The convenient meal provider Dineamic is the brainchild of sports Dietitian, Karen Inge, and ALF player Jason Johnson. Their mission was to create healthy and delicious ready-made meals that didn’t create mess or stress.
I gave a few of the Dineamic meals from Coles a try to see how they stack up to other meal providers and how they compare to their “delivered-to-you” range.
How did Dineamiic frozen meals rate nutritionally?
The frozen meal section in supermarkets is notorious for processed foods filled with refined ingredients. Think frozen pizzas, pies and microwave dinners. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at the ingredients of the Dineamic meals.
Firstly, they are made of over 85% Australian ingredients. They also use grass-fed meat! The nutrient and fat composition of grass-fed meat differ when compared to grain-fed meat with the latter containing higher amounts of certain nutrients. I personally find the taste is better in grass-fed meat.
Of the three meals I tried, there were no preservatives or artificial colours or flavours. They did contain Citric Food Acid which is a common additive in food used for the sour flavour or to stabilise and preserve meals. It’s generally recognised as safe and may have some added benefits.
I was particularly pleased to see Dineamic have used Olive Oil instead of vegetable oils in their meals. Olive oil is considered a beneficial fat that’s rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. Olive oil is my preferred oil of choice due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Like most convenient frozen meals, the Dineamic meals aren’t packed with leafy greens. In fact, of the three meals I tried, the veggies were similar and namely onion, carrots, garlic, tomato and herbs. It was pleasing to see the Beef Bolognese combined pasta and broccoli for additional vegetables and an increase in fibre.
However, the meals could benefit from being served with a portion of steamed greens or a salad.
The Dineamic supermarket range also wouldn’t be suitable if you’re living a low carbohydrate lifestyle as all were wheat or rice product-based.
With over 20g of quality protein and on average 300 calories per serve, these meals are ideal for those looking for a well-balanced meal. The sodium content is less than 200mg per 100g which is good, although, for me, these did have a strong salty flavour.
Some meals contain over 4g of dietary fibre per serve, which is okay, but we could be aiming for higher especially with the addition of refined carbs. Pairing the meals with a salad or veggies would do the trick.
Differences between supermarket Dineamic range and the Delivered meals
One of the major differences between Dineamic delivered meals and those in Coles is that the supermarket range is frozen. There is also a lot more variety in the meals you order directly from Dineamic including mains and sides for two, breakfast and snacks.
Online, you’ll also find more options based on your dietary requirements such as dairy or gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. You’ll also find plans available such as Dietitian Designed and Low-Calorie options.
Another major difference is the price point. The meals I purchased from Coles were $7.20. Online, you’ll find the Dineamic meals for one range from $8 to $16 depending on the meal you choose. Delivery is on top of this unless you spend over $99 which is then free.
However, these meals are slightly bigger in size at 360g compared to 320g for the supermarket variety.
Where the Dineamic meals convenient
It doesn’t get much more convenient than selecting a meal from the freezer and popping it into the microwave.
When compared to the delivered options, the Dineamic supermarket range seems very restrictive, especially if you have dietary requirements. The options online are greater and appear more appealing.
One thing that really annoyed me about the Dineamic frozen meals was the packaging. The film is so thin and weak that to peel it back slightly for heating was near impossible. The film ripped every time, so you’d end up with this shredded side. And it was equally challenging to remove when the meal was warm. I had to be very careful to ensure I wasn’t leaving bits of plastic in the meal.
I can’t say the Dineamic frozen meals were that delicious. In fact, they did remind me of a microwave dinner without the suspect ingredients. It’s a shame because they are using better quality ingredients than many of the meal manufacturers out there.
The limitation in the range with all three meals I tried tomato base likely influenced my feelings about their taste and flavour. I also found the meals to be a little watery and the pasta and couscous overcooked – something that’s common with frozen supermarket meals.
I would consider these to be a good convenient option in case of emergencies. If you’re looking for a meal provider to provide you ready to eat meals on a regular basis, I would recommend you explore the Dineamic range online over-relying on their supermarket meals.