For the last two months I’ve replaced one to two meals each day with Huel – a convenient (if monotonous) powdered food that can provide you with your complete recommended daily nutrition. Here are five of the biggest perks I’ve discovered.
I was originally planning on writing about Huel as an off-topic post, but I figured it’s generated enough interest within techy circles to be considered technology-related. I’ve been using it for about two months now, and have been pleasantly surprised by my experience.
First, though, those who haven’t heard all the fuss might be wondering what Huel actually is. Put simply, Huel is a meal replacement. It’s a powder you add to water to create a porridge-like mix. Its creators claim that around four portions a day amount to 100 per cent of your recommended nutrition, with the proper measures of vitamins, calories, and everything else.
The idea of a meal replacement had always interested me – especially since I began working as a cyber security consultant and cooking became less convenient because I was travelling more. But even when Huel slowly began to take over my office, I didn’t get around to subscribing until one of my colleagues gave me a £10 off voucher at the start of September.
My first bottle of Huel did not go down smoothly. My body didn’t like the taste and consistency at all, and it was a struggle to finish. That was the last time I had any trouble, though, and I slowly transitioned to an average of two Huel meals a day, depending on how busy I am, how much I feel like cooking, and how much I’m craving “real food” at any given time.
It’s now two months since I began drinking Huel. Here are five great things I’ve learnt about Huel in that time, and why I can’t see myself looking back any time soon.
1. Huel is extremely convenient
Measuring and mixing Huel takes approximately a minute. Rinsing the bottle out takes less than that. Even added together, that’s much less time than almost any other meal consumes. Unlike a lot of other foods, Huel is also portable. When I was taking my recent SANS course, I took a pre-mixed bottle of Huel to the venue each day so I could have a quick meal before attending one of the evening talks or competing in the NetWars capture the flag competition. When I’m travelling for work, I take Huel so I can eat either before I leave the office or when I’m on the train so I have more time to relax when I get home.
2. Huel can help you save money
As you can probably imagine, eating Huel on the road also saves money. If I’m going away for a few days on a job, I take a few plastic containers full of pre-measured powder so I have meals ready to go. If I’m going to the office, I’ll pre-mix some Huel in the morning and take it with me. All this means I’m spending less money on lunches out, and less time on preparing packed lunches. Even if I don’t actually take any Huel with me when I go somewhere, knowing that there’s a quick, easy-to-make meal waiting for me at home makes me far less likely to pick something up in the evening before I travel back to my flat.
3. Huel makes nutrition easier
As well as worrying less about money and preparation, Huel makes it easy to eat a balanced diet. I’ve always been quite skinny and normally find it hard to put on more weight, but since I’ve been on Huel I’m fairly certain I’ve gained a little bit. This is a byproduct of Huel’s measured nature – I’m eating exact portions of nutritionally-balanced food, after all – but also that fact that preparation time is no longer an issue. No matter what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, or how busy I am, it only takes a few minutes to make and drink a bottle of Huel, meaning that it’s far less likely I’ll ever miss a meal than it was before.
4. Huel makes “real food” more enjoyable
If there’s one downside to Huel, it’s that it can become very monotonous. The Huel website has a blog post about several people eating nothing but Huel for 30 days to prove its nutritional worth, but I could never do that – it’s just too boring. However, the flip side of this is that when I do eat “real food” I enjoy it a lot more than I did previously. Sometimes I’ll visit an Italian or Japanese restaurant with my colleagues, and I appreciate the tastes and textures of these foods immensely now they’re not “just another meal”. Looking forward to one of these treats and then finally tucking in has become a great pleasure.
5. Huel creates less rubbish
On top of the other benefits, switching to Huel has also reduced the amount of waste I produce considerably. I get through roughly one bag a week, meaning that unless I’ve eaten something else in that time the only item that goes into my bin each week is one empty Huel bag (and maybe a few coffee pods). From a personal perspective this means fewer trips out to the bin room, but of course the bigger picture is that it means less waste for landfill.
If you’ve got any questions about Huel that I haven’t answered above – or would like a £10 off voucher to get started – leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to help.