Whether your BYO lunch life is wearing you out, your go-to pho joint has just shuttered, or you can't deal with one more pre-packaged sushi box from around the way, navigating weekday lunches can sometimes feel like a chore. To say the least.
Which is why more and more people are turning to meal delivery services to up the ante from their cafe-quality sandwiches. The prospect of having someone else make the decision of what to eat for you is an attractive one. A service that can do that and also prepare your lunch for you is even more enticing, which undoubtedly explains the rising number of meal delivery services.
From dinner boxes that include 'everything but the cook' to full morning-to-night meal plans and food and fitness medleys, it seems like there are more options out there than ever.
In the interest of cutting down your research time, we trialled some of Sydney's top lunch delivery services to find out which one is right for you.
Eat Fit Food
The concept: With a focus on health and taste, Eat Fit Food is all about balance. The Sydney-based company offers a range of programs that are aimed at setting you up with breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that are both nutritious and delicious. Although they do offer full-day programs which cover every meal from breakfast to dinner, their 'Healthy Eating' option is the most flexible, allowing you to pick and choose which meals you want.
The menu: Eat Fit Food's menu changes by the week, and each day has a variety of meal choices. Choose from two options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and round things out with tasty snacks and satisfying smoothies.
The price range: For the 'Healthy Eating' range, the pricing starts from $120 per week. Snacks are around $5; lunches and dinners are $21.50; and breakfasts are $13.50.
The delivery: Delivery can be arranged to either your home or your office between 7am and 10am. Each drop of food is packaged into a cardboard box, surrounded by gel packs and box lining to keep everything cool.
The meals: The steam chicken dumplings with buckwheat and veggie noodles was a highlight for the Gourmet Traveller team, while their rosemary-crusted braised lamb and port sauce was also top of the list.
Overall: With a menu that includes flavoursome beef nachos, quinoa- and lemon-crusted salmon, and spicy chicken spaghetti, Eat Fit Food does a good job of subverting your expectations of what 'health-conscious food' looks like.
Lunch Lady Lou
The concept: Working with the seasons and offering health-conscious catering for offices, Lunch Lady Lou is all about the elevated lunch option. Also, if you're not into the concept of catering (individual items have a minimum order, meaning this service is perfect for office orders), you can order individual lunches — no minimum orders — and pick it up from Vision Personal Training on Hunter Street in the CBD.
The menu: With a rotating menu of delicious salads, colourful sandwiches and raw snacks, Lunch Lady Lou does simple and does it well. The punchy bill of fare satisfies cravings throughout the day.
The price range: Lunch Lady Lou has a $100 minimum order, with a $10 delivery fee within 5km.
The delivery: All meals come in eco-friendly packaging that's durable enough to withstand your office kitchen fridge.
The meals: If we had to pick a favourite, it would be the 'Golden Glow Bowl,' which included roasted pumpkin, zucchini noodles, house-made herbed labneh and cashew turmeric dressing.
Overall: Between zingy salads made with market-fresh produce, and stacked sandwiches layered with slow-cooked beef, slaw and cheddar, or chunky ham off the bone, pickled cucumber and rocket — there's something for everyone.
The concept: A catering company that falls on the more traditional side of 'healthy eating', Transform Health's M.O. includes staples like dukkah-crusted trout, castelluccio lentils, and mixed bean tabouleh, and citrus-marinated chicken with pomegranate rice noodles and edamame salad. Each item of their menu is approved by a dietitian, personal trainer and cook.
The menu: With a menu that changes weekly, Transform's meals elevate your cafeteria salads and display-cabinet picks to restaurant-grade dishes. Salads, meat-focused mains, noodle dishes and sides are all fair game at Transform.
The delivery: Transform delivers the Sydney CBD, the Eastern Suburbs and the Inner West — head over to their FAQs to check your suburb. Everything comes packaged neatly and is recyclable.
The meals: GT trialled Transform's zucchini and chicken pesto salad, and their barley and roasted vegetable salads, and found them both delectable.
Overall: Everything from their mains to their snacks are a cut above when it comes to quality and flavour, making it a fresh and functional addition into your work-life routine. Plus, their snacks and afternoon tea options make your morning coffee breaks that much more enjoyable.
Two Good Co.
The concept: Feel-good food served in reusable glass jars, Two Good Co. is all about 'feeling good, inside and out.' For every meal purchased, the company donates a meal to domestic violence refuges and the homeless. Delicious food with a conscience? Sign us up.
The menu: The Two Good menu-makers call upon some of Australia's top kitchen talent — this week Ben Greeno, Kylie Kwong and Hetty McKinnon are on the pans — to create flavour-packed meals that swing from modern Australian classic, to Asian cuisine-inspired.
The price range: The prices of each jar range from $13 to $15.
The delivery: Order by 12pm the previous day, and the Two Good team will have your jar to your office or home by lunchtime.
The meals: The 'Hetty' — roasted sweet potato with lentils, rocket, mint and caramelised walnuts — is a favourite.
Overall: Usually eating our lunches at our desks doesn't make us feel all that great. But Two Good's 'one for you, one for them' initiative means that your daily meal break comes with a side of feel-good optimism. The high-calibre talent on rotation means that every one of the jars is inventive, original and — most importantly — delicious.