Katie Garden Tiffin Time


continued over


esigned to keep

blood sugar and

glucose levels stable

throughout the

afternoon, Tiffin Time

replaces complex carbohydrates, refined

sugar and saturated fats with wholegrains,

vegetables and legumes. Whether it's a

vegetarian or meaty option, these wellrounded

and nutritious lunches help

maintain concentration throughout the

day and reduce the likelihood of that all

too familiar lethargic mid-afternoon slump,

which lowers productivity and increases

the chances of unhealthy snacking.

Founder Katie Garden (pictured left

outside her shop) explains, "The aim

when I set out was to get good food to

people who are in offices. There's all sorts

of foods, so they can try something a little

bit different, but also eat well too."

Although her foods are not specifically

designed for people with diabetes, all the

principles behind it are along the right

lines for a diabetic diet. She says, "The

aim is for a natural slow release of energy

through my foods, it's better for everyone's

blood sugar levels. Food is served in

healthy portion sizes, it's predominantly

vegetable-based so you should not need

to snack later. You may even have enough

energy to go to the gym after work."

Most of the meals are dairy- and

gluten-free, helping people with those

dietary restrictions. "Lunchtime is often a

struggle if you can't eat those things. Also

we use a lot of whole grains and brown

rice, which is to avert insulin spikes even in

non-diabetics. The other aim is to include

a lot of fibre, which makes you fuller for

longer and leads to less snacking."

Garden used to work in the city of

London where she says she tended to eat

on the hop. Trying to eat healthily, often

she found that salads were oversized and

not very fresh, nor would she be full later,

so she'd end up snacking, and she put

on weight. Taking a career break, Garden

got the idea for starting Tiffin Time when

on a trip to India.

Interesting trip

Looking back, Garden says, "I didn't

expect to be doing this! Food wasn't

massively important in my childhood we

didn't have a lot of fresh foods or much

that was home-cooked when I was a

child. I started cooking for myself, and

then for friends, partly to save money

when I was working in London. I did a trip

to India for five months where I saw the

dabbawallas in Mumbai who collected

millions of hot meals from people's wives

every day and delivered them by bike

to their place of work by lunchtime. I

thought, if they can do it in that chaos,

why can't I give it a try? Initially, I started

a festival business selling crumpets with

wonderful toppings. I saw a lot of world

food being presented, way more than just

burgers. I discovered I loved cooking for

the people. I'm totally self taught, it's just

been a massive passion really."

Garden is also anti-packaging,

although it's possible to get food to take

away in takeaway boxes, or people bring

their own reusable vessel or buy their

own tiffin tin and use that. If they order

and need it delivered it will be delivered

in a Tiffin Tin by bicycle. "The tins are

great, the compartments keep the food

warm and are reusable, therefore saving

on packaging," she says. People are

rethinking lunch. She adds, "I get a lot

of people who get through the door and

expect to see sandwiches. So they have

to change their idea as to what lunch can

be. Regulars come in and will try anything

that's new. It's all fresh and locally sourced.

They may not need to cook an evening

meal if they've had an interesting worldfood lunch, or some buy at lunchtime and

take the food home to have for dinner."

Garden plans to expand with another

outlet in Bristol, then another branch

somewhere else in the south-west,

potentially Bath. She says, "It does need

to be a city with a cycle network, we don't

want to have to leave a carbon footprint

by using cars or vans. I doubt I'll end up in

supermarkets, partly because we would

end up having to use packaging, however

there may be a possible delivery system of

frozen meals."


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