Diet Food Delivery: Pros, Cons and Reviews of UK Services
By WLR's Site Manager, Laurence Beeken
Endorsed by celebrities such as Martine McCutcheon and Florence Welch of Florence and The Machine, what exactly are you getting for your money by having diet foods delivered? And are these plans a good way to lose weight?
We've taken a look at 8 of the more prominent delivered food diets to see if the modern day meals on wheels can help your weight loss plans.
What's the Fuss About?
Diet delivery services arrange for ready-made, usually calorie-counted, diet meals to be delivered to your door. Most of the programs can be customised, and offer different options for service delivery depending on your budget, support needs and dietary requirements.
Delivering healthy meals to your home is nothing new. For years 'Meals on Wheels' have provided hot, nutritious food direct to those not able to make their own dinners.
Unfortunately no-one has yet come up with a plan to deliver hot food for dieters, so you'll need your microwave and plenty of space in your fridge and/or freezer.
A range of plans are available from different providers, from just one or two meals a day - to all of your meals and snacks for the week. Inclusion of fresh fruit and vegetables varies depending on the supplier and/or your choices.
How much prep you need to do also varies, from nuking a ready meal to putting a meal together from a kit.
All of the delivery services covered here have an online presence and for most you can also order on the phone. We found websites varied from well-laid-out and easy to use, to downright confusing!
The main thing is the suppliers do the calorie counting, nutrition planning, measuring and much of the preparing for all of the meals.
Quick and easy to follow, these diet plans can be a good solution if you don't mind living on what are essentially ready meals. Similar to what you'll find in the chiller cabinet at the supermarket, but generally a lot more expensive.
Individual Plan Reviews:
- Body Chef
- Diet Chef
- The Natural Ketosis Company (Go Lower)
- The Pure Package
- Wiltshire Farm Foods
- If you go for a plan that has all the food you need, you won't have to go food shopping and try to resist the temptation of nice looking food, or impulse buys.
- You won't have to make decisions about what you are going to eat.
- You'll save time compared to cooking a meal from scratch.
- Bad choices are taken away. With many of the diet food delivery programs, there is no chance to pick an unhealthy meal option.
- You may be less likely to 'give in' and opt for a takeaway if your dinner's already in the fridge.
- You could find that you think less about food, a benefit for those people who can't seem to think about anything else when they're on a diet.
- Diet food delivery tends to be expensive. First used by celebrities because they were the only people who could afford them!
- Because the weight loss meals are all made for you, you won't learn much about healthy foods, portion control and cooking, the skills you need to maintain weight loss for life.
- When you come off the delivered food plans you may pile the weight back on as you have not been educated on how to plan your diet.
- The meals are only meant for one person so you won't get much benefit from the convenience if you have to cook for others.
- You may get fed up with everything you eat having that ready meal taste.
- Eating, in or out, with friends and family could become difficult as you either can't join in with the meal, or end up eating off plan.
- It takes away the fun of cooking your own meals.
- With no food diary if you eat something not on the diet plan you have no way of knowing how many extra calories you have eaten.
- On days where you burn some exercise calories you can't compensate by eating another day's food. This kind of negates one of the major benefits of exercising - you get to eat more calories!
Each provider will offer a range of basic and additional services for a monthly fee.
Expect to pay anywhere between £6 and £68 per day depending on the plan that you opt for and any extra services.
Higher priced plans tend to provide fresh gourmet style meals, as opposed to the cheaper frozen ready meals.
In addition to these charges, you may need to buy further food for snacks or top ups.
Most plans should result in a weight loss of 1-2lbs a week, more if you are a heavier weight to start with. What you lose is going to be dependent on your age, activity level, start weight and your calorie allowance.
Realistically, 1-2 lbs a week is a good weight loss goal if you want to maintain the loss for the long term.
These are not quick fix diets and claims that you can lose more than 2lbs a week should be viewed with caution. You may find our article How Long Does it Take to Lose Weight (complete with real people's weight loss graphs) quite enlightening in this respect.
The delivered diets offer a broad range of foods, with varying price tags and options available depending on your goals. Look at them in greater depth to learn more about each one individually.
If you like the idea of the convenience of these types of diets, but want a little more control, why not try building your own diet plan based on meals you can get delivered from your favourite supermarket? The resources below will help you get started:
If you'd like to devise your own diet plan (or use one of ours) why not take a 24hr free trial...
You'll get full access to the UK's largest online calorie and nutrition database, extensive recipes and plans databases, and you can calorie count your own recipes and plans.