16 Oct 2014

The Diet Chef food…all you need to know!

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One of the things that sets Diet Chef apart from many other weight loss solutions is the fact that our plan is based around real food and proper meals, rather than meal replacement products. 

We do of course have a few protein bars and shakes on our menu, to provide extra convenient lunches for people on the go – but the vast majority of our menu options are made up of delicious, filling and easy-to-prepare meals.
This blog gives you all the information you need about our food – like what’s in it, why it has a long shelf life, and why it doesn't need to be stored in a fridge or freezer. (Spoiler alert: it’s not due to preservatives!)

So what's in our food…?

Diet Chef meals are made up of natural ingredients, and real store cupboard ingredients. You wouldn't add anything artificial at home, such as flavourings, sweeteners or colourings – and neither do we. 

Some of the meal replacement items may contain ingredients you haven't heard of – these are generally vitamins and minerals, or thickeners to improve the texture. Our breakfasts, soups and dinners are as wholesome as if you had made them yourself at home.

What about preservatives…?

Our soups and dinners don't need any preservatives, because of the way they are cooked and packaged (see under 'But how can this be…?' below). 

There may be some sulphur dioxide in the dried fruits we use in our breakfasts; this is a commonly used ingredient, added in very low levels in for example apricots to stop them from going brown. You can buy both options in the supermarket, but we prefer the orange colour to brown.

How do you store the food…?

All Diet Chef meals can be stored in a dry, room temperature space, like a kitchen cupboard. You do not have to keep any of our meals in a fridge or freezer.

But how can this be…?

People occasionally feel concerned about the fact that our food has a long shelf life and doesn't need to be refrigerated or frozen. 

This is down to the process by which our meals are cooked and packaged. The French call it 'sous vide' – meaning 'under vacuum' – whereby food is vacuum sealed and cooked in water over a long period of time. It is becoming increasingly common (and quite popular in restaurants) in the UK, but we have been using a very similar process for years.
Our meals are heat sealed within their packaging then pressure cooked, which means that the food retains its natural juices and nutritional goodness, without the need for preservatives. Healthy and practical!

Is our meal plan good for you…?

Yes! Our food, combined with your added daily fruit, vegetables, dairy and extras, provide a healthy, balanced diet. It's about eating everything in moderation, and including foods from all major food groups, as different foods provide different nutrients. 

Unlike some diets, we don't ask you to deprive yourself of entire food groups; you just eat real and delicious food in appropriate portion sizes every day.

How much extra do you add…?

We recommend adding five portions a day of fresh vegetables and fruit, as well as two portions of dairy each day. This, combined with your Diet Chef food, should come to around 1200 calories. 

If you are allowed more than 1200 calories, you can add in some extra foods, like a slice of wholemeal toast with breakfast, some rice with a curry, or some extra fruit / dairy. Our Diet and Calorie Guides contain lots of useful information and suggestions on portion sizes and extra foods.

How long does it take to prepare the food…?  

All the porridges, soups and dinners can be microwaved in around 3 minutes. Our lunch pasta and couscous pots just need the addition of boiling water from a kettle, and take 5-10 minutes. 

If you prefer, our soups can be made on the hob, and our dinners can be placed in an ovenproof dish and cooked in a regular oven.

What if you start feeling ill…? 

There is absolutely no reason why our food per se would make you feel ill. However, any time you change your eating habits, or reduce your calorie intake, you may experience temporary physical symptoms while your body adjusts to your new diet / eating patterns – like headaches and hunger pangs. This normally subsides within a few days. 

If symptoms persist, or if you feel very ill, we would always recommend that you contact your doctor, as there could be any number of reasons why you are unwell.

What about health conditions, allergies & breastfeeding?

If you have a health or medical condition that might be affected by dieting, check with a doctor or a health professional before starting any diet. All our food is listed in the menu section of our website, including ingredients, allergens and nutritional value, but if you are at all unsure as to whether Diet Chef will be suitable, check with your GP before ordering.

We do not recommend that women who are breastfeeding, or who have given birth less than six weeks ago, start Diet Chef – this is due to the potential increased energy requirements at this time. 

We have created this fact sheet for health professionals, which you could direct your doctor to for more information about Diet Chef.

Any other questions…? 

Just contact our Customer Services Team – they will be happy to talk you through anything you are unsure of.  

We hope you found this helpful... 

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