Top dietitian-approved meal delivery services if you’re stuck a home

Leading dietitian Susie Burrell reviews all the healthy food delivery services still available around Australia during the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia has gone into chaos with the outbreak of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

Toilet paper is in high demand, people are getting into fights over food and cleaning products, pasta and rice is nowhere to be seen, and basically all supermarket shelves are completely bare.

But if you’re stuck at home in isolation, or work long hours and can’t get your hands on groceries by the time you clock off, there are thankfully meal delivery services still operating that will literally delivery food straight to your door. Plus, they’re healthy!

And if you have dietary requirements – gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, low-carb and so on – most can be adapted for every need.

So stay calm, support an Aussie business and get food delivered to your door all at the same time.

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Pre-made meals

1. My Muscle Chef

With the ability to select individual meals based on your macro preferences (carb, protein and fat), My Muscle Chef caters for those wanting to lose weight as well as those who want to eat keto, gain weight or follow a plant-based diet.

Meals cost an average of $10 per serve and complete programs are available depending on your dietary goal.

Delivery is available to most metro areas and states. It slightly skews to a male audience with higher calorie meals than some other programs and well sized 300g meals.

2. Dietlicious

This one offers individual meals as well as a ‘cleanse’ and specific weight loss program, and also caters for those wanting to adopt a fasting regime.

Individual meals are relatively low in calories (on average 300-400 calories) although macronutrient amounts are not readily available unless you are following a specific calorie plan offered on the site.

It suits those who are after flexibility or keen for a specific regimen to support regular fasting. Average meal costs $12 and delivery is widely available.

3. YouFoodz

Primarily offering individual, calorie controlled meal and snack options, YouFoodz offers a large range of different meals so followers can choose the dietary mix that suits them best.

Because it targets weight loss, meals can be a little on the small size and as such more likely to suit a female who has lower calorie requirements.

Although the ingredient lists are relatively long with a range of additives, generally the meals are tasty, and easy to find and have delivered, but they don’t always look as appealing as they do online.’

4. Thr1ve

This one stands out from the majority of other fresh delivered meals as Thr1ve specifically caters for low carb, keto fans with programs developed to support this approach to lose weight.

While you can purchase meals individually and develop your own plan, a program is encouraged specifically to support weight loss. The programs are clearly detailed, but meals are primarily meat and veggie mixes in order to maintain the distinct low carb prescription and as such may not suit everyone, especially long term.

Meals range from $10-$14 per serve and each serve is between 300-350g.

5. Soulara

A 100 per cent plant based meal delivery service operating in all major capital cities, Soulara sells meals per pack which equates to roughly $10-$11 a meal.

Relatively high in carbohydrates due to their commitment to 100 per cent plant based eating, this approach may not support weight loss for all and as such is more of a lifestyle approach as opposed to a weight control program. Compared to other services, the ingredient lists of meals are much cleaner, mimicking a healthy meal you would prepare at home.

Susie’s Pick:

With the exception of Thr1ve, there is much similarity in nutritional profile and price of all fresh meal delivery services currently available in Australia. My personal preference is currently for My Muscle Chef who strike a great balance between portion size, macronutrient ranges and great looking and tasting meals, although nutritionally they are not significantly different to their competitors.

Meal Kits

1. Hello Fresh

The meal kit group who revolutionised the meal delivery industry in Australia, Hello Fresh delivers the ingredients and recipes to make meals primarily for families or couples who need dinner inspiration and want to take the hassle of shopping and planning meals out of the equation.

Meals clock in at roughly $9 per serve and the meal options differ widely.

Unlike many of the delivered fresh meals, Hello Fresh is not catering for the weight loss market and while meals feature fresh ingredients, they are not necessarily calorie controlled, nor targeting any specific macronutrient profile.

2. Marley Spoon

This is another meal kit delivery option in which you can choose a set number of meals each week with a focus on fresh, seasonal eating.

Meals range in price from $9-$12 per serve and information is freely available on the calorie and macronutrient ranges of the meal on offer. In saying this, Marley Spoon meals are not targeting weight loss and are best suited to those wanting to prepare different, fresh meals at home but who are not overly worried about their calorie or macronutrient intakes.

3. Dinnerly

Marketed as the most affordable Australian meal kit service with meals as low as $5 a serve, Dinnerly features simple, traditional meals that are especially family-friendly.

Calorie and macronutrient contents are readily available but again, meals are typically high in carbohydrates with plenty of rice, pasta and bread based options. It primarily suits families who prefer home cooked meals and who are on a tight budget.

4. Your Prep

Slightly different than that of other meal kit options, Your Prep delivers individual proteins, carbs and veggies to prepare nutritious meals.

With suggested recipes, Your Prep suits those who would rather cook their own food but are interested in keeping their macros and calories controlled. You will still have to purchase some of the accompanying ingredients, but the bulk of the meals will be taken care of. This one is best for those who prefer a lower carbohydrate style of eating but who are happy to do a little meal prep once they have the basics sorted. Proteins are roughly $5 per serve and veggies $2-3. Programs that support weight loss are also available.

5. Pepperleaf

Another meal kit option but one that caters for a slightly more sophisticated palate, Pepperleaf meals range from $10-12 per serve.

Calorie and nutrient information is available, and in general the meals tend to be lower in calories than some other meal kit options.

Pepperleaf best suits those who enjoy meals with more complex flavours and want some variety in their weekly meal routine.

Susie’s Pick:

Many of the mainstream meal kits are very similar and the most significant issue I have with them is that the meal can be exceptionally high in calories – sometimes clocking in at 800 calories per meal.

Essential coronavirus reading: what you need to know

How Australians should sensibly prepare for a COVID-19 pandemic, the most dangerous myths to not buy into, why surgical face masks aren’t the answer, the five-step hand washing method to memorise, the proper way to use hand sanitiser, why hand dryers are a part of the problem and the seven most effective ways to protect yourself, according to a doctor.