Fresh Start with Nadia Lim. The newest kid on the block from My Food Bag. We’ve had it for one week – here’s my review of Fresh Start, which, for the record, we paid for (this is not an advert of any form of sponsored post). However, before I forget, if you’d like to give a My Food Bag, err, bag a go, go to the bottom of this post: I have a referral code for you to use – we’ll both get $10 off our next order! ?
First, I’m going to assume, for the benefit of keeping this post as brief as possible (noting I always have too much to say) that you are all over the My Food Bag concept. If you are, in fact, not ‘all over that’ – read this blog post from a while back where I reviewed My Food Bag (long story short: I super complimentary things!).
My Food Bag’s newest bag, Fresh Start with Nadia Lim, is essentially, same, same but slightly different to other My Food Bags. Fresh Start is the option for those wanting to get ‘healthy’ and/or drop some pies. All meals are 450 calories or less per serve. Meals come with lean protein, a shit tonne of veges, and the meals are lower in gluten and dairy to boot. Check out My Food Bag’s website for all the deets on Fresh Start here.
Whilst I’ve been wittering on in recent times about the astronomical cost of groceries in NZ, potentially leading you all to believe we are poorer than church mice, we signed up for Fresh Start for the pricely sum of $200 for 20 meals. Why? I’m quite porky at the moment. Uncomfortably so. Why I am porky is, to be honest, bloody boring and predictable. I’m not going there. I am, frankly, I’m sick of reading blogs/Facebook posts about curvy birds like me who have seen the light and have dropped 20kgs and are now a size 10 and lifting their own body weight at the gym. I AM NOT GOING THERE. This is Not That Blog. I am not aspiring to get crazy fit, nor be a size 10 (though I am joining a new gym opening up down the road)… Yes: I’m happy with fitting back, comfortably into my smaller size 14 jeans. I like my curves, albeit some of them are more like rolls at the moment. Anyhoo, we thought give Fresh Start a nudge. There we go, rationale, done. #simple.
My Food Bag, as I’ve bleated on about before, is a winner in my view: It’s one less thing to think about in a week. No meal planning, no McDaddy grocery shop, just a quick trip to the supermarket to get breakfast stuff. Yes, I know, it’s not a huge task, but it’s one less thing to think about. If you are reading this and have a husband who takes care of all the groceries and cooking and you don’t have to think about it: Good on you. I’m envious. I’m not in that situation and frankly, I get sick of all the organising and planning that goes with running a family. I am not a naturally organised creature, I have to put a lot of effort into it and I find it exhausting. If I lived the single life I’d be the kind of person who would ponder all day what I felt like for dinner. I would pop into the supermarket every night on the way home: Sod that planning malarkey, I’d revert to type! So, scene set, the Number One reason I love My Food Bag is that they cater to my gourmet taste, whilst eliminating all that thought about meal planning and organisation. It helps my ENTP* Personality Type out, tremendously (using the Myers Briggs Framework, but I digress).
What does Fresh Start cost?
With Fresh Start, there’s two options, as shown below.
I signed up for the Lite 20 option, so we had meals for two adults for dinner, with leftovers each for lunch the next day. Hubby had no say in the matter: He does as he is told when it comes to meals. If he took charge, he could make such decisions. He doesn’t. We are, for the record a family of three, our 10 year old vege dodger has been eating separately from us (he’s cooking his own meals with my help, get ‘em in the kitchen early I reckon).
$200 per week, which sounds on the high side. However, this is just under what I spend a week on groceries anyway, so, being pragmatic, by the time I get breakfast stuff in: Our total weekly grocery cost is more or less the same.
So, scene set, how have we found Week 1 of Fresh Start? Thanks for asking: Here’s a blow by blow.
Monday’s Meal: Teriyaki Salmon with Broccoli-Pea Smash and Pickled Ginger Cabbage
Our thoughts: Totally delicious. ‘Easy as’ to make, I’d never had made pickled ginger cabbage if left to my own devices – and what a winner that was! The Teriyaki sauce, if I’m being a fussy bugger, wasn’t as good as mine, however my recipe has a LOT of sugar and Nadia’s little number is refined sugar free. Big ups. This was restaurant quality.
Downside: The portions of this meal were much smaller than what we’d both have normally eaten and we went to bed with slightly rumbly tummies. I can see why the recipes ‘Tips and Tricks’ section advises that, for those with bigger appetites, to add baked kumara, or a wholegrain roll, or a serving of brown rice the meal to bulk it out. We nearly ate our lunch portions: But reigned ourselves.
Score: 4/5 – This would have got a solid five if the portions were larger. We’d make this recipe again.
Tuesday’s meal: Chicken with Mango and Mint Salsa
Our thoughts: We had a foodie friend for dinner this night, so replaced the soup that was on the menu for Tuesday, and swapped it with Wednesday. This cocked things up slightly as the as the fresh mango wasn’t ripe. I ended up covering it in boiling water to soften it, but that didn’t really work and it lost some taste. Thus, I biffed in some chopped canned pineapple in an attempt to remedy things: With success. Incidentally that mango was as hard as nails, she wouldn’t have been ripe for eating on Wednesday either!
Recipe wise, I found this had quite a few steps and I found the recipe slightly confusing and managed to stuff it up slightly as I wasn’t paying full attention. I’m pants at juggling cooking and chatting. Cie la vie: It worked out fine in the end!
Mango trivialities and steps aside, this dinner was fabulous with all of us groaning through the meal with delight. Portion wise, this was on point. We had big portions each – and there was plenty leftover for one lunch the next day.
Score: 5/5. We’d make this again. Defs.
Wednesday’s Meal: Curry-Spiced Coconut and Chicken Soup with Kumara, Cauliflower and Celery
Our thoughts: I make cracking soups. This wasn’t. It was exceptionally mediocre. It simply lacked punch and flavour. Consequently I ended up adding two tablespoons of salt, more chicken stock, as well as more herbs and spices to the soup to try and get my tastebuds singing. I think this was ‘one of those recipes’ where, if you made it the day before, it would taste better on Day Two.
The poached chicken was a good touch: Chook goes a long way when you poach it. But, alas, overall this soup would have been a whole heap better with some more kumara or potato (to add some silkiness), oh and some more cream, and maybe some roti on the side. Oh, that’s right, it’s supposed to be a meal that’s 425 cal per portion. That’s why I’ve got tight jeans, usually I’d have it with cream and roti…. This was, as they say a ‘penny dropping’ moment.
Score 2/5. Nup, I’m not keeping this recipe. I like the idea – but it fell flat for me. We have heaps of soup left (this would have fed six!) alas, nobody has eaten it. It’s getting binned (I hate wasting food). Neither of us wanted it it for leftovers for lunch, so I made us salads. We intended to eat it for dinner on Thursday night, but we had eggs instead.
Friday’s Meal: Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Dukkah Roasted Cauliflower, Yams, and Date Vinaigrette
Our thoughts: Yes, we skipped a day – see ‘score’ for Thursday. Hubby made this All By Himself. I went from work to the pub and he got cracking in the kitchen and I received no commentary on how easy it was to cook – so I’m assuming all was good in that hood. This dinner was scrumptious and after The Soup, our tastebuds were happy again. Best of all, this was only 419 calories per serve too! Wowsers. Portion wise: This was bang on point.
Saturday’s Meal: Beef Burger Lettuce Wraps with Beetroot Relish and Garlic Yogurt
Our thoughts: Surprisingly delicious. The detailed version is we had friends for dinner this night, so I was a bit nervous as: a) I was cooking in front of a foodie audience who were looking on to see if this $200 My Food Bag bizzo was worth it, and b) I was hoping like hell the portions would feed 4 people – as I needed it to feed 6 (thought one was a vegetarian and I whipped him up a vege pattie)!
All in all, apart from the length of the recipe, which felt OTT for burgers wrapped in lettuce, this was an all-round crowd pleaser and was declared delicious by all (noting, we did add cheese…).
The portions were bizarre though: There were enough burger patties for five peeps and there’s and there’s enough leftover for dinner for two tonight. In terms of the beetroot relish, there’s enough for days! As for the parsnip chips, I bought some more parsnips and effectively trebled the recipe and there was only just enough for six of us, which was bizarre!
We hit our first snag with a missing ingredient too: The recipe called for Burger Spice Mix. After playing “where is the Burger Mix” for a while, we declared it potentially AWOL. Now, a bit of a disclaimer on that, possibly Hubby used it by accident on Friday’s lamb dish (he swears black and blue he didn’t). Minor detail to be honest, we’ve probably done a year’s worth of My Food Bags (and Bargain Box) overall and this the first time where an ingredient has been missing. No biggie and I made an intelligent guess as to what herbs and spices would be in the burgers: Sorted.
I made one tweak on the recipe. This was on the burger patties, which were baked, not fried. These came out looking super anemic. My friends and I looked at each other, shook our heads and muttered in unison: “Grill”. Under the grill they went for 2 mins to brown up. That fixed that.
Move over Burger Fuel’s Low Carbonator.
Score: 4/5, points deducted for faff factor and not enough parsnips.
Fresh Start with Nadia Lim is, on balance, a winner if, like me, you are competent in the kitchen (read below), want to save time and you are looking to get healthy and/or drop some pies. We were mildly disappointed that one meal was ‘pants’ (in our opinion), but again, keeping things in perspective, out of a year’s worth of My Food Bag and Bargain Box dinners, there’s only been four, maybe five, disappointing meals. That’s pretty awesome! We have already signed up for week two of Fresh Start and intend to sign up for week 3 (I’ll reassess at the end of Week 3).
I like the gourmet recipes, they tick my foodie box. Hubby will, literally, eat anything and just goes with the flow. He is also unenthusiastic about most things, that’s his personality type. When I asked him for his thoughts on Fresh Start for this blog post he said “yeah, it’s good. I like it”. I reckon the portions are inconsistent and could do with a bit of a review (too little one night, lots more the next). I’m being a bit Lana though, forgive me (Lana? Read it backwards).
For me the concept is the biggest winner. As with the other ranges from My Food Bag, the variety and the elimination of planning and thinking about meal times gets my vote. Have I dropped any pies? I have no idea: I refuse to weigh myself! I feel good: That ticks the box for me. There’s no noticeable reduction on my tight waistband on my favourite jeans (Jeans West Curve Embracer, in case you are wondering). Jean snugness is how I monitor my weight. I refuse to focus on a number, having learnt the hard way what a head f**k weighing myself in regularly can be. I want to be healthy.
But wait – one more thing…
In the interests of balance, a word of warning…If you are a bit of a novice in the kitchen, OR, you like simple recipes, this might not be the My Food Bag for you. I rate my skills in the kitchen yet, I found I needed to keep my wits about me for these recipes… I felt there were many steps in the recipes, more so than the other My Food Bags. That said, Hubby (who hates cooking), managed it fine and at a personal level I’m all up for learning new tricks in the kitchen, so this isn’t a deal breaker for us.
The other thing is, if you have young kids or fussy eaters like I do, this might not work for you. For instance our Boy wouldn’t eat freekah, would have turned his nose up at the pickled ginger cabbage, not to mention burgers wrapped in lettuce, etc. I am sick of hearing we should let him go hungry and give him no other option: So if you are of that opinion, don’t mention it: I have no energy for that conversation (defensive: Yes!) For me, I work part-time, so have time to spend helping The Boy prep his meals. However, if I worked full-time; My patience with prepping a second meal, would expire pretty fast!
So, are you new to the My Food Bag deal? Keen to learn more? Here’s the blog post I wrote about My Food Bag, and here’s my review of Bargain Box (both of which I purchased as a full paying consumer, just FYI). Have you tried Fresh Start with Nadia Lim? Note, if you’d like to give any of the My Food Bag’s a go – use the promo code loub001 – we will both get $10 off our next delivery (this is for a short time only – so get cracking!) Boom!