'I tried Slimming World Kitchen meal box for a week - I was stunned by the results'

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-Credit: (Image: MEN)

A reporter trialled the new recipe box service that has been launched by Slimming World- and has learned a whole lot in the process. The idea for this new initiative by the weight loss organisation is to bring all of the necessary ingredients for delicious dishes right to your doorstep

Included in these boxes is everything needed to craft satisfying home-cooked meals based on Slimming World's Food Optimising approach. All of the recipes provided are categorised as "free food" per the Slimming World guidelines, meaning they're designed to facilitate weight loss for individuals following the programme.

And with summer just around the corner, many people are keen to slim down for holiday season. So eager to kick her own weight loss goals into gear, journalist Dianne Bourne decided to sample the Slimming Side World Kitchen to see if it could assist her. For the latest health and Covid news, sign up to our newsletter here=

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Here, she chronicles her experience with the initiative, The Manchester Evening News reports.

I've successfully lost a lot of weight using the Slimming World plan in the past, although I'm not currently a paid-up member.

But I do know all the rules of how it works, so I tackled the Slimming World Kitchen boxes while following the rules of the diet plan across the course of the week. I decided to see just how well they would work for me by weighing in at the start and end of the week.

This is how I got on with making all the meals, including my verdict on it all. And, of course, whether they helped me to lose any weight.

Choosing your meals

To get started, you simply look on the Slimming World Kitchen website, select the week you're wanting a delivery, and then 15 recipes appear. You can choose up to five dishes for a week, and there's an option for a two person or four person portion size.

All dishes are individually priced, and they come up on the website as per dish and per portion to help you budget - for example, the chilli steak ramen bowl is £13 (£6.50 per portion). Meat dishes generally come in at more expensive than veggie options, and it works out cheaper if you have 4 people to feed, with prices from £10 - £13 for the two portion options and from £13 - £22 for the four portion options.

Choosing them was a relatively straightforward process, there are menus for each calendar week, and you choose up to five meals from it. Dishes for the week I was picking included the likes of rustic pork pasta, chicken supreme and chicken chow mein.

I decided to go for dishes that I would never normally make myself at home, or dishes I've never really nailed at home despite many attempts.

What's in the box?

Recipe book and Slimming World bags
The bags of food and menu book from the Slimming World Kitchen box -Credit:MEN

I was texted with a one hour delivery slot from DPD and the box arrived bang in the middle of it. I was excited to see it was a fairly large box and couldn't wait to see what was inside.

A recipe booklet was the first thing I spied, with numbered recipes inside it for the full week. Then, inside the box are five bags filled with the recipe ingredients that you've ordered. These are all numbered to correspond with the recipe inside the booklet.

In a smaller section of the box was a clearly marked tab for the refrigerated items - the fresh meats and yoghurts needed for the recipes.

Everything else comes inside the large recyclable brown bags. Personally, I prefer to keep veg like peppers, spinach and mushrooms in the fridge as well - to keep them fresher longer - so I took those out of the bags and put them in the fridge too.

I kept everything else inside the brown bags to try and keep myself organised for the week of cooking-from-scratch ahead.

The fresh ingredients for one of the dishes inside the Slimming World bag
The fresh ingredients for one of the dishes inside the bag -Credit:MEN

I was pretty impressed with the quality of the ingredients too - they sent organic stock cubes and organic lentils, for example - and the fresh meats and veg were excellent.

The beauty of the whole thing for Slimming World devotees is that EVERYTHING in the box is "free food". Under the rules of the plan, followers can eat unlimited amounts of foods categorised as "free" - which includes lean meats, pulses, fruit and vegetables and many herbs and spices - and, in theory, still lose weight.

Also everything in the recipes is weighed and measured ready for you, so things like spices are measured in sachets, you have the exact number of tomatoes you need, and even sachets of things like tomato puree you need too.

The recipe booklet also gave thorough point-by-point instructions on how to cook each meal - with preparation times given as a guide also - ranging from 25 minutes to 45 minutes depending on the dish.

Here's how I rated all the different meals that I had received.

Meal 1 - Korean Style Beef Noodles

Korean Style beef noodles at Slimming World
Korean Style beef noodles -Credit:MEN

I chose this dish to cook first in the week as it had the quickest ready time, saying ready in 25 minutes. It still felt like a lot of prep though - but my goodness the end result was worth it.

It was so flavoursome, with a great combination of the crunch of so many different vegetables, and a rich salty sauce. You would never think of this dish as a "diet" food as it was so tasty, and such a huge portion too.

Adding the fresh basil at the end was something I'd never think of doing when I'm cooking at home, but it gave it a real fresh hit.

There was a really generous portion size between two, in fact those with smaller appetites could easily stretch this further I'd say. I will definitely be trying to replicate this one at home again.

Price: £13 (£6.50 per portion)

Rating: 5/5

Meal 2 - Sunny salmon traybake

Slimming World's sunny salmon, lemon and mint traybake
The sunny salmon, lemon and mint traybake -Credit:MEN

This one had the longest prep time at 45 minutes, but the end result was again totally worth it. It created a huge tray bake and, even though I love potatoes, even I struggled to eat quite so many in the half portion of this and so saved some for a salad the following day.

While the tray bake itself was in the oven, I turned my attention to making the sauce which I was interested to do as I've never been very good at making Slimming World-friendly sauces in the past.

But this one was so just so easy and simple yet really made a difference to the dish. It was just half a vegetable stock cube mixed with fat free Greek yoghurt with some chopped mint. But with the salmon and veg it tasted superb.

Again, the quality of the fresh ingredients really elevated this for me. The addition of the fresh mint in the sauce and on the dish at the end gave it a stunning crisp quality.

Price: £13 (£6.50 per portion)

Rating: 5/5

Meal 3 - Best ever chicken korma

Slimming World's "Best Ever" chicken korma
"Best Ever" chicken korma -Credit:MEN

This was again a bit of an epic to prepare in the kitchen, but I really hoped it would be worth it as I've never been able to create a really good chicken korma of my own at home that isn't a ready meal.

But disaster struck when I realised there was a little break in the seal of the sachet with the curry powder in it and some had dropped onto the floor! I'm not sure how much more had been lost in transit as well.

Also, I've always been terrible at cooking rice from scratch (I rely on those rice pouches which seem to work for me) and yet again I did something wrong as the rice came out a bit gloopy at the end here.

This was still a really tasty dish, but I feel like it maybe lacked a bit of a punch on the spice front - which may be down to the lost curry powder. I'd definitely try this one again at home though.

Price: £12 (£6 per portion)

Rating: 4/5

Meal 4 - Jerk pork

Slimming World's Jerk pork with pepper, corn and coriander rice
Jerk pork with pepper, corn and coriander rice -Credit:MEN

The extraordinary levels of prep required for me on this one were not worth it in the end results on this one, I didn't feel. Maybe I was just getting grumpy at this stage of the week because it was 29 degrees outside and here I was yet again slaving away over a hot oven for an hour.

It did just feel like overkill having to roast the sweetcorn and chopped peppers to add to the rice when frying them for a bit would have worked just as well I felt.

Don't get me wrong, it all tasted pleasant, but it's nothing I couldn't have done by simply using jerk spice on pork and cooking rice and veg with it.

Price: £12.50 (£6.25 per portion)

Rating 3/5

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Meal 5 - Mushroom and lentil cottage pie

Slimming World's mushroom and lentil cottage pie
Mushroom and lentil cottage pie -Credit:MEN

I was really keen to try a veggie meal as part of the meal box, to see how I'm getting this style of dishes wrong. I chose this one in particular because I've never really worked out how to make lentils work as part of a meal.

Sadly, this one was just not to my taste at all and was the one meal from the box that I would definitely not want to eat again. Although at least I felt fairly virtuous eating this veg-packed one.

Price: £10 (£5 per portion)

Rating: 2/5

Did I lose any weight?

Reporter Dianne Bourne tried the new Slimming World Kitchen meal box that sends you the fresh ingredients to make up to five recipes a week.
Reporter Dianne Bourne tried the new Slimming World Kitchen meal box that sends you the fresh ingredients to make up to five recipes a week. -Credit:MEN

So I managed to prepare all the meals but did it actually help me in my goal to lose weight? Well, that's the million dollar question, isn't it?

It's important to note that during the trial week of the meal boxes, I also followed the Slimming World diet plan to a tee alongside it. So that meant for me things like fruit and fat free yoghurt for breakfast and lunches like beans on toast (using my Healthy Extra B for the wholemeal toast) or homemade tuna pasta (using my Healthy Extra A for a cheese topping).

The great thing for people following the Slimming World plan is that the meal boxes are ALL entirely free meals, so you're able to use your HEA and HEB choices during the day on your other meals.

Also, this was my first week back dieting after a lengthy hiatus, so, as any seasoned dieter will know, you always lose more weight on the first week of a plan as a lot of the weight lost is "water weight" your body is holding onto. I am also overweight for my height of 5' 6" so I know I have several stone to lose to be within a healthy range.

Either way, I was absolutely delighted when I got on the scales at the end of the week and had lost 6 lbs in weight. This has now given me the boost I needed to stick to plan and lose more weight in the weeks ahead.

I can't help but feel that slogging over a hot oven for around an hour for five nights may have also helped me lose some weight too! In terms of exercise, I have also been trying to walk more so I was doing 10,000 steps a day.

What's even more heartening for me is that I never went hungry and ate, quite frankly, massive portions of healthy, veg-packed, home-cooked food in these meal boxes and yet I still lost a great amount of weight by sticking to the plan for the full week.

The verdict

For both new Slimming World followers and long-term devotees, I felt the Slimming World Kitchen boxes offer some great inspiration and new recipes. The produce was all fresh and super healthy inside the box, and it felt good to be cooking everything from scratch - I can see that it would work for a whole family to eat these meals (even for those not aiming to lose weight).

It taught me to really start to think about adding more fresh herbs and vegetables to dishes to give them a boost too. And the fact you get the recipe book with the box means you can then replicate these dishes again at home once you've done it once through the box.

However, what I would say is that if you ordered Slimming World Kitchen without being a member of the slimming club, you would need to know a bit more about the plan as a whole if you were using the meal boxes to try and lose weight across the week.

While the recipe booklet does have a section explaining the "lowdown on how Food Optimising works" it doesn't actually explain the rules of the wider plan. The box only provides your "main meal" for the day, so it would be useful for people to have some suggestions of what they'd need to be eating for breakfast and lunch if their aim is weight loss - although naturally there are plenty of plugs to "join your local Slimming World group[" throughout the booklet.

I lost weight eating the recipes because I followed the Slimming World plan religiously alongside them. As mentioned, I've done the plan myself before so I did know the rules about which foods are "free" and which foods I need to count as HEA and HEB and the weights for these, and also the "syns" system too.

However, if you are using the meal boxes for a different style of diet, the booklet does also include at the back a full table of nutrition information per portion with calories and fats.

Naturally, the food works out more expensive than if you were buying it all yourself at the supermarket, but that's because you're getting tailored recipes. For my week of main meals it worked out at £60.50 for the two portion sized meals which on balance I found to be good value for money given a) the results I achieved and b) the inspiration the box gave me to try new recipes.

It might not be something I'd feel able to order every week, for both the time and money reasons, but I'd definitely give it a try again when I feel I need some more recipe inspiration in future.