I would love to have a personal chef.
Someone to take on all of the time and effort that goes into meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. Someone who knows about nutrition, and knows how to create healthy, balanced meals, containing all of the things that I need in my diet.
Sadly, I don't have a personal chef, nor am I ever likely to have a personal chef. So I've gone for the next best thing - a Mindful Chef weekly recipe box.
A minimal effort, healthy eating plan
If you've been following my weight loss journey posts, you'll know already that my healthy eating plan has been entirely based around a weekly Mindful Chef recipe box. The reason that this has worked so well for me is that it enables me to follow a healthy diet with an absolute minimal amount of effort, a minimal amount of time invested, and a minimal amount of knowledge on nutrition and cooking.
Each week, I choose my recipes from a menu of around 20 different choices. Here are a few examples from this week's menu:
I choose my delivery day (delivery is free across the whole of the UK, and can be scheduled for any day of the week). The box is delivered between 8am - 7pm on my chosen delivery day, and if I'm not in, it conveniently gets left on the doorstep for me.
Do Mindful Chef meals help with weight loss?
I've been averaging around 3 kilos of weight loss per month since I started eating Mindful Chef meals. So I'd say yes! Definitely! Mindful Chef meals are great for weight loss! You can see the visual results of my weight loss journey by checking out the article I wrote below:
I've been doing other things too.
I've cut out unhealthy snacks and now only eat things like fruit, plain yoghurt, or nut and seed mixes in-between meals. I've been doing personal training sessions twice a week, and I've been getting plenty of exercise in addition to the training. Those things will have had a positive effect on my weight loss.
But definitely, the Mindful Chef meals have played a huge part.
And of course, it's not just about the weight loss. It's about feeling good, feeling energetic, feeling well and feeling healthy. And I do feel all of these things. I feel amazing!
I've been feeling better and better every week. And again, whilst this is in part due to the exercise I've been doing, it is also in a large part due to the varied and balanced nutrition that I'm getting every day, from the Mindful Chef recipes.
How I divide up my meals for the week
I've been ordering five two-person recipes per week - I cook three of those recipes as evening meals over the course of six days (each recipe creates two portions, so I stick the second portion in the fridge, ready to be reheated the next night). The remaining two recipes, I cook and divide into three portions each, giving me six smaller-sized meals, suitable for lunch-times. This covers me for six days of the week, meaning there's only one day each week where I have to cook something from scratch.
Mindful Chef is - I think - the only recipe box to offer a one-person meal option. That said, I ended up choosing the two-person recipes anyway. The cost per meal is higher for the one-person option. And with the two-person option I can simply put one portion in the fridge for the next night, giving me the additional benefit of not having to cook from scratch on the second night.
High quality ingredients
One of the key things that makes Mindful Chef stand out above other recipe boxes is the high quality of the ingredients - all of their ingredients are sustainably sourced from small suppliers across the UK. They use no refined carbs like white pasta, bread or white rice; all meals are dairy free and gluten free; also all of the meals are between 450 to 650 calories making portion control and weight loss easy.
I've tried other recipe boxes in the past, where I've regularly received slightly sorry looking vegetables, even occasionally mouldy vegetables. With Mindful Chef though, the quality is always evident. The vegetables are plump and firm - and in the last four months of ordering weekly boxes I have never received any mouldy vegetables.
Discovering a diversity of new ingredients
It's not just the high quality of the ingredients; It's also the diversity of ingredients included in the recipes that makes Mindful Chef so great.
I've been introduced to so many ingredients that I'd never tried, or sometimes even heard of before. I've massively increased the variety of things I'm eating each week - and diversity in the diet is a good thing. I've even realised that actually, I do like some of the things that I thought I didn't like.
Mushrooms, for example!
I always thought I didn't like mushrooms. I thought they were rubbery and weird. But, as they pop up in a lot of the recipes, I decided that I'd give them another go - and as it turns out, I actually do like mushrooms! They seem to mostly soak up the flavour of the sauce that they're cooked in - and, on reflection, that rubbery texture is quite appealing.
An ethical company
Another reason I love Mindful Chef is the knowledge that I'm purchasing from an ethical company. They are one of a small number of companies certified as B Corp, which means they balance making profit with being mindful of the community and environment within which they operate. An example of this is their One Feeds Two scheme. They're also climate neutral and intend to be Net Zero by 2030. You can read more about their high operating standards here.
It feels good to know that the money I'm spending is not just creating profit for the company and lining people's pockets; some of the money is going back into the community, supporting good causes, and making the world a slightly better place.
How much does a Mindful Chef recipe box cost?
Mindful Chef are one of the more expensive boxes out there. A '5 recipes for 2 people' box costs me around £70 per week, depending on the exact recipes chosen. But when I consider what I'm getting for the price, I really don't think it's as expensive as it may initially seem.
Firstly, that £70 is providing me with both lunches and dinners for six out of seven days of the week. So that averages out at around £5.80 per meal.
Secondly, my time is really valuable to me. I love that with Mindful Chef I don't have to spend ages researching healthy recipe ideas. I love that I don't have to spend ages trawling around a supermarket looking for ingredients. I also love that that I can create interesting and varied meals really quickly, by following simple instructions, and throwing together ingredients that have already been measured into the correct quantities for me - it makes me feel like I am a 'proper' chef! :-)
Finally - and most importantly of all - I have come to realise more than ever since starting my weight loss journey, that my health is priceless. One of my main motivations for starting a weight loss journey was seeing friends and family members around me in poor states of health. People who are still relatively young, perhaps only twenty years or so older than me, struggling with basic day-to-day activities.
It makes me sad to see people I care about struggling to live a full life due to poor health and fitness.
...it also makes me think, I really don't want that to be me in twenty years time.
We can't control everything that happens to us in the future. But I'd like to give myself the best chance possible of living a long, healthy and active life.
Finally, and perhaps this is a bit frivolous - and shouldn't be an important point to consider when choosing a recipe box - I love that I sometimes get samples of products from other companies in my box. It is always exciting opening the box, wondering whether or not I have a free gift this week - and if so, what it could possibly be...
Sometimes I'm disappointed and there's no gift.
But more often than not, there's a free sample product to try. Here are a few of the free samples I've received recently:
All of the free samples come from companies that share similar values to Mindful Chef: companies that care about creating genuinely healthy products and companies that care about operating ethically.
More Mindful Chef products
If you're interested in trying Mindful Chef you can find out more and sign up on their website.
There's a £10 discount available on the first two orders you place, and boxes can be scheduled for weekly, fortnightly, or monthly deliveries. It is also easy to pause, or cancel your subscription, at any time within the account settings.
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