Eat Well With Shanghai Meal Plans

Is a meal plan delivery service the answer to your nutrition problems when time is limited?  If a full time ‘Ayi’ isn’t in your budget, or if your idea of cooking is tossing a potato in the microwave, consider looking up one of the several meal plan delivery services here in Shanghai.

I have always loved to cook, but, due to new work commitments, I am struggling to find the times in the evenings to prepare tomorrow’s work lunch.  The area where I work has a limited number of healthy restaurants and they are relatively expensive.  With the limited choice, it also easy to get jaded with the selection on offer.  My solution to my lunch time eating woes was to purchase a meal plan delivery service; something I’ve said I never would do, but now I’m “eating my words.”  Several companies offer this service in Shanghai, allowing you to pre-purchase a set number of lunch times meals (usually 5 minimum) that will be delivered to your home or place of work.  Costs vary; expect to pay around 225 RMB per week, plus delivery charges.

Some of the service advantages are that they are simple, can be delivered to areas with few healthy food options and they can help you stick to a good diet (at least for the duration of the service!).  With one WeChat transfer, it is possible to order all of your lunches for the coming week or month in a matter of moments.  I won’t be so tempted to grab unhealthy foods at the bakery because I know I’ll be receiving plant based nutrient dense meals right to my office.

And the disadvantages?  They are more expensive than your local Chinese food options.  As with all food delivery services, overuse can lead to growing tired of them.  And of course, you are handing control of the quality of your ingredients and of your portion sizes to someone else.  I guess the solution is to consider adding meal plan delivery services to your ‘armoury’ of food options.  Consider alternating from this service one week to home preparation and to local restaurants on other weeks.  Mix and match to suit your tastes and your schedule.  I’ve never heard of someone being on a delivery service their whole life.  Other options include getting a best friend with cooking skills or getting a good chef on Tinder! 😉

Delicious vegan salad from Sucici

What meal plan delivery service did I choose?  I tested out the vegan salad plan from Sucici and have found them to be extremely filling, delicious and nutrient dense.  They also have a wide variety of options.  I have been adding the brown rice option because a salad on its own is never enough to get me through ‘til 7 pm.  I’ve also been extremely impressed by Better Bentos (by Sprout Lifestyle).

Regardless of whether you are vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, a meat eater, etc., the most important thing about a healthy meal plan is that it is plant based; the star of the show should always be the vegetables, and sweet potato fries don’t count!

Until the next time, eat well, be well, live well! – Jessica W.

Links:

Sucici:   WeChat: sucicidelivery

Better Bentos:   WeChat: BetterBentos

 

The Jiashan Saturday Market

With Daniel & Michael of Sparrow Organic

It’s springtime in Shanghai and that means warm weather and around 100 events to choose from every weekend!  It’s easy to get overwhelmed and end up going event crazy so choose carefully.  There are many healthy weekend activities and events such as cooking classes at Sprout Lifestyle, exercise related events and my personal favorite – the food markets.

This weekend I went to the Jiashan Saturday Market and loved it.  There is a great variety of stands at the market, offering all sorts of locally prepared artisan foods and drinks.  Many of the stands feature healthy foods that can meet a variety of dietary needs. Personally, I am a snacker and need healthy but cravable snacks lying around the house.  Markets like the Jiashan Market are the perfect place to get new and tasty items.  I purchased some fabulous pesto sauce, pickled vegetables, hummus, eggplant dip and olives. Why buy some of these tasty snacks?

  • Olives have monounsaturated fat which has long been part of the Mediterranean diet, linked to lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and obesity. Olives also have polyphenols. These are phytochemicals known to help reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Green olives, which are picked before they ripen, tend to be higher in polyphenols. Olives are also a good source of iron, copper, and vitamin E.
  • The chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in the hummus are a great source of many nutrients, especially if you are vegan. Chickpeas have iron, calcium and protein. One cup of chickpeas meets 22 % of our daily need for iron. Adding vitamin C containing foods such as red peppers or lemon juice can increase iron absorption in plant based foods. It is also a very versatile food that can be used in a number of tasty recipes.
Modern Food & Co. at the Jiashan Market

The Jiashan Saturday Market is held every 2 weeks. The next market will be on April 22nd, then May 06th; hope to see you there!

 

Until the next time – Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well – Jessica W. 😉

New Year with the Roosters

A farmer at work in the fields

How many of us have gone on holiday and come back feeling drained, requiring a vacation from our vacation?  Or have felt less healthy than before we left?  If you can often say yes, then maybe it’s time to go on a healthy retreat.

This Chinese New Year, I went on vacation with a tour group called M2adventure Shanghai.  I was looking for a chance to get away from the bright lights, the pollution and the concrete jungle for a few days.  I figured a technology detox, and a WeChat detox, was also in order.  My CNY adventure to a tiny (and I mean tiny) mountain village near Taizhou city in Zhejiang province was just what I needed.

View of a Chinese mountain village

My group of intrepid explorers (!) arrived at the base of a mountain where we disembarked from our comfortable bus.  We then had to climb 2-3 hours to make it to the village as it is not accessible by car.  There was no-one selling anything along the trail and during our ascent we saw no-one but the people in our group.  The mountain air was clean and fresh; I saw more stars than I had ever seen in my whole life.  We spent our days hiking and exploring nature.  We relaxed at night by talking, singing (and dancing!) around a bonfire.

I must of course tell you about the food!  It was fresh, organic and harvested straight from the mountain.  The farm technology consisted of little more than an ox.  Everything tasted better than the food I have had anywhere in China (except for Chongming Island).  The food was light with minimal spices and oils but still big on flavor.  Some of the meals featured a little too much salt for my tastes but otherwise it was very healthy.  We were served around 12 different types of veggies alone at every evening meal!  I attended a dumpling and tofu making class and even watched an 80 year old lady collect root vegetables from the top of a waterfall!  Our Chinese hosts seemed driven to feed all of us constantly, as if we would never eat again.  We stuffed our faces at every meal but the hiking meant that we needed these extra calories.  Our hosts had their own beehives, providing a fresh source of beautiful honey.  The village also had loads of cows, pigs, and tons of chickens.  It was great spending the Chinese New Year of the Rooster surrounded by roosters!

Fresh vegetables in the countryside

All in all it was a great chance to really see China and return to Shanghai refreshed and happy to be back to civilization.  Do you think a trip like this isn’t for you because of kids or because of fitness levels?  Not true! M2adventure, and other Shanghai based tour groups, have trips suitable for bringing the kids along.  They can also cater to different fitness levels.  The trips are also very good value.  They range from around 800 to 1500 RMB for the budget savvy.  Please be warned that luxury accommodations are not part of the package for the tours.  Just to give you an idea, our group had to poop sitting on a log in a “bathroom” with no door, next to a cow!  You are sure to make lots of memories and come home with some interesting stories.

Until the next time, Eat Well Shanghai!  😉  – Jessica W.

Taking the Vegan Challenge

 

Are you up to the challenge?
Are you up to the challenge?

Starting this February 11th 2017, with a launch party at Happy Buddha, the Shanghai “21 day vegan challenge” begins! (see link at the end of the post.)  For anyone who has wanted to try a vegan diet, Happy Buddha, Saucepan, Veggie Lovers and Veggie Dorm have joined forces with VeganFiesta to create this great event!  If you are inclined to drool over a delicious cheese board or juicy steak, unsure of how you will find the willpower not to eat them, you are sure to find lots of support from fellow challenge members.  There are also activities every day from cooking classes to workouts.  Too tired to make your own vegan food?  Then order a vegan meal from one of the multiple partners at a discount or buy a week long meal plan from Better Bentos.  I will be trying this challenge; although I can’t promise I’ll make it through to the end!  I will be contributing to the challenge by giving a nutrition class at Hunter Gatherer on the evening of February 23rd.  The class will focus on healthy vegan eating patterns, to ensure those participating get all of their proper nutrients.
I have heard some debate over whether or not vegans can get all the nutrients they need.  They absolutely can if they eat the right plant sources.  B12 is an exception but it can be obtained through fortified foods or nutritional yeast, check out this great vegetarian resource here.  Vegetarians and vegans tend to have an overall lower cancer rate than the general population as well as a lower BMI.  Conversely, just because someone is vegan does not automatically mean they are eating healthy.  Sugars, oils and certain processed “junk foods” can be vegan.  So remember, no matter what diet you choose, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is best for optimal health.
Until the next time, wishing you and your family good fortune in this New Year of the Rooster!

Eat Well Shanghai! – Jessica W.

Link to 21 Day Vegan Challenge