In busy households across Shanghai it can be tough juggling the school run with work, chores and shopping – among many other tasks. Though you may start the year with good intentions in the health and fitness department, sometimes they can be hard to maintain. Enter top Shanghai meal delivery services: RAWK, Better Bentos and WHEAT – time savers when it comes to your busy schedule and diet. Three of our very own Shanghai Family editors, with different attitudes towards food and fitness, tried out the services for three days each, and here's what they had to say.
As a foodie, and someone who likes to eat out (or order in) at new restaurants each week, I’ve always been a little hesitant about trying something so regimented. But after emailing with the nutrition enthusiasts behind Better Bentos, I was excited to dig into the three-day menu. My first order arrived at work just before noon, as the company’s model is to provide the day’s lunch, snack and dinner, with breakfast for the following day. Everything was packaged in eco-friendly containers and stacked in a plastic bag. Each container was clearly marked "breakfast," "lunch" or "dinner."
Quite hungry, I immediately opened the boxes and was pleasantly surprised to find hearty portions of very well-presented food. Colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, and enough healthy proteins to keep me going (admittedly I’m a big eater). The meals continued to arrive at the office, and I was never disappointed. My personal favorite was the highly addictive yet somehow healthy chocolate and chia pudding - creamy, chocolaty heaven. I could eat that for breakfast every day. At ¥700 for five days of delicious whole foods, I would definitely order again.
Day 1 Menu:
Breakfast: Almond fig cookie (2), fruit
Lunch: Steamed fish with miso vinegar sauce
Dinner: Trio of salad and pumpkin soup
Snack: Lentil pate with vegetable sticks
Breakfast: Chocolate and peanut chia pudding, fruit
Lunch: Bunless veggie burgers, herbed sweet potatoes
Dinner: NPG chicken masala
Snack: Healthy Oreo
Breakfast: Wheat and egg free apple, carrot muffin with fruit
Lunch: Korean BBQ pork salad
Dinner: Lentil Bolognese pasta
Snack: Marrakesh curry soup with flaxseed crackers
WeChat ID: BetterBentos
It’s fair to say that I’m not exactly the most food-savvy person in the office. A long-term vegetarian and current fitness-phobe, my free time is spent neither in the kitchen nor gym, so I want to kick-start the New Year in a healthy way. RAWK were very professional and ordering via WeChat was quick and easy. I opted for the Clean & Slim, a great value at ¥420 and part of the new Office Wellness range. The veggie menu is designed to regain and maintain energy, cleanse the body of toxins and keep you going. The minimum order is three days and doesn’t include breakfast, though other packages do.
Meals arrived promptly each morning packed fresh in a cool bag. Although I was concerned it could be a bland tofu overload, each dish was tasty and well thought out – my favorite being the Barley and Lentil Curry with Lime Mango. A big perk was not having to think about, or prepare, something healthy every day – genius for busy lifestyles. I’d recommend the Office Wellness range for those who have good intentions to eat healthy, but still end up heading to the nearest fast-food joint because it’s quick and convenient. Secondly, if you have a long day, and don’t get home until its very dark outside, having dinner ready to go is a huge plus. The only down-side to this package is that it doesn’t include breakfast, though snacks throughout the day are included. For me, it wasn’t really a problem eating breakfast before I left the house in the morning, but if you need that extra help to kick-start your day, perhaps opt for the one of their other packages instead.
Lunch: Rainbow couscous
Dinner: Autumn chickpea rainbow box, aromatic brown rice
Snack: Nutty moment
Lunch: Refried lentils with grilled tofu + couscous pot
Dinner: Coconut barley and lentil curry with lime mango
Snack: Healthy bite (coco and oats), banana
Lunch: Baked tofu in popped beans, baked sweet potato
Dinner: Kale and delicata squash salad with citrus maple
Snack: Nutty moment, dried fruit
WeChat ID: RAWK
As a mother of three I’m usually organized and prepare lunch and dinner each day, but I was more than happy to explore the ready-made options. After completing the WHEAT diet questionnaire online, I was ready to receive the “Girls Balanced Lifestyle” option (¥750) – three meals and one snack a day. The first delivery arrived promptly at 5pm the night before, in neatly labeled eco-friendly containers. Dishes were well-rounded and colorful, prepared with minimal oil, but seasoned well with clean ingredients. Each day’s meal contained 35-40% carbs, 35% protein, 20-25% fat.
I loved the convenience of having every meal ready to go, plus the generous portions. Heading out the door to work after going to the gym and not having to plan or prep really was liberating. One caveat is the delivery time. As WHEAT’s strong suit is all-day breakfast, a morning delivery would be better to enjoy the first meal hot and at its best. My favorite was the Acai Bowl, full of creamy coconut and acai goodness, with chia seeds, oats, fresh banana and dragon fruit in a separate pot to mix in. I couldn’t eat the entire serving all at once, but tried!
Breakfast: Omelet with spinach and feta cheese
Lunch: Tofu with beets, edamame and quinoa
Dinner: Chicken curry with cauliflower “rice”
Snack: Vanilla protein bars
Breakfast: Sweet potato pancakes, vanilla yogurt with maple drizzle
Lunch: Quinoa salad and green juice
Dinner: Chicken breast with roasted pepper medley
Snack: Beetroot hummus and veggie sticks
Breakfast: Acai bowl
Lunch: Spicy pork patties with broccoli
Dinner: Lentils with sides (roasted pumpkin and chickpeas)
Snack: Protein pot (hardboiled egg and smoked salmon with spinach)
WeChat ID: The-DietLab
Thank you to Better Bentos, RAWK and WHEAT for providing each of us with three days of food. We genuinely enjoyed the experience, and all of the comments and information are our genuine opinions.