It’s not exactly what you could call fast food. In fact, it took years of effort. Food researchers pored over some 4,000 health claims used by manufacturers and supermarkets to tempt shoppers into buying their products. These were whittled down to only 222 that were judged to have basis in scientific fact – and from those they have concocted a menu that is being hailed as the healthiest ever.
And if you’re a follower of that popular belief that eating healthily has to be boring, think again.
This menu promises to be appetising and tasty too.
It was created by scientists at Leatherhead Food Research, an independent British organisation, using the 222 surviving health claims which have now been cleared by EU food watchdogs.
Health-giving components include Omega 3 fish oils, which are good for cholesterol, and folates, found in high-fibre multigrain bread and which boost the brain and developing babies in the womb.
The menu starts with a fresh and smoked salmon terrine, which contains Omega 3 and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is good for the arteries, heart and brain.
An accompanying mixed leaf salad with a dressing of extra virgin olive oil is good for maintaining normal blood cholesterol levels. Chicken casserole with lentils and mixed vegetables is a particularly nutritious main meal, with the study showing it could safely make 80 official health claims.
The protein in it ‘contributes to a growth in muscle mass’, while the pantothenic acid found in lentils can help reduce tiredness and ‘improve mental performance’.
For dessert, a live yogurt-based blancmange topped with walnuts and a sugar-free caramel-flavoured sauce scores well as being good for digestion, the teeth and blood glucose control.
The inclusion of guar gum in the dessert is said to help in the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol, while lactulose ‘contributes to an acceleration of intestinal transit’.
The walnuts in the topping are a superfood – consumption of 30g a day, or a small handful, is proven to ‘contribute to the improvement of the elasticity of blood vessels’.
The scientists also included their own sports drink creation which could genuinely claim to boost performance. Its many ingredients include micro nutrients such as biotin, calcium, zinc, chromium copper, iron, potassium, selenium, and magnesium.
Biotin, for example, can help the metabolism, the nervous system, skin and hair, while calcium is good for muscle function and the bones.
Other recommendations include a concoction for dieters – a mixed berry shake that serves as a meal replacement.
Its ingredients include Glucomannan, which contributes to weight loss for someone on a calorie controlled or energy restricted diet.
For cold days or nights, there is a velvety hot chocolate drink containing melatonin, which helps send you to sleep quickly at night.
As a final helpful thought, the experts recommend activated charcoal tablets, which contribute to ‘reducing excessive flatulence after eating’.
Dr Paul Berryman, the Leatherhead chief executive, conceived the idea as a perfect airline meal, but says the ingredients and dishes would work just as well in the home.
‘We have also shown that healthy foods do not have to be dull,’ he said. ‘We carry out thousands of consumer taste tests a year and one thing is clear. No matter how healthy, if foods do not taste good they will not sell.’