We asked Jamie, the editor at Cityscape Magazine to try out our healthy pre-prepared meals for a week and let us know how it went. Here’s what he thought.
I run a fairly busy life between office work, exercising my dog daily, the odd morning surf, weekend outdoors missions and when I’m lucky a bit of R&R time at home in between. I like to cook dinner for myself and my partner and take leftovers to work for lunch, but realistically this chews up a lot of my time and I pretty regularly resort to takeaways and bought lunch.
So when Fitfood suggested I try out their meals for a week I jumped at the chance. I’ve considered prepared meals before but what I really like about Fitfood’s menu is the focus on healthy, balanced meals they say are designed to fit an active lifestyle. Their meals are also made just down the road in Rangiora using Canterbury ingredients, and at Cityscape we’re all about local food and businesses. So all that was left was to taste them and see if the experience lived up to Fitfood’s promise of delicious and convenient meals.
Tuesday: Falafel with Tabouleh & Tzatziki
The courier dropped my Fitfood delivery at the office on Tuesday morning. Opening the cardboard box revealed two neat stacks of packaged meals that I easily stashed in the back corner of the work fridge (but not before taking a minute to eye over the meals and pre-select a good-looking lunch).
I decided to kick off my Fitfood week with a vegan dish for lunch. I’m a big meat fan but have a weak spot for falafel kebabs and wanted to see how this meal stacked up. The answer is it stacked up well. The falafel was aromatic, chewy and came in three substantial patties.
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and flavourless supermarket tomatoes are the bane of my existence. The cherry tomatoes that came in this dish were clearly grown by someone who knows what they’re doing because they were super flavourful, and just lightly cooked to perfection.
But the real star of this dish was the tzatziki. I’ve never had vegan tzatziki before and really appreciated the fresh and distinctly coconutty flavour.
Wednesday: Honey Mustard Pork with Pumpkin & Broccoli
For Wednesday lunch I delved into a low-carb dish in the form of a classic from my childhood: roast pork. The nutritional information says this meal had just 6.7g of carbohydrate, and what I learned was that with Fitfood, “low carb” really means “high meat”. The big chunks of pork filled the space in my belly and they were tasty, moist and tender.
I was worried the broccoli wouldn’t fare well in the microwave but it was perfectly cooked - I must admit I reached for a squeeze lemon from the fridge to make it taste just like my childhood. The pumpkin was also perfectly cooked, sweet and flavourful.
Friday: Chipotle Pulled Pork and Indian Butter Paneer
I had lunch meetings on Thursday and Friday so I took my remaining Fitfood meals home from the office and heated up a couple to share with my partner for an easy Friday dinner in front of the TV.
My usual Mexican modus operandi is to absolutely smother all my Mexican food in cheese and sour cream, so it’s safe to say I was slightly sceptical of the dairy-free Chipotle Pulled Pork. But I was amazed at the amount of flavour Fitfood gets in here. To start with, there was heaps of pulled pork – it took up nearly half the dish. The beans were flavourful and the rice tender. The bits of sweetcorn cut through the rich flavour of the pork mix. The whole thing tasted very fresh, not fatty or salty.
Paneer holds a very special place in my heart, and it’s something that can easily go wrong if it is made badly or overcooked. The Indian Butter Paneer was excellent – great consistency and generous serving size with firm paneer pieces that held their shape. The naan was tasty and not at all stale even after four days in its special packaging. The gravy tasted rich, and really felt like good value for money because it wasn’t stuffed with cheap ingredients.
Saturday: Indian Chicken Biryani and Chicken Katsu
We heated the biryani in the microwave and the katsu in the oven to achieve a crispy finish, then set up the outside table to take advantage of one of the last sunny days of autumn for our Saturday lunch. Preparation was quick and easy, and let us get on with our weekend.
The biryani was lightly spicy with tender, moist chicken. The colours really stood out for me, and served up on a plate it looked great. Again, the sauces really made this dish, with a rich gravy sauce and a refreshing tangy white sauce working together for a complex and delicious dish. The oven-heated chicken katsu had a great crunch to it, and the sesame seeds on top of the fillets were a very nice touch for presentation.
After tasting both dishes, my partner was just as impressed with Fitfood as I had been all week:
“It just tastes like home-cooked food,” she said. “Really good portion sizes, and they microwave well. The texture is good too, but the main thing is it tastes good and healthy, like, it doesn’t taste like takeaway food.”
This Fitfood meal plan ticked all the boxes to replace some of my lunches and dinners during the week. They were quick to heat, tasted great, and they are made with health in mind. I certainly felt a lot less guilty tucking into a Fitfood meal than popping over the road to the bakery, and I felt more satisfied with the food I was eating.