Is It Really Worth Getting A Weekly Food Delivery Box And Is It Healthy?
By Amy Hopkins
Are meals on wheels worth it?
As a food editor, most of my life revolves around creating recipes, eating out, giving feedback to restaurants, writing and editing stories about food and its related gear, trends, health news…
I dream about food. Sometimes I’m preparing a feast for a crowd that’s too big or I run out of crucial ingredients or I accidentally poison someone or I have to deal with rotting meat…
I research food – I scroll through Insta, I read sites, I scan recipe books (I get a new one nearly every week)…
So sometimes the last thing I feel like doing – especially over deadline – is thinking about what to make myself for dinner. This doesn’t happen often. Actually, I find cooking very therapeutic. But it’s the “What should I make?”; “What do I feel like?”; “Did that doos have to take the last two packets of coriander”; “OMF are they seriously out of all chickpeas!?” – that’s when the mini breakdowns happen.
The Delivery Company
So during deadline – when dinner would otherwise turn into olives and wine – I tried meal-delivery company Gutsy Green.
This has many advantages for the girl on the run.
Firstly, it eliminates the stress of meal planning. If you’re more concerned about your partner’s fussy tastes rather than your own, just get him/her to pick the meals off the site (and pay).
Secondly, it cuts out that trip to the shop(s).
Thirdly, farm fresh! Gutsy Green’s whole push is that their ingredients are sourced from local farmers and sent straight to you. And it’s free-range.
My bug bear with most meal-delivery services is that do not cater for a person who happens to not eat wheat or dairy. At most, they offer a gluten-free option, but it’s packed with cream and cheese. And the Vegetarian options have all the pasta and cous cous (aka the biggest health scam to hit gym bunnies. FYI – you’re just eating a bowl of processed wheat with your salad [insert eyeroll here]).
Anyway, enough ranting (I must be hungry)…
So when you sign up at Gutsy Green you get to choose which “lifestyle” you follow: classic, low-carb, vegetarian and then you can select (or deselect) which types of protein you’d like included in your meal plan. You can choose meals from that week’s selection as well as recipes that have been available previously – so that’s quite a wide choice! Another thing I like about this service is that you order food for three meals. Most companies offer four (ie: Monday to Thursday), but I find this a bit too much and I then get concerned about the freshness of the ingredients come Thursday evening. So three night’s worth of not thinking/ trying something new suits me just fine.
What I ordered
Grilled Salmon with green beans and thyme (above)
Smokey Seared Hake with potatoes and baby spinach
Bone-in pork chop with Brussels sprouts and cherry glaze
The first thing I noticed was the hand-written labels. I actually like the personal, small-business touch. But I wondered how long this would last.
Secondly, I can attest to the fact that the vegetables and (particularly) the meat all looked very happy. Very good quality.
Thirdly, I liked the recipe cards that came with the meals. They’re what I would call ‘collectables’, especially if you liked the recipes you made.
I did find some of the combinations of ingredients a little (uhm), unusual. Like combining walnuts and hake and the cherries with the Brussels sprouts. I made the salmon first – even though I would normally always eat vegan on a Monday. But it just looked so good, that I thought I’d just swap it out for Green Thursday. It was easy enough to prep and took very little time.
The next night, my boyfriend (who hasn’t had much cooking experience) suggested that he make the dishes the next two nights. This would be a better test of how easy/accurate the recipe is, because I would just use my intuition to override any beginner-cook stumbling block. Such as “But where does it say what I do with the garlic?”… I happened to get caught up late at a media launch, so I missed the hake and walnuts, which my boyfriend fed to his I-have-a-16-year-old’s-metabolism friend. Needless to say there were no leftovers.
The pork chop with Brussels sprouts and cherry actually worked really well. And (unlike 3/4 of the population), I really like Brussels sprouts! The pork was beautiful (again, really impressed with the quality and cuts of meat)!
The Take Away
So, I just went on to the site to order another round of meals. 2 X Indonesian chicken fried rice with lime, cashews and jasmine rice, prepared in 30 mins; 2 X Greek style meatballs with pearl barley and baby carrots, prepared in 35 mins; and 2 X Lean green beef rump with vibrant veggies, prepared in 25 mins. Total R564. But you get 30% off on your first order, so that’s three great meals for 2 for R394. Not bad, hey?
Overall I found the meals to be very healthy. Unfortunately there were no vegetarian options that suited my wheat-free dairy-free requirements, so I stuck to the meat. I’d love to see a Vegan category to match the ever-growing demanding veggie community.
Other Healthy Options
Looking for a full meal plan? Here are some companies that’ll deliver to you:
> Visit Fit Chef and try the 21-day starter pack (includes all meals).
> If you’re in Joburg, check out Daily Dietician.
> In Joburg, Pretoria and Durban, try Day To Day.