There may be some light at the end of the tunnel as the number of new COVID-19 infections continue to decrease and restrictions start to ease, but heading into cold and flu season, and with a vaccine not yet available, we still need to take precautions to safeguard our health.
Beyond practising social distancing and good personal hygiene, some people may choose to steer clear of large crowds in the shops and supermarkets in favour of home delivery.
When the outbreak reached its peak in March, tighter restrictions were put in place to help curb the spread of the virus, prompting many Australians to have their food – and meals – delivered instead of heading to their local supermarket.
And while many businesses have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, business has been booming for the meal delivery industry.
Among those that saw a spike in orders was Diabetes Meals Online. Founder Leonie Horsfield was spurred to launch the nation-wide meal delivery service after her daughter Elly was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes back in 2013.
Since its inception, business has gone from strength to strength, but when the COVID-19 outbreak hit Australia, Leonie says orders increased four-fold.
“It’s been enormous,” Leonie says. “Our warehouse has had to put on more staff and I’ve had a huge batch of meals, about 6000, cooked (in a week) just to keep up with supply, which is fantastic.
“We’re just getting them out every single day to people, as fast as we can. People aren’t panic buying but they are buying enough to last them a month or so, then re-ordering. But we’re able to keep up, we’ve got plenty.”
From casseroles and hot pots to soups and tagines, the selection of chef-designed ready-made meals are all approved by a dietitian to ensure they meet strict nutritional criteria for people living with diabetes.
All meals are under 400 calories or 1700kJ, are low in salt and carbohydrates, and have no added sugar, which also makes it an ideal option for people who want to lose weight.
To ensure a long shelf-life, each meal is pressure cooked in a special pouch meaning it can be stored in the pantry and can be safely delivered Australia-wide.
In addition to offering ready-made meals, Diabetes Meals Online now offers full meal plans.
“People can now order breakfast, lunch and dinner for five or seven days, or they can order them separately,” Leonie says. “People can store them in their pantry and can heat them up usually in the microwave but you can also do it in the oven or stove top.
“We’re now doing soups and sugar-free snacks, desserts and biscuits and our shakes are all sugar-free. We also have a wider range of meals.”
While the menu changes seasonally, there are also a range of meals that have become staple favourites among customers.
“We keep the favourites, we have about four or five of those, but what I’m going to do now is I’m going to do a new flavour hopefully every month,” Leonie says.
“But it takes a while because we’ve got a food technician and a dietitian, and we all get together and make sure it meets our criteria which has been designed for people who are managing diabetes.”
Despite being designed for people with diabetes and those who want to lose weight, Leonie says the meals are suitable for everyone.
“It’s absolutely suitable for everyone – we have got a lot of people who don’t actually have diabetes but want to lose weight or might be pre-diabetes,” she says.
“And the meals are big enough that you don’t need to add something but if you do, you can add some salad or steamed greens or basmati or brown rice.
“We also have something called the super simple weight loss plan, and you wouldn’t stay on it for a month but you can do it for two weeks and the weight just drops off. But they’re not missing out, it’s not little quantities, but it’s all calorie controlled.”
Offering the flexibility of a no lock-in contract, customers can cancel their meal plans at any time.
“When they place their first order, they’ll be asked if they want it as a one-off or if they want it as recurring,” Leonie says.
The good news for people who live outside Perth is that delivery is available across regional WA.
“We dispatch every weeknight at 7pm, so depending where they are located, Perth usually takes about four days, and if it’s regional WA it can take up to seven days,” she says.
Diabetes Meals Online are offering a 10 per cent discount to readers. Use the code DiabetesMatters when placing an order at diabetesmealsonline.com.au
MEAL DELIVERY OPTIONS
There are a variety of meal delivery companies that provide ready-made dinners* or ready-to-cook recipe kits* to households across Perth and parts of regional WA. We look at what home delivery options are available.
MY FOODIE BOX
Perth-owned and operated My Foodie Box is inspired by the ‘farm to table’ concept, in that all of its chef-designed meals use fresh WA produce. With meals ranging from risottos and pastas to stir-fries and the classic meat-and-veg combination, there are four meal boxes to choose from – the family box, the classic box, the vegan box and the ‘mystery’ box, which is a good option for those who are time-poor and happy to cook whatever has been selected for them based on their meal preferences. My Food Box offers the option of three, four or five meals per box, which can serve either two or four people and can be delivered on your chosen date with a flexible, no lock-in contract. The good news for people with diabetes is that all recipes are approved by an in-house dietitian and have been thoughtfully created by award-winning Perth chef Yuki Higashi. My Foodie Box currently delivers between Quinns Rocks and Mandurah. For more information, visit myfoodiebox.com.au
Run by a local family out of a warehouse in Canning Vale, south of Perth, Dinner Twist also draws from fresh, seasonal produce from around WA to create a selection of healthy meals. For those who are watching their weight, the ‘wholesome’ box is a good option as it offers meals that are high in fibre with fewer refined carbohydrates, while the ‘express’ box offers meals that can be whipped up in 20 minutes, making it ideal for those with busy schedules and little time to cook. Delivery is free for Perth and surrounding suburbs, with a small delivery fee applying to regional areas. For more information, visit dinnertwist.com.au
Originating in Berlin, HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service that delivers across Australia. Working on a ‘cancel anytime’ basis, meal plans range from the veggie box (suitable for vegetarians), the family box (suitable for families) and the classic box, with the choice of either three, four or five meal-kits delivered each week. All recipe cards come with easy-to-follow instructions as well as a nutritional panel with details of the fat, protein, carbohydrate, sugar and salt content. Getting started is easy – simply select your preferred meal plan and serving sizes and each week you can decide which meals you’d like to cook following the easy-to-follow recipe cards delivered straight to your door on your chosen delivery date and time. Delivery is currently in Perth and surrounding areas. Visit hellofresh.com.au to check if they deliver to your area.
If cooking isn’t your thing, YouFoodz delivers ready-made meals that are vacuum sealed for freshness and can be heated up when it’s time to eat. This is a great option for back-up meals to reach for when your fridge and freezer are bare, not to mention a healthier alternative to takeaway foods. In addition to ready-made meals, YouFoodz also offers a grocery box brimming with the essentials for your fridge and pantry – think bread, milk, eggs, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables. Currently, YouFoodz offers delivery across Perth and some parts of WA. Go to youfoodz.com to check if they deliver to your area.
LITE ‘N EASY
Designed to help people lose weight, Lite ‘n Easy’s range of pre-prepared fresh, chilled and frozen meals are created by chefs in conjunction with dietitians and are ideal for people who are looking for a healthy, convenient option that is not only low in salt and fat, but are also calorie and portion-controlled. Meal plans give the choice of having dinners only delivered, or there is the option of having breakfast, lunch, dinner and all snacks provided. Lite ‘n Easy delivers across Perth and various parts of WA. To check if they deliver to your area, visit liteneasy.com.au
*Dietitian’s note: People with diabetes are advised to check the nutritional panel and ingredients in the recipes/meals provided to ensure that it is suitable for their dietary needs.