Are you still allowed chocolate? – JD, 4
Total meal replacement is an interesting concept. Basically, you give up very much say at all in what you eat and instead consume three meals and one snack per day from a portion-controlled and calorie-limited set of pre-packed dishes, delivered to your door.
It’s not really for me – in case you haven’t noticed I flipping love cooking as much as I love the zing of freshly prepared food – but I was happy to give it a go.
Trialling the food
For my Diet Chef trial, I selected the Pink Apple & Cinnamon Granola, Carrot & Butterbean Soup, Vegetarian Lasagne and Chocolate Chip Oat Biscuits from the impressively broad selection of dishes.
Each meal was perfectly edible – I’d even go so far as to say the biscuits and granola were very tasty – but the portions were tiny with the granola barely covering the bottom of my cereal bowl. I guess that’s to be expected, though – it is diet food after all.
Unfortunately, I suffered a bad IBS attack after eating Diet Chef and was totally perplexed as to why. It turns out (after some controlled testing) that butter beans are my trigger, so I feel confident in saying that the reaction was particular to me and my condition and not anything to do with the quality of the products.
Overall, I have mixed feelings. The food is tasty and I’ve no doubt it could help some people lose weight because it takes most of the decision-making out of your hands, but it’s not cheap (£5.57-£7.86 per day depending on the package chosen) and as an IBS sufferer this has reminded me that eating from a packet means playing trigger roulette – anything can happen!
Most significantly, although the main ingredients in Diet Chef meals are mostly pretty healthy, any pre-packed food is going to have to contain preservatives and it’s never going to quite match the nutritional value of freshly prepared meals, so I can’t help thinking it would be wiser to set your own targets and cook for yourself.
In reality of course, we all lead busy lives, and if it was a toss up between a period of pre-packed food or a lifetime of obesity, I know which one I’d choose.
Disclosure: I was sent a day’s worth of Diet Chef food for the purposes of this review. No payment was received. All posts are 100% honest. Images courtesy of Diet Chef