The combination of Christmas and Covid hitting me simultaneously had the unwanted effect of a few extra pandemic pounds that I’m having trouble shaking off.
My usual health-kick go-tos of veggies, extra exercise and cutting out alcohol don’t seem to be doing the trick, so perhaps it’s time for a more regimented approach.
They say weight loss begins in the kitchen, so that’s where I’m starting. I hate calorie counting (it’s dull and makes me feel like a pedant) but I’m more than happy to let someone else do the maths, so I decided to look into weight-loss specific meal delivery services. They’d have the added bonus of saving us cooking time – we’re pretty busy here at Savvy Shopper HQ and it’s not uncommon for supermarket trips to drop to the bottom of the to-do list.
There are plenty of health focused meal delivery services available in Australia at the moment, so I’m putting on my Savvy hat and diving in to explore seven of the best.
I’ll compare the cost of five dinners a week (for most of them, the more meals you order, the less you’ll pay per serve), and balance that against other factors like meal options and dietary allowances (I’m dairy free and prefer pescatarian/ vegetarian). All the companies offer a subscription service with the ability to pause or cancel, depending on cut-off dates.
Chefgood offers a range of different meal plans, including low carb, high protein and a weight-loss specific option with less than 350 calories per meal. At $11.50 a meal or $57.50 a week, it’s more expensive than cooking a simple meal yourself – but it is cheaper per serving than many of the Marley Spoon plans. You’ll also pay $12 for delivery, which bumps up the cost of my five dinners to $69.50 a week.
There seems to be a good range of meals to choose from each week (even taking into account my restrictions) and they sound varied and yummy. Meals are fresh not frozen, and will last in the fridge for up to nine days (but are probably better eaten before that). Chefgood works with local farmers and growers to source fresh, seasonal produce, which is quite appealing.
Lite n’ Easy
Lite n’ Easy is probably the most famous weight loss meal delivery service in Australia. They can tailor to your specific requirements, asking you your height, weight, activity level and goals to recommend a specific plan. The extensive menu and range of different plans make it a little overwhelming, but I can get my five dinners for $65.95. That includes delivery, but some areas will incur an additional delivery fee.
On average, dinners have higher calories than some of the other providers on my list and seem to have more in the way of meat-and-gravy or creamy pasta options, which doesn’t appeal to me. They do give you the option of fresh or frozen, which might give you more flexibility.
Workout Meals offers a range of targeted “meal packs” designed to help you meet goals, whether that’s bulking up, getting lean or dropping weight, and you can input your data to get a recommendation for the appropriate plan.
They use ingredients from Australia and New Zealand, including their own farm in Kulnura, NSW, and their meals are designed by restaurant chefs and qualified nutritionists. Their delivery schedule is also more flexible than many of the others, though they don’t have a huge range of vego options.
You can order individual meals, which range from $8.95 to $11.95, with $10.55 seeming to be the most common. (They offer the option to upgrade to a larger portion size – which would make this a more appealing option to my male partner.) There is a delivery fee of $15, but if you sign up to a subscription, they’ll waive that, so I’d be paying an average of $52.75 a week ongoing. Plus, you can get $29 off your first order by clicking through here.
My Muscle Chef
This company has a huge menu of pre-prepared meals that you can filter by dietary requirements, protein preferences and calorie count to suit your needs – no wonder it’s one of the top-rated meal delivery services in Australia.
It gives you the option of personalised plans, but it’s a minimum of two meals for five days, so I’d go for a custom order of five dinners (average of $9.99 each) at a cost of $49.95 a week (delivery is $15 a box, but is waived for subscriptions). They also offer a discount if you order 25 at a time.
All meals are low carb, low fat, low sugar meals, with healthy snacks and drinks optional, and the meals are overseen by a head nutritionist.
This service offers a large range of meals under 350 calories to help you drop kilos, as well as options for other goals, and you can filter by dietary requirements. The food looks good and claims to be fresh and preservative free, with the ability to freeze some of the meals.
Macros is less flexible than other options in terms of meal plans, so I have to order a minimum of seven meals for $11.35 a meal or $79.45 a week. I was also really irritated by the fact that they are deliberately opaque about the $12 delivery fee – I had to get all the way to the payment page before it was mentioned at all. It makes the weekly total $91.45 (though does give me two more meals a week).
Thr1ve has a variety of dedicated weight loss meal plans, including the Accelerated Weight Loss meal plan, the Fat Burn meal plan, and a keto and intermittent fasting plan.
The Fat Burn meal plan is made up of yum-sounding low-calorie and low-carb meals designed around nutrition research and seasonal produce from local farmers. They’re delivered fresh and will last a maximum of seven days in the fridge.
You can order a one-off box, but their flexible subscription gives you access to perks like bonus meals or snacks. My five meals a week would set me back $60.75 – except they wouldn’t let me place an order for less than $80, which means my cheapest option was seven dinners for $84.65 (delivery included).
Be Fit Food
Be Fit Food is completely focused on weight loss, with dietitian-approved low-carb, calorie-controlled and nutrient-dense meals, and specific Rapid Weight Loss, Gradual Weight Loss and Maintenance programs backed by science.
The meals are frozen not fresh and the website doesn’t have a filter function, but there’s a good range and you’re guaranteed 250-500 calories, 15+ grams of protein and less than 20 grams of carbs. This is another one that requires me to buy a minimum of seven meals ($84.95) and didn’t mention the shipping ($19.95) until I’d entered all my details. At $104.90 for seven meals, this is the most expensive, though it does come with a free dietitian consultation and some other weight-loss resources.
The cheapest option for me is My Muscle Chef, and it would get even cheaper if my partner wanted to join in and we could order in bulk. I can’t ignore the fact that it is still cheaper to batch cook and freeze a huge pot of veggie and lentil stew, but with the appeal of variety, saving time and help with portion control, this seems like an inexpensive way to kick start a healthier diet.