September 06, 2017

Meal Time || Mindful Chef Review

When it comes to meal times, we often get stuck in a rut of having the same meals over and over, soon getting bored and opting for less healthier options for a 'flavour fix'. We eat later in the evening too, usually when the kids are in bed as Adam arrives back too late for us to all eat together as a family.

Although we often stumble across something new to try or mix up our meals to make them more exciting, we're always wanting something new, healthy and most of all easy and quick to prepare. We find ourselves looking for quick oven ready meals, ready meals like paella which is our current favourite and classics like chilli that soon get old. At the end of a busy day, as much as we often want something exciting, we frankly can't be bothered to hunt for recipes, pop out for more ingredients or stand at the oven for hours on end creating something that could potentially be a disappointment. Meal times often start with a bit of a mardy conversation about what we fancy, what we have in, usually settling on something that's not ever so exciting or more likely done to death in our house.

Last month Mindful Chef came to the rescue, offering us a four week trial of their healthy meal recipe boxes, including everything you need to create a quick healthy meal with fresh, quality and fully traceable ingredients. Mindful Chef are the only company in the UK to offer; gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options. They are currently the only healthy recipe box on the market.

We've tried a meal box service before for family meals, but we were excited to try some slightly more adult flavours, do some proper cooking and see if we were up to the challenge of these delicious meals in under 30 minutes. we are both trying to lose weight so gaining skills and inspiration for meal time is exactly what we need. Each week you can choose 5 meals, each with full nutritional and allergen info on the site.

The meals we chose were;

  • Beef & mushroom burger with carrot fries
  • Red pesto fish skewers, cucumber & olives
  • Thai beef noodles with crushed peanuts
  • Spiced pork fajita baby gem wraps
  • Beef koftas in baby gem with harissa quinoa
  • Spanish-style rice, red gurnard & peppers
  • Jamaican-style pork burgers, sweet potato chips
  • Pink peppercorn steak with kohlrabi chips

Straight away just from reading our menu choices we were excited to get cooking. There are food options from all over the world, some using ingredients we'd never heard of too which made it even better.

When our first box arrived I was impressed. I was home when the package was delivered and it contained ice packs to keep the meats cool, as well as two bags each labelled 'fish' and 'beef' so we knew which bag went with the meat. Inside the box we found our recipe cards with mouth watering images of our potential meals as well as a free sample of a snack product and some other literature about Mindful Chef and the source of their products.

Inside the paper bags were all the ingredients we would need to add to the meats to create our meals, small tubs of sauces, bags of fresh herbs, fresh vegetables and portioned items like cous cous to ensure our meals were weighed out correctly to fit the nutritional info we were given. This makes it so easy to fit into a healthier lifestyle, no weighing, no long prep work just everything you need, right where you need it.

Adam is usually the cook for our meals together, he has always loved experimenting in the kitchen so that really is his thing. I decided with the recipe boxes to have a go myself. Although I do cook, I'm very out of practise, not used to following recipes for anything other than simple baking and quite honestly a bit of a shambles when it comes to cooking.

I opted to attempt to create the fish skewer meal as we love fish but rarely know what to do with it other than baking it with seasoning. Having fish on skewers sounded delicious so I was keen to get started and hoped to not mess it up.

When it came to cooking, the recipe card was pretty fool proof, quite literally if I can do it, then anyone can. I've never cooked anything like this and it turned out so well, it was so tasty and I was proud that I had created a wholesome healthy meal, with fresh ingredients in around 25 minutes with no help!

I think the fish dish was my favourite by far, I've never tried the fish we were sent and loved trying something new with something I have no clue how to cook with. The flavours were incredible and knowing it's all made fresh, with fresh ingredients is amazing, as well as being healthy too.

As the weeks went on, we enjoyed trying out some new recipes and cooking with fresh ingredients has definitely rekindled our love of cooking, as well as giving us new meal ideas, some of which we have recreated between boxes adding our own twist, feeling inspired.

Another favourite was the Spanish style rice with red gurnard, this was incredible and such a simple meal, packed with so much flavour we will make it again and again. All our meals are delicious, with the only thing letting it down for us being things like carrot chips and only because we've kind of done them to death in the past so they weren't new for us. I loved trying new rice and quinoa ideas though as they're filling and healthy but we never know what quite to do with them.

Although we loved the meals, we did feel sometimes that some of the veg maybe wasn't at its best unless used in the first day or two. I love the menus on offer and quite literally everything sounds delicious and I can vouch that everything we tried are definite palate pleasers. The only other thing that let the service down for me was the delivery, so the courier used as opposed to MC themselves. The first two boxes were perfect, but unfortunately I was out for the second two they were left outside where they could have been taken. Most people I imagine would also be out and about on a Monday day time so could be an issue if you don't have a decent 'safe place' like us. The contents inside were supremely packed and unharmed, with bags to keep the meats cool for up to 36 hours, but I must say if I'd paid for this and it not been a review, I'm not sure I would have been to impressed with that side of things.

All in all, I would recommend Mindful Chef boxes to anyone trying to get or keep healthy, that would like to try some new recipes without buying endless ingredients or that simply wants a healthier treat at the weekends. The food and packaging was top quality and I can't complain about a single recipe, they were all as easy to follow and tasty as I'd hoped and has really inspired me to cook more and be brave finding recipes. Obviously having meal boxes comes at a price, but knowing how much fresh ingredients cost for each recipe, unless you are well stocked with a garden full of herbs, this is a great alternative to save on waste and probably greater spending.

To try Mindful Chef boxes for yourself, you can visit their website at where meals start at £6 per portion, catering for all dietary requirements too.

Have you ever tried a meal box service like Mindful Chef?

Disclosure: We were sent the meal boxes in return for an honest review. All thoughts words and images are my own.

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