If you're trying to find a way to blend healthy eating with quick, 9-5 friendly schedules, a meal-planning service like GourmetFuel could be the perfect solution.
When working full time, commuting, trying to keep fit and keep a social life (not to mention if you're a parent), nutrition unfortunately comes out at the bottom of our priorities. It can be so hard to find the time to search for and cook healthy meals, but if you're constantly on the go, it's majorly important. Good food and nutrition is what fuels our bodies to keep going, and eating healthy, consistent meals is the best way to keep our bodies and minds at their best.
A meal planning service, in a nutshell, is a way to have healthy meals delivered to you, so you can cut the time and stress of cooking and preparing, and just eat. You can plan out your meals for the week, and order as much or as little as you'd like - the whole idea is about giving you control over what you eat, so you can avoid takeaways and fast food that are much worse for your health.
It may seem like an extravagant way to keep healthy, but with so many brilliant plans on the market, you can keep your costs to a minimum - but with the time and ease it affords to your health, it's hard to put a price on these services.
One meal planning service that we're a big fan of at IMAGE is GourmetFuel. Set up by brother and sister duo Emma and Rob Buckley in 2014, their ethos is all about personalisation - tailoring plans to suit specific health goals and taste preferences. Initially, GourmetFuel were working specifically in the weight loss and sports nutrition areas, but over the years, they discovered that many people were staying with the service because of the convenience and value. This led them to expand into helping customers with all sorts of health and wellness goals, and providing them with a new and easy way to do their weekly food shop.
IMAGE sat down with co-founder Emma Buckley to chat about what makes GourmetFuel different from other meal planning services, and what busy health-conscious people should focus on when it comes to their nutrition.
What is unique about GourmetFuel?
From a meal perspective, all of our meals are nutritionally designed and calorie specific; allowing people to build their own perfect plan in a modular way. It’s simple and effective when keeping an eye on portion control and eating within a calorie range each day. But really, underneath it all, if food isn’t fun and appealing, you won’t stick with it and it is consistency that gets results. That’s why it has to be great tasting – and I think we achieve that really well.
From a service perspective, our client care and our expertise is there to support you. You have your own personal Registered Nutritionists and Qualified Chefs, advising you and creating your meals. My team of nutritionists are your first point of contact and will firstly advise you on the best plan for your needs and will be in touch with you each week as you go through your health journey, tweaking and supporting you the whole way. The team in the kitchen, headed up by my talented colleague, Andy Dowling, are excellent chefs and love to make gorgeous, fresh and appealing meals. We all care so much about what we do. The Nutrition team want only success for our clients and the chefs want only for you to enjoy the food they create.
I don't want to lose weight, I just want to be healthy - how can a meal planning service help with that?
Losing weight is a matter of consuming less energy than you use each day over a period of time. So if you don’t want to lose weight but just want healthy meals we can either advise you on what that would be for you or you can simply pick and choose the meals you like from the online shop. As I mentioned, the majority of our clients use GourmetFuel to put a healthy structure around their weekly diet, when time is limited and energy is focused on work and family. Sometimes, we just don’t have time to prepare healthy and varied meals each day of the week so a bit of help is needed instead of calling for a take-away. Our most popular plan is our 5 day lunch, dinner and 5 free snack bundle.
What type of nutrients should I be focusing on to improve my diet?
The principle of healthy eating is consuming the right amount of food or ‘fuel’ for your body each day, so that it feels satiated and energised and stays well. Healthy eating is about variety of diet, ensuring you get the best of all three macronutrients: fibre rich carbohydrate, lean protein and heart healthy fat at each meal and get at least five servings/portions of fruits and vegetables each day.
Think colour on your plate. Add more fruit or vegetables to your plate at each meal – red, blue, black berries, citrus fruits – squeeze a lemon over your meals or in your water, oranges like carrots and sweet potatoes, greens like broccoli and spinach, etc. My nutrition hack is to make a simple green salad with baby leaves like spinach, rocket etc. add a dash of olive oil and a splash of balsamic, it’s the quickest side salad to have with your main meal and so tasty and nutritious.
My top tip that most people overlook – water! Hydration is key to feeling well and looking great. A simple and quick improvement to make would be drinking 1.5-2l of water each day; think about having a large glass of water at each meal and then another through out the day, you’ll soon hit the right amounts.
Emma Buckley is a Registered Nutritionist and Director of Nutrition at GourmetFuel.