Getting my five a day has always been an uphill struggle. The silly thing is that I actually really like vegetables (now I’m a grown up) and I love most fruit. The simple fact is that it’s far easier to peel a mars bar than it is an orange and that’s where I fall down. Convenience outweighs all.
Then in walks Abel & Cole into my life… Promising a good proportion of the nutrition I need in a week, all wrapped up in a simple yet alluring biodegradable capsule that magically appears on my doorstep every Wednesday morning. Like Christmas only with 99.9% less calories.
It’s really simple for me. In order to achieve anything in life I need a target, a goal, an incentive. This can be as simple as plotting my times after each gym session in order to see a minuscule improvement or as complex as buying into a fruit and vegetable box delivery scheme in order to force myself into eating more healthily. And because I hate wasting food I know that if I have a cardboard box full of tucker at the start of the week then I’m damn well going to have an empty cardboard box at the end of the week with contents of said box having taken a delicious yet nutritious trip to belly land.
I’ll admit now that I signed up on a whim… It was a cold call – A tactic I thought had all but died out, but it seems that the Abel & Cole rep who buzzed my buzzer some 6 months ago caught me on a ‘Yes’ day or perhaps he was just gifted with an ability to sell fruit and vegetables to slightly hungover thirty somethings. Whatever wizardry was at play it seemed like a fantastic idea… Actually, I remember now – the deal sealer was the promise of a free recipe book and bottle of red wine. I’m a sucker for wine. Books are ok.
Six months later and there’s no looking back. The box of random food stuffs sent to me every week get my meal thoughts flowing, I embrace the contents as a Ready, Steady, Cook style challenge. It makes meal times much more interesting than if I was left to think of something to create all by myself, especially as most meals are a meal for one these days. My girlfriend is currently working in a military hospital out in Afghanistan and it’s very easy when on your own for the dinner menu to fall into a boring routine. Beans on toast anyone?
I believe there is a wider lesson to be learnt here – restriction breeds creativity. Give a man ten pounds and if he’s anything like me he’ll buy some sausages, a loaf of bread and a suitable measure of his favourite alcohol. Maybe some beans, but give a man a veg box and he will be forced to go forth and create in order to survive! That’s the theory anyway. In short, Abel & Cole have diversified meal times, inspired me to follow recipes, create meals and try foods that I would have otherwise avoided due to, well… Laziness I suppose. Above all else it’s made my day to day dinner menu significantly more healthy. Win.
A Helping Hand
In each Abel & Cole veg box you get a recipe card that directly relates to the contents of that particular box, so you’ll never be stuck for ways to use your latest delivery. Collect all the cards and soon enough you’ve got a pretty comprehensive recipe book. It might all sound a little bit twee but this sort of thing appeals to my geek within… And if you are looking to make steps in the direction of a healthier lifestyle or have an interest in expanding your culinary horizon then this sort of thing probably appeals to you too.
- Chard | 600g
- Broccoli | 600g
- Courgettes | 500g
- Onions | 500g
- Carrots | 500g
- Mango | 1 Large (480g)
- Oranges | 4 medium (700g)
- Pears | 5 small (600g)
To be as fair as possible I have priced up similar organic produce (where available) during the same week as my Abel & Cole delivery using the numerous Supermarket online ordering facilities available.
- Morrisons | £9.18
- Asda | £9.83
- Sainsbury’s | £12.29
- Tesco | £12.55
- Able & Cole | £13.25
- Waitrose | £14.40
Please note: Where an exact item or exact weight was not available the nearest best fit item/weight was substituted.
So What Do You Think?
Have any of you folks signed up to the doorstep veg challenge? How are you getting on? Which company have you gone for, there are quite a few different companies doing this now. How happy are you with your service and the produce?
If you haven’t yet taken the leap into veg box land what’s stopping you – is it the price, brand loyalty or do you prefer to shop on a week-by-week basis without any exterior pressure?
I really would love to hear your thoughts…
The biggest negative to the Abel & Cole veg box, as far as I can see, is that element of unknown… You can state that you don’t like carrots… And you won’t ever be sent them. You can register your holidays so that you won’t be left with a box on your doorstep whilst off having two weeks in the sun… But if you don’t like having to prepare for the unexpected or if your meal planning requires more structure then a veg box is probably not for you.
I’m loving it though… It keeps my weekly food shop and dinner menu fresh in both senses of the word and in terms of supermarket price comparison I don’t think it’s breaking the bank. The veg box is certainly not a budget option and I would be lying if I said I had never wasted anything that I’ve been sent, but it is largely working. Take-away orders are down – meals created from scratch are on the up and the I’m much more inclined to get creative in the kitchen after a long days work if I have fresh ingredients at home ready and waiting.
To see what I made with this weeks harvest you can read my Dining Diary.