To be honest, my eating habits have gone a bit haywire lately. Part of it is because of my work schedule, and the other part is largely attributed to poor planning. The result is that more often than not, I cobble together meals from 7-11, or I eat takeaways more than I should. Neither is a nutritious long term solution, and I felt like I needed a healthier alternative. A few weeks ago, I tried a local food delivery service called “EatSmart.” EatSmart lets you select from three different programs: Slim, Well-Being and Lift. Each program has a different goal- Slim is to lose weight, Well-Being is to keep healthy, and Lift is to gain mass. (I decided to go with the Slim program)
Ordering ready made meals still takes a little planning because you have to figure out a few days in advance what you want to eat, but otherwise the process is very hands-off. Place an order online, and food is delivered to your doorstep, with a $90 delivery fee.
For my first order, I chose a mushroom salad with shrimp ($199), and it was waiting for me at the front desk of my building when I got home from work. I enjoyed this~ the salad was perfectly dressed, and there was a generous amount of each ingredients (mushrooms, snap peas, shrimp, tomatoes and salad greens). The balance of ingredients also kept me surprisingly full for the rest of the night.
To make the most of the delivery fee ($90), I also ordered food for lunch the next day. This is the burrito bowl ($199). This is how it arrived, and it was all a bit mushed together. I think it’s because it’s from the “Slim” program, the rice is omitted and substituted with beans. I forgot that I hate beans.
The beans made the overall dish a bit sludgy, but I found that I could live with it. I felt both entrees met my criteria for nutrition and convenience, so I put in an order for three more meals.
The chicken with sweet potato mash ($159) looked great online. But in reality, the chicken was cooked sous vide, and was kind of a strange, watery, rubbery texture. The spices were only on the surface of the chicken, and I thought they did little to enhance the flavor. However, the sweet potato mash was heaven. The entire dish reheated nicely, and was healthy and filling. (Just don’t think about fried chicken and all is well).
My next choice was quinoa with Taiwanese snapper ($159). The fillets were lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, but still tasted aggressively fishy. Since I had earmarked this for lunch the following day, the dish had to be reheated, so the cucumbers and avocado chunks did not fare well at all. I know I could have reheated the fish separately, I didn’t have the time or patience for that level of detail during my lunch hour. I think for this entree to be more successful, it should have consisted of just roasted vegetables, and maybe a wedge of lemon for the fish.
By far the most disappointing dish for me was the Fresh Tomatoes Sausage and Pecorino Pasta ($159). The pasta was dry, the sausages were dry and had kind of a strange flavor and texture.
I was happiest with the first round of deliveries. I thought the mushroom salad was beautifully made. It would have taken me too long to assemble and prepare all those ingredients to make it, so I feel like that was well worth the price. The second burrito bowl was edible, if not pretty, and reheated well for lunch the next day.
However, there were still several merits to my EatSmart experience. For instance, I liked how fuss free the entire ordering process is. There is no contract, or minimum meals required~ just place an order a few days in advance and you are good to go. The website is in both English and Chinese and is easy to navigate. My main quibbles with EatSmart are: the information about ingredients and spices in each dish should be more clearly listed on the website. Possible allergy information should also be even more clearly specified. Also, to cater further to the local market, more thought should be put into which types of foods would reheat well. I think some of my issues with the taste of each dish would be alleviated if the vegetables were all roasted or cooked.
I also learned a few things about my eating habits from my EatSmart orders. First, I rediscovered my love for certain foods, such as sweet potatoes and quinoa. I realized that a salad made with the right combination of ingredients can be very satisfying, even after a long work day. However, I also reconfirmed the reality that I love the taste of my own cooking. To be honest, even despite my hectic schedule, I still enjoy the actual cooking part. This means that I really need to be more disciplined about incorporating the entire process of planning, shopping and cooking into my schedule.
For me, EatSmart will be the occasional back up plan, especially for those days that I can anticipate that I will be working late. It is reassuring to know that with a bit of forethought, I can have a delicious and healthy meal waiting for me at home.
For my readers who are living in Taiwan, you can find more information about EatSmart here.
(This is not a sponsored post. I paid for all items consumed, and all experiences and opinions are my own).