Millions of Brits are so busy their main evening meal consists of quick-fix snacks such as cereal, toast – and even crisp sandwiches, a study revealed yesterday.
Researchers found in a typical week, 60 per cent of adults turn to make-shift meals such as cheese and crackers, ham sandwiches and even packets of powdered soup.
Getting home late, making do with what’s in the house and being too tired or busy to cook, were just some of the reasons overworked Brits gave for scrabbling mismatched food together on week nights.
In fact, the research also showed the average adult only eats a hot meal cooked from scratch just four times a week.
Toast, cereal or a similar snack is on the menu at least twice a week, according to the poll by Pukka Pies.
What’s worse is that nearly a third said they often eat their dinner straight out of the packet rather than serve it on a plate.
A hectic 25 per cent claim they are so hungry when they get home from work that on occasion they rush straight to the fridge and eat their evening meal standing up.
Rob Dixon of Pukka Pies said: ”We can all relate to the feeling of being too exhausted to cook when we get in after a long day, and try as we might, we can’t bear the thought of peeling, chopping and cooking the traditional meat, vegetables and gravy from scratch.
”The vast majority of workers want something quick and tasty before they dash off out again or collapse in front of the TV.
”Every now and then, we can get by on a quick fix like cereal or toast, but most of the meals in the list are not even hot.
”During the winter months especially, it’s important to eat a hot evening meal, rather than eating the first thing we find in the fridge.”
The survey also found four in ten Brits regularly have a bowl of cereal in place of a hearty evening meal, but 41 per cent said it was because they fill themselves up on bigger meals at lunchtime to justify having a light bite in the evening.
However, three in ten claim they get it in the neck from their parents and grandparents for not having a proper meal that consists of meat and two veg.
The poll found one in four adults lie about what they eat because they are embarrassed about what they have eaten or are planning to eat.
One in two think having an easy meal makes them look lazy and 29 per cent feel like they have a limited repertoire if they snack on sandwiches and cereal.
And 23 per cent say they lie about their meals because the basic food they eat makes them appear uncultured.
One in five lie because they do have time to cook proper meals but can’t be bothered, and a third lie because they know what they are eating is unhealthy.
Not surprisingly, 36 per cent of respondents said they do worry about their nutritional intake because of the food they eat.
Sally Voss of Pukka Pies added: ”If you are eating snacks opposed to a nutritious meal every night of the week, over time it will take its toll.
”But reaching for a warm snack rather than preparing a meal from scratch is sometimes all you need after a long, busy day – especially for young professionals that don’t have to cater for a big family.
”We’re launching a campaign – Pukka Pie-oneers – to give inspiration to people to show that it doesn’t need to take time and too much energy to serve delicious dinners every day.”
TOP TEN QUICK-FIX DINNERS
3. Ham sandwich
4. Crisps or nachos
5. Packet or tinned soup
6. Cheese and crackers
7. Instant rice / noodles / pasta
9. Chip butty
10. Sausage roll or pasty