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27 April 2020
We Tried It: Will Recipe Box Life Make Your Diet Healthier?
As someone that loves to eat but – whether through a lack of confidence or a genuine aversion – finds cooking stressful and is slightly baffled by the fact that everyone on earth seems to say they find it ‘relaxing’, a recipe delivery box service is one of those things I’ve always liked the sound of, but never seriously considered using before.

Enter 2020; a combination of lockdown life, a lot free time to fill, and my Pret baguette go-to no longer an option – not to mention the fear of catching something at the supermarket – and all of a sudden having ingredients brought straight to my door and trying my hand at this cooking lark no longer seems quite so absurd.  

Mindful Chef’s USP is simple: the recipes are always healthy, the ingredients are fresh and traceable, and they come straight to you. With grass-fed meat, all dishes gluten and dairy free, and lots of vegan options available, it seems to have all bases covered. So, what would I learn from a week of recipe box life?

It taught me to cook

Okay, so I’m still no Ottolenghi, but it was definitely a step up from my standard tuna pasta/ falafel salad/ salmon and veg repertoire. Usually, if I am going to cook adventurously then it will be something unhealthy. This time, I didn’t have to worry about that.

On the menu for the week was cod and black bean salad, Mexican meatballs and rice, and a coconut, butter bean and mushroom stroganoff; all are dishes I would usually perceive as too much effort but surprisingly, all clocked in at under 30 minutes from start to finish. The winner for the week was undoubtedly the meatballs, which were full of flavour and still felt a little indulgent. Even better, I’d now feel confident cooking any of the dishes again on my own.

Each meal came packed in its own paper bag, with all the ingredients already measured out, and it was simply a case of following the recipe to put everything together by following the steps. As a rule, I learned that I should be using double the coriander I usually would, and half the smoked paprika. And that I should never get distracted and forget about the cod. 

I ended up trying new ingredients

I’d say that I’m a fairly adventurous eater, but there are certain things I’d just never buy in the shops, would overlook in a restaurant, and would never consider cooking with. Take black rice for instance – it’s packed with antioxidants and high in fibre… and something I’d never had before. Turns out, it’s both easy to cook and absolutely delicious. One to add to future shopping lists!

It stopped me ordering take out

Anyone else finding that giving in to the temptation of Deliveroo is getting more and more frequent as lockdown continues? Knowing that I had something I wouldn’t usually eat, already portioned up already and just sitting in the fridge waiting to be thrown into a pan made it much easier to say no to a mid-week Chinese takeaway craving.  

I got ALL the leftovers

While initially I was nervous that it would not be enough food to last the week, every single meal I cooked I got at least one portion of leftovers out of and my freezer is packed to the brim with frozen bean salads and stroganoff, ready for when future-me can’t be bothered to cook. Sure, if you’re cooking for two this may not be the case, but it worked well for me.

Want to try Mindful Chef for yourself? Get 25% off your first two boxes when you use the code BALANCE25X2

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