I've become a lazy foodie.
I used to be this avid cook, who loved cooking every day and feeding the people around me.
I still love to cook, but my lifestyle has changed over the last few years and as I've gotten busier, everyday-healthy-cooking has become more of a chore than a delight.
I still love 'occassion' cooking - birthday baking, weekend feasts, dinner parties, the occassional 'I've still got it!' dinner - but the day-to-day shopping, prepping, cooking and CLEANING UP is just something I'll avoid if I can. I know I'm so privileged to be in a position where I can access affordable healthy food and not have to cook it myself all the time- I don't have 10 kids screaming for food 5 times a day and I can afford to outsource most of my food prep.
How do I do this?
Well, most recently: 5.4 food delivery.
For the last 6 months, my boyf and I have had the 'Women's Weight Loss' 5.4 meals delivered fortnightly. There are 20 meals delivered and it costs $160. That's just over $8 each. We leave half in the work freezer and bring the other 10 home.
My understanding is that all the plans cost the same, just with the bigger meals (maitenance and Men's meals), you get bigger meals and less of them. Basically the same meals, just more volume + a carb. The Women's Weight Loss meals are all just a meat, some sort of seasoning/sauce and a green vegetable.
Having healthy, satiating food available within 3 minutes of the time you realise you're hungry is very helpful.
You make one decision, once, and the meals just arrive every fortnight until you email them asking to stop. One decision that positively influences 40 meals a month for the two of us. That means more healthy meals, less decision fatigue.
We eat out less on a whim at night - saving us time, money and weight gain. I LOVE eating out at restaurants and bars, but I like to do it as a treat, not because we have no food at home and I can't be assed cooking.
We also eat out even less as it gets closer to our next delivery and we have extra meals to get through: we know our freezer(s) will only cope with so many meals - so it forces us to giddy up and eat the healthy meals instead of going out for god-knows-what-because-we're-tired-we-work-hard-and-deserve-it!
D and I work together so we actually eat out less at lunch too! Less 'let's just pop out for a sandwich/nandos salad/ thai feast'. This means we are spending more productive time in the office and saving our meals out for when we have time to relax and enjoy them.
We have less lean meat going off in the fridge - i.e. less buying heaps of meat for the week and having to prep, cook or freeze it within the safe timelines for each individual meat. Then having to defrost it in time to cook and eat it. We aim to eat quality protein several times a day so managing this without resorting to boring old chicken breast twice a day every day was a major pain in my ass.
All the meals are around 300 calories, with about 40g of protein, sweet f all carbs and 10g of fat. This is not a 'large' meal but it does make a great small meal, or a base to add more vegetables to it if your schedule and energy levels allow.
I often add mesculin mix, fresh herbs (snip coriander, dill or chives out of a packet or the garden), a Steam Fresh veggie pouch at work, or steam/stir fry up extra veg at home if we feel we want extra veg and a more filling meal without blowing out the caloric value of the meal. For me, this is super helpful as I like to have a large volume of food to fill me up. Lots of veggies are key to doing this when on a calorie deficit or maitenance.
Steamed shredded cabbage is a great one, or zucchini, pumpkin and broccoli I love too. We are also fiends for some sriracha and or american mustard! High taste, low cal additives!
You don't get any choice. I think this is a pro and a con (see decision fatigue again) but it does mean you might end up with one or two types of meals in the fortnight that you don't LOVE. There's a chicken and broccoli stir fry I don't love; the sauce is really full on as they also do it as a men's version which comes with rice. The sauce hasn't been adjusted and so is really salty. D doesn't like apricot chicken, and there're a few more examples. However, I find the majority of the meals tasty and fit for purpose. Satay Chicken, Butter Chicken and the Thai Curries are my favourites. The meatballs and bush beef are pretty good, too.
So, why am I writing about 5.4? Well, I've tried other food delivery companies and I reckon this one is best bang for buck and the most convenient. Less decisions, no bullshit carb fillers, the meals can be used any time of day or night, and they're frozen so they don't go off. I've had 'fresh' meal deliveries before and find the textures of meats can go chewy when microwaved etc, and I end up freezing them anyway!
Also, we've just had 4 weeks off to test all of my theories above, and I can tell you - we have eaten out more, we have eaten more cheese platter dinners (delicious but unhelpful for my relationship with my jeans) and we have spent more money on random takeaways (BBQ chooks, etc). We've been sneaking a few work lunches in and just generally haemorraging cash and stockpiling lard. It's been a fun month, but I'm pretty pumped for our delivery tomorrow! Bring it on!
I'm a foodie, I love great quality food, cooking and eating out - but I also love that for $320 a month, the two of us have a shittonne of healthy meals covered straight away - no thought or effort required.
In this period of our lives when work is busy, and we have other pursuits outside of work that require effort - it's awesome to know I don't have to spend an hour a night cooking dinner, or most of Sunday food prepping. I heard a smart lady call this time of life 'Empire Building'. I love that, don't you? Makes me feel better about some of the domesticities I'm currently neglecting/outsourcing/putting off!
So that's it - I think 5.4 is awesome.
What about you? Have you or do you use a food delivery service? Lite n Easy? My Muscle Chef? YouFoodzzzzz?? What do you think?
PS:This is not a sponsored post, just me sharing the love. But hey, 5.4, if you want to send me free meals and have me blog about it more, I am totes open to that.