Diet Meal Delivery vs. Ready Made Meals

By wlr staff Trudi Purdy

Can food delivery services such as Diet Chef help you get back in control of your portion sizes and help your weight loss journey? Or are healthy frozen ready meals from the supermarket just as good and easier on the wallet?

So, you’re home at the end of another busy day and you’re starving. Problem is, you don’t really want to be weighing out the ingredients and cooking a healthy, portion controlled meal from scratch. You want a meal that’s quick and easy so, sod the healthy eating, you reach for the phone or the mouse to order food for delivery. Stop! You can still keep on track, even when you are really busy. You don’t need to fall off the wagon when you’re tired and pushed for time.

Using Ready Meals to Diet

The answer could be the ready meal! Especially if you’re in the ‘Can’t cook, won’t cook’ camp or find making time for food preparation difficult. There is a huge choice out there and making the right decision could really help your weight loss journey or maintenance.

A recent study published in the journal Obesity found that people who dieted using ready meals lost more weight than those who did not.

Supermarket meals have had a bad press in the past. However, manufacturers have taken heed in some cases and have looked at the salt, sugar and fat content in their ready made meals.

Having a few healthy favourites lurking in the freezer can be a godsend when you’ve had a long, busy day. Grab it, bung it in the microwave and ten minutes later you have a portion controlled, calorie counted meal, ready to be eaten.

Ready made meals from the supermarket may look small in comparison to the portion sizes we are used to but, they are actually enough as a meal.

Most of us serve up portions that are way too big and this can be one of the contributing factors to our weight issues in the first place.

You will get used to portion sizes you should be eating with ready meals. However, if your ready meal just isn’t hitting the spot, add some steamed veggies or a crisp side salad to bulk it up a little.

Are Ready Meals Healthy?

The trick to finding a healthy choice of ready made meal in the supermarket is to check the label. Check for calories and keep a really good eye on salt, sugar and fat levels. Here’s a great checklist for you:

Do

  • Try to learn what the labels mean.
  • Low fat means no more than 3g fat (per 100g of food).
  • Low saturates means no more than 1.5g saturated fat (per 100g of food).
  • Low sugar means no more than 5g sugar (per 100g of food).
  • Low salt means no more than 0.3g salt (per 100g of food).
  • Check the Guideline Daily Amounts of the nutritional content per portion to see how much that particular meal would contribute. Each day, women should have no more than 70g fat, 20g saturates, 90g sugar and 6g salt.
  • If weight loss is your goal you'll need to eat fewer calories than the average guidelines shown on packaging. Most women will lose 1-2lb a week on 1100-1500 calories a day, that's a wide variation. Find out more about what affects the number of calories you need to lose weight.
  • Check how many portions that pack supplies - it could be the ready meal you have picked up is meant to feed two, for example.
  • You can choose a sensible rate of loss and what foods to eat with Weight Loss Resources. Why not take a free trial now?

Don’t

  • Think that reduced automatically means it’s a good meal to choose – it doesn’t always mean low. It simply means by law, a product must have at least 30% fewer calories or fat than the standard product. This means some ‘reduced-fat’ products such as mayo, cheese and salad dressings – might still have a lot of fat in it.
  • Automatically assume healthier products will contain fewer calories than the standard product – surprisingly, some regular products may have similar calorie counts, so remember to check.
  • Think that because it is lower calorie you can have twice as much. Diet products can be a useful way to help you get back in touch with suitable serving sizes. If you think ready meals too small, serve them on a smaller plate and fill any empty space with steamed veg or salad with fat-free dressing.

Diet Food Delivery – Modern Day Meals on Wheels

Diet and healthy food delivery companies offer to deliver fresh or frozen ready made meals to your door. Diet Chef, Nutrichef, Wiltshire Farm Foods etc. offer proper portion sizes and calorie controlled meals delivered to your door. This could be the way forward for you but it does come with a hefty price tag.

  • Diet Chef can deliver your three meals a day and snacks for between £5 and £8 a day.
  • The Natural Ketosis Company will deliver high protein, low carb meals in a hamper every 2 weeks. It will cost around £7.50-£8 per day.
  • Bodychef will set you back around £17-£19 per day depending on which plan you opt for.
  • Nutrichef is the longest running diet delivery company in the UK and will cost around £16-£21 per day depending on the length of time you sign up for.
  • The Pure Package is gourmet food delivery but only in and around London and the M25. It will set you back a massive £32.95 per day with extra added on for any changes you want to make.
  • My Diet – In a Box can deliver different types of diet food for around £15 per day up to £21.
  • Wiltshire Farm Foods don’t offer a specific diet delivery but are a bit more like a modern meals on wheels but the meals they deliver are portion controlled so would still help. Meals start from £2.40 per serving.

With some of the above companies, you get ready made meals, with others it’s the ingredients you need to create your own meals. Either way, they are fresh ingredients and some of the menus look yummy. It’s just the price tag that could put you off with prices ranging from £2.40 per serving right up to £32.95 for one day’s worth of food.

Cook Your Own Ready Made Diet Meals

When you are trying to make changes to your eating habits, preparation is definitely key. If you can spend just a few hours on one day batch cooking for the freezer, you'll have ready meals on hand for the nights you don’t want to cook.

What could be better than eating a home-cooked calorie- controlled meal with the correct portion sizes? And you would know exactly what had gone into it!

You'll find hundreds of calorie counted recipes in wlr, or you can use the tools to calorie count any recipe that takes your fancy. Take a free trial to give it a go.

Simply choose your favourite meals and create them in portions, freeze and have them on hand whenever you need them.

Ideas for Home Made Ready Meals

Here are some ideas for meals that you could cook in bulk and then split into portions for freezing:

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Work out which of the supermarkets’ ready made meals are healthy and fit your calorie requirements at the click of a button with the extensive food database at WLR. Choose from hundreds of calorie-controlled recipes and add your own to the recipe database. Try it free - no credit card details required.

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