Category: Blog

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Plant Based Diets

Let’s talk plant-based diets    

Thinking of going vegan or veggie but not sure where to start? The plant-based diet could be the perfect fit for you. Often confused with veganism, the plant-based diet is when a person eats veggie/vegan alternatives without completely removing animal products from their diet.   

What can I eat in a plant-based diet?   

Plant based eating patterns encourage you to eat fruit, veg, nuts, seeds, leaves and grains. Essentially anything harvested or fortified from plants are welcomed to the diet. The general guideline is ‘avoid’ animal produce when possible, taking into account this isn’t always do able.   

Key changes include:  

– Reduce your meat intake  

– Swapping to dairy free alternatives e.g Oat Milk, coconut yoghurt  

– Avoid highly processed meats.  

– Swap from refined grains to wholegrains  

– Limit intake of refined sugar  

Unsurprisingly, the most common plant based diet in the UK is vegetarianism however recently, the Mediterranean diet has begun to rise in popularity.   

What are the challenges?   

Swapping to a plant based diet isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. It’s important to ensure you are getting the correct nutrients to keep your energy and immunity levels high. Protein is an essential nutrient and a plant based diet may cause people to pay more attention to what exactly they’re eating to ensure they are getting a sufficient amount.   

The recommended daily intake of protein in the UK is 0.75g per kilo of bodyweight. This means you should make sure to include protein rich foods in your diet. These include: Eggs, Greek yoghurt, grains/pulses and vegetables such as broccoli and asparagus. If you’re concerned about reaching your daily intake there are plenty of high protein snacks and drinks that are on the market.   

What are the health benefits?   

There’s a bounty of research into the health benefits of plant-based diets including, lowered blood pressure, reduced chance of cardiovascular diseases and possible prevention of type-2 diabetes, all of which are linked to the diets high nutritional content and reduced intake of fats.   

Meat-based proteins are usually high in saturated fats, particularly red meats  such as beef, pork or lamb – these are often linked to the health problems listed above due to increased cholesterol levels. That’s not to say all animal proteins increase cholesterol levels, white meats such as chicken, turkey and fish are known as lean proteins thanks to their low fat content.    

Why have plant-based diets grown in popularity?   

As of 2021, it is estimated that 14% of the UK population follow a meat-free diet, with a further 12% intend to follow a vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian diet soon. A figure that is consistently growing year on year. But what’s causing the sharp rise?  

There’s a notable divide when it comes to meat consumption. The older generation have a much greater consumption level, with a more traditional approach to their diet. ‘Meat and two veg’ springs to mind.  

Generation Z are the largest demographic of individuals that follow a plant based diet. This is due to a high level of research proving the associated health benefits, coupled with a greater understanding of the environmental implications of meat farming.   

Carbon accounts for almost 80% of greenhouse gas emissions which are causing the steady rise in global temperatures. Leading to frequent severe weather event across the world. The amount of carbon produced in crop vs livestock farming differs significantly. To produce a kilo of wheat, 2.5kg of carbon are produced. To produce 1kilo of beef, a staggering 70kg of carbon is emitted.   

Not only this, the agricultural land needed for livestock farming accounts for 80% of the total farm land in the world, yet outputs just 20% of the worlds calories. Therefore, a swap to plant based diet not only significantly reduces carbon emissions, but also free’s up land, improving the global food source.   

Long story short, a plant-based diet is truly what you make it, when changing diets, it’s important to listen to your body and fuel it correctly based on your day-to-day life. The great thing about plant based, is there’s no right or wrong. if you’re considering taking a step toward a vegetarian or vegan diet the plant-based route offers a great stepping-stone.   

Without being overly restrictive, it gives an insight to how your future diet might look. Giving you the opportunity to explore new recipes and foods without making a drastic change that’s harder to stick to.  

Begin your plant-based journey with us and create salads suited to your taste. Find out more by downloading our app

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The Connection Between Diet and Mental Health

In honour of Mental health week have decided to explore the ways in which our diet can affect our mental health and discuss guidance from experts to ensure our bodies and minds are at the happiest and healthiest they can be.  

For some time, society considered mental and physical health to be disassociated from one another however, developments in recent years display just how much of an impact our physical health can have on our mental wellbeing, studies show  30% of individuals that have a long-term physical issue, also struggle with problems related to mental health.  

Where does a healthy diet come into play?  

Food can have a significant impact on our day-to-day life. If you’re eating the wrong foods, it can cause uncomfortable bloating, lack of energy, low immunity, mood swings and serious health risks, so how can we minimise this by having a good diet?  

Hydration 

Hydration plays a key role in our mood, and no, the bottle of Sprite you buy with your meal deal doesn’t count as hydration. We’re talking water and lots of it! It’s recommended that we drink 6-8 glasses of water every day, with Studies showing that those who keep hydrated exhibit higher levels of happiness due to improved concentration and energy.  

If we’re being honest, coffee, juices and smoothies also count towards your daily hydration, but it’s important to be mindful that these are likely to have a high sugar or caffeine content which can cause irritability, headaches and spikes in blood sugar.  

Balancing Blood Sugar  

Have you noticed after big meals you often feel tired 2-3 hours later? That’s due to the intake of food causing an initial spike in your blood sugar level, followed by levels crashing. To better combat this it is recommended to eat regular and consistent meals, avoiding high-sugar processed foods, instead eating lean proteins and legumes that release a steady flow of energy and keep you fuller for longer.

Improving Gut Health 

If you recall having butterflies when you’re nervous or have felt ‘sick at the thought’ it’s due to there being a strong connection between our gut and mind. If your gut health is poor, it has negative consequences on our mental health and vice versa. The function of our gut is reliant on a microbiome (good gut bacteria), where the foods that we eat dictate the variety of bacteria in our gut.  

Generally speaking, a diverse microbiome is considered ‘healthiest’. The best foods you can eat to achieve a healthy gut are fruits and vegetables, specifically beans and legumes due to their high fibre and vitamin content. Fermented foods are also great, most commonly in the UK these are in the form of yoghurts, but rising food trends of Kimchi and Kombucha are also great alternatives.  

But how does all this improve our mental health? A healthy gut reduces uncomfortable bloating, prevents constipation and gives greater resistance to harmful bacteria and viruses through improved immunity, lessening symptoms of health-related anxiety.  

So maybe it’s not such a bad idea to add our whole grains in to the mix and picking up a yoghurt pot for your mid-afternoon snack… 

The Power of Protein 

Here’s where were about to get science based, but we’ll keep it relatively simple for both of our sakes…  

Our brain relays chemical signals from our nervous system to the mind through neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are made up of amino acids, which also happen to the building blocks of protein that we eat in our diet.  

When eating proteins our body breaks up the molecules and can synthesise into a range of amino acids (neurotransmitters) some of which produce dopamine and serotonin, molecules that a responsible for making you feel happy, leading to an improved mood and even enable anti-depressants to work more effectively.  

 A high protein diet keeps you fuller for longer reducing the likelihood of filling up on sugary snacks. Not only does this balance your blood sugar, but research also suggests that diets with a high refined-sugar content are linked with higher levels of depression. This is because sugar inhibits a protein call BDNF which has a key role in the maintenance and growth of various parts of the brain. Therefore, when inhibited the brain cannot function as it typically would.  

Proteins are commonly found in meat and fish, however there are plenty of veggies that have a high content including broccoli, edamame beans and potatoes. To make things easier take a look at our protein power bowl with over 40g per salad! 

All that information is a lot to take in, so here’s our top tips and tricks to achieve a healthy diet for a healthy mind.

  1. A varied diet – Try to eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables every day, at Chop’d we try to make our salads as colourful as possible, that’s how we know we’re getting lots of different nutrients. And remember, healthy fats are good for you so try your best not to rely solely on the calorific value of a dish when choosing your meal.  
  2. Drink plenty, aim for 6-8 cups of water a day! As well as improving your mood and preventing headaches it keeps your skin vibrant and glowing.  
  3. Lots of lean protein – Its good for your gut and great for your brain, lean proteins can be found in beans and legumes, red meats and salmon to name a few.  
  4. Aim for 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day! It seems like a lot but can be easily done by making small changes to your snacking habits. Lucky for you, you can have as many servings as your desire in a create your own salad.  

It’s certainly not a one size fits all approach when it comes to establishing what work’s best for you, small changes are easier to stick to and can make a huge difference. As long as you are able to establish a dietary pattern that suits your lifestyle, with plenty of healthy foods you are bound to see the benefits.

Kickstart your healthy eating journey today at your nearest Chop’d store. Not in London? Follow our instagram for tips, tricks and inspiration to maintaining a healthy diet.

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Little Perks

A little something for the planet and a little something for you..  

Since being founded in 2004 sustainability has been at the forefront of our every move. From our bowls to our bags and everything in between, we have always strived to reduce our impact on the planet every way we can. We have previously discussed our eco-pledge where we joined forces with Beat the receipt to reduce our carbon footprint. We continue to take part in the paperless pledge movement, and today we’re discussing some of the ways you can receive exclusive Chop’d discounts by consuming sustainably.  

Falafel and Hummus salad.

We have a few initiatives in store to encourage you to make more sustainable choices when eating with us. The first of which, when you’re creating a tasty salad, let our team know that you wouldn’t like a bag and in return you’ll receive a house topping of choice, with 17 options to choose from you’ll be spoilt for choice…  

Our next initiative means that you can get a discounted salad every time you order, the only catch is we ask you to bring your own bowl. I know what you’re thinking and it’s easier than you think. In our stores we sell ‘Keepie’ Bowls, a compact bowl that folds flat for easy storage priced only at £5.

When bringing your own bowl you’ll receive a reward card that is stamped with every visit where every tenth salad is free of charge. If you’re unable to get your hands on our ‘Keepie’ bowl, an alternative option is to bring in a piece of Tupperware that comfortably holds our portion sizes.  

A similar deal is offered with our hot drinks range, bring a reusable coffee cup for an exclusive discount, unfortunately we don’t retail these in our stores at the moment, but we’ve sourced an eco-friendly reusable cup costing only £5.  

Our final initiative can only be used at our store on 70 Mark Lane, near Fenchurch Street. Where we offer loyalty cards, on your third visit a free house topping, your 6th visit a drink of choice, and on your 9th a free main salad/soup or curry.  

To get involved in our sustainability and loyalty initiatives visit your nearest store next time you’re in London.  

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Because we give a Faerch…

Our pledge to sustainability is a core element of the Chop’d lifestyle. We are constantly working hard behind the scenes to review business operations to improve efficiency and reduce our impact on the environment.

That is why were so excited to introduce our partnership with Evolve by Faerch. A bowl that is made from recycled PET and is 100% recyclable.

But isn’t plastic bad for the environment?

To a degree, yes.

Previous decades saw a rise is plastic manufacturing due to consumer desire for a fast-paced lifestyle of convenience. Globally, 300 million tons of plastic are manufactured per year, half of which are designed for single use. Sole use plastics commonly discussed in the media have a detrimental effect on the environment, often being discarded incorrectly going to landfill or entering living eco-systems. It is estimated that 15% of all plastics produced are not recyclable due to their composition, and logistical factors. Of those that are recyclable, it is often the case that the quality becomes too poor, limiting the useability for future products.

Evolve by Faerch overcomes this dilemma by achieving full circularity. The bowls are made from recycled household consumer waste and can be recycled into new packaging materials without compromising on food safety and functional qualities. The green colour to the bowls is due to the formation process of using recycled materials, each bowl may differ in colour

Chop’d is offering a real solution to help the environment, please support us in all of us doing our bit to contribute to responsible use of our planet’s resources. When you next find yourself in one of our stores, be sure to let us know what you think.

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Introducing the Peace Salad…

In light of the current global circumstances, we are bringing a limited edition ‘Peace salad’ to our shelves, made with sweet potato, feta and pomegranate. The bowl will be priced at £5, wherein the full price of the item will be donated to The Disasters Emergency Committee via Work for Good.

The committee unites 15 of the leading UK humanitarian aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently to supply international aid in response to overseas crises. Since opening in 1963 the committee has launched 74 appeals and over £1.7 billion to countries across the world to assist those who are displaced, in need of medicine, shelter, food, clothing and sanitary products.

The committee follows a criterion before launching appeals, based on a countries capacity to provide self-sufficient aid and a requirement for urgent international assistance. Even if the committee does not launch a direct appeal, it is often the case that their member charities are working on the ground in those countries whilst continuing to monitor on-going worldwide events to ensure they are able to provide fast assistance if needed.

Chop’d has always made sure to support the notion of peace. We refuse to open our stores during the Arms fair, also known as the DSEI convention that takes place annually at the ExCel Arena in London.

Next time you’re in one of our stores, keep an eye out for a yellow label in our ready to go range. We will have a weekly total that can be found on our Instagram page and website.

To give a little can help a lot.

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International Womens Day

At Chop’d HQ we’ve been working hard to bring International women’s day is a global celebration of achievements made by women. Drawing people together from a diverse background to campaign for change, and support women and girls in all that they face. To mark this day, we have caught up with some of the brilliant women that Chop’d couldn’t do without.  

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?  

“International women’s day is a fantastic way to celebrate the achievements of women near and far. For me, it is a day to celebrate the women who are making moves in the science and tech world, the women who are creating new fashion designs, the women who are raising their children, or studying, taking a break, working in a job they love or becoming the person they want to be. It is a day for empowering us to be the best version of ourselves and support others in whatever path they decide to follow” – Eloise. 

“International Women’s Day is a reminder of how much more needs to be done to achieve real and concrete equality in the workplace.” – Alessia 

“Womens day is every day for me, not just the 08/03. I have family and friends, so every day when I get up in the morning, I celebrate myself and those around me” – Mika 

What has made you proud over the last year?  

“A lot of things, I am proud of my friends and I for doing what makes us happy, graduating from university during a pandemic and kickstarting our careers in cities across the UK. I’m thankful to every woman that gave me guidance to get me to where I am today, from family and friends to teachers and colleagues. I am proud to be surrounded by amazing women who are kind, supportive and inspiring” – Eloise.  

“I am proud of my ambition and my strength; I never gave up on achieve my goals even though sometimes they seemed so difficult to achieve. My biggest achievement in the last two years is to have faced and overcome a great change in life and to achieve self-set goals in my personal and professional life” – Alessia 

“I have a family; nothing can beat that. I am a mother, daughter, sister, wife, and best friend. I am proud to be me. I am proud to help people in all that I do, to put a smile on someone’s face.” – Mika 

We’d like to say thank you to the Mika, Alessia and Eloise for taking part in celebrating women’s day and celebrating themselves.  

Happy international women’s day from everyone at Chop’d.  

‘Here’s to Strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.’ 
Ada Lovelace.  

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Win 4 VIP Tickets To Blue Planet Planet II Live in Concert. 

At Chop’d HQ we’ve been working hard to bring you a giveaway that aligns with our values and shares our passion for sustainability. That’s why we’re excited to announce our first ever giveaway.  

WIN 4 VIP tickets to Blue Planet II Live in Concert. 
on the 25th of March 2022  
@ The AO Arena, Manchester  

To enter simply place an order

It’s as simple as that! Any order made through our app or website will be automatically entered into a random draw on March 10th. The winner will be contacted through the details associated with the account.

So, whether you’re after a hearty breakfast, tasty salad or winter warmer stew. There’s never been a better time to order through our app.  

Head over to our Instagram to tell us who you’ll be taking with you.  

Terms and conditions:  

  • 1 entry per order
  • Tickets cannot be exchanged for another date  
  • Promotional Period: 1/2/22 00:01 – 28/2/2022 23:59⁠ 

The full terms and conditions can be found here

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The New Chop’d Nutritional Calculator

Here at Chop’d, we take pride in our ability to source produce that is grown sustainably packed full of nutrients and flavour, and whilst we do not encourage diet culture, we always encourage our customers to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.  

Post-pandemic life has heightened many society’s awareness of the importance of eating healthy to keep your immune system strong. We believe that eating a varied diet full of goodness is key to maintaining good health, both mentally and physically.  

Eat well recommends 5 servings of fruits and veg a day to provide you with an array of vitamins and protein to ensure you are ready to tackle any challenges that life throws at you. Also stating carbohydrates are a vital energy source, in particular wholegrains/wholemeal foods such as our brown rice or wholemeal pasta, as they are densely packed with vitamins and minerals and have a high fibre content, aiding digestion. 

And that is why, after popular demand we have brought back our nutritional calculator, so, you can know exactly what nutrients you are getting when you create your own salads. It works in 5 simple steps, select your base, house items, deli-items, garnish, and dressing. The calculator will then determine the nutritional content of your salad, including calories, fat, salt, carbs, sugars, and proteins.  

When using the nutritional calculator, do not let yourself be put off if the value of fat is higher than expected. Lots of our veg, including our avocados and seeds are high in unsaturated fats. These are an essential part of our diet which can lower cholesterol level and can help reducing risk of heart disease and are hugely different to the fats found in a burger and chips. 

Whatever you decide to put into your custom-made salad with we can assure you it will be packed full of goodness to put the spring in your step.  

To find out what you’re eating click here 

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Our Commitment to Natasha’s Law

Natasha’s Law, also known as the UK Food Information Amendment, came into effect on October 1st of this year and requires food businesses such as ours to provide full ingredient lists and allergen labelling on all food products sold on our premises.

The amendment was put in place in the wake of the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after suffering an allergic reaction to an undeclared ingredient in a pre-packaged meal. Due to the efforts of a lobbying group led by Natasha’s parents, the government confirmed that stronger laws would be implemented to protect the estimated 1 in 5 of us in the UK with food allergies.

Victoria Healy, Chop’d Operations director said, “At Chop’d, we have always been transparent about what goes into our menu. In fact, we are very proud of the produce and ingredients that we use. Natasha’s Law is now a legal requirement on all PPDS foods (Pre-packed for direct sale). This means that all of our Ready To Go items are now labelled with the full ingredient breakdown and, more importantly, all of the allergens in that item are in bold. This does not replace, but only strengthens, the full allergen training for our staff and the availability of the allergen matrix, that we have in every store and always have done.”

The best way to find out what exactly goes into your Chop’d salads in-store, is to ask one of our team. Our guys are very knowledgeable about what goes into our salads, the allergens present, and the health benefits of those ingredients. They eat the salads every day so they can also advise our customers on the best combinations, of which there are many!

If you prefer to use our website for info, you will be happy to hear that we have our Nutritional Calculator returning. This allows you to tailor-make your salad and gives you a nutritional breakdown of the calories, carbs, fat, etc before you order. Again, we want to be honest with our ingredients which is why we have embraced the introduction of Natasha’s Law and reintroduced the calculator.

To find out more about the UK Food Information Amendment click here.

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The New Sustainable Chop’d Uniforms

Since being founded in 2004, our vision has been a world where caring for the environment is part of a business’s DNA. From day one, Chop’d have helped customers make greener choices by rewarding them with free veggies for refusing a bag and encouraging customers to bring reusable containers.

We are now going even further with our eco pledge with the introduction of our new and sustainable Chop’d staff uniforms. We’ve swapped out our old aprons and t-shirts for more eco-friendly alternatives made from 100% organic and Fairtrade cotton.

This means that the cotton our new uniforms are made of has come from a certified organic farm and that the workers who work there are paid fairly for the work they’ve done. These farmers use natural methods to grow cotton by not using fossil-fuel-based fertilisers or hazardous synthetic pesticides, protecting our rivers, lakes, and drinking water.

Furthermore, the inks that we used to print our new uniforms are fully water-based and solvent-free, meaning that they have been approved by the Soil Association in the UK. This means that they have been approved to complement a fully organic textile manufacturing process that reduces the impact that this kind of production process can have on the environment. These are also safer for the wearer as no harmful solvents leak from these when worn and are even safe to use on children’s clothing.

You can find out more about the soil association and the good work they do here. Make sure to stop by one of our restaurants and see first-hand what steps we’re making to reduce our carbon footprint.