It’s 6pm on a crisp autumn evening. You’re about to catch the train home from work after a long day in the city. You snacked on a choc-chip muffin and greasy Thai takeaway for lunch. You feel sluggish. Ordering more take out will only make you feel worse (plus continue to break the bank), and the idea of shopping for groceries and thinking up a good meal to make just seems like so much effort.
That’s the way I feel at least three days of the week. So, it was time to change things up.
I recently tried EveryPlate for three weeks – “Big taste, little price meal kit delivering familiar, pre-measured ingredients with simple recipes from only $4.99 per plate. The smarter way to cook from scratch.” With an ever-changing weekly menu boasting appetising lunch and dinner options – and not to mention at a drastically low-cost – this was a game-changer for me and my on-the-go lifestyle.
I live with my parents (Jean-Marc and Amanda) and my 22-year-old sister, Eloise. Yeah, classic #MillennialLife to still be living at home in my mid-twenties! At our home, we all lead very different lives with unique schedules. My dad works as a sole trader – in and out of home throughout the week. My mum works full-time from her urban office. My sister works a part-time job and then studies uni remotely. And for me, every day is different with office meetings, outdoor projects, freelancing, travel; it’s unpredictable, making it quite unfeasible to maintain a healthy meal plan... and especially one within a budget.
The food service delivers fresh produce, protein and spices to your front door with everything you need for the week; recipes that you’ve personally selected online and all the ingredients you need – down to the last tomato. All you have to do is follow the simple recipes (most taking around 30 minutes) and you’ll have plenty to go round.
Our family used the ‘six people, six meals’ a week plan (equalling to $4.99 a plate), so that we had some delicious leftovers throughout the week, creating a situation where we’d shop less at the local and oh-so-tempting grocery store (I can’t even begin to tell you how much I mindlessly shop there) and to overall cook less meals throughout the week.
We’d take turns to cook, making it a more exciting experience and more ‘fair’, rather than it just be our mum who’s unfortunately been dubbed ‘chef’ at the Siron household for the last two decades.
Our favourite meals from the weekly plans (in order) were:
Easy Spiced Chicken Stew with Veggie Couscous (35-45 min)
Mexican Beef Quesadillas with Yoghurt (35-45 min)
Baked Cheesy Garlic Chicken with Sweet Potato Salad (35-45 min)
Creamy Lentil Dhal with Flatbread Dippers (20-30 min)
Malaysian Tofu and Veggie Curry with Rice (25-35 min)
Jerk Chicken and Corn Salsa with Garlic Rice (30-40 min)
Thai Yellow Veggie Curry with Rice (25-35 min)
Middle Eastern Chicken and Salsa with Garlic Couscous (25-35 min)
What I really liked was how the low-cost element didn’t mean the flavours were dismissed. Every dish flaunted a delicious, piquant palate; really spicing up our week with incredibly yummy foods from all types of cultures.
My mum exclaimed: “I love how it isn’t just me who wants to cook now! It’s great how my husband wants to get involved because the shopping part is already done for us. And because they’re such simple recipes, my daughters are now somewhat keen to cook dinner for the daily once or twice a week.”
My dad said: “My favourite dish to cook was the Middle Eastern Chicken and Salsa with Garlic Couscous. It was one of the quicker dishes and had some of the richest flavours with its Middle Eastern tastes. I’m a sucker for couscous as well; especially when it's infused with garlic! Just so easy, and a really nice way to break up my day. It was great to see the girls smile when I'd surprise them with the food I had prepared, ready on the table when they arrived home after a long day.”
Eloise, my sister, explained how she loved the food service experience from a nutritional point of view; she could see exactly the ingredients that were being used (as it’s all from scratch) and could see the nutrition information for every meal. “I go to the gym once every two days, so making sure I have a balanced diet is really important to me. Having the nutrition info available with every meal was such a huge bonus, because then I knew what parts of the dish I could have more of and what parts I needed to scrape onto my dad’s plate – extra for him, haha! Win-win.”
For me, it was all about saving time; the fact that I could be assured to have leftovers to take to work the next day – wherever I would be! I could bring it along and not waste money on takeaway. I did feel some of the dishes took longer to prepare than anticipated (e.g. the Creamy Lentils) but overall, they stayed true to their intended time-frame.
Another was how eco-friendly the experience was. Because we weren’t out shopping for ingredients and other groceries we may never use and accidentally kick to the back of the fridge to find months later, we were forced to stick to a simple, carefully-created plan where all produce was used within the week (including leftovers) – overall minimising food wastage.
– Make sure to have a close to empty fridge! You will receive loads of veggies and meats – especially if you’re a big household – so make sure you organise your fridge before your order arrives.
– If one of your aims is weight loss, I suggest the lower carb meals on offer which include: Balsamic Rump Steak with Garlic Veggies & Mash; Seared Chicken & Chive Sauce with Mash; Honey-Soy Glazed Steak with Wedges & Cucumber Salad; and the Rump Steak & Pesto Butter with Roast Potatoes & Veggies.
– If you take a while with your first meal preparation, just remember it might take one or two attempts to adjust, and soon you’ll be relatively fast with cooking up these delicious recipes.
– You WILL have leftovers throughout the week. The plates offer generous portions/servings, so again, make sure your fridge is ready to handle it.
– I recommend selecting the types of meals you wouldn't usually go for to ultimately expand your food palate. Cooking with new and interesting flavours right in your own home will also make you feel a sense of pride, because it’s something you made yourself and something you’ve never really tried before.
– For any ingredients that are somehow leftover, keep them and fuse them altogether at the end of the week. You’ll have some unknowing culinary creativity brewing inside of you after cooking up a storm for a week, so the world is your oyster! You might fool yourself and make something truly wonderful. For instance, I had leftover ingredients from a few of the recipes and made a Middle-Eastern, thin-sliced style pizza from the taco wraps, Middle-Eastern chicken and salsa, and a couple of random vegetables that I had forgotten to use.
Have fun, stay healthy, and get cooking! Know what you’re eating.
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