Life & Style | Food

Family-friendly DIY-dinner delivery service tested

Can you really say goodbye to the post-work grocery dash without heading to the drive-through? Charlene Stubbs tries out a meal delivery service that promises just that

  • By Charlene Stubbs, Group Fashion & Beauty Editor, Aquarius magazine
  • Published: 13:46 October 8, 2012
  • Aquarius

DIY-dinner deliveries
  • Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • Dinnertime boxes (to make four meals for a family of four) are delivered every Sunday and cost Dh380.

Why choose this service?

My husband and I work long hours and so when dinner time arrives, we invariably end up sitting down to fast food or ready meals. I want healthy, budget-friendly meals without the hassle.

What’s it all about?

As busy working mothers, Dubai-based Swedish trio Karin Sundström, Karin Löfberg and Anette Lind found putting healthy, balanced, home-cooked meals on the table for their families every night, while working full time, was a real struggle. They all strove to enjoy family meal times and not compromise on the quality of what they were bringing to the table. And so Dinnertime was born – a food delivery service with a difference.
Unlike most meal delivery services in Dubai, which rock up at your doorstep with a calorie-counted breakfast, lunch and dinner, Dinnertime provides just the tools for you to create four healthy, balanced meals for a family of four for four days. The tools are the ingredients (a box of healthy, hand-picked, quality produce) and the recipes (delicious, healthy, balanced and easy) so you can still rustle up your own meals in the kitchen, but you save time on preparation, grocery shopping and recipe hunting, and can even save money.

With a focus firmly set on creating balanced meals for the whole family, each delivery box comes with enough ingredients to make a meat, chicken, fish and vegetarian or pasta dish.

Produce is sourced from Choithrams, the Greenheart Organic Farm, Made in Italia and Norwegian House, and there’s not a low-fat option in sight. So if you’re obsessed with counting calories, then this isn’t the meal plan for you.

However, if you’re strapped for time, have hungry mouths to feed and are determined for your family to eat healthy, home-cooked meals, then this could be just the service to help you breeze through the post-work evening experience without stress or guilt.

What happened?

The week before beginning, I received an email listing the four meals I would receive and outlining the extras I’d need to pull them off. Dinnertime doesn’t provide kitchen cupboard staples such as salt and pepper, cooking oil, sugar, rice and herbs. As promised, my meal box was conveniently delivered to my office, but they can also deliver it to your home.

My four-meal plan included chili con carne, pasta al tonno e pomodorini, potato and spring onion soup and Mediterranean chicken – a good balance of carbs, protein and veggies. All the printed recipes take just 30 minutes to make and all have been tried, tested and tasted by the creators. Despite having never made any of these dishes, except the chili, I had no problems with the recipes, which were simple and quick, and the meals were tasty and nutritious.

Did it really work?

Anything that can remove the hassle of, one, deciding what to cook for dinner; two, dashing through Spinneys on the way home after a ten-hour work day; and three, figuring out how to cook the recipe – is a winner in my book. I’ve tried meal delivery plans in the past but they tend to cater to one person. So if there’s more than just you at home, you still have to cook for everyone else. And some people like to cook – my husband, for one, enjoys making meals but hates the shopping and just doesn’t have time to plan and prep. Dinnertime is a great compromise. We didn’t have wasted discussions on what to get for dinner. I didn’t have to nip into the supermarket on my way home. Nor did I have to endure recipe hunting on the internet. And at the end of the four days, we had no wasted food – all ingredients were fully utilised in all four meals. And we saved money... I usually spend about Dh120 on dinner on the way home from work and that’s just for two of us. For Dh380, you get four well-balanced meals for four people.

Need to know

Dinnertime boxes (to make four meals for a family of four) are delivered every Sunday and cost Dh380. Last orders for a weekly box are taken on Wednesdays. Visit www.dinnertime.me. 

The monthly wellbeing and family magazine

Aquarius
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