Diet-food delivery comes in handy. There are times in our lives when we're just too busy to cook. On those occasions, we'll opt for a ready meal, take away or in my case, when things are really desperate, a packet of mini Quorn sausages (they're protein-rich though and tasty, honest).
But there are times when we don't want to forgo our healthy food because we're going through a "busy period," or we're manic in the run-up to, say, our wedding day, and we need to eat well (to ward off stress-induced colds and, perhaps, an extra dress alteration).
Enter diet-food delivery. There are companies out there that will send you food based on your likes, your nutrient needs and your goals. Essentially it's like you're an A-lister with your very own rider. Now, I'm not going to lie, the plans aren't cheap, but if you have the money to spend, then these are the three best options we've found.
They're great if you're getting married and want to eat well before your big day but don't have time to think about what you're eating. Or if you have a particular fitness goal you're striving for. Keep scrolling to read our reviews of the three best diet food delivery brands we've found.
The Delivery Experience: With Balance Box you can sign-up to a three-day, four-day or everyday plan and they deliver nationwide. I chose the four-day plan and a cooler bag full of pots of food was left outside my door first thing on the Tuesday morning. It came with an A4 sheet that told me what to eat when, as well as the nutritional benefits of everything which was interesting to read. You can also choose from two plans: Lighter Menu (1200 calories) and Market Menu (1800 calories).
The Food: So delicious and I opted for the 1200 calorie menu so I was worried it would be a bit bland or joyless. Not so. Each day you had a breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks. The snacks were a trail bar, then a piece of fruit with nuts. Breakfasts were things like roasted pear with granola and yoghurt or rye bread with cashew nut butter and fresh fruit.
The tastiest lunch had the be the bresaola and celeriac salad that came with sheep's curd and felt like a real treat. Dinners included cod tagine, chilli con carne and butternut and almond curry.
I wasn't hungry once and all the food was better than any ready meal and probably better than most things I could cook myself.
Best For: The time-poor
The Price: From £20 a day
For more information, head to BalanceBox.com.
The Pure Package
The Delivery Experience: The Pure Package delivers a small cooler bag containing your day's food every morning, so it's super fresh that day. I had a phone consultation with the team beforehand to let them know what my aims were and whether I had any allergies or dislikes. This company offers a wide variety of meal plans to choose from including Mum & Baby, Weight Loss and Training Support. I went for Weight Loss.
The Food: It was literally restaurant quality food, which a good thing since The Pure Package comes in at double the daily price than the others. I couldn't believe that I could eat things like goat's cheese for breakfast with rye bread and roasted tomatoes and pie for dinner! The chicken and leek pie wasn't made with pastry but instead a cannellini bean mash on top, which is ingenious and something I'm going to try myself. Snacks included things like mango with cashew nuts or tzatziki with carrot batons. I think what this plan taught me was that I can eat what I want (cheese, pies!) as long as I'm more measured with my portion sizes. I wasn't hungry, so it proves you can have a little of what you like as long as you don't pile your plate high.
Best For: The Foodie.
The Price: From £40 per day.
For more information head to purepackage.com.
Fresh Fitness Food
The Delivery Experience: You fill out the online form, choosing the meal plan you'd like (these include Fat Loss, Lean Gains and Wellness). You then provide information - like height, weight, exercise routine - so the team can really personalise the meals to you. The meals are then delivered to you daily in the early hours so you have them in time for breakfast.
The Food: Hannah Almassi, Editorial Director of Who What Wear, reviewed Fresh Fitness Food ahead of her summer wedding and dropped 4 pounds in a week. The food, on the whole, is tasty. And if there is anything you receive that your not keen on, you can call them to ensure you don't receive it again. Also, the meals aren't always traditional so you might find yourself eating meat at breakfast, so if you're a traditionalist it's well worth pre-warning them. While all the diet delivery services are aimed at healthy eaters and people who want to lose weight, Fresh Fitness Food is really designed to cater for people who are training as well.
Best For: The Gym Bunny.
The Price: From £20 per day.
For more information head to freshfitnessfood.com.