Healthiest Meal Kit in Australia

Healthiest Meal Kit in Australia (Investigated)

We’re all looking to live a healthier lifestyle, whether that be physically, emotionally or spiritually. As part of this, the food you eat easily becomes one of the most important factors that impact your wellbeing. Eating well can help control weight, boost energy, improve mental health and combat diseases. However, with all the temptations lying around it’s very easy to fall into the trap of eating takeaways or junk food because it’s ‘easy’. Fortunately, this is where Meal Kits are FANTASTIC. Cooking fresh, simple meals with wholesome ingredients can do wonders for your health and lifestyle.

Having tried many different Meal Kits, I understand that they are not all made equal. As a result, I wanted to examine whether some Meal Kits were healthier than others and to see which one is healthiest. To do this, I’m going to investigate 5 different dishes across the 3 major Meal Kit providers in Australia – Dinnerly, Marley Spoon and HelloFresh.

Comparison Method

For each dish, I’m comparing the Total Calories, Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein. My primary logic behind defining whether a dish is ‘healthy’ or not is as follows:

  • Low Fat dishes are consistently better for you than High Fat dishes. In this analysis I don’t distinguish between Saturated/Non-Saturated Fats.
  • Dishes that provide Carbohydrates in moderation are preferred, as these are important for giving us energy.
  • For maintaining healthy muscle, a higher proportion of protein is preferred.

It’s important to recognise that I’m not using Calories as a blunt instrument to be a proxy for ‘healthiness’. If two dishes are very similar then I have taken calories into account, however low calories just means a smaller portion size. This would tell us nothing about whether a meal is actually healthy or not.

Science Corner – Skip if you just want to get to the results.
The % of Fat, Carbs and Protein is really important. You’ll find this in the comparison tables below, next to the weights (in grams). Each gram of fat contains 9 calories whilst Carbs and Protein contain just 4 calories (source). This means the calculation is ((Amount of Fat)*4)/Total Calories to give us the percentage that it contributes. You’ll notice that they don’t necessarily add up to 100% and this is usually down to measurement and rounding errors. These figures really help us identify how a meal is structured and whether the levels of each macronutrient are comparable across dishes.

Beef Pizza

A staple for any Meal Kit delivery service, the humble pizza. You’d expect a pizza to be high in carbs and fat, but this can often depend on the way the pizza is constructed. Let’s find out how our 3 competitors get on:

Dinnerly

Asian Beef Pizzas

Calories800
Fat37g42%
Carbs62g31%
Protein51g26%

Marley Spoon

Turkish Pizza w/ Sumac Beef

Turkish Pizza with Sumac Beef by Marley Spoon
Calories750
Fat36g43%
Carbs53g28%
Protein48g26%

HelloFresh

Turkish Beef Mini Pizzas

Turkish Beef Mini Pizzas from HelloFresh
Calories860
Fat35g36%
Carbs90g42%
Protein42g20%

Fat – HelloFresh comes out well on this metric, having the lowest percentage of its calories coming from fat content. That’s thanks to avoiding cheese of any sort and using hummus instead.

Carbohydrates – It’s a disaster for HelloFresh, with this meal packing a massive 90g of carbs. That’s over 50% more than both Marley Spoon and Dinnerly. Marley Spoon do particularly well here, keeping their carbs down to just 53g although that’s partially down to having a smaller serving size.

Protein – Dinnerly puts up a good showing here, delivering 51g of protein. This no doubt comes from the beef mince making up a larger percentage of the meal. HelloFresh is disappointing with just 42g of protein.

  1. Marley Spoon – 3 Points
  2. Dinnerly – 2 Points
  3. HelloFresh – 1 Point

Risotto

Traditionally rich and full of butter/cheese, Risotto is one of the ultimate warming, comforting dishes. We’ve opted to compare a vegetarian risotto using either Sweet Potato or Pumpkin:

Dinnerly

Sweet Potato Risotto with Mushroom

Sweet Potato Risotto by Dinnerly
Calories765
Fat32g37%
Carbs92g48%
Protein22g12%

Marley Spoon

Sweet Potato & Mushroom Risotto

Sweet Potato & Mushroom Risotto by Marley Spoon
Calories680
Fat23g30%
Carbs90g53%
Protein22g13%

HelloFresh

Baked Pumpkin Risotto

Baked Pumpkin Risotto by HelloFresh
Calories880
Fat30g31%
Carbs112g51%
Protein29g13%

Fat – Marley Spoon and HelloFresh actually come out very well here, both 30% of your calories coming from Fat, whilst 37% for Dinnerly is significantly higher. This appears to be down to a large amount of Parmesan, so it could be quite easy to manually cut down on those Fat levels.

Carbohydrates – Marley Spoon comes in with the lowest total amount of Carbs as part of having the lowest calorie meal in this category.

Protein – HelloFresh are showing that they have the potential for gaining muscle mass with higher protein and higher calorie meals. The percentages show that they are providing this protein with a reasonably low level of Fats which is a plus.

  1. Marley Spoon – 3 Points
  2. HelloFresh – 2 Points
  3. Dinnerly – 1 Point

Chicken Burger

Everyone loves a good burger, as proven by the amount of Burger takeaways in every food court. Making them at home can be significantly healthier and tastier than buying them, so how do our competitors fare in providing a healthy burger:

Dinnerly

Smoky Barbecue Chicken Burgers

Smoky Barbecue Chicken Burger by Dinnerly
Calories835
Fat44g47%
Carbs55g26%
Protein48g23%

Marley Spoon

Smoky Chicken Burgers

Smoky Chicken Burgers by Marley Spoon
Calories810
Fat36g40%
Carbs62g31%
Protein46g23%

HelloFresh

Barbecue Chicken Burgers

Barbecue Chicken Burgers by HelloFresh
Calories760
Fat32g38%
Carbs67g35%
Protein45g24%

Fat – Quite a high Fat percentage for Dinnerly, whose recipe has 12g more Fat than HelloFresh. This appears to primarily come from the mayonnaise in the coleslaw which you could easily exclude.

Carbohydrates – HelloFresh comes in with a surprisingly high carbohydrate percentage, although with a fairly low-calorie dish they may have thought this necessary. 35% carbs isn’t an inherently unhealthy amount for a balanced diet.

Protein – These are all very comparable amounts, suggesting they all provide the same amount of chicken for the burger. Definitely a good sign!

  1. HelloFresh – 3 Points
  2. Marley Spoon – 2 Points
  3. Dinnerly – 1 Point

Chickpea Curry

Curry is a fantastic staple for Meal Kits as it provides fantastic variety and flavour. I love cooking a curry and always look forward to seeing the spice blends each Meal Kit service uses. However, it’s easy to add a lot of Fat with cream/butter often a key component. These are the dishes our competitors provide:

Dinnerly

Potato & Chickpea Yellow Curry

Potato & Chickpea Yellow Curry from Dinnerly
Calories510
Fat27g48%
Carbs49g38%
Protein13g10%

Marley Spoon

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Chickpea & Spinach Curry from Marley Spoon
Calories720
Fat24g30%
Carbs85g47%
Protein27g15%

HelloFresh

Creamy Chickpea & Spinach Curry

Creamy Chickpea Curry from HelloFresh
Calories726
Fat25g31%
Carbs98g54%
Protein21g12%

Fat – Dinnerly performs poorly on this measure, with a higher amount of fat in their dish compared to Marley Spoon and HelloFresh. This is quite disappointing as it suggests the low-calorie amount comes from a small portion instead of well-chosen ingredients.

Carbohydrates – A high percentage from HelloFresh here with over 50% of the calories coming from carbs. This feels very high and is notably higher than Marley Spoon who get more of their calories from Protein.

Protein – A strong performance from Marley Spoon with this dish, performing strongly against HelloFresh and providing a more filling dish than Dinnerly. The highest protein value is a really positive indicator.

  1. Marley Spoon – 3 Points
  2. HelloFresh – 2 Points
  3. Dinnerly – 1 Point

Nasi Goreng

This is an Indonesian dish made with Fried Rice and (traditionally) Beef. In our case, HelloFresh change things up a bit and use Chicken instead. This is how each service fares for this Asian dish:

Dinnerly

Beef Nasi Goreng

Beef Nasi Goreng from Dinnerly
Calories650
Fat23g32%
Carbs56g35%
Protein53g33%

Marley Spoon

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng from Marley Spoon
Calories720
Fat24g30%
Carbs79g44%
Protein44g24%

HelloFresh

Chicken Nasi Goreng

Chicken Nasi Goreng from HelloFresh
Calories841
Fat24g26%
Carbs95g45%
Protein55g26%

Fat – HelloFresh perform well with this by replacing the normal beef with a leaner chicken meat. This allows for a similar amount of fat content to Marley Spoon with a higher calorie dish. Again, Dinnerly have quite a high percentage of Fat in their dish.

Carbs – Dinnerly provide a very low-carb version of a Nasi Goreng, resulting in the lowest calorie dish with the highest protein percentage. On the other hand, Marley Spoon and HelloFresh provide a similar (higher) percentage of carbs.

Protein – HelloFresh have a fairly high amount of Protein in their dish, but can’t compete with the 33% protein that Dinnerly provides. Marley Spoon are disappointing in this regard and I’m not impressed by their Nasi Goreng dish.

  1. Dinnerly – 3 Points
  2. HelloFresh – 2 Points
  3. Marley Spoon – 1 Point

The Healthiest Meal Kit

Adding up the total ranking points across our 5 comparison dishes gives us the following winner:

🥇Marley Spoon – 12 Points🥇

🥈HelloFresh – 10 Points🥈

🥉Dinnerly – 8 Points🥉

Providing the ‘healthiest’ dish 3 out of 5 times and only disappointing with their Nasi Goreng (not by much), our research suggests that Marley Spoon are the healthiest Meal Kit!

However, it’s important to recognise two factors:

  • Whether a Meal Kit is healthy or not will depend on the dishes that you choose. Each service has healthy versions of popular dishes, so you can make sure you meet your dietary goals by checking the nutritional information before you order.
  • You can always modify dishes to your requirements. This is the beauty of Meal Kits that you can add/remove any ingredients you want, which you can’t do with prepared meals. So, if your looking to gain muscle then buy some extra lean eat or if you’re looking to lose weight then don’t add the Mayonnaise. Perfect.

If you’re looking to try more Health Foods, we highly recommend signing up to a Food Box called GoodnessMe. They send out a box each month containing samples of different health foods. We reviewed GoodnessMe and absolutely loved the company and their box. You can get a trial box for just $25 – an absolute bargain!


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