sour Chicken with Egg Fried Rice

£1.60

Meal TypeAsian
Diets Suitable For -
Sugar/Sat. Fat/Salt Per Serving8.7 g, 0.7 g, 0.54 g
Calories Per Serving 475
5-a-Day -
Portion Size 400 g, serves 1
Heating MethodsMicrowave, oven
StorageFreezer
9

MorrisonsThe Best Garlic & Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

£1.99

Meal TypeVegetarian
Diets Suitable For Vegetarians
Sugar/Sat. Fat/Salt Per Serving3.2 g, 10 g, 1.12 g
Calories Per Serving 298
5-a-Day 1
Portion Size 200 g, serves 2
Heating MethodsMicrowave, oven
StorageFridge
10

MorrisonsThe Best Green Vegetable Medley With Jersey Butter

£2.75

Meal TypeVegetarian
Diets Suitable For Vegetarians
Sugar/Sat. Fat/Salt Per Serving7 g, 2.6 g, 0.1 g
Calories Per Serving 108
5-a-Day 1
Portion Size 260 g, serves 2
Heating MethodsMicrowave
StorageFridge

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Written and Researched by Natasha Dziubajlo

About Specialist Fact-Checked Articles

Tara Corbett
Nutritionist
Tara Corbett

We partner with specialists across various fields to proof-read our buying guides to deliver accurate and reliable information. Our specialists do not endorse any products that we recommend.


- mybest UK

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