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My Strongest Self

A journey in weight loss, self-discovery and learning to love myself more every day.

A review of Gousto for weight loss

It's been well over a year since I last ordered a recipe box from Gousto.

Before I started my weight loss journey I used to make regular orders, usually opting for familiar, classic comfort food options, such as 'bangers 'n mash', cottage pie, or 'chicken nuggets chips 'n beans.' I would invariably 'enhance' these recipes by piling a mountain of grated cheddar cheese on top - so it's unsurprising really that I found myself needing to lose weight.

When I decided to lose weight I switched from Gousto, instead opting for Mindful Chef - a recipe box on a clear mission to make healthy eating as effortless and easy as possible.

Mindful Chef - best recipe box for weight loss and healthy eating
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...

Please come back to us, Lisa!

It's now a good year and a bit later, and Gousto has decided that they miss me -  'get 50% off your first box, Lisa - if you give us another try!' their marketing email implores.

Back then, I had quickly dismissed Gousto as 'not healthy enough for weight loss.' Perhaps though, on reflection, I had been a little too hasty to dismiss Gousto. Perhaps it is possible to eat healthily and lose weight with Gousto. Perhaps it's just a case of being more selective with which meals I purchase - and not piling a tonne of cheese on top of everything...

With this thought in mind, I decide I'm going to take Gousto up on their offer. If I order a box a week for the next four weeks, not only will I get to fully take advantage of the generous discount, I'll also be able to get a really good feel for whether or not Gousto can form part of a healthy diet, and perhaps even help with weight loss.

How much does a Gousto recipe box cost?

Gousto do have quite a few things going in their favour compared to their competitors, first of which is the price - they're one of the most affordable of all the recipe boxes out there. The cost varies depending on how many recipes you order and how many people you order for. It's possible to order a recipe box containing either 2, 3 or 4 recipes - and the price comes down the more you recipes you order and the more people you order for.

Four person recipe box

If you're cooking for a family of four (2 adults and 2 - 3 children) then the family box containing 4 recipes costs £50.25. That works out at £12.56 per 4 person meal. Or just £3.14 per portion.

Two person recipe box

Without any new customer discounts a 2 person recipe box containing 4 recipes costs £34.99. That works out at £8.74 per 2 person meal. Or £4.37 per portion.

65% off your first Gousto box

If you'd like to try out Gousto for yourself, the discount code below will get you 65% off your first box. Additionally, you'll get 30% off all other boxes ordered within the first month.

GAFFILQ26530M

T&Cs:
Offer: 65% off the first box and 30% off all boxes in 1st month for new customers only
.

Offer valid for new customers and UK residents for the first month of boxes. Discount valid for 30 days from date of sign up. Free delivery, 7 days a week. Once redeemed you’ll be enrolled in a flexible subscription (pause/cancel at any time). See the website for full T&Cs.

With the 65% and 30% discounts...

With the 65% new customer discount on your first box the price comes down to £17.59 for an 4 person family box containing 4 recipes. That works out at £4.40 for a per meal and £1.10 per portion.

Similarly, the 2 person box with 4 recipes comes down to £12.25 with the 65% discount. That works out at £3.06 for a per meal and £1.53 per portion.

At these sorts of prices it's difficult to find a reason not to at least give Gousto a try.

Cost breakdown for a 4 person box containing 4 recipes

Per box Per meal Per portion
65% discount £17.59 £4.40 £1.10
30% discount £35.18 £8.79 £2.20
Standard price £50.25 £12.56 £3.14

Cost breakdown for a 2 person box containing 4 recipes

Per box Per meal Per portion
65% discount £12.25 £3.06 £1.53
30% discount £24.49 £6.12 £3.06
Standard price £34.99 £8.74 £4.37

What's on the Gousto menu?

Another thing Gousto have going in their favour is the extensive menu. With around 60 recipe choices per week they're probably the recipe box offering the widest range of options each week.  

The recipes are constantly changing too.

Each week, at midday on a Tuesday, 50 of the 60 recipes are replaced with new choices. The remaining 10 recipes - known as the 'everyday favourites' - are available every week and consist of all of those typical British comfort foods that we seem to love so much.

The choice is vast. With so many recipes available each week there's bound to be something for everyone.

A screenshot of some of the 'everyday favourites' recipes available on Gousto

Plenty of categories

Choosing is made easier thanks to everything being broken down into loads of little categories: vegetarian, plant based, gluten free, dairy free, 10 minute meals, prepped in 5, everyday favourites, calorie controlled, healthy choices and many more...

It's the 'calorie controlled' and the 'healthy choices' categories that are of the most interest to me. I'm thinking, if I stick to choosing from these two categories I should be able to meet my objective of eating healthily and losing weight with Gousto.

Choosing healthy meals is complicated with Gousto

It turns out that things are not as straightforward as I expected though. I thought it would be as easy as just picking my healthy recipes from the healthy sections, but as I start browsing and looking more closely at the menu, I realise I would making a big mistake sticking only to the 'calorie controlled' and 'healthy choices.'

Firstly, there are a relatively small number of recipes in these sections, limiting the choice quite a bit. Secondly, there are some recipes in these two categories that I would question the healthiness of. Finally, I'm seeing quite a few recipes in other sections which I would consider to be really healthy, yet they've somehow not made it into the 'healthy choices' or 'calorie controlled' sections.

Gousto's creamy garlic & mushroom gnocchi

For example, the creamy garlic mushroom gnocchi. This is listed in both the 'calorie controlled' category and the 'healthy choices' category, yet I wouldn't really consider it a healthy meal. Gnocchi is a questionable ingredient when it comes to nutritional value, being high in carbs, yet low in protein and nutrients. Crème fraîche too is not great when it comes to health, as it's high in saturated fats and high in calories.

What Are the Health Benefits of Creme Fraiche? | Livestrong.com
A fancy name for rich, thick cream, creme fraiche has a bold flavor that’s somewhat nutty, and it’s often used to enhance the flavor of desserts. Creme fraiche is added to certain soup recipes, as well, to infuse them with flavor and to help thicken them.

The main redeeming factor of this recipe is simply that it's low in calories overall, and I believe this is why it made it into Gousto's 'calorie controlled' section.

The recipe does have some positive nutritional value, from ingredients such as spinach and mushrooms, but I wouldn't say the recipe contains a wide variety of nutrition overall, so I'm not sure why it has made it into the 'healthy choices' category.

This also highlights the point that low calories in itself isn't enough to make a meal healthy. It's just as important - in fact more important - to have plenty of nutritional value and variety in a meal.

Gousto's satay, sweet potato & kale curry

And then there's the satay sweet potato & kale curry. This is a 'Joe Wicks picks' recipe and I nearly completely missed out on it, as it isn't listed in the 'calorie controlled' or the 'healthy recipes' section. Yet this recipe is both low in calories and packed full of much more healthy nutrition than the Gnocchi recipe.

Both recipes have a similar amount of calories. The sweet potato curry though, is way lower in saturated fats, way higher in good stuff like protein and fibre, and also just has many more healthy ingredients packed into the recipe.

Making the most healthy choices is clearly going to be more complicated than I thought.

Nutritional information comparison (per serving)

Gousto's garlic & mushroom gnocchi Gousto's sweet potato & Kale curry
Calories (kcal) 582 583
Fat (g) 28.5 23.9
of which saturates (g) 17.7 3.9
carbs (g) 61.5 55
of which sugars (g) 2.8 17.6
Fibre (g) 4.1 17.5
Protein (g) 20.7 29.5

My Gousto recipe choices for the month

It takes a long time to choose, as I end up looking through all 60 recipes for each week, weighing up which ones are actually the most healthy. One thing I find frustrating, is that there are quite a lot of almost completely healthy meals, which are slightly spoilt - in terms of healthiness & weight loss potential at least - by the inclusion of just one or two less healthy ingredients, such as cheese, cream, or some sort of sugary addition.

Finally I manage to make my choices, which you can see pictured below.

Gousto recipes - week 1

1. Salmon with sesame noodles 2. Spicy beef & leek stew 3. Lemony chicken with potato colcannon 4. Winter squash & leek hotpot

Gousto recipes - week 2

1. Greek lamb stew with feta & mint 2. Lean beef cottage pie 3. Spiced chicken with herby bulgur 4. Chickpea, carrot & tomato tray bake With couscous

Gousto recipes - week 3

1. Sichuan-style veg noodle bowl 2. Pesto, salmon & veg tray bake 3. Coconutty vegetable curry 4. Mexican-Style beef, rice & beans

Gousto recipes - week 4

1. Aubergine & tomato orzo with rocket pesto 2. Satay sweet potato & kale curry 3. Avocado pesto with spaghetti 4. Cheese, tomato & broccoli farfalle

A note on the Gousto market

After placing your order Gousto invites you to 'add desserts, drinks, snacks & more' to your order from the Gousto Market. The Gousto Market consists of all of the things you definitely don't want to be eating if you're trying to be healthy and lose weight. There are cheesecakes, sticky toffee puddings, chocolate soufflés, beers, wines, sweets and more.

So if you're looking to eat healthily and lose weight, this page is just a terrible temptation that you need to look past and completely ignore!

It would be good to see some healthy options available in the Gousto market - at the moment the only healthy option, hidden in amongst all of those sweet treats, is a side portion of peas!

Gousto meal customisation options

A great thing about Gousto is that they now offer customisation choices on some of their recipes. For example, the comforting cottage pie recipe I've ordered, comes with full fat beef mince, but there's an option to upgrade to healthier lean beef mince for just an extra 50 pence. This same customisation option is available for most of their beef recipes. Another customisation option often given is a choice between a meat, fish or vegetarian version of a particular dish.

I'd love to see more customisation options - as I said before, I feel like there are so many almost fully healthy meals on Gousto, which are spoilt slightly - at least in terms of healthiness and weight loss potential - by just one or two ingredients.

In particular, I'd love to see the option to swap out simple carbs, such as white pasta, with either a whole wheat pasta option or perhaps a vegetable-based or pulse-based pasta substitute. It seems like it would be an easy swap to provide, and it would make a massive difference to the healthiness of so many of the recipes. I know I'd be more than happy to pay a little extra to upgrade a recipe to a healthier whole wheat version.

The final verdict on Gousto for weight loss

Mindful Chef is best for weight loss...

My opinion hasn't changed - I still believe Mindful Chef is the best recipe box for weight loss. With Mindful Chef, making healthy eating easy is one of the core principles upon which their recipe boxes are built - every recipe is super healthy, and none of the recipes contain simple carbs, or refined sugars.

...but weight loss is possible with Gousto

Weight loss is certainly possible with Gousto - and at a significantly cheaper price point than Mindful Chef, so if you're on a budget Gousto may be the way to go.

It just takes more time with Gousto, sifting through all of the recipes to find the more healthy options - and even when you do find the more healthy options, often they're not quite as healthy as Mindful Chef, due to the inclusion of one or two less healthy ingredients, and due to many of the meals being based on simple carbs, like white pasta or white rice.

Everything is relative

Another important point is that everything is relative. If you're currently eating mostly things like takeaways, fast-food, processed food or supermarket ready meals, then moving on to Gousto recipes would be a massive step in the right direction, and you probably would see a significant amount of weight loss over time, as well as an overall improvement to your health and energy levels.

Gousto is best for weight maintenance

Overall, I think Gousto is more suitable for weight maintenance than weight loss. When you're at the stage of weight maintenance rather than trying to lose a lot of weight, the occasional slightly less healthy ingredient in a recipe here and there is not a big deal.

In fact, this is exactly what my personal trainer keeps telling me - that balance is the key; that it's OK to have some simple carbs and some slightly more indulgent ingredients in recipes occasionally - as long as it's part of an overall active lifestyle, and is balanced out with other more healthy foods.

Personally, I'll definitely be ordering more Gousto boxes in the future, given that I'm now looking to maintain my current weight, rather than lose a lot of weight. I do love a lot of the Gousto recipes. I also appreciate how quick and easy they are to cook and how affordable the prices are.

65% off your first Gousto box

If you'd like to try out Gousto for yourself, the discount code below will get you 65% off your first box. Additionally, you'll get 30% off all other boxes ordered within the first month.

GAFFILQ26530M

T&Cs:
Offer: 65% off the first box and 30% off all boxes in 1st month for new customers only
.

Offer valid for new customers and UK residents for the first month of boxes. Discount valid for 30 days from date of sign up. Free delivery, 7 days a week. Once redeemed you’ll be enrolled in a flexible subscription (pause/cancel at any time). See the website for full T&Cs.

Thank you for reading this post!

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