I can work pretty long hours and something I really struggle with is making sure that I eat healthily while I am at it. I try my hardest, I really do. I stock up on fruit and healthy snacks from Holland and Barrett so that I have healthy snacks to hand, I try and batch cook my meals at home and, if I can’t do that, I make sure I go to Pod or Itsu to pick up something healthy. Sometimes though, it all goes to pot.

I’ll end up being so busy that I can’t get out to get anything (this happened on Friday) and then I end up so hungry that I make bad choices, or I’ll go for meals with work and sometimes end up just choosing what everyone else chooses rather than going for the healthy option for fear of ridicule (peer pressure is real). I know these things are completely within my control but I am human and, when there’s a whole load of stress in my life, I find my discipline slipping with my eating.

What I do know is that a lot of this can be combatted with preparation. This week I had the pleasure of trying out the Chop’d “Healthy Balance” daily meal plan, which gives you all your daily meals for a set price. Healthy Balance includes a breakfast, lunch and dinner from Chop’d, plus a coffee and two bottles of water. It costs £12 a day, or £55 for a 5 day week (or £11 a day). I thought this was a super awesome idea; all the perks of being prepared without any of the preparation. A busy girl’s dream.

Picking up a big bag of food first thing in the morning is beyond satisfying.

Picking up a big bag of food first thing in the morning is beyond satisfying.

Picking up your Healthy Balance is a pretty satisfying experience. I chose to pick mine up all at once, but you can choose to collect your meals at each meal time too if you prefer. You pick out everything you want and walk out with a big bag of healthy food, which made me probably happier than it should have done.

For breakfast I chose the Mango and Banana pot, with oats, mango puree, raisins, coconut, mixed seeds and orange juice. It was absolutely delicious and really filling. I also went for a white coffee which was surprisingly good.

Mango and Banana oat pot, 252 calories

Mango and Banana oat pot, 252 calories (plus white coffee – 50 calories or so?)

Lunch was a jerk chicken salad, which had a generous portion of chicken, slow roasted red peppers and roasted sweet potato. I also chose a mango dressing, which was recommended and went with it really well. Delicious and also pretty filling, which is important when you’re working long days!

Jerk Chicken Salad - 269 calories (plus mango dressing - 176 calories)

Jerk Chicken Salad – 269 calories (plus mango dressing – 176 calories)

I chose a thai red prawn curry with coconut rice for dinner. I had a week of working late and it was great to have something that felt like a proper hot meal; I threw it in the microwave for five minutes or so and it was delightful.

Thai red prawn curry with coconut rice - 415 calories

Thai red prawn curry with coconut rice – 415 calories. Yes I sometimes have a horrible life where I eat all of my meals at my desk *plays small violin* 

I did need a few snacks to get me through the day (total calories from the food I got was 1165, way below my BMR of 1400 and recommended calories target of 1800) – I usually have granny smith apples, bananas, nakd bars, rice cakes and bounce balls to hand on any given day! I think on this day I had an apple and a nakd bar (strawberry crunch FTW).

Having fresh food all packaged up and ready to eat was great, and everything I had from Chop’d was super tasty and felt really healthy. I think £12 for all three meals (plus the coffee and two bottles of water) is a bargain too. When I buy food out I typically spend £4 on breakfast (Pod’s Superfood Scrambled Eggs forever), plus £2 on coffee, then around £6 on lunch, so that’s £12 before I’ve even got to dinner. I think that Healthy Balance is a cost effective convenient way to make sure you have healthy, fresh meals on hand and I will definitely be doing this again – the busy girl’s best friend!

Thank you to Chop’d for inviting me to try out your Healthy Balance meal plan without charge. All opinions are my own! 

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Ideally, we’d all like to have ample time to make our own healthy lunch, but usually that’s not the way the cookie crumbles. You head out to grab some lunch, but the huge amount of choice on offer can make it confusing when you’re aiming for the healthy option. Well, be confused no more! PrettyFit is on a mission to select the healthiest and tastiest choices on the market, making it easy for you to stay on top of your diet.

In this first instalment, we tackle Pret a Manger.

PrettyFit Top Choice:

Pole & Line Caught Tuna Nicoise Salad with the Edamame Bowl on the side.

Why? 

Tuna is a nutritional godsend. Low in calories and fat but high in protein, it will leave you satisfied without the food baby appearance (never hot). At just 138 calories and nearly 19g of protein, it provides nearly a third of your daily protein needs. As protein leaves you fuller for longer and also promotes lean muscle, it’s ideal for those looking to gain or maintain a lean appearance.

Tuna also contains Omega 3 Fatty Acids; these little beauties have been proven to improve heart health, reduce cholesterol, improve mental functioning AND can help to reduce body fat.

This salad is low in calories and carbohydrates, which is why I would personally add the Edamame Bowl. Edamame beans are a natural source of soy protein, which several studies have concluded is the protein source most suitable for women looking to reduce body mass. The beans are also full of essential vitamins and minerals, and high in fibre. At around 100 calories and 8g protein, it’s the perfect compliment to the tuna salad.

Don’t fancy fish, or a vegetarian? Hit up the Superfood Salad. It’s around 345 calories and has just under 15g protein, as well as a whole host of nutritional superstars such as grated beetroot and omega sprinkles.

Fancy something warm? Pret are the master of soups. The Chilli Beef and Rice Soup is a personal favourite; 20g of protein and less than 3% fat – that’s 270 calories well spent. The beans and rice will keep you full and also work to stabilise blood sugar – a double whammy in the face of afternoon biscuit cravings. If you’re vegetarian, the Carrot and Coriander or Leek and Potato options are both under 200 calories and low in fat.

Best Sandwich:

Chicken and Avocado

Why?

Sometimes, only a sandwich will do. This one is just under 470 calories – although higher than the other options, this is still a good choice. Avocado is a fruit full of fat, but don’t let that scare you – the heart healthy fats are the happy type that cuddle your heart and stroke your waistline. Chicken is a delicious, low fat source of protein – this sandwich has 20g of protein, nearly half your daily needs! It’s also made with multigrain bread, which will stabilise blood sugars and keep you fuller for longer. This bad boy also comes in ‘slim’ – less bread, less calories/fat/everything.

Runner up: Wild Crayfish and Rocket. Fish is a slim girls best friend, and crayfish has added goodies such as B vitamins (which increase energy uptake from food – goodbye 4pm slump) and calcium. This bad boy is also available in ‘slim’.

Best for Breakfast:

Yoga Bunny Bowl.

Why?

This mix of low fat yoghurt, fruit and almonds is a slimming combination of dreams. Low fat dairy is an excellent source of protein, and studies have shown that consuming low fat dairy such as yoghurt and skimmed milk can reduce body fat. Almonds are full of vitamin E, which promotes beautiful skin and shiny hair, as well as those essential fatty acids. Also, it’s delicious.

Chilly Morning? Go with Porridge. Pret use whole oats, which take longer to digest. The result? You’re full all morning. Whole oats also reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol and are naturally low in fat. If you don’t like it plain, add the Berry Compote.

Happy lunchtime – be PrettyFit! x

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