Rave: Food Delivery Services

Even in a city like Toronto, with its abundance of farmer’s markets and organic butchers, it can still be difficult to make healthy food choices. For every organic juice bar there are a hundred fast food shops. When you’re pressed for time and have an empty fridge, grabbing a burger or a frozen pizza from the supermarket can seem like the quickest and easiest option. Enter food delivery services! These businesses make accessing healthy or organic as easy as possible. 

Organic Food Delivery

There are an abundance of organic food delivery services available to residents of South Western Ontario. While each service differs slightly (we’ll get to that in a minute), they do share a few common traits: online ordering, weekly delivery and a focus on organic produce. Most services allow you to customize what items are in your box (though, often for an extra fee), and many allow you to specify things you never want delivered. When you sign up, you can choose what size box you’d like – single, couple, family and so on. We’ve tried out Mama Earth Organics and they were great at letting you switch box sizes or skip a week if you were going to be away. 

The bounty of nature, right on your doorstep.

It’s important to remember that “organic” does not mean the produce is local or seasonal. However, there are a few services that operate a bit differently; working with local farms to secure their produce. Plan B Organic Farms operates on a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) system, wherein you buy “shares” of a harvest from a local farm. You pay for the produce at the beginning of the growing season, which gives farmers the capital to pay for seeds, supplies, etc instead of relying on bank loans. Pretty cool, right? The only thing we’re bummed about is that they don’t deliver to Toronto…. yet. For us city dwellers, Front Door Organics has a Go Ontario! Fresh Box option which is available seasonally. 

Prices vary according to service provider, box size and level of customization. By no means are we saying these services are “cheap”. Organic produce is more expensive than non-organic; that’s just the state of affairs right now. But the pay-off of knowing that your food wasn’t doused in harmful chemicals justifies the expenditure. For us, at least. 

Meat Shares

While organic produce can stretch your wallet, organic meat can often times break the bank. Again, we feel that knowing that our meat came from an animal who led a “happy,” artificial hormone-free life makes it worthwhile. There are a number of butchers in the city who get their meat from local farms (our favourites being Sanagans Meat Locker and The Healthy Butcher) but meat-lovers can also buy their protein CSA-style, as offered by Stoddart Family Farm

Living the good life till it’s time to be eaten.

One share from Stoddart is equivalent to a monthly delivery of 10 pounds of meat. Shares are sold in four- and sixth-month increments. Each delivery comes frozen and includes a range of meat (beef, pork, lamb, poultry) depending on what is available that month. Each order also contains a mix of ground, stew, chops, roasts, sausages and sometimes bacon or ham. As with produce deliveries, for an additional fee you can specify if there’s a particular type of meat you never want to receive.  

Meal Delivery

Now, for those of you who aren’t adept in the kitchen or are looking for a quick, healthy meal when they’re too busy to cook, there are a number of great meal delivery services in Toronto. Recognizing this need, celebrated nutritionist and caterer, Rose Reisman created Personal Gourmet, a daily food delivery service. Intended to complement a person’s lifestyle, Personal Gourmet meals are offered both fresh and frozen, and in both “healthy living” or “weight loss” programs. Another bonus? There’s a family-sized option for easy weeknight dinners. 

Everything is more delicious when delivered by bike.

Another option is newcomer Lilly’s Lunches. This service delivers homemade sandwiches by bicycle to downtown Toronto residents. Paired with a side or sweet (or both!), the food is made with carefully considered ingredients and, the most important of all components, love. To order lunch, you need to commit to four lunches – one a week, on the same weekday, for four consecutive weeks. Imagine how jealous your co-workers will be when you’re enjoying your fresh, delicious sandwich without leaving your desk? 


Yum, yum: 10 healthy snacks on the go

Many jobs, especially PR, can mean a long day, followed by a long evening, followed by an early morning (leading to another long day). Our secret? Beginning the day with an arsenal of easy, healthy snacks that don’t require a fridge, microwave or (much) fuss. Here are ten suggestions of healthy, purse-worthy snacks.

1. Mixed berries in apple sauce

In the morning, add some unsweetened apple sauce to a container with your favourite frozen blueberries, raspberries or berry mix. By mid-day the berries will melt, keeping the snack cold and creating a delicious berry/apple medley. Healthy snacker secret: invest in good, leak-proof Tupperware and always wrap in a plastic bag. You do NOT want blueberry applesauce coating your purse – trust us.

2. Fresh dates

A date that doesn’t disappoint.
Image source.
Maybe not a current pantry staple, but once you start popping these to replace an afternoon chocolate bar, you’ll never be date-less again. They’re high in natural sugars, but also contain potassium and polypenols. If you’re feeling fancy or want to show off, stuff with chopped cashews.

3. Roasted chickpeas

Satisfying crunch. Image source.

If you’re not tempted by the afternoon candy bar, maybe it’s a bag of chips for a salty, crunchy snack. Make these roasted chickpeas from Rose Reisman for an easy, healthy alternative to satisfy that craving. Best part? Just like chips, you can make different flavours by mixing up the spices – try cayenne pepper, paprika, curry powder or cumin. 

4. Roasted almonds

Obviously a handful of almonds, a protein mentioned in every health mag, has to make the list. Take them to the next level by buying raw almonds from the grocery store or Bulk Barn and roasting them yourself. Bonus: roasted nuts will make your kitchen smell divine.

5. Frozen muffins

Rose’s banana chocolate chip muffin.
Image source.
A few recipes for homemade muffins, again from Rose Reisman, our favourite healthy eating guru: banana and date, carrot pineapple, bran banana and raisin or banana chocolate chip. Make a batch on the weekend and throw them in the freezer. They’ll defrost during the day and you’ll have a healthy alternative to a fattening, pricey muffin from S-Bucks.

6. Homemade hummus

What can we say? We love chickpeas. Image source.
It’s easy to make a large batch of hummus and pair it with different vegetables during the week. Try pita wedges, raw carrots and celery, whole grain crackers or whole wheat tortilla chips.

7. Protein shake with skim milk

For those days when you REALLY have no time, scoop some whey protein powder into a Ziplock bag and pick up a small carton of skim milk. Best and least expensive source in the downtown core? Sports Nutrition Depot. They’ll help you choose the right one for what your body needs so you don’t go home with something that is meant for a bodybuilder. 

8. Apples slices with almond butter/peanut butter
Freshly sliced. Image source.

Open bag. Add small knife, apple, and a container of natural almond or peanut butter. When hunger hits, slice apple and dip in almond butter or peanut butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired, to make it feel fancy. Just don’t bring this one to court, an airplane, when meeting royalty, etc. The knife is the key ingredient: whole thing falls apart if you don’t freshly slice the apples.

Two consecutive days on the fourth floor without someone saying “I really feel like popchips” has never ever happened. Ever. Our favourite low-fat, all-natural, grab-and-go snack from the shelves.

10. Homemade granola bars 

Yours will look just as delicious, pulled from your purse at the end of the day.
Image source.

If you just can’t get it together in the morning, make some excellent granola bars on the weekend and bring one each day. The Daily Green has seven healthy granola bar recipes that you can make at home. Go forth and bake.