food

We road test a healthy food delivery service.

YouFoodz
Thanks to our brand partner, YouFoodz

I’ve officially been an adult for nine years now, and in that time I’ve gleaned an important lesson about life.

That is: the week you are most prepared for home cooking will inevitably be the week where you spend every night out… while your fresh baby spinach wilts in the fridge at home and the chicken breast you optimistically defrosted on Monday develops a layer of slime.

It’s true. Like many people of my age and/or demographic, my schedule is subject to a lot of change, often with little or no notice. And cooking healthy meals at home is usually the first casualty.

Whether it’s an impromptu ‘catch-up’ over wine, a work event or an after-hours gym session, I’ll often find myself getting home at 8:30pm (if not much later) during the week. Unless there are leftovers handy, ‘dinner’ will inevitably be eggs on toast, some kind of salad, or when things get really dire, cereal.

This is frustrating because I actually enjoy cooking, and try to be organised with my groceries as much as possible.

You're looking at the face of an organised grocery shopper. Image: supplied.

Over the past couple of weeks, a solution (a cheat, if you will) for this very SINK-y quandary has made itself known to me: Youfoodz. This is a food delivery service that allows you to order fresh lunches, dinners, breakfasts and even snacks that are then pre-made, sealed, and delivered free-of-charge to your doorstep. Simple.

For my Youfoodz road test, I focused on lunches and dinners. These are the meals that cause me the most strife, and no matter how hectic my schedule is I usually have brekky sorted (I can barely function if I don’t eat something as soon as I’m awake).

My box of wonders arrived in the wee hours of a Friday morning, well before my alarm sounded. Knowing my meals for the coming days were already planned, let alone ready to eat, was immediately relieving. No more mornings spent frantically throwing together a salad with one hand while towel-drying my hair with the other! Fantastic.

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Some of the dishes I tried during my trial included glazed salmon with veggies, a Mexican burrito bowl with rice and coleslaw, roast lamb and karaage chicken. They tasted fresh and healthy, and the ingredients lists were full of words I actually recognised - usually a good sign.

The delicious Mexican burrito bowl with coleslaw. Image: supplied.

I was equally surprised by how well the fresh components held up after a few days in the fridge. The side salads and slaws remained crispy, the beans and broccolini were still al dente, and the meats could still be described as tender even after being heated up.

I wasn’t the only one impressed - a number of my colleagues admitted to ‘lunch envy’ when they spied my packages at work. “That doesn’t look like a frozen dinner at all,” one remarked. Fitting, considering it wasn’t. The Youfoodz philosophy is ‘You’ll never eat frozen again,’ and all my meals were delivered fresh, not frozen.

Admittedly, not having to cook a single meal or even contemplate it was an unfamiliar sensation. I had so much time on my hands - my pre-work routine was slightly more relaxed, and thanks to the absence of cooking and washing up I scored more me-time (okay, Netflix time) at night. Is this what it’s like to have a private chef? Is this what Beyonce’s life is like all the time?

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Homemade fish and chips. Image: supplied.

Price-wise, Youfoodz meals average around $10 each. When you consider that any of the other cooking alternatives (eg. ordering takeaway, buying lunch from a salad bar or cafe) will easily cost you more than a tenner, this is a wallet-friendly option. It’s also a saving grace for those particularly hectic weeks or months when there’s barely enough time to breathe, let alone cook.

Probably the greatest takeaway (pun intended?) I got from this experience was the extent to which thinking about, planning, buying, and preparing meals demands your time and mental energy.

Homestyle Chicken Rissoles with red pesto veg. Yum. Image: supplied.

When your mind is otherwise occupied by work/home/family/social matters, those seemingly minor thoughts and decisions (What should I take for lunch today? Do I have enough chicken left in the freezer for dinner? Can I squeeze in a quick grocery shop after the gym tomorrow night?) can quickly become more stressful than they should be. Not having to deliberate over what to eat was surprisingly freeing.

Just like pre-planning your outfits can cut down on this ‘decision fatigue’, so too does having your lunches and dinners ready to go where possible. And for those times when life is particularly manic, being able to have them prepared and delivered straight to your door is a total game-changer.

How do you do cooking for one?

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