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Are meal delivery services actually good for you?

They’re convenient but how do meal delivery services stack up nutritionally? Photo: Getty


If you are juggling work, family, study, commuting and a busy social life, chances are that you have pondered how much easier life could be if someone was preparing your meals.

Indeed, the growth of meal delivery services in capital cities suggests the demand for healthy, pre-prepared food is set to increase. So, here are some of the options to organise a week’s worth of healthy meals, delivered to your door at the click of a button.

Lite n’ Easy  

One of the original calorie-controlled meal services, Lite n’ Easy,delivers meals based on a range of calorie options. With meal plans developed by a dietitian and more than 100 meals on offer, Lite n’ Easy is an affordable way to have all your meals and snacks delivered for the week.

Nutritionally, Lite n’ Easy sticks to a low fat, high carbohydrate approach to calorie control. It offers relatively small portionsizes and relatively high proportions of carbohydrates compared to vegetables and lean proteins. While this supports a traditional low fat, high carbohydrate model of eating, this may not be the ideal dietary prescription for individuals with metabolic issues such as type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, and for whom weight loss is the primary goal.

Pros: Delivers to all major capital cities; relatively cheap for a week’s worth of meals.

Cons: High carbohydrate meals; appears quite processed with small portion sizes.

HelloFresh

A more recent addition to the market is HelloFresh, which, unlike meal delivery options, is designed to make healthy cooking easier for busy people. Rather than meals being delivered, HelloFresh provides the raw ingredients for family friendly meals to help take the time out of shopping and meal preparation while still experiencing the joy of cooking. While the meals are not diet specific or calorie controlled, the focus is on fresh, locally sourced ingredients with recipes that are not time-consuming.

The choice of boxes you can order is flexible, as is the number of meals. Boxes are delivered to cities along the eastern seaboard on different days each week.

Pros: Allows you to cook at home so the meals remain fresh; relatively inexpensive with meals working out at about $10 each.

Cons: Not calorie or diet specific; portions of raw ingredients may be excessive.

Eat Fit Food

The brainchild of health and fitness entrepreneur Bianca Monley, who had a vision of selling healthy, calorie-controlled meals to her clients, Eat Fit Food delivers meals daily in Sydney and Melbourne. With much of the produce coming from the Eat Fit Food Farm, a range of calorie-controlled individual meals or programs are available to suit most dietary requirements. 

With a commitment to using wholefoods, Eat Fit Food is arguably the meal delivery service that offers the freshest options, although you do pay for this with the average meal costing close to $20 once delivery costs are considered. The bonus of spending a little more is the higher protein and vegetable content of these meals compared with traditional frozen meals, which is of major nutritional benefit. 

Pros: Daily food delivery; a range of calorie-controlled options available.

Cons: Relatively expensive as good quality food including fresh vegetables and lean proteins are expensive. 

Dietlicious

For the past five years, the team at Dietlicious has been offering a calorie-controlled meal delivery service that caters for a range of dietary preferences: from wheat and gluten-free to pre/diabetic meals, along with a specialty men’s range, and all food sourced from Australia.

The Dietlicious dietary approach is flexible and the range of programs and individual meal choices suit most dietary regimes and budgets. Programs are popular (with both the “kick start” and “cleanse” options) but individual meals can be purchased. Dietlicious meals are delivered two to three times each week, which may mean that some need to be frozen and that may not suit those who prefer fresh food daily. Customers can also order extras such as vegetables and snacks, which can be a handy addition to bulk up the nutritional content of any diet for busy people.

Pros: Large range of programs and caters for a range of dietary preferences; flexible program to suit your needs.

Cons: Deliveries are made only a couple of times each week, meaning some meals may need to be frozen.

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