Some days ago we reported on a tough assignment, eating some free samples of some of the Men’s Health range of meals, that were described as high protein and nutritionally balanced.
The workload is enormous, as we had a second batch of 5 meals to eat our way through, and here are the results. With the Eurovision song contest imminent, it’s good to be able to report that none of the samples got the infamous “nul points”, although there were some clear (subjective!) favourites.
It’s difficult to be scientific about eating an evening meal, but we thought it might give a more professional appearance if we ate a couple of other ready meals to provide a comparison. You see, dear readers, the lengths we go to for you. And, as before, two of us shared each dish tosee if that would make the taste testing slightly more objective with a huge market research polling sample of two people – a 100% increase compared with if I’d been able to get away with eating them on my own.
Our two comparison meals were both from Sainsbury’s, a “regular” one and a “My Goodness” Sweet & Smoky BBQ Chicken (shown as BGTY – Be Good to Yourself – BBQ Chicken).
Our table shows the protein level for each of the dishes at the top, as the range from Men’s Health are billed as “High Protein”. Four of the five came in with higher protein values than the Sainsbury Chicken & Cashews, with the chickpea & spinach dhal a couple of grams lower, but above the BBQ chicken.
It was quite a surprise that the Dhal came in with a high fat content, around 3-4 times the level of the other products in the same range, at 20g per meal and 29% of the recommended daily intake. Otherwise the “nutritionally balanced” claim stacked up in terms of being low sugar and low salt.
Apart from selecting the meals according to your own taste in food, you would probably want to select by when you were going to eat them; for example, if you were carb loading prior to a sportive, the really tasty Chicken Tikka Breast only had 26.5g of carbohydrate, compared with 51.2g with the Pulled Chilli Beef – these were the dishes we ranked 1st and 2nd respectively on taste. Talking of taste, we found the chicken tagine & chickpeas very bland, which is a disappointment giving the way an authentic tagine can taste.
Overall, a good range of meals, but with two suggestions to the kitchen crew at Men’s Health: would it change the pricing if you added a bit more in the way of herbs and spices? And do you really need the cooking times specified on the packaging? We followed the instructions on timing, but found that the long duration of microwaving – particularly compared with the two Sainsbury dishes – made the dishes a bit dry. In the same way that these comments are subjective and particular to the two of us who tried the meals, perhaps we should make a similar reservation about the microwave we used.
The range is gradually spreading through UK supermarkets.
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