Review: MuscleFood; Live Clean Meals

February 6, 2017



Ready meals have long been one of the hallmarks of the single professional who gets home late and has no desire to play at being a domestic god or goddess. Ready meals often come under scrutiny by health and fitness experts who sight the questionable nutritional value of many supermarket offerings. High levels of salt and saturated fat are not uncommon words uttered alongside "ready meal". 

Times have thankfully started to change in the right direction, mainly because health sells. You may have already realised that the food marketers rarely care about your actual health and yet when they eyed the health niche in ready meals many leapt into the market gap. We're not referring to slimming meals, these are nothing new and are simply small portions of regular meals, we mean an entirely new area of full meals but nutritionally thought out. 



Who Makes These? 

(Our review was intended to be about the Mens Health Kitchen Meals, a range we have been testing for 6 months. Only to find the range was no longer available at time of writing, so after some research a new and better option was found!)


MuscleFood is a company we had heard of, vaguely bringing to mind a TV advert for meat boxes by mail. The brightly coloured website has just about every food association and quality assured logo we've heard of and many we haven't. Deals, Bundles and Offers seem to be popular and are always worth a browse if quantity and quality are your goals! There are also huge selections of snacks, supplements, health products, cooking ingredients and our new best friend Liquid Egg Whites. The traditional range of meats, poultry and general groceries are also still available through the site, which is an immense catalog to browse. 

The Live Clean™ range is one of several ranges of health meals on the MuscleFood site, what attracted us to this over the others was the types of meal on offer. The other ranges were all "in bag" options, similar to camping pouches (design wise not in terms of taste we hope) so the meals were all stew, curry or casserole type meals with no vegetables or sides. The Live Clean™ meals however were complete meals with meats, veg and sides all pre-packed and ready for the microwave. We ordered; Beef Lasagne and rainbow veg, Chicken Pad Thai, Chipotle Pulled Pork and beans, Balsamic Steak and potato gratin and Persian Lime Chicken and Quinoa. So how did we get on? 


Firstly all the meals have long freezer lives of 6 months and 2 days once defrosted in the fridge. One word of caution, we had become used to throwing our previous branded meals in the microwave straight out of the freezer. The Live Clean™ meals require defrosting, recommendation is overnight in the fridge. Cooking however couldn't be simpler, the meals come in two small clear boxes. One for the main component such as the chicken breast and the other box for sides and vegetables. Cooking times are short about 1 1/2 minutes to 3 1/2 minutes in a 900w machine depending on the dish.


The entire range is exceptionally flavoursome, vegetables taste fresh, meats are tender and seasonings and sauces are exactly what they say on the tin. The best we tested was by far the Chicken Pad Thai, hitting the exact flavours you'd expect from a good restaurant. Made with Whole-Wheat noodles in the classic spicy peanut sauce with crisp Vegetables. 



This is why we're here really isn't it? If it doesn't tick this box then we've wasted our time and money. Thankfully the range hits this one out of the park. The whole ethos of the Live Clean™  range has to always be "nutritionally balanced meals" and at 30%+ protein and under 500 calories it's looking good. Our favourite; the succulent Chicken Pad Thai comes in at 484 calories , High 60.8g protein , Low 2.7g sat fats.


These are therefore nutritionally perfect for anyone looking to eat clean foods, follow a high protein diet, gain lean muscle or lose weight on a restricting diet while feeling fuller for longer. According to the MuscleFood site they are also compliant with the Weight Watchers diet and clock in at only 11 points.




As we've already stated in our disclaimer, we did not receive these meals for free or as part of a deal. We paid full price and gave no indication that the purchaser worked for our publication. We spent our own money so we can actually talk about the cost / benefits realistically. A standalone meal costs between £4.50 and £5.95, the Men's Health Meals we originally intended to review cost £3.50 in ASDA. However the comparison isn't really a fair one, the Mens Health options didn't contain fresh veg, were unreliably stocked on the shelves and were made by Kerry Foods who were linked to the Horse meat scandal of 2014.  The Live Clean™ meals are available in weekly bundles, so 5 meals for £22, the more you buy the more you save and if these are your primary dinner source then stocking up is a no brainer! 


In terms of cost these meals are at the higher end, however they totally deserve there price and bundle deals take the sting out of it. Quality throughout is high and that's one thing we never mind paying an extra £1 for! 


Who Are They For?

There's no disguising who these are primarily aimed at, with Live Clean™ and MuscleFood emblazoned on the jacket, it's obviously the fitness and active diner in mind. Aimed at men and women who want to bulk or tone up and yet can't stand doing 4 hours of meal prep only to eat dry chicken and broccoli. Now they are also great options for slimmers, clean eaters and the generally time pressed people who like to know what's on their fork.   


Blades Conclusion

We should always be sceptical about pre-packed and processed food, ready meals especially. Consumers are becoming ever more demanding of producers and yet they rarely meet our expectations. We reviewed the Clean Living™ Meals with an open mind and have been thoroughly impressed. We personally workout 6 days a week and have busy work and social lives, so a ready meal that supports our fitness goals without sacrificing taste was always going to be on to a winner. So we'll be buying them again. 


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