There are many ways to cut down the time it takes to cook a healthy meal, from signing up for a recipe box service to using one of Joe Wicks’s 15-minute recipes. However, sometimes you don’t even have 15 minutes to spare, or even if you do, you really don’t want to spend that precious 15 minutes cooking.
In those situations it’s all too easy to turn to the takeaway menu or a supermarket ready meal, both of which often contain high levels of sugar, fat, and salt, and very few servings of vegetables, meaning you’re missing out on the vitamins, minerals, fibre and all the other stuff your body would benefit from eating more of.
Fortunately, there is another way – the healthy meal delivery service. These generally send over a whole bunch of microwaveable meals for the week (though some do daily deliveries) that you can store in your fridge, close to hand whenever you’re caught short.
Here is our pick of the best of these.
The Transformation Chef
These microwave meals provide balanced, delicious meals rather than cutting calories – frankly it’s nothing short of ready meals at their finest.
We were impressed by the flavour of the meals, with even the recipes containing large chunks of meat or fish being tasty. For our money chicken breast is normally a microwave meal no-no because it ends up being too dry, but the chipotle recipe from The Transformation Chef was on point.
Slightly larger portions and a few more vegetables in each meal would have been welcome, and we did come unstuck when we mistook lemons for potatoes in one meal, which is our fault for diving in while looking at our phone, but these meals are great to have on standby in your fridge in a pinch.
You can try The Transformation Chef’s service with six-meal starter box, or go all in on a complete plan which contains 12 meals and a couple of snacks. Both have vegan options too. The meals arrive on a Tuesday morning and stay fresh in the fridge for seven days.
Buy from The Transformation Chef | Six-meal starter box £34.95, complete plan £74.95-£79.95
The concept is simple – microwavable vegan meals – but the execution is exquisite. We have no hesitation about labelling the meals as some of the finest vegan food we’ve ever tasted. The cashew mac (a vegan take on mac and cheese) was gloriously creamy despite there being no cream involved, and the fiery jerk jackfruit would convince even the most committed carnivore that plants can be just as satisfying as meat. The portion sizes are healthy too, although those doing a lot of exercise might want to whip up a side dish.
Buy from Allplants | From £4.99 per serving
Fresh Fitness Food
Whatever your fitness goal is, Fresh Fitness Food will go all out to help get you there by providing every meal and snack you need. All your food arrives pre-made early in the morning (it’s probably worth making friends in your workplace’s post room), so all you need to do is heat it up between crushing it at your desk and the gym.
Even if you opt for the fat loss package, there is a lot of food each day so you can be sure you won’t go hungry, which can be a problem with meal delivery services. Other meal packages are designed to help you get lean, or gain muscle, and there is also a plant-based menu with vegetarian and vegan options.
It’s as convenient as it gets, although you might find a few of the recipes are a little lacking in flavour, and the eye-popping amount of protein you get sent may take some getting used to.
Buy from Fresh Fitness Food | From £20 a day
The Pure Package
Another ready-meal delivery service that picks your menu based on your fitness goals, including weight loss, training support and, intriguingly, longevity. There are also veggie and vegan options, ante- and post-natal menus, and a Paleo-inspired package. And if you’re feeling especially flush you can even discuss your nutritional needs with one of Pure Package’s advisors and get a personalised meal plan.
You can also choose how many meals to get on the plan, right up to two snacks, three meals, and even pudding. The meals are delivered each day, so you don’t have to own an American-style double-door fridge-freezer to store a week’s worth of food.
Buy from The Pure Package | From £39.95 a day