23 Oct 2014

Why Diet Chef really works...

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If you are wondering how Diet Chef works, and why our meal plan is so effective, this blog post is for you.

We know from our customers' inspiring success stories, the feedback we get on social media, and our weekly, independent Trustpilot reviews that Diet Chef works a treat. We even have science on our our side, as our customers are clinically proven to lose 50% more weight than people on a self-directed diet.*

Around 120,000 people in the UK have tried our meal plan, and our dieters have a great track record - both for losing lots of weight and keeping it off long term! So what's the key to our success then? Well, there are several, actually.

Calorie & portion control

Diet Chef is designed to help you lose weight by providing a tasty and filling meal plan, where the calories are counted for you, and the portion sizes pre-determined. You get three meals and a snack from us each day, and add your own fruit, vegetables and a bit of dairy. This approach helps you establish and stick to new, healthier eating patterns, as well as encouraging you to add lots of fresh greens to your diet.

Everything in moderation

Being on a diet doesn't have to mean denying yourself comfort foods. Our meals, combined with your added daily fruit, vegetables, dairy and potential extras, provide a healthy, balanced and delicious diet. It's about eating everything in moderation, and including foods from all major food groups.

Delicious, real food

Unlike some other diets, we don't ask you to deprive yourself or survive on meal replacement products; you get to eat real, tasty food in appropriate portion sizes every day. We believe one of the keys to our success is the variety on our menu, and the fact that you are allowed "treaty" meals and snacks - like pasta, curries, cookies and pretzels - as part of the plan. Our 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. To find out more about our food, have a look at this recent blog post.

Convenience is king

One of our main selling points is how easy and convenient our plan is. We deliver your meals in monthly hampers, right to your door - all calorie counted, portion controlled and ready in just a few minutes. The snacks, lunchtime protein bars and some of the breakfasts are ready to eat - and all you have to do with the rest of the breakfasts, lunches and dinners is add some hot water / milk, or heat up in the microwave. Complement with your favourite fruit and vegetables plus a bit of dairy each day, and watch as the lbs start falling off! Perfect for busy people on the go, or those who need a little bit of extra structure and support. We also have a Calorie Guide, a Diet Guide and a Portion Guide, to help you get started.

In addition, customers can link their Diet Chef online account with a MyFitnessPal account, allowing them to track their progress effectively in one place – including total calories consumed daily and any physical activity and exercise undertaken.

Healthy weight loss

The Diet Chef meal plan is designed to help you lose a healthy, sustainable 1-2 lbs per week, in line with UK Government recommendation for safe weight loss. Of course, everyone is different, and some customers lose a lot more than that (especially when they first start the diet), whilst some people's progress is slower. If you are on the plan and your weight loss has slowed down or is grinding to a halt, have a look at this blog post.

Diet Chef really works

As we mentioned above, Diet Chef's effectiveness is clinically proven - but you don't need science to understand why the diet works. The meal plan is based on a calorie controlled diet, where you eat sensible portions regularly, adding lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. The snacks that you get (including a range of popcorn and oat biscuits) help stave off cravings, and the fact that the food is delivered to your door means that the time you have to spend in the supermarket, with all its tempting "naughty aisles", is reduced!

Customer success stories

Almost every day we hear from awesome customers, who have lost of weight on Diet Chef and want to share their story. We have lots of inspirational, real life tales of success on our website, and get a huge amount of encouraging feedback on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media pages as well! All customers are invited to publish completely independent reviews of Diet Chef on Trustpilot, and we are always open to constructive feedback and suggestions.

So...what now? 

We hope you found this blog post helpful...if you enjoyed the read and would like to find out more about Diet Chef, you may want to...

View our plans...
Check out our answers to FAQ's...
Have a look at our customer success stories... 
Visit our Facebook page... 


*The HONEI Research Institute

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21 Oct 2014

Adding extra food to your Diet Chef meals...

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One question that often crops up among customers and people who are interested in our meal plan, is how much extra food you need to add to Diet Chef. So in this blog post, we take a closer look at all "the extras".

The Diet Chef food...

On Diet Chef you receive a daily breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack - this on its own usually comes to around 800-900 calories, depending a bit on your meal / snack selections.

To this, you add five portions of vegetables and fruit (less fruit and more veg is better), and two potions of dairy each day.

1200 calories...or more...

Your Diet Chef food, along with the fruit, veg and dairy, would normally come to roughly 1200 calories, and for many customers this is their daily recommended limit.

If you are allowed more than 1200 calories a day, you can have some additional foods (see the 'Extra foods' section below). The 'Free Profile and BMI Calculator' on our website homepage will tell you how many calories you are recommended to have each day, for safe and sustainable weight loss.

How much to add... 

So how much exactly is a portion of dairy, or one of your five-a-day fruit and vegetables?

Dairy... 

A typical portion size of dairy would be:

  • 250 ml of semi-skimmed or skimmed milk (around half a pint)
  • 30 grams of cheese (matchbox size), or half-fat cheese
  • 125 grams (small pot) of low-fat yoghurt

Fruit and vegetables...

Fruit and vegetables vary significantly, in terms of calories, so it's best to have a think about what you want to add to your daily meals, then check the calories, to make sure you are sticking to your 'daily allowance'.

Fruit is generally higher in sugar and calories than vegetables, so be careful about adding too much fruit.

Pulses (such as kidney beans, chickpeas, butter beans, lentils) also count as one of your five-a-day. They are a great and inexpensive addition to your Diet Chef meals; low in fat and a good source of protein and fibre.

Extra foods...

Customers who are allowed more than 1200 daily calories can add some extra foods to their daily diet, in addition to the fruit, vegetables and dairy.

This could be anything from more fruit and dairy or a slice of wholemeal toast with breakfast, to some oatcakes with humus as a snack or  a bit of rice / pasta / potato with a dinner meal.

The main thing to remember with regards to extra foods is to try to make healthy, sensible choices as much as possible, and make sure you are sticking to your daily calorie allowance.

Our Calorie and Portion Guides... 

To help you figure out how much fruit, vegetables, dairy and extra food you can add each day, we have created some useful guides that you can download.

The Calorie Guide 

This guide contains lots of useful information about adding fruit, dairy and vegetables to your Diet Chef meals - as well as the calorie content of lots of extra foods.

Download the Calorie Guide here.

The Portion Guide

This is actually more of a handy infographic, providing a range of visual cues as to what represents a portion size in lots of different foods, along with the calorie counts for many common 'extras'.

Download the Portion Guide here.

The Diet Guide

Last but not least, we have our Diet Guide...this is sent out to customers in their hampers, and contains useful 'getting started' information - it's less detailed than the Calorie Guide, in terms of adding food, but includes some great tips and a week's sample menu.

Download the Diet Guide here.

We hope you found this helpful!

You might also want to... 

Check out our menu... 
Read our answers to FAQ's...
View our plans... 
Contact customer services with any questions you have...


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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... 

If you liked this post, you may also want to… 

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13 Oct 2014

Love curries? Love Diet Chef!

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It's National Curry Week 13th-19th October 2014, and if you're anything like us, you'll be very keen to celebrate! ;) 

Being on a diet doesn't mean missing out – not if you're on Diet Chef, at least! 

We are firm believers in the "everything in moderation" approach – no food groups or types of meals are forbidden. Our meal plan is based on a healthy, balanced and calories controlled diet, allowing you to lose 1-2 lbs per week, in line with UK Government recommendations for safe, sustainable weight loss. 

We have no less than 9 different curries on our dinner menu, so on Diet Chef, you can indulge in National Curry Week and still lose weight. It's truly a win, win! 

Meet the Diet Chef curries… 

Our infamous chicken dish, which some of you might remember from our TV advert…? "Mmmm…Chicken Curry!" Go on, you know you want to! 

A delicious dinner, made from authentically prepared chicken breast pieces in a lightly spiced tomato sauce. Yummy!

Why not try this cracking, tomato-based curry, with tender pieces of beef and split red lentils for body and depth.

Another favourite curry with our customers, this is a very mild dish – but still packed with flavour.

This delicious blend of chana dahl lentils, chick peas, red lentils and vegetables – cooked in a creamy coconut sauce – is a favourite among our vegetarian customers!

Our Balti style Vegetable Curry is another hit with vegetarian customers – and anyone who likes the occasional meat-free option! 

This dish, flavoured with a spicy Thai red curry paste, is very popular and constantly in high demand! 

Packed full of chunky soya pieces, with creamy coconut and delicate korma spices, this is a fantastic, balanced meal.

Another awesome chicken dish, based on tender strips of chicken and chick peas, in a spiced tomato sauce and lightened with yoghurt. Omnomnom! 

Go on...order now! 

If you are already a Diet Chef customer, why not mark National Curry Week by feasting on some delicious Diet Chef curries, without compromising your weight loss progress? 

Or take part in the celebration by selecting some of our taste-tastic curries for your next Diet Chef hamper!  

If you are not a Diet Chef customer, perhaps some of the mouth-watering dishes above will tempt you to try our plan? Who said dieting had to be dull! 


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10 Oct 2014

Diet Chef by numbers - infographic

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What's new, you ask? We'll tell you what's new...we've only gone and created another awesome infographic! Well, we think it's awesome anyway - so big thanks to David at Macfarlane Creative, for helping us pull this thing of beauty together.  

It's called 'Diet Chef by numbers', and it highlights lots of numbers and figures that we associate with our meal plan and food. We thought this would be a fun way to flag up some "key facts" about our diet, making it all very easy to access and share.

If you have any questions about any of these numbers, or anything else - please don't hesitate to leave a comment, or contact us!



If you liked this, you may also want to... 

View our plans... 
Check out our answers to FAQ's...
 Read some customer success stories...
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9 Oct 2014

On the set of the new Diet Chef TV ad...

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On Wednesday the 8th of October, we filmed our new TV advert in a beautiful rooftop flat, in Edinburgh's Leith.

As we're sure you can imagine, creating and filming a TV advert is a big project, and not something we get to do very often, so it was a super-exciting day for us indeed!

We had our fantastic production company, Greenroom Films, going full throttle to get the job done! 

We also had an awesome Director, Robert Cavanah, taking the lead on the day to drive the filming forward, and 11 awesome 'Diet Chef stars' who all did a great job in front of the camera!  

Our Development Chef, Alan Mathieson, was also on hand on the day, to prepare all our delicious food and make it look even more lovely than normal for the filming. 

A big thanks to everyone who took part and helped out on the day!

We have included a selection of photos below, to give you a behind the scenes glimpse! 

If you are on Facebook, you can also check out the album we have set up, with all the photos from the day. Most of the photos can also be viewed on our Instagram page, if you prefer that to Facebook.  

 Robert and the crew, getting ready start filming! 

One of our stars, Annette, in action!

Robert did a great job of relaxing our stars and making them laugh!

Chris, doing his thing! 

Toby, getting some last minute touch ups before his first take.

Linda - getting into the swing of things!

Lunch is served, guys!

Diet Chef goodness, prepared by Chef Alan. Mmmm!



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7 Oct 2014

Kelli's inspirational story...

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"The compliments just keep flowing for my new figure!"

"I've always been a yo-yo dieter and in denial about my size and health, but I never really saw it as a problem, until I realised I was hiding what I was eating from my family. I knew something needed to change and quick.

I confided in my best friend, who suggested that Diet Chef may be a good way forward. I went online almost immediately and placed my order.

After three months on the plan I managed to lose just under 3 stone and am so happy with the results.

I have the energy to play for hours with my children, where before I was always too tired! I feel amazing and the compliments just keep flowing.

As a family, we now eat much healthier and a lot more fresh fruit and vegetables. I recommend Diet Chef to everyone who asks how the incredible change has happened!"

Would you like to be a Diet Chef media case study?

If you have lost lots of weight on Diet Chef and would like to share your story to help inspire others, we'd love to hear from you!

Usually, media are looking for people who have lost 3-4 stone or more, to interview for features and articles - and even then we can't guarantee that your story will be picked up. However, if your story is published, we will pay you £250 as a thank you!

Interested? 

Simply email us a brief outline of your Diet Chef story, along with your contact details and your before / after weight. If you have before / after photos, please include these too. Someone from our PR agency (Fuel PR) will then contact you for an initial, friendly, no strings chat - to tell you more about how it works.

Send your information and any photos to:

marketing@dietchef.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you! :)
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1 Oct 2014

Final Team Diet Chef shedtember update!

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Well, the first ever shedtember is now officially over, and it's time to check in with Stacey and Catriona for the last time.

So, how did our "shedtember champions" get on in their final week, and how did they find the overall experience? Let's find out!

Catriona Liddle 

So, shedtember has come to an end...how has your fourth week been?   
I did a bit better in the last week than the week before, which feels good! I'm glad to have ended the month on a high.

How was your shedtember experience, overall?  
I have found it overall great. It has taught me loads about portion control and made me aware and mindful of snacking - something I used to do constantly before shedtember.

Biggest shedtember challenge / slip up?  
Visiting a friend's dinner party, knowing she was a "feeder"!

Best diet moment during the month?
I mentioned earlier that I rediscovered cauliflower rice a couple of weeks ago...and that's still my diet highlight - I love the stuff!  

Are you feeling determined to continue your weight loss journey?
Yes, absolutely. This has been a great start for me and I will definitely continue with the diet whilst bumping up the exercise, which I honestly didn't do much of at all, before.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you were starting over?  
I would get friends to nag me about exercising more.

What's your top shedtember tip?
Try Diet Chef, it really works! I lost 10 lbs in one month, which is awesome and way more than I had hoped - especially given that I slipped up on more than a few occasions.

Weight loss in the last week?
2lbs

Total weight loss in September?
10lbs

Anything you would like to add?  
There are loads of things to choose from on the Diet Chef plan, so you never get bored - and you can have a few days off in a month, if you need to, but still do well. The important thing is to remember to stick to the plan most of the time and try to be sensible / moderate with any 'treats'.

Stacey Cheung 

So, shedtember has come to an end...how has your fourth week been?   
It's been good! I've only lost a little bit of weight again in the last week, but I'm pleased with slow, steady progress.

How was your shedtember experience, overall?  
It's kept me focussed throughout the month, which has been great!

Biggest shedtember challenge / slip up?  
The biggest challenge for me has been finding time to exercise. It's been really hard to fit as many work outs in as I would have liked, between my full-time job and other commitments - but exercising really does make a difference.

Best diet moment during the month? 
Learning how to cope with the weekends without overindulging! As mentioned before, weekends are often my downfall, but shedtember has spurred me on to keep on top of things and try to eat better at all times.

Are you feeling determined to continue your weight loss journey? 
Yes, I think I'll stick to all the small changes I've made in September, which when added up make a real difference.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you were starting over?  
I would try harder to make time for, and stick to, my exercise goals.

What's your top shedtember tip? 
Don't let small slip ups put you off. It's easy to give up, but nothing worth having is ever easy!

Weight loss in the last week?
1lb

Total weight loss in September?
4lbs


Well done, ladies - we think you both did an awesome job! 

So what is shedtember? 

September 2014 sees the launch of shedtember – a fundraiser that we at Diet Chef have partnered with, which will take place every September to encourage people to lose weight, while raising money for charity, including Diabetes UK.

shedtember has been created to highlight the health issues related to weight gain, the benefits of weight management, as well as to raise awareness of access to psychological and psychiatry services for people with diabetes and their close ones.

For more information, and details on how to take part, go to: www.shedtember.org.uk 

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