Friday, 24 May 2013

Diet Plan Reviews: Lite'n'Easy

So far in diet reviews I've looked at the Primal Diet, and more recently the 8-Hour Diet (tune back in soon for more on that as my volunteer Jo starts reporting back on her experience).

Looking at a different type of diet plan today I'm reviewing Lite'n'Easy, an Australian meal delivery company. I've created a video so you can actually see what the food is like and how much you get to eat.

What is Lite'n'Easy?

Lite'n'Easy is an Australian company that delivers calorie controlled meals right to your doorstep. It can be used both for weight loss and just for those who want the convenience of nutritionally balanced meals without needing to cook.

How Does It Work?

The customer service aspect of it is fully automated through their website. You go to the site, create an account, and then each week you place an order for what you want. On the assigned day for your suburb, an esky with your meals will be delivered to your door step. They use dry-ice to keep the food cold for up to 8 hours, so if you are not there you don't have to worry (unless someone steals it.) The esky comes sealed so you can tell if someone has tampered with it. 
(I've used it while living in apartment buildings, and they appear not to have any trouble with leaving it common areas.)

As they state on their website:

Eating well and losing weight is easy with Lite n' Easy because all the thinking, calorie counting, weighing and cooking has been done for you by our team of experts.

On the full meal plan for example, you are provided with your choice of breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner each day. Each meal is prepared for you then packed separately and marked with the day it should be eaten

How it works pic 

 What is the Cost?

The cost depends a lot on what you order. The most popular options is the 'full meal plan' where you get absolutely everything that you need for either 5 days or 7 days a week, except milk, or 'dinners only', where they will deliver packs of dinners for those who want a good meal without the hassle. 

Here is the prices for delivery within Victoria, though it varies between states:

1200 Calorie Meal Plans (1200)
7 Day - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner$135.00
7 Day - Lunch, Dinner$119.00
7 Day - Breakfast, Dinner$106.00
7 Day - Breakfast, Lunch$82.00
5 Day - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner$106.00
5 Day - Lunch,Dinner$97.00
5 Day - Breakfast, Dinner$86.00
5 Day - Breakfast, Lunch$71.0

1500 Calorie Meal Plans (1500)
7 Day - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner$148.00
7 Day - Lunch, Dinner$131.00
7 Day - Breakfast, Dinner$109.00
7 Day - Breakfast, Lunch$89.00
5 Day - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner$116.00
5 Day - Lunch, Dinner$104.00
5 Day - Breakfast, Dinner$88.00
5 Day - Breakfast, Lunch$75.00

1800 Calorie Meal Plans (1800)
7 Day - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner$166.00
7 Day - Lunch, Dinner$145.00
7 Day - Breakfast, Dinner$112.00
7 Day - Breakfast, Lunch$103.00
5 Day - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner$131.00
5 Day - Lunch, Dinner$113.00
5 Day - Breakfast, Dinner$89.00
5 Day - Breakfast, Lunch$87.00

Dinners Only (Dinners)
5 Dinners$60.50
7 Dinners$75.50
10 Dinners$105.50
14 Dinners$136.50
21 Dinners$201.50
28 Dinners$267.50

Basically, for 1 person trying to cook well for themselves, it actually turns out pretty cheap. While I don't think I spend that much a week shopping for myself, when I add in all the lunches I buy at work, and the times I just nip down to the supermarket to pick up a few more ingredients, it quickly adds up. It is also much easier to budget if you pay for all your food up front at the beginning of the week.


It really is convenient. 

It is much healthier for you than eating out or just eating baked beans on toast all the time. 

The meals do taste good. 

For one person it is very cost effective.

It does save a lot of time and effort. Coming home and 10 minutes later being able to eat a balanced meal does have its advantages.

On the full meal plans, you get to eat every few hours which helps you resist snacking on other things.

There are no contracts or amount you must buy. If I know I have a busy week coming up, I can jump on line and order it just for that week, or if I know I'm going to end up eating out a lot, I just won't order it until next week. So flexible in that way.

Was just surprised to find out that when I typed in my parents' address, a country town an hour out of Melbourne, they do actually deliver there every Wednesday. And the small country town with a population of about 800 people I grew up in an hour out the other side of Melbourne is serviced on Thursday. So their reach is further than I thought.
(Out of interest I then tried as many out of the way places as I could, and the only one they didn't service was a town called 'Rainbow' that a friend of my grew up in, 400km from Melbourne with a population of 500. So sorry all you guys).


Major downside is that it is no good for vegetarians or people with any allergies. There are not enough meal options if you don't eat meat, and they don't tell you which foods have allergens in them. 
I was a bit disappointed with the fruit which is often under ripe or a bit bland. 

It can feel awkward pulling out your lite'n'easy branded containers at work and having everyone know.

It can be a bit fiddly to go through all the bags to find Day 1's breakfast in the fridge, then the freezer, then put all the bits together. There is also a lot of packaging, if you are worried about the environment.

If you forget to order it, you have to wait a whole week and because you'll have nothing in the fridge I at least tend to eat takeaway instead. As I tended to forget quite often, this was bad. 


If you don't supplement it too much (which I had a small habit of doing), it definitely does work to help you lose weight without much effort or thought on your part. If you don't mind eating what you're told, it is a very convenient way to shape up. It is also a good option for those who are living by themselves and not used to cooking for one. You will have a much more nutritionally balanced meal than you might otherwise. While I always planned much better meals in my head, compared to what I actually cooked after coming home late at night it is a big improvement. 

However, it is really is for a limited group of people with very little flexibility. Not having a vegetarian option seems strange to me now, even though I'm not a vegetarian. And not advising on allergens or having the options to say 'please don't give me any of... in my meals' limits it's use for some people.
But I have used it to successfully lose weight, and when I get stressed and know life is going to be busy for a while, I still sign up. 

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