Healthy meals straight to your doorstep
TAKE the guesswork out of calorie counting with bento boxes packed with tasty lunch and dinner options.
Good Food Heals
Valerie Teo strongly believes that a healthy gut equals a healthy body. She would know. The food-therapy consultant was once plagued with severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and psoriasis.
Her life turned around when she focused on healing her gut with a high-probiotic lifestyle. Ms Teo credits her mother for introducing the art of fermenting food to her. "I ate my mum's cultured food every meal," says Ms Teo. Within four months, she cured herself of psoriasis and IBS.
Good Food Heals claims to be the first in Singapore to serve high-probiotic, in-house lacto-fermented fruit and vegetables in its meals. For convenience, the meals come in bento boxes. For protein, Ms Teo offers salmon or tofu, as they are easier to digest than red meat. Carbohydrates come in the form of vegetables and soba or green rice.
Most importantly, each bento comes with a serving of probiotic food, such as the guava pineapple relish or the creamy golden cabbage. The former tastes like mild achar, while the latter is like non-spicy kimchi.
"Probiotic food has a high enzyme content, which helps the body reduce digestion time, so you don't get that tired feeling after a meal," says Ms Teo. The meals are tasty without condiments. Bentos cost from $9.90, while the jars of probiotic food - or what she terms GFH Cultured Superfoods - are for sale from $13.90.
Islandwide delivery is available from Mondays to Fridays, from 11am to 2.30pm. Minimum order is $50 and delivery costs $7. Order one day in advance before 3pm for next-day delivery.
In December 2013, Grain was one of the first to start a health-food delivery service. Two years on, business has been picking up. "It's really becoming more of a norm for people to order healthy food to be delivered to them," says Yong Yi Sung, one of the four founders of the company.
Grain offers weekly meals, and for those working in the Central Business District area, there's the option of ordering personalised meals. Those in the CBD area can get their meals delivered to them in 15 minutes.
Mr Yong and his three partners - Ernest Sim, Rifeng Gao and Isaac Tan - come from diverse backgrounds in the culinary, technology and management-consulting fields.
Grain started when the team found it hard to find healthy food on a daily basis in Singapore. They also felt that food delivery experiences were poor, with most taking over 45 minutes and having unhealthy, oily options. Most of the food deteriorated rapidly in quality because it was not designed to be taken away.
Meals ordered from Grain come in plastic containers, with a label stating the ingredients and nutrition information. It offers a weekly menu with four meals and three drinks to choose from. Meals cost from $9.95 and drinks from $5.95.
"We always use healthier cooking methods, such as sous vide and grilling. We use a lot of complex carbs and are constantly finding ways to creatively substitute items such as sauces. For example, mayonnaise is swopped with cauliflower puree," says Mr Yong.
Grain works well for those who like their carbs - such as soba, barley or black rice - which come in rather large portions. "Our customers are generally working professionals in their early 20s to late 30s. Over 65 per cent of them come back for second meals," he says.
Islandwide delivery. Free delivery to Marina Bay and Raffles Place. For other areas, delivery fee varies based on number of meals ordered and location. Orders must be placed before 10am.
Good friends Charles Ng and Dionis Chiua feel that when it comes to clean eating, there can only be so many salads and wraps, so you're not going to find any of them on the menu at Lean Bento.
The eatery opened two months ago and serves what Mr Ng calls "healthy and quality calories with micro and macro nutrients".
The food is also tasty. The salt-baked salmon that we tried looked dry, but was still juicy.
Even though it's the healthiest part, most people avoid eating chicken breast because it dries up quickly during cooking. But that is one of Lean Bento's bestsellers. "Instead of just serving chicken breast as it is, we mince it and make it into a patty," says Mr Ng.
The meals are served in bento boxes for convenience, and come with a serving of edamame and wakame, or seaweed. The price of a bento starts at $12.90.
Balance is key here, so while some may shun carbs altogether, there are small amounts in the meals, say three small balls of brown rice. Those who don't like rice can opt for noodle bowls, which use Japanese shiratake noodles. Made from yam, which has no carbohydrates, they are a low-calorie, gluten-free substitute for flour-based noodles.
Mr Ng says that half of his business comes from the Raffles Place crowd, while the other half comes from deliveries, some to places as far as Woodlands and Tuas. Some companies also choose Lean Bento for catering.
Islandwide delivery, except to Sentosa, Jurong Island and restricted areas. No minimum order for delivery. Delivery fees are between $5 and $20, based on location and total amount of orders. A $5 discount is offered for orders above $70.
THE BUSINESS TIMES