Preparing a healthy meal doesn’t have to take a long time – Joe Wicks’s Lean In 15 series is proof of that. However, at the end of a long day, even 15 minutes of food preparation can seem like more effort than you can muster up – especially when food delivery apps require a couple of clicks.
It’s not that a takeaway now and then is necessarily a problem, but if you find you’re relying on a delivery most nights, it’s probably time to improve your diet – and you can do so with minimal effort thanks to ready meals. Not just any old ready meal because some have hair-raising levels of salt, sugar and saturated fats, but as long as you go for one that has slashed the numbers on those three unhealthy characters while keeping the calories down, you’ll be golden.
Like takeaways, we wouldn’t recommend living on them, but they’re certainly better than another pizza turning up on your doorstep. Here are three to look out for the next time you’re dragging your work-weary carcass around your local supermarket, and three services which will deliver batches of healthy frozen meals for one, ready to throw in the microwave.
Bol Thai Coconut Curry
Our go-to option in a dinner pinch, simply because Bol Pots are often available in even the smallest inner-city supermarkets and everything in the range is basically a load of vegetables in a tasty sauce – an approach that’s so healthy the traffic light system shows green across the board. Each pot packs in at least a couple of your five-a-day, and they’re low in fat, salt, sugar and calories – the Thai Coconut Curry contains only 307 calories, for example. The only downside is they can be a little too small to satisfy bigger appetites, but a couple of wholemeal pittas on the side will sort that.
Buy from Tesco | £2.70
Kirsty’s Lentil Cottage Pie
The ingredient list on the back of this pack makes for easy reading: lentils, potatoes and loadsa veg. This vegan option packs in 10.4g of protein (let’s hear it for lentils!) and clocks in at just 272 calories so you could even consider doubling up. Although after seeing the salt content is 1.72g per pack, maybe stick to just one – you shouldn’t go over 6g of salt in a day.
Buy from Waitrose | £2.25
Weight Watchers From Heinz Chicken & Lemon Risotto
If you’re looking for a quick dinner which won’t derail your attempts to lose weight, then the Weight Watchers range of ready meals are a good option, being low in calories and given a SmartPoints value to help you quickly tot up your daily intake. This chicken and lemon risotto contains just 350 calories, and also comes up green on the traffic light system in terms of fat, saturated fat and sugars, with only the salt content being orange.
Buy from Sainsbury’s | £1.75
Healthy Frozen Ready Meal Delivery Services
Fresh Fitness Food
The standard subscription service from Fresh Fitness Food involves delivering all your meals and snacks for the day each morning to be eaten fresh, but it’s also expanded into frozen meals which can be reheated in ten minutes or less. The minimum order is six meals, with each costing just £6 at the moment (usual price £7.50 to £8.50). The meals are all high in protein, with low-calorie, low-carb and vegan options also available.
Buy from Fresh Fitness Food | From £7.50 per meal (currently reduced to £6)
Recipe box company Mindful Chef’s frozen ready meals are gluten-free, dairy-free, high in protein and ready in around eight to 12 minutes. There’s a good mix of vegan and meaty options, and the calories and macronutrient info is on the site so you can pick meals that are lower in calories if you prefer, though even the most indulgent options come in under a sensible 600 calories per serving.
Buy from Mindful Chef | £6.95 per meal
If you’ve switched to a vegan diet and are stuck on dinners based around meat substitutes, broaden your horizons with PEP kitchen’s range of plant-based ready meals. You’ll be saving yourself the cooking and picking up loads of vegan meal ideas from the varied menu that you can then attempt to recreate yourself. Or just keep ordering the ready meals, we won’t judge.
Buy from Pep Kitchen | £5.75 per meal