One of T’Town’s most impressive body bounce-backs was achieved by J-Lo after the birth of her twins. It’s been reported that she achieved such amazing results by working out four times a week and signing up for a diet delivery plan with a set calorie intake of 1200 to 1400 a day. She quickly dropped 50lb and looks better today than she ever has done before. Since then, the UAE has seen a huge spike in the popularity of dial-a-diet services where meals are delivered daily to your door, made to your exact diet specifications. Ahlan!’s Sarah Hedley Hymers put three of the best to the test…
Best For: Choice of dishes
THE PLAN: I tried the 28-day RenewYou package and, after going for a weigh-in and consultation with the resident nutritionist, I received a little green cooler bag containing everything I was to eat each day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks. I’d picked these in advance from the weekly menus and the menu changed every week offering two or three options for each course. Deliveries came six days a week, allowing me one day off, and arrived at my home each morning at around 8am, as requested. I was totally blown away by the variety of dishes Right Bite came up with, all within just 1200 calories a day. Breakfast – normally a boring bowl of cereal for me – became one of the most interesting meals of the day with variations including a flaxseed bagel with low-fat labneh and zaatar dip; a zucchini and walnut loaf and a turkey, white bean and pesto roll. Hunger pangs were kept at bay with afternoon snacks that included pecan biscuits, chocolate brownies and chocolate éclairs.
BEST DISH: Mushroom and Swiss burger with potato wedges really helped with my McDonald’s cravings.
RESULTS: Despite seeming to eat more often than usual, I lost 5lb in four weeks!
COST: The Right Bite 28-day RenewYou full package costs Dhs3,410, and then Dhs3,210 on renewal each month. There are also single meal, AM, PM and Executive Lunch packages available.
INFO: Right Bite, 04 338 8763, email@example.com, www.right-bite.com.
Sample 24-hour menu
BREAKFAST: Turkey and cheese croissant with a low-fat fruit yoghurt SNACK: Grapes
LUNCH: Carrot soup followed by mint chicken with marinated grilled vegetable and mashed potato
SNACK: Chocolate cake
DINNER: Mushroom and Swiss burger with potato wedges
Best For: Clear skin
THE PLAN: In addition to a one-day trial, programmes on offer last between three and 19 days, and I tried the five-day juice and soup variation. All detoxes delivered within the UAE arrive and start on Mondays, so I needed to fit into their schedule. When I finally cleared a Monday-to-Friday period to get with the programme, I received a large white ice pack containing a selection of fresh juices and one soup, which were easy to transport. Permitted snacks included apples, raw veg crudités or nuts, but I was advised to only have them if I was desperate. I was. The first two days were tough, and I confess I caved in and had a slice of my hubby’s pizza one night, but the remaining three days were much easier once my body got used to the regime. Most surprising, the soups and juices were all delicious – even the bright green ones.
BEST DISH: Orange Detox – the orange, carrot, ginger and aloe vera combo tastes like health in a bottle.
RESULTS: The most noticeable result was in my skin – my complexion was massively improved after five days. Despite cheating with pizza, I also lost 3lb, but regained it within a few days.
COST: One day costs Dhs630 including delivery within Dubai and Sharjah, and Dhs730 including delivery within Abu Dhabi. The five-day course costs Dhs2,650 within Dubai and Sharjah, and Dhs2,850 within Abu Dhabi.
INFO: Detox Delight, 055 883 5072, www.detox-delight.ae.
Sample 24-Hour Menu
Spicy Detox Lemonade: Apple, water, chilli and lemon juice
Orange Detox: Orange, carrot, ginger and aloe vera juice
Pink Detox:Apple, pineapple, pear, beetroot, ginger and parsley juice
Green Detox: Green apple, bell pepper, broccoli, spinach, lime and basil juice
Pea and spearmint soup with cashew cream: Peas, spearmint, vegetable stock, sea salt, cashew nuts and lemon
The Miracle Plan
THE PLAN: Health Factory’s Miracle Plan serves up three meals a day, plus snacks at a total of 1100, 1300 or 1600 calories. Eating small to moderate portions of healthy food five times a day helps boost the metabolism and shed pounds faster. Dishes are delivered every day except Friday in a cooler bag with a menu listing calories and optimum eating times for each dish (correctly timing meals can also boost weight loss).
Side salads are inventive, from charcoal-grilled cauliflower to orange, fennel and olive, but there’s a bit too much lettuce and a shortage of hot veg accompaniments. Mains range from lamb stew to fish biryani. Cake action comes in the form of afternoon snacks such as cherry cheesecake and carrot cake. Portions are small, but you quickly adjust to them.
Best of all, unlike with most diet delivery services, you don’t have to attend a one-on-one consultation before you start the programme if you don’t want to – this saves you time and money. Consultations with other diet companies usually cost from Dhs200 and this cost is added to the price of the package. During a typical consultation you will complete a survey on your eating habits and will be weighed and measured. You can complete the survey for Health Factory via phone or email at no extra charge and simply weigh and measure yourself to track your results.
BEST DISH: Roast chicken breast with potato and rosemary – it’s not quite your classic Sunday roast, but if you close your eyes...
RESULTS: After a week I dropped 2lb, plus the time saved by not cooking allowed more hours in the gym.
COST: Dhs2,950 per month for three meals and two snacks per day with daily delivery (except Friday).
INFO: The Health Factory, 04 347 3808, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.healthfactory.com.
Sample 24-hour menu
BREAKFAST: Ricotta pie
SNACK: Fresh fruit melody
LUNCH: Spanish seafood paella with a side of spinach, beet and tomato salad
SNACK: Light apple muffins
DINNER: Beef kebab with tomato sauce with rocket, tomato, olive and mushroom salad