If you’re looking for dieting advice and help, one place you might want to look at is the Dr Gourmet site. “Dr Gourmet” himself emailed me and explained that:
I think that this may be something your readers would be interested in. One reason is that we are the only such software that takes families into account for the menu plans. Meal plans can be created for groups of any size, age, or weight. The system also handles leftovers by sorting them into meals later in the week. Our users have told us that nobody wants to cook every day so we built this into the system.
Best of all, it’s free.
The software now also includes a Food Diary, Exercise Diary and Goal Tracking features. In addition users can add their own recipes to a Recipe Box for storage, nutrition analysis and to use in the two week menu plans.
So, is it worth trying out?
Creating your account
Creating an account is straightforward. The site lets you specify how many calories you should be eating, based on your doctor’s instructions – or you can let Dr Gourmet decide. You’re also asked about any health issues (such as allergies), and food dislikes. The interface seems simpler than that for Sensei.com, as it just involves one screen rather than a series of twelve.
One of the aspects of Dr Gourmet that struck me was the amount of flexibility involved. For example, you can choose to follow a meal plan, or just count calories. If you are following a meal plan, you can create profiles for all the members of your family – and since most of us don’t cook and eat alone, this is a big bonus over more “traditional” diet plans.
As someone who enjoys her food, I also appreciated the emphasis on good food and interesting recipes! The recent Spanish Beef Stew with Olives looked very appetising.
The “Quality Calorie Diet” seems to be the core one for the site, but Dr Gourmet also offers a number of other plans – in a similar way to Sensei.
I liked the layout of the meal plan, which allowed a lot of flexibility over lunch in particular:
The provided clear guidelines on what constituted a “serving” (a single triangle sandwich, basically):
Whole Sandwich = 2 lunch servings (two yellow triangles)
2 slices whole wheat bread with 2 ounces lean meat OR 2 ounces reduced-fat cheese
Half Sandwich = 1 lunch serving (one yellow triangle)
1 slice whole wheat bread with 1 ounce lean meat OR 1 ounce reduced-fat cheese
The meals do look a little repetitive, but I’m assuming this is because I entered myself as a group of one – so the site is trying to save on grocery bills by using ingredients in bulk.
The site is quite ad-heavy, and though it seems rich in features, the design isn’t especially snazzy. If you want a great looking weight-loss site, this one probably isn’t for you!
Personally, I’m not too bothered about the looks – and seeing as Dr Gourmet is free to use, the ads don’t bother me. The basic, plain design could be an advantage if you’re on a slow internet connection.
At times, the richness of the features made it a little hard to get started. It took me a while to figure out that I needed to create a “group” consisting of just myself in order to access meal plans, for instance!
If you’re looking for a free healthy meal plan, or even just some more healthy living and eating tips, Dr Gourmet is well worth a glance. The advice seems good and authoritative, and the site is feature-rich, considering that you don’t have to pay for membership.