It begins with food

It begins with food

As I’m sure many of you know, about a year and a half ago I completely overhauled my diet in a bid to start feeling myself again. I’d been plagued by horrible digestive systems for too long and I decided enough was enough. Overnight, I cut out dairy and eggs and quite honestly, I haven’t looked back. The results have been drastic – and I lost nearly three stone in weight too as a result. Embarrassingly, I think that’s telling in itself of just how much cheese i must have been eating…

Anyway, so since then I’ve been on a pretty virtuous path with food not out of choice but because of my restrictions. The majority of bad foods have dairy and eggs in them (even brioche buns, salt and vinegar pringles and every type of biscuit imaginable) so I’ve largely led a very healthy lifestyle and really enjoyed experimenting with new flavours.

However, over the summer, after getting back from Thailand and really a bit sluggish after all the carbs, I realised I was stuck in a bit of a food rut. I was eating the same thing day in day out, simply because I was limited already and it was all I knew and liked. Porridge for breakfast, a wrap for lunch and chicken fajitas for dinner. It didn’t really provide much variation and so I decided to look into options about changing things up.

I bought a tonne of recipe books and made shopping lists galore about the wonderful ingredients I’d buy. But then, I suppose, life got in the way. I’m still setting up a very new business and learning on the job about how to turn what was once a hobby into a fully fledged career. It’s exciting and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but I work from 6am to 11pm some days – and I didn’t have the time or inclination to tear myself away from my work to create these amazing, but time consuming concoctions.

I’m sure anyone can relate to. Whether you’ve started a new job, moved house or perhaps just don’t have the time in general because of well, life – we all have good intentions but no time. Any precious time we have spare is probably preferably spent elsewhere. And so, my predicament was no closer to being solved.

And then BodyChef got in touch about reviewing their services and I was immediately intrigued. It’s totally different to anything I’d heard of before, because it’s not purely aimed at those aiming to lose weight – but those wanted to invigorate their diet and live healthy lifestyles, even if their own busy lives prevent them from doing so.

There’s no frozen ready meals or fad suggestions in sight. It’s just purely good, home-cooked food personalised to your preferences and delivered to your door. I signed up for a month in the hope I could try some new dishes, change up my palette and make sure I was getting the right amount of nutrients (to see if it made a difference to my tiredness and energy levels).

It exceeded my expectations.

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The Food

When you think of traditional healthy eating – you think of bland, slightly boring dishes that don’t really whet the appetite. You know, bog standard chicken and vegetables and zero carbs. And although the healthy eating market has been re-vamped by glamorous plant-based diets with very exotic sounding ingredients, I didn’t really think it was something a delivery plan was going to be able to compete with. If I’m totally honest, I thought it would lie somewhere towards the former scale. Boring and slightly bland. However it sided more with the latter.

Plenty of quinoa, avocado and green juices were on the menu, teamed with roasted vegetables, chilli orange cod and almond and red pepper dips (an amazing discovery). There was always something new and exciting to try – and I genuinely looked forward to every meal.

But hey, rather than waffle on about how tasty everything was (because I could do), instead, I’ll type out one of my bi-weekly menus – so you can get a feel for what I was eating! Please excuse my annotations. They’re purely for expressive purposes!

Friday

Dinner: Salmon & Mangetout with Carrot and Sugar Snap Salad and a balsamic dressing (so delicious, I actually scooped the remaining balsamic from the pot with a spare carrot – that’s how nice it was). 

Dessert: Blueberries and almonds.

Saturday

Breakfast: Porridge Oats, Soya Milk, Strawberries. (even if I did cheat ever so slightly and pop a tablespoon of maple syrup on top).

Lunch: Chicken breast, balsamic glaze (hooray), coleslaw, carrot sticks and crispbread.

Dinner: Salmon & Mangetout, Green Beans.

Dessert: Apple and Apricot Compote.

Sunday

Breakfast: Granola, Soya Milk and Blueberries.

Lunch: Oriental Salmon Steak with Green Beans.

Dinner: Salmon, Carrots and Balsamic.

Dessert: Coconut Lime Energy Bites.

Monday

Breakfast: Granola.

Lunch: Chicken Breast, Tortilla Wrap and Beetroot.

Snacks: Grapes.

Dinner: Chicken pappardelle and tagliatelle.

Dessert: Blueberries.

Tuesday

Breakfast: Porridge Oats and Mango.

Lunch: Tuna and Cucumber, Oatcakes and Beetroot.

As you can see, it’s all simple and wholesome stuff but the fact it’s all prepared, portioned and ready is probably the main beauty of a meal delivery plan – because there’s no fiddling around or worrying about portion size. Often we eat too much because we’re super hungry and pile food on our plate, which we then feel obliged to eat. This removes that temptation entirely. And I felt so much better for it!

I had curries, pasta, wraps and even a tofu blueberry fool – which I can’t exactly say was my thing, but I’m glad I tried it!

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But how much food is there?

A lot. I chose the 1200 calorie per day option, which is the lowest number BodyChef offer – so I was initially a little concerned that I should have bumped up the amount in the dashboard, because I didn’t want to go hungry. When everything arrived however, I was taken aback at the sheer amount of food provided. Each day I had breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner and sometimes even a dessert. Everything was labelled by the calorie intake, so you could monitor everything if you were being extra careful – but honestly, I never craved more food and each meal left me completely satisified. I was surprised at the variety and selection considering I’d eliminated quite a few main food groups – and on the first hamper delivery day, I forgot to eat one of my dinner options in all the excitement!

Personalisation

What I loved most about BodyChef is that it’s totally tailored to the individual – so whether you (like me) have intolerances, allergies or simply don’t like a certain food – you can eliminate this straight away from your menu plan. Once you log into your dashboard you can select the type of meal plan you’d like for the week – which ranges from Mediterranean, to Flat Tummy, to Detox (and more) and then the very snazzy website whizzes you up a menu plan in keeping with your requirements. If you don’t like a certain meal, snack or pudding – you can simply swap it for something else.

There’s always the risk when someone else is choosing your meal plans that you won’t like something and therefore it will be a wasted meal – however the fact you can easily switch an option for something you prefer (and save it in your settings as being a default option should that choice arise again) means that it saves you even more time in the long run.

I was able to eliminate dairy and eggs from all of my future meal plans with a swift click of the mouse and I also specified for there to be no brazil nuts, raisins (for me they ruin everything) or chickpeas (I love them but they don’t love me). This meant I was able to ensure I suffered no flare ups and could focus on the delicious food in hand!

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How does the delivery aspect work?

The majority of healthy eating delivery plans I’ve come across are limited to London (or at least inside the M25) so I was really pleased that BodyChef offer a nationwide service. Food is delivered on a twice-weekly basis (so it’s as fresh as possible) by DPD, in a huge polystyrene and cardboard parcel with ice packs. I was initially a little worried everything would be warm and inedible by the time in reached me (especially as I trialled this over the summer months), but each delivery was cool and fresh with nothing out of place!

Everything is neatly packaged up and labelled with the day and meal they’re meant for – which corresponds to the menu you’re also given. This is really helpful because you can organise all your food into daily piles and pop them in your bag quickly before you leave the house, without having to prepare or package anything up.

My only complaint would be with the delivery service who often took to leaving the parcels outside my front door in full view of the road and driving off. A parcel did go missing – however this was an issue to take up with the delivery service rather than BodyChef. It’s just one of those things!

So why go for a meal delivery plan?

Having your meals delivered every week isn’t cheap, I’m not going to lie. It’s around £50 – £70 per week and that’s on the lower calorie plan I was on. However if you’re looking to revamp your diet, kick start your healthy eating plan or even try some new foods that you just don’t have time to make yourself, then this is for you. Even if it’s just for a few weeks.

Were there any downsides?

Well yes actually, it made me actually want to cook – because I missed that feeling of concocting a dish myself and preparing it. But that’s by no means a bad thing. For me, being on the plan was all about invigorating my taste buds, trying new things and making sure I was eating properly. It certainly ticked every single box!

Body Chef | link

Would you ever try a meal delivery plan? Or have you done so in the past?

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  • Love this! It’s really given me some ideas about changes I can make to my diet. I’m completely stuck in a rut at the moment too, having just been on holiday. I feel so gross and am desperate to get back into shape! xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

  • Joanne

    Omg, love this! I would totally do a meal delivery plan but never got around to doing one so far. I love the idea though, and it must help so much. All the food looks really good btw!

    Joanne | Life in Blue Skies

  • mybeautrip .com

    This food looks so tasty!! Great idea.
    xx

    http://www.mybeautrip.com

  • Girl you are looking fantastic!

    I’ve tried the ‘recipe box’ schemes in the past and I actually found that these made me want to be more experimental in the kitchen too but because you had to follow certain recipes I felt quite restricted by them.

    This sounds a great idea for when you know time could be tight though!

    Emma | HarmonyBlaze.co.uk

  • JESSICA BROWNE

    girl this looks so yummy! very healthy and balanced http://www.j-anne.co