Ann Marie McQueen
A healthy meal delivery service that provides fresh, tasty, varied dishes loaded with flavour has been long overdue in the capital.
I’ve tried several companies in Abu Dhabi before and never been very happy with their offerings. Those ventures were more of an effort to stay healthy during busy times in my life than to lose weight, but I’ve always come away from the month-long forays feeling very tired of the food, which was similar tasting, rarely delicious and sometimes inedible.
Recently I was sick and unable to work out for almost a month, and because I failed to cut back on calories to accommodate, I gained a couple of unwelcome kilograms.
So when the Dubai delivery service Right Bite launched in the capital and offered me a consultation with the dietician Hala Abu Taha and seven days of meals, I jumped at the opportunity. The consultation was as painless as weighing yourself in front of a stranger when you’ve gained a few can be. “You don’t show it,” Abu Taha said, kindly. And I really got the impression that she knew what she was talking about, another departure from my consultation with other services.
She advised me to buy a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps per day, do 45 minutes of interval cardio training that week and drink lots of water. I was also not to allow myself to get hungry – all on 1,200 calories a day.
I was terrified to be cutting my caloric intake down so drastically from what had probably been several thousand calories per day. The truth is, with all that exercise I did end up eating something extra – a few dates, a handful of nuts, a banana or a protein shake – almost every day. There may have been a baba ganoush and pitta bread incident and a small Lindt dark chocolate and mint bar in there, too.
But I was mostly able to keep to the diet, making sure to space my meals out so I didn’t get too hungry – and a week later I had lost a kilogram, which felt like an amazing jump-start.
I was delighted with the food on offer. It always arrived promptly at 8am at my apartment door in a cooler bag. And I was never disappointed when I opened it (unlike the other services I have tried, where mild depression set in when I flipped open the top). Standouts were the spiced tofu, white bean and tomato breakfast puff, oatcakes with honey and ricotta, gingered beef noodles, Italian fish fillet and risotto, and pumpkin, lentil and green beans tagine.
If I had any criticism, it would be that the diet featured much less in the way of vegetables than I am used to eating – several meals were just protein and potatoes – and I was left craving what I often really want, which is a big, healthy salad. And although I chose yogurt as a snack each day, it turned out to be the low-fat, fruity kind, which is actually quite high in sugar.
The bottom line is that while I don’t really believe in diets, I do believe in kick-starts – and Right Bite gave me mine for 2014.
Right Bite is slightly more expensive than other meal services on offer in the capital, but the quality of food makes the price more than worth it. I will definitely order this service next time I get super-busy. However, considering I lost a safe and reasonable amount of weight while augmenting the 1,200-calorie-a-day plan, the only thing I’d change is opting for more food.
• Right Bite is offering starter packages (including consultation) for Dh3,170 for 24 days, in addition to a variety of other combinations. Visit www.right-bite.com or call 04 338 8763 for more information