How (un)healthy is ready-made pastry?

It’s just so tempting, isn’t it? I love pastry just as much as anyone and when it is ready-made it’s a cinch to use and very cheap. But when you look at the label you realise it’s full of highly-processed ingredients and this is why I very rarely buy ready-made pastry or shop-bought pastries like croissants or sausage rolls. If I do, I aim to get the organic all butter versions, but my kids and I prefer to make it from scratch.

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I try to steer clear of shop-bought pastry when feeding babies and toddlers who have tiny tummies – it’s hard enough feeding them the core basic nutrients like protein, calcium, iron, essential fatty acids etc every day as it is. So, if the bulk of a meal is made up from ingredients devoid of these nutrients, then this is a missed chance to feed their brain, immune system and gut health. They will also be more likely to pester you for snacks as the body and brain craves more food when it’s missing the core nutrients it needs.

Another reason for avoiding ready-made pastry is that many of the ingredients used are classified as ultra-processed – this means they are ingredients that are pro-inflammatory and can disrupt the metabolism – there are over 500 papers on PubMed linking regular consumption of ultra-processed foods to almost every modern health challenge including: obesity, type 2 diabetes, irritable bowel, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and attention deficit. There has been lots of news about this recently as new research has found that the regular consumption of ultra-processed foods is linked to worse Covid outcomes.

I could write a whole book on the ingredients used in the best-selling ready-made puff pastry which are as follows:

Wheat Flour, Margarine (Vegetable Oils and Fats (Palm, Rapeseed), Water, Emulsifier (Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Salt, Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid), Colour (Beta-Carotene)), Water, Alcohol, Salt, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Deactivated Yeast, Natural Flavouring

But suffice to say the only three ingredients that I need to make pastry are flour, butter and honey (and I simply don’t give babies under 12 months pastry anyway!).

Lots of my clients and followers have asked me to talk about some of the ingredients that are commonly found in ultra-processed convenience foods – how they are made and where they come from – the bulk of this information is in the first 60 pages of The Good Stuff, so do please revisit this if you are curious.


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  1. Thank you this is a helpful reminder. The River Cafe Gluten free Short Crust Pastry is a total winner for anyone afraid of pastry making! I use it for both Quiches and Mince pies.