In a five-person household with kids who play lots of sport, food provision is a chore I've come to resent, simply because it seems to dominate my every waking hour.
Two of my kids play a lot of sport and the youngest is a very fussy eater at this stage in his life. It ends up being a neverending demand on me as the part-time worker, to serve up a smorgasboard each and every day.
To be honest, I've had enough.
Since it's not possible for my other half to be home in time to prepare weeknight dinners, I have started ordering home delivery dinner kits, and after reading the recent CHOICE reviews, I thought I'd conduct my very own test kitchen and see if I could come up with a winner for our family.
I also saw it as a good opportunity to teach my older two kids to cook a family meal. With half of the battle choosing a meal and assembling all of the correct ingredients, these two elements have been removed so I'm not exhausted already by the time I come to teach the kids.
I signed up for Marley Spoon at my local shopping centre as they provided a pretty decent discount for doing so that day. Usually with those kinds of spur-of-the-moment purchasing decisions, I come to regret it.
Not so with Marley Spoon. No regret here and all of the benefits.
The ingredients were so fresh, that when I had forgotten to use one of the meals in the first six days, the ingredients were still fresh when I came to use them (they were still within the use by date) on the seventh day. They had been stored correctly in my fridge for maximum freshness and far exceeded the quality I had been buying from the supermarkets.
With Hello Fresh, it was a similar story.
Fantastic recipes that had the whole family well-fed and extremely satisfied with the taste, as well as easy-to-follow recipe cards for the older kids.
Dinnerly is a little more basic, but no less impressive. In fact for my fussy eater, the simpler meals were a hit.
Unlike Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon, Dinnerly sends you an electronic copy of the recipe for you to print out at home, which enables them to keep costs low.
They had just expanded their menu when I tried their kits, and the results were a tad more 'no frills' but no less tasty or filling, and had a budget price tag that suited my hip pocket, so much-so, I've continued to order Dinnerly.
The overall winner
My conclusion may elicit some eye rolls, but really the winner was me.
While changing our circumstances so there are more independent cooks in the house might not be possible right now, dinner kits have made my evenings much less stressful. I already know what the family will be eating and I can assess whether I have the energy or not, to guide one of my children to make the meal.
My partner or one of the kids can make them on the weekends, and I'm not even lying when I say we haven't had a single meal we didn't love.
I also find that a four-person meal kit easily feeds five.
Where there are single portions of protein, I simply provide the extra one myself, or add a pile of additional vegetables to bulk it up. The servings are exceptionally generous.
You can order any of these meal kits in complete confidence. Try them all and decide for yourself if you have a preference.