According to new research, more than four million Brits snap up Tesco's Meal Deal offer each week.

And that's just one of the major supermarkets. Asda, Aldi, Sainsbury's and more also offer the quick and easy lunchtime staple.

But were you aware of the 'surprising truth' behind meal deals? It may shock you.

Kerry Beeson, Nutritional Therapist (BSc) at meal prep service Prep Kitchen has now revealed the best, and worst, meal deal combinations for your health.

Kerry says: “An ideal lunch will provide you with around 20g of protein to support its numerous functions in the body, including immune support, growth and repair, and enzyme and hormone synthesis, and to help fill you up. You’ll also want it to contain fibre - at least 6g per 100g - to keep you fuller for longer, help balance blood sugar and aid digestive regularity.

“Depending on your personal needs and health and fitness goals, your lunch should provide around 500-700 calories.

“Aim to include some healthy fats to support and maintain bodily cells and organs, and at least a couple of portions of fruit and vegetables to provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants - regular intake is associated with a lower risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.”

Kerry adds: “If you choose wisely, it should be possible to get a healthy supermarket meal deal lunch."

Worst mains:

Plain cheese/ham/bacon/sausage/sandwich on white bread or rolls 

Kerry says: “Aside from providing protein, these options are high in calories, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and salt, and low in fibre, healthy fats, and vitamins/minerals/antioxidants from vegetables. Bacon and sausage are processed meats which have been associated with a higher risk of bowel cancer.”

Kerry adds: “Also watch out for so-called ‘healthy’ alternatives like sushi, which can be very low in protein and high in refined carbohydrates.”

Best mains:

Good quality salads 

Kerry says: “Look for salads with good quality protein (prawns, chicken, salmon, tofu, beans, egg), with some form of fibre from wholegrain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, bulgar wheat, skin-on potatoes, nuts, and seeds, with healthy fats from avocado, or a healthy dressing with olive oil. Salmon will also provide some healthy omega-3 fats. 

“Opt for those salads with a decent and imaginative serving of vegetables (not just a few lettuce leaves!) - look for those with a rainbow of coloured veggies such as spinach, carrots, beetroot, corn, cucumber, peppers, etc.

“Watch out for salads with lots of white pasta and dressings - these will be high in calories, fats, and sugars, and low in fibre.

For those who have to grab a sandwich, Kerry advises: “Opt for whole grain bread, with salad and good quality protein from prawns, egg, chicken, salmon, or cheese.” 

Worst snacks:

Sausage roll/pasty

Kerry says: “These are high in saturated fat, salt, and refined carbohydrates, and low in fibre. Additionally, the protein is from processed meat, which has been linked to bowel cancer. There are also no vegetables or healthy fats. These snacks will really bump up your calorie intake!”

Crisps/chocolate bars

Kerry reveals: “Crisps or chocolate bars are mostly just empty calories. You’re losing an opportunity to boost the nutritional value of your lunch, whilst dramatically increasing the amounts of salt/sugar, saturated fat, and calories.

She adds: “Watch out for ‘healthy’ cereal bars too - although they can pack some protein and fibre, they are typically high in sugar, fat and calories.”

Recommended reading:

Tesco Clubcard warning to millions of shoppers over deadline

Tesco, Morrisons, Boots and more meal deals: See the best value

Valentines meal deals: the supermarket I believe has the best

Best snacks:

Fruit or veg portions 

Kerry advises: “Hummus and carrot sticks or apple and peanut butter will offer a good boost of protein and fibre, with some antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.”

Free-range eggs with spinach 

Kerry says: “Eggs are a brilliant source of protein and an all-round superfood, also providing vitamins A, B, D, and E, along with some minerals such as selenium. Spinach provides vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium.”

Nuts and seeds 

Kerry says: “Nuts and seeds are high in calories, but they’re absolutely packed with healthy fats, vegan protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Worked into your daily calorie intake, they’re a fabulously healthy choice. Choose roasted unsalted options to keep your salt intake down.”