12 1 / 2012

Food (not so) glorious food.

Living Social - 7 days of chef-prepared healthy meals from Diet Chef - January 2012 - cost £29 (value £65) - Diet Chef www.dietchef.co.uk

Score 2/5

As ever, daily deals have their finger on the pulse. It’s January and everyone is fed up of eating (not me), we’ve all put a few pounds on over Christmas (erm how many lbs are in a stone again?), so we all want to diet and detox (yes that would be me, reluctantly). I’ve seen a few of the same deals on all of the usual suspects this month, there was a really expensive - £99 to be precise - 5 day juice detox from the horribly named Nosh Detox on KGB, Wahanda and Groupon. It was clever, it made me go to their website to see what miracles this was going to produce for the price and how much it was normally. The answers were; nothing that you couldn’t do yourself with the right kit, which would coincidentally cost less than the weeks full price of juices for £257. But we’re not here to talk about overpriced juice, I want to talk about overpriced, processed mush from the likes of Diet Chef.

Firstly their website; it’s good, you choose what you want from a very long list of different meals, breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. The breakfasts were ‘samey’, porridge, granola or cereal bars. I like my breakfast so I chose the porridges, my brain makes me think there’s more there because it expands once it’s cooked. Lunches were again very similar, lots of soups, a couple of pasta salads and weirdly, some milkshakes. I’m fussy with soup, I don’t like bits in them and I’ll be damned if I’m having milkshake for lunch, so this was a risky business. Snacks were plain, a couple of oat biscuits in savoury or sweet and some popcorn. Dinners were the highlight when I was choosing, there was a lot of different cuisines, lasagne, pasta, stews, chilli, paella. I almost started looking forward to it. The problem was that the website wasn’t very clear about the ‘freshness’ of these products. Do I keep them in the fridge, are they cupboard items etc? I was going in blind and I’d have to figure this out for myself. 

I had over a week to prepare myself, I had requested for the delivery to be left with the grocery shop that I live above. 3 days after ordering I received an email from UPS, unable to deliver. I didn’t think too much of it, maybe the shop was busy, the next day the same email. I rang UPS and asked what was going on, they said there had been no alternative delivery passed on to them. I gave them the address of the shop but the next day I got the same email again. Finally on the 4th day someone used their initiative and read the address label properly. So far so bad. Also I hadn’t done any food shopping for 4 days so by this time I’d lost half a stone from starving (I joke, although maybe that’s how the meals help you lose weight).

I’ll spare you the details of every single meal but overall porridge is just porridge, the soups were actually nice, the right consistency for me and particularly their sweet potato and coconut soup was surprisingly very tasty, the pasta salads not so nice, soggy and bad tasting. The dinners were all below par, low fat prepackaged meals that don’t even need to be left in the fridge, so the preservatives must be in abundance. I could make healthier meals every day of the week for less than £29 and when you weigh up the actual cost of £65 a week I know I’d rather make my own fresh food and have enough spare cash to buy a pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans to squeeze myself in to when I’ve lost my Christmas weight. And in case you were wondering, yes I did lose a bit of weight but if you stick to any diet you will lose weight so make it a healthy and fresh one instead.