According to their website, Huel is
"Nutritionally complete, convenient, affordable food with minimal impact on animals and the environment."
Is it useful?
I live in two different cities at the same time. Us millennials call it a “split screen lifestyle”, at the weekends I’m a hardworking church organist and music educator, by week I’m an outdoors fitness fanatic in the countryside.
I thought I’d give Huel a try for several reasons. The little food shops near my London digs are really expensive and so much of the fresh produce comes wrapped in plastic. Buying lunchtime meal deals when I’m out and about is expensive, plastic inducing and, as a vegan, not always readily available. I love a packed lunch but I’m not always organised enough to make one. Enter Huel. I can put three scoops in my shaker, throw it in my bag and know that’s it’s there. Just add water.
Here’s my pros and cons list for anyone else thinking of trying it.
Doesn’t go off - the resealable bag will sit waiting for you, unlike that green mush in the fridge that used to be lettuce.
Nutritionally balanced - don’t worry about the balance of macronutrients in your meal, Huel and some registered nutritionists have done the thinking for you. (37% of the energy comes from carbohydrates, 30% from fats, 30% from proteins and 3% from fibre)
You don’t need a shop/kitchen/any equipment - Huel send you a shaker and a scoop with your first order, other similar products require a blender.
Cheap - unlike a Tesco meal deal, it works out as just £1.45 a meal.
You feel like a prat - I take the dry powder ready in my shaker and then add water when I'm ready to have lunch. If I'm shaking in public I feel rather conspicuous
Washing up - if you don’t give it a rinse right away then it can be a bit of a sticky mess by the time you get home.
Real food envy - sometimes you want to chew your lunch, not just gulp it down.
Does it takes gross?
I haven’t mentioned the all important taste factor. I’ve had vanilla and chocolate now. Both tasted fine, better than fine. Vanilla is my favourite but both flavours are a lot better than similar products I've tried and many protein powders. The texture is a little gritty. I’ve got used to it now but some people may not like that. Huel suggest using a blender but that’s not going to work for my life.
Is it even good for you?
The powder, ready-to-drink and bars have slightly different nutritional values but the powder is composed thus: 37% of the energy comes from carbohydrates, 30% from fats, 30% from proteins and 3% from fibre. I don't know much about nutrition but I trust that this is better than a bag of ready salted and some oreos.
To conclude, I really like knowing I've got Huel as a back up, some days I may take it with me just in case I can't find vegan food. It takes the anxiety out of unknown situations. I personally wouldn’t use Huel to substitute all my meals, one meal or possibly two a day is enough. I enjoy cooking and want to chew some real food too. But it has really helped me not to buy expensive, plastic wrapped, unhealthy food. The ultimate convenience food.