Saturday, 21 September 2013

Trying out Diet Chef

At the beginning of August just as I moved house I was sent a month’s supply of Diet Chef products to try out and report on. In late August once I had settled in our new home I tried out a full week of using the products and I’m super pleased to report that in a week I lost 4lb. However, I am now sad to say that I then went on holiday to Dorset and those Dorset cream teas got the better of me and the weight went back on (it's the story of my life). I'm just about to embark on the other three weeks of using the products but I thought I'd let you know a bit about the diet plan and how it went during that first week.  I’ll report back in October about the rest of my time on the diet.

So what is Diet Chef?
It is a diet plan consisting of three calorie controlled meals and one snack each day. Your products are delivered to your door every four weeks and you can choose the meals that suit you and your tastes. The plan can be followed by both meat eaters and vegetarians as there is good variety.

The daily meals provide about 1200 calories a day, and Diet Chef estimate this is about 700 calories less than most people need in a day to sustain heir weight. You should see a loss of about 1-2 lbs per week depending on your weight when you start, this gradual loss gives you a better chance at keeping the weight off.

The plan is suitable for those with a BMI above 24.9 and you use the free online tool to work yours out.

An average days food on the plan

Is it easy to order?
You choose online which meal options you would like (and there are lots) and place your order, this was really simple to do and not very time consuming. If you are not sure what you want you can just go with the pre-selected options so you can try out many of the meals and find out which ones suit you.

I was placing my order via the PR agency and the wrong meal options went through so I had to speak to customer service and I can tell you hand on heart they were excellent, really knowledgeable and very interested in my issue. I was told I’d be called back and I was and the correct foods arrived with me.

As well as telephone customer service/ support there is also email support and an online live chat option, so you can get things sorted out quickly and with minimal fuss.

What are the meals like?
All lunch and dinner meals are developed by their chef to be balanced and tasty but importantly low-calorie. They are prepared and sealed in a pouch or tray and then pressure cooked to give them a long shelf life. They do not need to be refrigerated and this makes storage very easy. I have to say that I did not find them very visually appealing in their packaging but maybe this is a good thing as personally I have far too much focus on food and my enjoyment of it and what I really need is to be able to see it is fuel for my body.

The breakfasts were probably my favourite meal of the day, I tried different granolas, mueslis and porridges and cannot complain about any one of them. The muesli and granola were smaller than the portion I would normally have but when you add fruit and/or yoghurt then you have a good start to the day. These individual packs were very good at helping me to recognise what a portion should look like, portion control is definitely an issue I have currently.

For lunch mostly I choose soups but also some milkshakes, this is because these are my preference, there is also a variety of salads but I did not fancy them. The soups are very good and the chicken mulligatawny stood out for me.



Snack wise I love the popcorn and there are various flavours so no need to be bored. The 2 pack biscuits were also good, especially the fruit ones and for me I was not so keen on the cereal bars, just a bit dry and bland in my opinion.

There is a massive variety of dinner options and generally I think they are very good but I was surprised to find I needed to add pasta, rice, potatoes and vegetables if I wanted them, most of the main dishes are just the meat aspect of a meal. I love the chicken curry and it is filling but my problem comes in that I want naan bread with it! Diet Chef suggest you look at the serving suggestion photos on the website to see what might be a good idea to add to your meals, this was useful to me as I would probably have given myself far more than 20g of dry pasta otherwise. I am learning to bulk up with salad and vegetables and not carbohydrates.

Making spaghetti bolognaise for the family and my Diet Chef equivalent. 

What does it cost?
If you wish to try out Diet Chef the minimum term is 28 days. A four week plan will set you back £245 for the four weeks, this works out to £8.75 per day. When you add to this that you need to also cost in milk, bread, fruit, vegetables etc then I suspect you are spending about £10 per day for one person, which is quite steep. However if you need a short term fix and only have a small amount of weight to lose then this might be a good option for you as it will kick start your diet and help shrink your stomach and get you aware of portion sizes.

It can work out cheaper if you are happy to commit to 12 weeks, this will cost you £180 per month, working out at £6.43 per day.

It is important to say that you need to be aware of automatic renewal. Diet Chef change you to a four week rolling plan at the end of your original order term and whilst I think it is good that they are open about it being an automatic renewal, the last part about the rolling four week plan is in lighter text and is easy to miss on the webpage, this feels a bit underhand if I'm honest.

How long should you follow the plan for?
Diet Chef recommend signing up to the following plans depending on the amount of weight you wish to lose -

4 weeks – less than ½ stone
8 weeks – 1 - 2 stone
12 weeks – more than 2 stone

For someone like me who realistically has about 6 or 7 stone to lose I would be on the programme for a very long time and this could end up costing me a small fortune but if it had the desired effect and got me to the right weight it might be worth it. Then of course comes the battle of eating healthy for the rest of my life to sustain that loss. I do think Diet Chef is much better than many of the diets available nowadays, especially the very low calories ones with meal replacements as at least I am getting used to eating smaller portions of real food.

Some benefits they state -
  • Calorie counting and portion control all done for you – making life simpler, giving you the headspace to be able to diet
  • No cooking, measuring, counting or weighing
  • Easy to prepare, heat and serve in 2-3 minutes – great the ready meals are so quick but you still have to cook the accompaniments like vegetables, rice etc
  • No banned foods – things like chilli and curries are still allowed which is obviously a plus point, as often when you deny yourself something you just crave it more
  • Encourages frequent eating to prevent cravings – great for establishing an eating pattern for those prone to skipping meals and then gorging at other times

Overall, would I buy Diet Chef?
To be honest I don’t think Diet Chef is the right plan for me but this is because I am currently not working and thus have time on my hands to plan and prepare healthy meals for myself and my family. With four other people to feed in the house, I still have to cook and therefore why would I single myself out and make it obvious to my impressionable children that I need to diet.

Before I undertook this plan I spoke to a friend who I knew had done Diet Chef for four weeks. She is far, far slimmer than me and in her four weeks she lost 10lbs and was pleased with that. I asked her if she would do Diet Chef again and on the one hand she said yes as she enjoyed the meals and it was simple and convenient for her as a single woman but on the other the cost made it less attractive as she is a competent cook and can make her own meals for far less.

Diet Chef have had over 40,000 customers so far, so there are a lot of people who are very happy with the plan and the success stories are very inspiring.

If you want to find out more about Diet Chef, you can –
Check out their webpages

Follow them on Twitter

Like them on Facebook


Disclosure: I was provided with 4 weeks of food for the purpose of this review. They have not instructed me what to write and I remain honest.
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