Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Chloe Likes To Eat: Everdine Review

 photo Everdine Cover_zpsuk2yvw8r.jpg

In the interest of full disclosure, I've not been approached by Everdine to provide this review neither am I being compensated for doing so. I paid for my Everdine boxes myself after finding them via the app Running Heroes and using a discount I earned there- if you're interested in joining Running Heros which gives you points for your runs which can be used for rewards such as discounts & freebies, this is my referral link. Running Heroes is completely free to use, syncs with loads of different platforms including Garmin, Strava & FitBit so all you have to do is run like usual and enjoy some rewards.

So disclosures out of the way, what is Everdine and why am I reviewing it? Everdine provides pre-prepared meals which you stick in the freezer and microwave when you're ready to eat. The idea (and they use a term I loathe, so much so that I almost didn't buy from them because they utilise it) is that all the meals are healthy, balanced dishes for busy lives delivered in selections of 8 or 12 on a subscription. Full price, the boxes are £55.20 for 8 or £76.80 for 12 including delivery on a Friday or a Saturday with referral options to get you some big discounts (my referral link gives you £30 off your first box and gives me £30 off too). I know for some this will seem a very expensive option and I know I could buy groceries for much less. I also know a lot of people who rarely cook and for them, this represents a cheaper than eating out option with a whole load of convenience. For me, I trialled Everdine using a substantial discount going into a period of time where I knew I'd be eating alone for a couple of weeks and I knew I'd be trying to get my nutrition back on track after a few weak-willed and lazy weeks of piss-poor prior planning. It was a worthwhile cost to have a choice of 12 different meals at my fingertips, that would be ready in under 15 minutes, especially since I'm in a crazy period with work.


 photo 34442234416_8ca1296234_o 1_zpsqbrgx026.jpg
Arrivals!

My box duly arrived on a ridiculously busy Friday morning as I was trying to do a million things at once- always the way. Helpfully, the box comes insulated with fully recyclable sheeps wool padding & ice packs so even though I didn't get to putting everything away for an hour or so, everything was still properly cold in there. As suggested, I duly found space in the freezer for all twelve trays- helpfully they're not only clearly labeled but colour-coded which helped when searching for meals and when organising.

So it's easy. It's a convenient way to have decent quality food ready to go quickly. Great. But what about the food? The important bit. Is it any good?

Well let's talk about the good..

 photo Everdine Good_zpsreskqlxw.jpg
Clockwise from top left: beef ragu spaghetti, mediterranean cod, vegetable gyoza, pulled pork & boston beans 

So these are some of my favourites thus far. The pulled beef ragu packed a punch of flavour, heated up with without too much excess water & was packed with spiralized  vegetables and a portion of pasta that wasn't too vast. I added a sprinkle of extra cheese as suggested and it was GOOD!

The mediterranean cod was also delicious in terms of packing a flavour punch. despite being served with potatoes, this wasn't an overly carb-y dish. I don't follow a 'low carb' diet, but I am mindful of overdoing carbs and what works for me.

The vegetable gyoza- and FYI the selection from Everdine can be modified to be entirely vegetarian or mixed as well as having the option to take things out that don't tickle your fancy (no thank you asparagus risotto!) was exactly what I needed after an especially hectic day. It was light but filling with a miso broth and the gyoza were well balanced and delicate. I did add an extra dose of sriracha to my bowl- some of the seasoning is a bit lacking for my palate but one I'd definitely hurry back to.

And pulled pork- I love pulled pork and the beans were lovely as an accompaniment. This dish was a mixed bag for me- although I really enjoyed it for a treat, it's really heavy on sugar thanks to the barbecue sauce and it really needed less starchy vegetables- corn on the cob and sweet potato seemed unnecessary and there wasn't a great deal of other fresh in there. It was a nice Friday afternoon lunch though, and the consistency on this dish was spot on.

Everdine Lamb Kofta photo 33748707924_505a8a87b5_o_zpsuknj2i0q.jpgLamb Kofta with roasted onion


Other favourites included: king prawn miso ramen, lamb kofta with roast onion & bulgar wheat & piri piri chicken.

And now let's talk about the not so great. My overall experience with Everdine (thus far, I still have a well stocked freezer as I had 2 boxes of 12 to be going at...) has been pretty good. I like the idea of healthy convenience food and when cooking for one, it's a joy to have a different meal every time around. But I do think they have some development work to do...


Everdine falafel photo 34530154875_33da9d2d0c_o_zpsslccctys.jpg
Falafel

I love falafel, I do, but this was the ultimate faff- the tortillas, baba ganoush, falafel & accompaniments all had to be cooked separately. If convenience is the reason you're tempted to try Everdine, this dish is one to avoid.

It was also victim to something that's been prevalent across the board  and one that is tricky for any food manufacturer to get right. Seasoning is difficult because everyone has a different palate BUT I found the majority of the dishes I've tried to be in desperate need of salt or soy sauce and some needed a bit of a hit of some additional seasoning like lemon juice or chilly lift them. It's worth considering having your favourite seasoning additions to hand if you're planning to give Everdine a try, because a splash of lemon juice took my king prawn ramen from 'alright' to 'gimme more'.

The other issue is consistency- in 2 senses of the word. Some dishes have come out more like soup than expected- tabbouleh I'm looking at you. That's due to the water content and the cooking instructions could really do with some amending to allow for more steam escape perhaps. And the other is macro consistency. I wouldn't go as far as to say I'm a IIFYM girl, but I do keep an eye on how much protein, fat and carbs I eat in a day and make choices to stay within approximate goals The Everdine dishes vary wildly in calorie and macro count and a basic breakdown on each meal when choices would be very helpful to try and gauge within a little which dishes are best suited to your own preferences- there's a big difference between a meal with 20g of protein and a meal with 35g of protein, there's also a big difference between a 650cal meal and a 380cal meal. They won't suit everyone all the time and that's a consideration.

And then... there's the 'clean eating' problem. Yeah. That.

More than once I've chosen not to spend money with specific brands because they use and promote the term 'clean eating'. I hate it. There's some interesting research around the problem of labelling some foods 'clean' and the assumption that therefore others are 'dirty' and the psychological impact that has on how we view ourselves and our food. I also don't like for food to be labeled guilty- if eating food makes you feel guilt or shame, that's a problem. So I almost didn't go through with my Everdine order because their tag line includes this much loathed phrase. It's something I've raised as feedback with them because overall- there's great potential. I would buy from Everdine again. I'd prefer it if the service weren't a subscription as this is not something I'd necessarily buy into regularly but for certain periods of time, the ease and convenience of balanced meals that are ready to go into a microwave for 10 mins really works for me.

 photo 34584103431_109463d535_o_zpsvtlgmwks.jpg
Coconut Chicken Katsu

If you fancy giving Everdine a go for yourself, you can use my referral code CHLOE10 or by clicking through to get £30 of your first box.
SHARE:
Post a Comment
BLOGGER TEMPLATE MADE BY pipdig