Fast Food: Home VS High street


We are all prone to a cheat day, or grabbing food for convenience and to fill a craving on occasion, but leaving home for the first time with free rein on food choices- and the responsibility to fill the fridge can lead to some debatable eating habits… often significantly consisting of fast food and takeaways.

Most of the mainstream fast food chains have added healthy additions to their menus in an attempt to attract the ever more health conscious younger generation, but how many people actually opt for those choices? If you fancy a burger sometimes that craving has just got to be filled!

As part of our Life Skills course we focus heavily on learning to cook nutritious meals on a budget, and one of the sessions guides you into making healthy versions of your favourite take away! That’s why we want to show you how you can create direct replicas to the food you fancy – whilst saving calories and £££!…

So in our comparisons here we are measuring price, calories, fat content, saturated fat content, carbohydrates, sugars, fibre, protein and salt. We are then comparing this with the recommended daily intake (%RDI) for an average female (2000 calories) which is how the food industry bases its measures.

The results are pretty shocking!


Homemade Burger Meal vs High Street Burger Meal

Home made burger - The Mountain Cookery School

Not only does the homemade burger look better than its high street counterpart, there are also some real key differences in their nutritional value.Admittedly by using sweet-potato instead of, well, whatever mush they use in fast food restaurants, we are not comparing like for like exactly,  but sweet potatoes actually count as one of your five-a-day (potato fries do not) ,and they taste better too! (Don’t worry – the burger doesn’t scrimp on any of the essentials) See our recipe >>> 

So let’s get down to some numbers:


High Street Burger Meal The Mountain Cookery School Burger
£5.88 £2.08
1035 calories 690 calories
51% RDI Salt 28% RDI Salt


And if 543 calories in our burger is still too much for you, then by removing the bacon and the cheese this takes the burger down to 371 calories… actually a pretty low calorie meal. Team this with a decent side salad and you’ve got a very balanced burger indeed!


Homemade Pizza vs High Street Pizza

pizza tmcsPizza’s do cross a number of food boundaries. It can be fast take away food; woeful supermarket ready made things which you keep in your freezer until microwaved; half decent supermarket fodder if you go for a fresh one; an acceptable night in a decent restaurant; or, if you take it one step further and head over the Col De Petit St Bernard (about 30 minutes drive from our Tignes training venue) to Italy, pizzas take on yet another form and become a national staple. In Italy, though, pizzas take on the mantle of being an art form rather than a food source, and for me, the only place where they should really be eaten!

See our recipe >>>


High Street Pizza Meal The Mountain Cookery School Pizza Meal
£13.48 £2.25
2695 calories 2081 calories
218% RDI Sat Fat 87% RDI Salt


Visually a homemade pizza looks a lot more appetising than a takeaway pizza. That’s not in question. The other things we are measuring today, however, show an even greater disparity between homemade and high street.

To compare like-for-like we are looking at basic cheese and tomato pizza and a whole garlic bread. The high street one is one typical of any of the famous pizza chains. This is a whole 11 inch pizza and a whole garlic bread, so most people would be full after finishing, if not having left some (normally the crusts???!).

The scariest statistic, though, is not the price, it is that a normal female should eat 2000 calories per day. This meal on its own in the high street is 2,695 calories – a whopping 135% of your daily allowance! Our homemade one isn’t much better though, at 2,081 calories. Great if you’re planning a 40 mile bike ride, but not so good if you’re more used to playing Playstation… Why not share the pizza and make up a nice side salad and some sweet potato wedges to get a balanced meal.

However, although the calorific value is still high, the homemade one has less than half the saturated fat (87% of your RDI rather than 218% RDI in the take away). Cripes.

The standard takeaway cheese and tomato pizza contains 1,680 calories. However, if you switched to a deep pan base and added pepperoni, mushroom, sausage and extra cheese, this rises to 3,120 calories!


  The Mountain Cookery School Chicken Tikka Massala vs Supermarket Ready Meal

curry tmcsOur final dish is a classic curry, with rice and flat bread. We are going to compare our homemade recipe to one which you can buy in a high street supermarket in ready meal form.

On the whole, with supermarket value ranges, ready meals can appear really cheap (compared to an Indian takeaway) and also don’t look too unhealthy on the labels. The one we looked at here from a major supermarket came it at £3.25 which sounds like a bargain, and it is certainly easy to see why they are popular with students or people on a budget. Our homemade version though still comes in cheaper at £1.88 per portion, and a curry is a great meal to make as a batch and then freeze portions.

See our recipe >>> 

High Street Curry Meal The Mountain Cookery Curry Meal
£3.25 £1.88
858 calories 471 calories
50% RDI Salt 6% RDI Salt


Okay so we’ve got the cost, calories and flavor sorted. The one thing that may still put you off is time… which is arguably the biggest attraction to a takeaway – ease, and speed. All of our recipes above take under 20 minutes to cook- and with our life skills course we show you hints and tips to use your cooking time efficiently to make it stress-free! Overall, it’s no contest. Get cooking!

To book a life skills course or for any more information call 020 8600 1650 or email us at