Online meal delivery services: what's on offer
When you're working full-time, it can be difficult to find the time to plan meals, shop for groceries and prepare dinner.
Sometimes, it's just easier to buy fast food. But thanks to the recent boom in online food delivery services, there is now a way to organise your dinner without sacrificing your time and waistband.
Google search 'meal delivery services' and you'll be surprised at how many there are to choose from.
There are a few different types - some require you to cook the meal yourself, some meals are customisable and are delivered frozen, and some are tightly portion controlled to assist with fitness goals.
We've collected data on a few of the most popular services and compared each based on the average cost per serving, average meal size and average calories per meal.
If you're looking to assist with weight loss, YouFoodz, Thr1ve, Dietlicious, Eat Fit Food and Muscle Meals would assist with portion control and calorie counting.
All meals in this group are pre-made so you don't have to worry about cooking. Eat Fit Food was by far the most expensive service, as their plans include a variety of extras such as cold pressed juices and snacks.
The most brutal weight loss award goes to Muscle Meals Direct which contains a 200g meal plan over your choice of 12, 18 or 24 days. YouFoodz came in as the cheapest option, at $7 - $10 per serve.
While Weight Watchers' WW Freshbox would also assist with weight loss, it would be best suited to those already on the Weight Watchers program. The nutritional information for each meal is graded by the franchise's trademarked 'Smart Points', so unless you're already with the program it might be a little confusing to track the health benefits.
If you're all about cooking fresh food at home, we found four services that can help you with meal planning and shopping.
These plans allow you to cater for couples or families, and strictly supply you with the set amount of ingredients for the meal to prevent food wastage. Hello Fresh is the most well-known of the home cooking services - it came in as the service with the highest amount of calories per meal, suggesting generous portion sizes.
The biggest downside to the home cooking boxes is that you don't get a lot of choice over what you're eating. Vegetarians can usually choose non-meat based recipes, but those with food allergies and certain pet hates don't have much flexibility.
|Food subscription service||Reheat or cook from scratch?||Average cost per serve||Average meal size||Average calories per meal||Plan options||Delivery|
|Dietlicious||Reheat||$8.75 - $11.75||352g||393 cal||5 - 10 day plans, customisable||Free pick up, $12 delivery|
|Eat Fit Food||Reheat||$18.25 - $29||N/A||350 cal||5 - 20 day plans, customisable||Sydney and Melbourne only. Delivery costs included in plan.|
|Hello Fresh||Cook||$8.75 - $9.50||2 - 4 serves||627 cal||3 - 5 meals/week non-customisable||Delivery is usually free; small fee applies for "premium delivery windows"|
|Marley Spoon||Cook||$8.95 - $13.75||2 - 4 serves||318 cal||2 - 4 meals/week, choice of recipes, non-customisable||Free weekly delivery|
|Muscle Meals Direct||Reheat||$8.20 - $11.90||Choice of 200g, 400g and 450g||470 cal||12-24 day plans, customisable||$30, free pick-up|
|The Cook's Grocer||Cook||$9.30 - $16||2 - 4 serves||400-700 cal||2 - 4 meals/week, non-customisable||Free|
|Thr1ve||Reheat||$11.80 - $12.10||353g||410 cal||3 - 5 day plans, customisable||Free for all plans $120 and over|
|WW Freshbox (Weight Watchers)||Cook||$6.95 - $10.70||2 - 4 serves||N/A||3 - 5 meals/week, choice of recipes, non-customisable||Free|
|YouFoodz||Reheat||$7 - $9.95||288g||348 cal||5 - 7 day plans, customisable||Free for all metro areas, excluding Perth|