Fruit & Oat Soft Cookie

Diet Chef are trying out their cookie in the breakfast category, although it previously resided in snacks. It’s easy to see why it started out as a snack but it’s pretty substantial and at 198 calories it’s a hunk of grub that really does suffice as a meal. It also makes for a truly awesome alternative to porridge, granola and other sensible breakfasts that sometimes you just can’t face.

It is beyond a shadow of a doubt the single best thing Diet Chef produce. It is sweet, soft, crumbly and utterly delicious. I love it and could easy manage one every second day of my diet. I’ll certainly be ordering plenty of them next month.

The soft cookie just goes to show that dieting doesn’t have to be punishing and that Diet Chef know how to make the process of losing weight fun and tasty.

10/10

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Sweet Chilli Oat Bites

Much like the Caramelised Onion Oat Bites these lack the courage of their conviction. They aren’t sweet and lack the spice of chilli and yet could have been so awesome if they’d just used a bit more of the flavouring. Of the three Oat Bites snacks the Cheese Oat Bites are far and away the winner, so much so that the others simply don’t place on my things to order again.

4/10

Sweet & Sour Chicken

I had my suspicions with this one and they were not unfounded. A slightly watery and excessive sauce with not nearly enough chicken could make this a big disappointment. I wasn’t about to let that happen as Chinese food is my very favourite. With Indian food somewhat over represented at Diet Chef, fans of Chinese food are entirely reliant on this sweet & sour dish for their taste of the east. Worse still sweet & sour would be bottom of my list of things to order from my favourite takeaway. However I’m on a diet and getting out of the mindset of food being a treat or reward is really important to me. at some point I have to back to normal food and I mustn’t allow that Friday night takeaway to sneak back into my life. This doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy my dinner though.

My tip here is to buy some stir fry veg. I can highly recommend Tesco’s Stir Fry Vegetable Medley since it comes with a fresh chilli to liven up your veg. Stir fried and added to your chicken and sauce it is absolutely delicious and Diet Chef have gotten the sauce just right. This is another situation where rice might seem tempting but if you’re on the 1200 calorie plan, veg is a much healthier, lighter and carb efficient choice. My chilli veg might have knocked it up a notch but the sauce as it comes is a perfect balance, not too sweet, not too sour. Much like with adding loads of bell peppers to my Chicken Jalfrezi the bulk in this dish can be a challenge to your shrunken stomach, leaving you full and perspiring so take your time and don’t rush it no matter how tasty it is.

9/10

Sweetcorn & Ham Chowder Soup

I didn’t really know what to expect with this one. Seems like the sort of soup they could get so wrong but it is excellent. I genuinely love it. Not in a “I’m on a diet and this is acceptable” sort of way but in a “I’m ordering this  for every day next month!” kinda way.

Just to be clear it is a chowder, not a soup with a lot of liquid. It’s chunky, the veg is lovely, the carrots are soft and sweet, the ham flavour and texture is there and every kernel of corn has an excellent bite to it. It’s not too filling but nor could you be left feeling unsatisfied. Unless the flavours and ingredients are ones you have a particular aversion to I’d strongly recommend you order a few of these in your hamper. The Sweetcorn & Ham Chowder Soup is one of the treats you’ll most look forward to on your diet.

10/10

Original Muesli Bar

Considering I thought the chocolate muesli bar wasn’t chocolatey at all I can now taste a distinct difference between that and this bar, which is basically identical but lacking the phantom chocolate. It’s different in that there is the tiniest bit less sweetness here and there is actually a more uniform and slightly boring texture to the original bar. The occasional little soft spot in the chocolate one is rather pleasant.

Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a boring, rubbish muesli bar. It’s got the same soft, sticky sweetness of the chocolate one but given that I said in the other review that it didn’t need the chocolate I miss it in the original bar. Unless you don’t like or are allergic to chocolate I wouldn’t chose this one in preference even “just for a change”. It’s not enough of a change to feel like variety in your breakfast bar nor does it offer anything of it’s own that you don’t get in the chocolate version.

5/10

Caramelised Onion Oat Bites

And the Cheese Oat Bites were so tasty too! What a shame. These taste much more like I was expecting from crisp substitutes. Too oaty, no flavour, a bit like cardboard and feeling very much like a diet food. I’m guessing I’m not the only person on Diet Chef who joined up specifically to avoid that. If we wanted to live off Ryvita and Snack-a-Jacks we would, right? I had high hopes too because caramelised onion sounds like a strong savory flavour and I think it could be a winner but this is one Diet Chef have to take another look at. If I seen a “new and improved flavour” rosette over at the Diet Chef website I’d definitely give this snack another shot.

Of course if you like your snacks mildly flavoured then knock yourself out with this one but I’m a Pickled Onion Monster Munch kinda gal. I want a snack that makes me actually sweat and feel a bit dizzy.

3/10

Chicken Jalfrezi

I was really looking forward to this one as I’m a big fan of curries and I associate them with a big slap up meal… you see the problem don’t you? How to enjoy a curry that can’t, by the very nature of the diet, be a slap up meal. Of course you 1500 cal dieters will be laughing it up with your 40g of rice but strictly speaking 1200 cal dieters shouldn’t be using carby foods to make up their daily allowance.

I decided to chop up and stir fry two bell peppers. Rather than have them on the side I plopped them right in with the heated chicken and gave it a stir before serving. I was really pleased to see how much more substantial this make the meal look and given that there’s often a fairly paltry amount of poultry  in these dishes (see what I did there?) it really helped to have something for the sauce to cling to. If you don;t like peppers it’s really worth thinking of some veg to mix right into this dish because the sauce is lovely and it would be a shame for any of it to go to waste. You could quarter some onions, roast and add them. Steamed cauliflower would work well too here. Courgettes, mushrooms, chickpeas, spinach, squash would all work. Just try and stay away from the potatoes and rice that naturally come to mind!

The Jalfrezi has that perfect dose of chilli that Diet Chef have gotten just right. It’s a perfect balance acceptable to anyone, whether you prefer their curry mild or with a bit of heat. Those looking to pack a bigger punch might add a bit of cayenne pepper.

Diet Chef curries work really well  with a bit of effort on your part. While many of the other dishes can just be stuffed in your gob as they come the high expectations that many people have with a curry mean that you could be disappointed here if you don’t prepare the dish in a way that makes it a treat.

One addendum to this review – I do think adding a big heap of appropriate veg makes this a great dish and takes full advantage of all that sauce but if you’re a few weeks into Diet Chef do remember your stomach has now shrunk considerably and you could end up lying on the couch groaning if you overdo it. I speak from experience.

9/10