My Food Bag Review: Gluten-Free
I’ve been super lucky this week getting to review some yummy things, and a week of gluten-free meals from My Food Bag is no exception!
Just in case you don’t want to read through the entire post, here are my thoughts about the My Food Bag Gluten-Free Bag (www.myfoodbag.co.nz) and how it might fit with allergies. Before I say anything else, I should mention that the bag is not marketed at allergy families, just those on gluten-free diets, but I was interested to see how it would fit with a variety of allergies.
1. The whole operation is very, very professional and runs very smoothly. The delivery arrived at the start of the window specified and everything was in perfect condition.
2. Everything that would be at risk for contamination was labelled gluten-free and sealed. A big plus.
3. The portions are generous.
4. There was a good variety of food, and a different protein for each of the five nights.
5. In terms of allergies, I had to make some alterations each night, but we have an unusually large amount and variety of allergies in our household. Generally it was easy to make it fit for the whole family.
6. The recipes are very easy to follow; my 8 year old cooked some of the meals essentially by herself without any problems.
We opted for Sunday afternoon delivery (you can also choose Monday) and since it arrived by 4pm, we opted to start the weeks dinners on Sunday night so we could eat the fish while it was fresh. The fish that came was terakihi and, as with all the other proteins, there was approximately 500g, so pretty generous 🙂 I’m not really a big fish fan, but the kids love it.. this was really tasty and we all ate everything. It was also very fresh.
Day 2: Chicken Skewers
This was a pretty simple dish, although I appreciated a few little extras such as coconut flavoured rice instead of plain (also a great option for us as we are all fine with coconut and none of us can eat dairy), and a well seasoned sauce: fresh ginger, garlic and lemon made the sauce extra yummy. The sauce was satay which obviously is problematic with peanut allergies. We keep traces in the house so just had to keep the dinners separate, but nut-free households may be more concerned. The peanut butter came sealed in small foil packets.
Day 3: Spiced Pork and Apple Pizzas
This was a pretty quick (nice for the middle of the week!) meal to put together as the My Food Bag came with ready-made gluten free pizza bases. However, it was super spicy! I really liked the taste, but it was at the top end of how spicy I like things, and too spicy for my children. More adventurous children may love it though. The spice was just in the meat (and came already mixed through), so technically you could just add in some plain minced pork to tone it down a bit. We can’t eat dairy so I left the cheese off my children’s pizzas and substituted it for sheeps milk cheese on mine, as I can tolerate that.
Day 4: Lamb with Quinoa Salad and Chimichurri Sauce
This was definitely my favourite meal! The lamb was really tender and the sauce (labelled adult only as it was quite spicy) was really tasty. The recipe used 1 cup quinoa but I was provided with a whole packet so very generous again. The My Food Bag Gluten Free is recommended for 2 adults and 2-3 children, and I think that is pretty accurate. We had slightly less than that eating in our house and generally there was enough leftover for the next day’s lunch. Bonus!
Day 5: Naked beef burgers
This was the only night where the food just didn’t work for us as we are all allergic to beef, but my Mother and her Husband ate that night and they really loved it. We shared the potatoes and salad so it was just a matter of cooking a different protein. As with all the other dishes, I felt a lot of effort has gone in to ‘upping’ the flavour profile as much as possible. It would be very easy to just serve a plain meat pattie without extra flavourings, but this had extra veges, garlic and fresh herbs. One of the problems we had throughout the week was that most sauces used mayonnaise as the base, which my children can’t eat due to egg allergies, but this night had a vinaigrette-type sauce which suited us better. You could pre-prepare a mayo made from chickpea brine if this was also an issue.
Overall, I was super impressed with the operation: I was quickly added to the subscription process and received email confirmation with delivery times and anything else I needed to know. The delivery was seamless and food was in perfect condition. I would have preferred my tomatoes to be slightly riper but I know some people prefer theirs a bit crunchy, so hard to please everyone! I received an email a few days before delivery letting me know what pantry basics I would need, but it was pretty basic stuff such as gluten-free soy sauce. The recipes were super easy to follow….my 8 year old had a go at cooking some of the nights and she could do it easily!
In our family, I try to provide a range, and significant quantity of, fresh vegetables, however this My Food Bag had a strong salad focus, without heaps of green vegetables so you may want to factor this in, and possibly purchase some extra veges to add to the dishes. This would help stretch the meals out too if you were worried about quantity, although I think this would only be a problem if you were feeding more people than it was designed for, or had several teenagers in the house.
In terms of food allergy, I found it very easy to adapt the recipes to our needs, and there wasn’t a huge amount that needed adapting. We also have more allergies than most allergy-households, if you were just dealing with a couple of allergies such as egg and dairy or even dairy,egg and nut (provided the nut isn’t severe enough to worry about cross-contamination or contact issues), I think it would be easy to switch a few things around without having to spend too much time or effort.
Massive thanks go out to My Food Bag for giving me the chance to try this out, I’m sure there are lots of people who are keen to hear what the gluten free bag is like. It was a really fun week trying something new each night!