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. 😉

Method to the Madness

This final week of Nutrition Month we return to the methods of a healthy diet. Up until now our focus has been on cooking and eating at home but we live in Shanghai and eating out is just part of the lifestyle. You can eat out and have your healthy diet too.  It is all a matter of choice.

About the toughest cuisine to wedge into a heart healthy diet is restaurant Chinese. Apologies to the motherland but unless you are eating at one of the vegetarian Chinese restaurants in town, authentic Chinese , while tasty is generally oilier, sweeter and saltier than we should be eating. Exposure is often  the key. If eating Chinese is a daily habit for you then you want to rethink that bowl of lanzhou la mian. However if you join a group of friends once every few months for a Chinese hotpot or sizzling Sichuan meal than you are  striking the right balance. (Cooking Chinese at home is different as you are in control of the ingredients).

Most other cuisines have grilled items of some sort on the menu.  I don’t know too many Asian cuisines ( except Chinese) that don’t offer some variation of chicken on a stick. Vegetables are a great choice and your heart will thank you when you opt for the  salad over the fries.  Find yourself in a tough social spot where you don’t want to offend your host by turning down dessert?  Then think small. You can always say that the meal was so wonderful you don’t have room for dessert.

Then there is the alcohol that accompanies many an evening out.  If you don’t drink alcohol still watch out for sugary sodas and juices.  These can add unwanted calories and sugar to your healthy meal. Alcohol has its merits but most experts recommend two drinks  per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. By the way you can’t save them up all week and splurge on the weekend. I know that is what some of you are thinking!

Eating should be a joyful , delicious event that nourishes both body and soul.  Stressing about the right thing to eat is not part of the method!

Eat Well, Live Well , Have Fun !