Battle of the boxes: Newshub tries Woop Balance

In a new series, Newshub Lifestyle editor Sarah Templeton will compare some of the food delivery boxes on the New Zealand market. In this instalment, it's the Woop Balance box. 

Please don't panic, but it's the end of October which means summer - and with it, shorts and togs - are on the dangerously close horizon. 

I therefore thought it would be a great idea to kick off this series with the Woop Balance box; a delivery of fresh ingredients to make plant-based meals. 

Those are meals based around plants - but they're not vegan meals, just to clear up any confusion. 

The Woop site states that the recipes are designed by nutrition expert Niki Bezzant, meaning each recipe contains lean protein, healthy fats from plants, nuts and seeds; and carbs mostly from vegetables, whole grains and dairy.

What they don't contain? Additives or preservatives, and there's minimal added sugar. 

Yes, it's very, VERY healthy. Lentils feature a lot. 

"We follow the 'healthy plate' model, which means half a plate of colourful veggies in every meal. This means you'll get between four and five serves of veggies in every meal," the site brags.  

That's more than I usually get in a day (or a week, during my nacho-filled university days). For a kick-start after an indulgent few weeks, or when you have an event coming up that you want to feel a little sleeker for, I think this might be the bee's knees. 

The big benefit of Woop over other food delivery boxes on the market is that everything is pre-prepped and colour-coded. You pull out all the pink-labelled ingredients for one meal, the blue for another. It's like painting my numbers, except cooking by colours. Very convenient, and also means there's barely any food waste, which is a massive plus.  

I knew Woop Balance would be a tough sell to my carnivorous boyfriend, and we did experience some hiccups. The turmeric cauliflower rice (that's rice made out of grated cauliflower) which accompanied a piece of steak in one of the meals was gazed upon with the type of expression some people would give boiled brussel sprouts. 

An emergency KFC Zinger Burger was called upon - which was upsetting after I had SLAVED away cooking (for 19 minutes exactly). 

It did mean I had a pretty great lunch the next day, though. 

Much bigger winners were the chicken larb and the warm lamb and lentil salad - both were salads disguised as actual meals, which is my favourite way to eat salad. They were tasty, filling and didn't leave you needing a lie down after eating. 

I also dropped a kg this week - which could be coincidence, or it could be the fact the meals are approximately 400 to 500 calories per serve, which sometimes I can polish off in pre-dinner snacking. 

There are a couple of cons. The box is on the pricier end of the spectrum - for four meals for two people, it's $154. That does include delivery and again, most ingredients have been prepped.

If you're like me and you hit the supermarket most days for dinner ingredients, it's probably more economical. If you actually use judgement while shopping, it may be too much. 

Another hesitation: While I enjoyed the healthier slant, I'm very aware this isn't a lifestyle I'd be able to stick to permanently. There was rice in one of my meals, but a life without pasta or roast potatoes or sushi is one that I can NAY LIVE. 

Time to see if a slightly more carb-based but perhaps still equally 'balanced' box is on the cards - stay tuned for the Woop 'Foodies' box next week .