Tested by Friday chief sub-editor Victoria Etherington The concept: Customised health and nutrition programmes delivered to your door to help you reach your realistic fitness goals. The experience: I’ve always been a bit sceptical about food-delivery services. Maintaining weight is about the balance of calories in, calories out. Your waistband is tight? Ease up on the chocolate and fit in an extra spinning class. Simple. But then I hurt my back and it was harder to get that balance right. Calories were going in faster than they were going out, and it showed.
Time to take action. I made an appointment with Health Factory nutritionist Archana Arora, who told me I was storing fat around my middle (a waistband never lies) and that the Miracle 1,300 plan was the one for me. It’s designed for people who don’t (or can’t) exercise much, so sounded ideal.
She said I needed more protein, so my meal options took that into consideration. There were two choices for breakfast every day, and five lunches to choose from, plus a choice of two side dishes. For dinner, again I had to decide between two side dishes but three mains. Options were varied and there were always a couple of vegetarian dishes. The menu: No matter how efficient the delivery service, how knowledgeable the nutritionist, what really matters is does the food taste good? If you’re eating only 1,300 calories a day, each calorie had better be packed with flavour.
And they were. Salads were fresh and crisp, the chicken was moist and tasty, the dal was delicious and the fish was flavoursome. The Indian dishes such as channa dal with rice and paneer jalfrezi with chapatti stood out as particularly tasty. And the sweet treat was always welcome. Pros: The variety of food on offer was a real plus. Fruit and vegetables don’t seem to stay fresh for long here, and to buy cheaply you often need to buy lots. By the end of day five, even melon and strawberries can lose their appeal. But with this service, fresh varied salads arrived every day, so I never got bored. Cons: You need to choose a month’s worth of meals at the start of the programme, so there’s no chance to order favourite dishes again. The result: My waistband told me I had lost inches and when I returned to the dietician to check on my progress, I had lost 2.6kg in three weeks. And that was with a weekend away thrown into the mix, when I had three days off the plan. Verdict: This service is convenient, the food is so tasty and the options so varied, I signed up for another month. I can’t give a better recommendation than that. Price and details: Daily deliveries for 26 days (except Friday) three meals and two snacks Dh2,950 per month. Call 04 347 3808 or log on to www.healthfactory.com.