Fit Food from Dublin Meat Company: A quick review

I heard that Dublin Meat Company, a large butcher located a short walk from home was now doing healthy meals for those of us who like working out, and watch what we eat, so I decided to drop by and try out some of their ready to go meals.

Unlike the mass-produced rubbish sold in bulk under brands such as WeightGainers and UniFat, the Fit Foot range is carefully curated to suit the eating habits of active people.  In other words, its focused on good quality proteins, vegetables, healthy fats etc.  A number of other butchers have paired up with Butchers to help put together good quick meals to go for customers, who spend so much time in the gym there isn't a lot of time to cook.

From what I could see a lot of the range was already semi if not fully cooked, though the instructions mostly seemed to include both oven and microwave instructions.  With a full dish taking 25 minutes in the oven, this isn't too bad.  Date ranges were decent enough.  I bought at the weekend and everything I bought had between 6 and 9 days left before the best before date, which is better than a lot of supermarket convenience foods.  Dishes were all €4, a fair price, except for the Chicken spice box which is slightly larger and costs €6.

Anyway, of the range I picked out the following to try out:
  • chicken spice box
  • chilli beef with mashed sweet potato
  • thai red curry with rice
  • Orange and pepper chicken
  • Pasta with Beef
  • Thai green curry with rice
  • Fit burger with vegetables
I started out on day one with the spice box.  It was a weekend, and I usually eat a substantial late breakfast, followed by a large dinner later in the day, so I was looking forward to the generous portion (which was still only 500 calories).  It took a little longer than expected to roast, and I ended up slightly turning up the oven (in fairness, this could be my ancient apartment rental oven).  It was done soon enough (probably 10 minutes more than expected, but possibly down to my elderly appliances).  Anyway, I tipped it into a dish (the spice box comes in a convenient oven proof tray) and started into it.
Was it hot?  Was it what?  I have to admit that I probably gulped down at least 600ml water with this and could only manage half the box.  It simply was very hot for my palate: even a mouthful was hard on my tastebuds.

That said, I still enjoyed it, and splitting it into two made more of the box.  However, it did leave it a hot chilli aftertaste, so approach with care.  Half the box is around 250 cal which is actually good for a snack so it might make good after workout nutrition.  The leftovers I reheated the following day and they were still good (I crisped them up in the oven again).

Anyway on day 3 I decided to try out the beef chilli with sweet potato mash. I normally work out on Monday evenings but was home a bit late and had other stuff to do so I had a quite late evening meal.  I popped it into the oven slightly higher than 180c (200) and it cooked perfectly in 25 minutes.  It was quite filling, and while a bit on the hot chilli side nowhere as gasping as the spice box.  At about 350 calories this would be a good light evening meal for anybody.

The orange chicken looked intriguing.  Although my BB date was a week off I thought the broccoli looked a little wilted 3 days after bringing home.  Anyway this went into the oven too.

The green thai curry was a slight bit less hot than the red, but had slightly more chicken.  I have to say I found this one of the more succulent dishes that I returned for the following weekend.

Then, I tried out the burger and vegetable meal.  I oven cooked this, though to be honest, even that didn't help the slightly rubbery texture of the burger, which I think was due to the sweet potato content not cooking well. This was the only dish that really didn't work for me, because of a slightly odd texture of the burger I just couldn't seem to get rid of.  Frying the burger or grilling it under a slow grill might help, I just didn't think it cooked properly.

Finally, I tried out the pasta dish, which is a beef mince with pasta.  It was very nice, and I have to admit that I came back for this one more than any other.  It had a particularly nice texture for the pasta which can be difficult to find in convenience foods.  The one thing that would be nice to know is where the pasta came from: currently I personally buy a really nice high protein, reduced carb pasta from the Dr Zaks label that is really expensive but excellent.  A combo of that would be really excellent.  However it microwaves well, and it is probably one of the best to "keep" before the BB date.

Overall, the range is a far cry better than supermarket convenience meals.  My only gripe is perhaps more catering for microwave re-heaters.  If you spend a lot of time in the gym, its hard to find time to roast a dinner like these, so micro meals are helpful.  The macros and calories are very useful and if you are a MyFitnessPal user on Android or iPhone/iPad a search for Dublin Meat Company brings these up.  The basic macros are there, but not the more detailed ones some folk like. Either way its better than the mostly blank convenience meals from other local providers.

€4 is a good price for the individual meals but a bulk option would be nice: a lot of these I would imagine *might* be suited to freezing although it doesn't specify.  This would be nice to know.

My only gripes would be the dominant flavour of hot and chilli flavours: I quite like Asian food but I did find these were often very much hotter than I expected from a ready meal.  This is ok for some but may disappoint others.  They were nutritionally balanced, however, and good for post workout.  At least one meal described itself as "clean" though I don't know if that is the same for the rest of the series.  I thought the turkey, chipotle and sweet potato burgers which looked delicious but after going through 4 or 5, really couldn't find a good way to cook them right through - these might benefit from better precooking the sweet potato to remove the rubbery texture.
Also I did find the rice and some veg looked a bit sad even a couple of days before the best before date.  This probably could be avoided by freezing the meal though I don't know if these are suited.  They might be.  The thai curry and beef pasta were favourites though I have to admit I developed a taste for the spice box.  It eventually just started appealing to my palate.  I notice that curry turkey meat balls have appeared since which would go well with home cooked steamed rice.

This is a good move for DMC, and definitely a step up from the turkey breast and burger approach which many craft butchers seem to think is "good enough" for the fitness community.  Looking forward to enjoying more of these in the future!


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