Even before Pod approached me with my own personalised meal plan, I was a big fan of the London mini-chain.
Their healthy offering had always stood out as something a bit special. I normally make my own morning smoothie but on the odd occasion I’d oversleep (ahem) the Immune boost blitz was my go-to replacement! However, if I’m honest, Pod wasn’t somewhere I’d eat daily, or even every week. Working for a food website means there are often temptations within hands reach and during the working week, aren’t we all guilty of taking the easy option. However, it turns out there are two Pod’s in close proximity of me (I’m based near Chancery Lane) and there are now 22 in London, so there’s probably one nearer to you than you think too!
Anyway, I was super keen to give my body a week of healthy food, packed full of nutrients to make me feel more energised, stronger and maybe even lose a pound or two. I vowed to stick to the plan religiously.
DISCLAIMER: SURPRISE! I did not manage this, you’ll see where I slipped up below. Read on to see how my week of Pod made me feel and find out how you can win your own week at Pod.
Day 1: Monday
Breakfast – Pod’s NEW Berry boost porridge
I think everyone starts the working week with good intentions so I bounced into the office with Pod’s regular size slow cooked porridge topped with whole blueberries, pumpkin seeds, agave, chia and linseeds.
I found the portion really substantial, so much so I could barely finish it! Naturally gluten-free, porridge is a great
source of B vitamins, slowly releasing energy throughout the morning so you don’t need to start snacking before lunchtime. I love that it was topped with loads of the superfoods I’d normally put in my smoothie and it felt like a more warming start to the day.
Lunch – Pod’s Slow burner salad (above)
A real mixture of soft crumbly cheese, cucumber, peas, pearl barley , lentils, carrot, kale, leek, mixed leaves, edamame beans, pistachio, mint, turmeric & red chilli with a sweet chilli & sesame dressing. Another HUGE portion – I was really impressed with the size of this and wasn’t panicking I’d be left hungry (which I normally always am!) It was really filling, but also energising, I didn’t feel sluggish all day. I also liked that this was a meat-free option (you can get it with chicken if veggie isn’t your thing) as I’m keen to cut down on how much meat I consume. Very satisfying and full of flavour.
Helpfully I grabbed this at the same time as my breakfast which was ideal as I had a super busy day in the office.
Mid-Afternoon Snack – Pod’s Cacao, pistachio and agave yoghurt
Now this wasn’t on my meal plan but I couldn’t resist and I don’t care because it was blimmin’ gorgeous. A small but perfectly formed pot of smooth Greek yoghurt and the winning combination of pistachio and raw cacao nibs for a salty sweet hit. The cacao nibs contain flavonoids which are antioxidants that can prevent cancer and brain ailments. So it’s a treat for your taste buds AND your health. Winner.
Dinner – Pod suggested a salmon fillet with a lemon wedge, kale or spinach and a small portion of complex carbs such as sweet potato. The idea being that I should focus my meal around protein after a workout and stick to low carbs to ensure a good night’s sleep.
So I marinated a salmon fillet with ground cumin & tamari, before pan frying in coconut oil for a crispy skin. I served this with 50g of quinoa, half a can of lentils, braised with finely chopped onion/paprika and bizarrely flower sprouts – because I had them in the fridge.
I had a go at Boxing Yoga tonight! Being my first time I was unsure what to expect but would describe it as yoga, with more of a burn. The teacher was the perfect balance between tough and encouraging – just the exercise style I need to keep me going.
Day 1 Stats
Pod Calories Consumed: 588 (+165 for the yoghurt!)
Pod Sat Fat Consumed: 11.5g (+6.4g for the yoghurt!)
Pod Cost: £6.98 (+£1.99 for the yoghurt!)
Exercise: 60 mins of FREE Boxing Yoga at Hackney Downs with Our Parks
Day 2: Tuesday
Breakfast – Pod’s Salmon and super seed scrambled eggs with coriander, chilli and gluten free toast.
Ahhhh, my absolute favourite breakfast on the high street. I only got the smaller portion but it totally kept me full until lunch. It comes with delicious buttery toast, spread right to the edges (not easy to find!!). I forgot to ask for gluten free but unless something is naturally gluten free (like rice) I don’t tend to bother. However it’s great to know there is the option for those that need/want that. The eggs are free range and freshly scrambled without oil while the omega 3 rich salmon and seeds is supposed to give me an extra brain boost. And you know what – I felt great ALL DAY. Hurrah!
Lunch –Pod’s Chicken nori wrap
Ok, I’ll be honest. On paper I wasn’t sure I liked the sound of this. I mean soft sheets of seaweed is the “wrap”
around chicken and crunchy veg – with virtually zero fat and at only 187 calories, how on earth was this going to keep me full??
Well guess what, it was delicious! I felt really energised, and totally avoided that sluggish feeling you sometimes get after an actual carb heavy wrap. Not only that but you get 3 wraps in each box, as well as a little side salad, so you feel like you’ve had a substantial meal. Oh, and it’s 2 of your 5 a day which leaves you feeling pretty smug, let me tell you!
Mid-Afternoon Snack – Raw Halo Dark + Sour Cherry & Almond Chocolate
Again, this wasn’t on the plan but I have to have a little snack – I can’t help myself. I figure a couple of squares of this refined sugar free, dairy-free & gluten free dark raw chocolate wasn’t going to hurt anyone.
Dinner – Pod suggested brown rice with chicken skewers and a salad garnish.
In reality I had garlic marinated prawns with a simple spinach, tomato & avocado salad.
Today was supposed to be a “rest” day but I actually did an outdoor session of BoxFit – again it was my first time and I’d highly recommend it if you have some aggression to get out!
Day 2 Stats
Pod Calories Consumed: 439 Pod Sat Fat Consumed: 3.3g Pod Cost: £9.24
Exercise: 60 mins of FREE Box Fit at South Milfields Park with Our Parks
Day 3: Wednesday
Breakfast – Pod’s Nutty nibble pot
I tried two Pod’s and both had sold out of this – it must be popular! The pot is supposed to keep hunger at bay by using up the fast release energy found in the nuts. Not only that but they claim to be stress busting so it will keep you calm and collected.
I wish I HAD had that but instead I panicked and bought Pod’s Super fruit energy bar! At just 148 calories vs the 493 found in the nut pot it didn’t quite fill me up (Don’t forget the exercise I’d done the night before!) SO I followed this up with a banana….. and maybe a bite of a lemon muffin (look – the office is full of temptation ok!!) However, it’s worth mentioning that at just 99p the bar would make a really great snack option for when you’re on the run and slips into your handbag quite nicely. Soft and chewy it combines fruits and nuts so is a much healthier, fresher alternative to a pre-packaged snack bar.
Lunch –Pod’s NEW Hot & skinny Keralan chicken
As you can gather I was ravenous for lunch and pretty much inhaled my mini portion of chicken stew served over crunchy fresh veg (instead of rice). It’s inspired by South Indian cooking so is full of delicious spiced cauliflower
which works as an anti-inflammatory to promote healing, along with succulent chicken to give you a protein boost. Totally delicious and comes in three sizes so go for Reg or even Large if you’re starving. Once I’d let it go down however I felt great and full of energy again. Moral of the story – do exactly what Pod tell you and don’t deviate from the plan! Haha!
Mid-Afternoon Snack – Pod’s Hummus & sugar snaps
You know when you go shopping when you’re starving and over buy/order/eat. Yep – I treated myself to this little pot of goodness despite them not being on the plan. Whoops.
At only a quid I think you’ll agree they are both a bargain AND a perfect little snack, providing an added vitamin boost and leaving me feeling sustained all afternoon.
Dinner – Pod suggested a stir fry of mixed veggies with a low salt, low sugar Asian dressing and a nibble of dark chocolate for dessert.
I think Pod should look away now momentarily. Ok, as you may have noticed, we eat out A LOT for our job so tonight, instead of the stir fry, we may have had cheese & mushroom croquettes, roast beef on toast & a popcorn & bourbon hard shake to wash it all down. Less said here the better but you can read more about Barnyard here.
Pod suggested I start the day with an early morning workout of intense weight training. However, I’m not a morning person at ALL and I think you have to find the right groove for you. I did my exercise last night so it’s all good!
Day 3 Stats
Pod Calories Consumed: 541
Pod Sat Fat Consumed: 9.1g
Pod Cost: £5.98
Day 4: Thursday
Breakfast – Pod’s Bircher
I don’t know about you but Bircher is one of those breakfasts I always think is a great idea but never actually get round to preparing before bed! Thankfully Pod are more dedicated to the cause then me so I swing by for this little number, loaded with fruit and gluten free whole grains. Even better, it’s sprinkled with bee pollen which you may not have in your cupboard but is a superfood I love and adds a super protein boost. I feel totally re-set after last night’s indulgent meal and ready for the day.
Lunch –Pod’s Thai Red chicken curry
Probably one of Pod’s most loved and best known dishes on the menu and PERFECT for Thursday which was wet and miserable. It warmed me up from the outside in and the mini portion went a long way thanks to it being served on three grain rice. Maybe my favourite lunch so far! An excellent gluten free source of energy and high in vitamin B1, which releases the energy from fats, proteins and carbohydrates so that they can be used to the max by the body.
Mid-Afternoon Snack – Banana
Hurrah – finally I’m allowed a snack! You can grab a ripe banana from Pod for just 50p.
Dinner – Pod suggested a balanced salad of butternut squash, almonds, feta, spinach, raisins and watercress with a simple oil and lemon dressing.
I interpreted that as roasted butternut squash with a few cherry tomatoes chucked in for good measure served with rocket and quinoa in a lovely tahini dressing topped with Japanese Tamari Superseeds which I always keep in the cupboard!
My last workout of the week was supposed to be Bootcamp but it had been raining allllllllllll day and I just couldn’t face it. Instead I did a 40 min workout with the SWORKIT app – not something I’ve ever had the inclination to do before so I can only think it was the added energy Pod had given me.
Day 4 Stats
Pod Calories Consumed: 588
Pod Sat Fat Consumed: 3.7g
Pod Cost: £6.39
Exercise: 60 mins of FREE Bootcamp at Hackney Downs with Our Parks
Day 5: Friday
Breakfast – Pod’s Purple grape and banana yoghurt
By the time Friday comes round I feel like I deserve a treat for all that hard work I’ve done. Who’s with me? Maybe that would be a bacon sarnie (which Pod actually do but I’m yet to try!) or a Pain au Chocolat.
Pod had a similar train of thought and this little bit of sweetness was all the treat I needed. It’s pretty popular so you’ll always find it on the menu and is packed with powerful antioxidant purple grape juice, banana and good fat almonds. The potassium in the banana helps muscle recovery from yesterday’s workout too.
Lunch – Pod’s Chicken, mango & roasted cauliflower salad (above)
It’s never a good idea to go out drinking on an empty stomach, so this punchy salad is designed to fill you up in case you don’t get to eat until much later. The complex flavours of this salad would be well received on any restaurant menu!
Ripe mango clears the skin & lowers cholesterol, roasted cauliflower helps keep body inflammation in check and the pearl barley provides slow release energy, AND the chicken was genuinely really juicy (I always find high street chicken salad’s a little on the dry side!)
Day 5 Stats
Pod Calories Consumed: 629
Pod Sat Fat Consumed: 4.3g
Pod Cost: £8.15
Exercise: On a Friday?? hahahahahahahaha. Good one!
I started this week weighing 9st 4lbs, with a BMI of 22.3 I was in the healthy range.
By the end of the week I’d lost 2lbs, felt more energised, and was raving to anyone that would listen about my new favourite breakfast, lunch and snacks!
I’ve not once felt bored or restricted over the course of the week and I hadn’t even hit the smoothie or soup section of the menu! Not only that but Pod rotate new hot dishes every two weeks so you’ll always find something new to try. Indecisive? Just ask to try any of the hot lunches before making up your mind.
Pod – you’ve totally won me over – thanks for a great week & for giving me the health boost I needed – you’ll be seeing a lot more of me from now on, that’s for sure!
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