The healthiest fast food

By Alexia Santamaria

Seafood Laksa from Jess' Underground Kitchen - a healthy alternative to your usual fast food.  
Photo / Babiche Martens
Seafood Laksa from Jess' Underground Kitchen - a healthy alternative to your usual fast food. Photo / Babiche Martens

With work days getting longer and traffic getting heavier, it's not always possible to get home and whip up a Nigella-style dinner for yourself or your family - on crazy busy days even an omelette or baked beans on toast can be stretch! Luckily there are an increasing amount of businesses popping up all over Auckland to cater to the need for good, real - but also convenient food. So next time you're running late and contemplating a fast food fix of burgers, pizza or French fries, check out some of these more nourishing options. Some will even deliver.

Delivered Nutrition


Raw truffles from Delivered Nutrition. Photo / Delivered Nutrition

Sophia Nash wanted a service that catered to people just like her - a busy single mum and business woman who wanted to eat well but didn't have the time or energy to gather super-nutritious ingredients and cook them every day. She has developed a range of healthy delivered food for people on the go. If you have always dreamed of drinking green smoothies, eating raw antioxidant heavy salads loaded with kale, beetroot, almonds, goji berries, rocket and other superfoods this is the service for you. There's even sugar-free treats like raw hazelnut and cacao truffles. Best thing is that taste has been made priority, as well as health, and all the food is delicious as well as guilt-free. We loved the raw power salad with smoked fish and cacao truffles and the overnight oats were a great instant breakfast. This service is a bit different to others as you order a package which might be all meals for a day or a week and it comes to your doorstep.

After Hours (by Little and Friday)


After hour meals and desserts at Little and Friday in Belmont. Photo / Facebook, After Hours

We all know how clever the folks at Little and Friday are at making ridiculously delicious cakes, but not everyone knows they now do take-home meals from Wednesday to Saturday at their new venture After Hours (next door to the Belmont shop). There's always tempting salads and a couple of main options as well as a side. Think mains like free-range chicken and chorizo jambalaya, free-range pork and feta meatloaf, Vietnamese beef noodle soup and comforting sides like potato and sage al forno. It goes without saying, the desserts are fabulous as well - look out for the hot puddings as the evenings get colder.

Details: After Hours, 43e Eversleigh Road, Belmont, (09) 486 4278

Jess' Underground Kitchen


Jess Daniell of Jess' Underground Kitchen in Wairau Valley. Photo / NZ Herald

Jess' one year progression from cooking a few extra meals for busy working friends to doing over 200 dishes a day in a commercial kitchen is quite well known after the media attention she's attracted. It's all totally deserved - her food is real, honest and extremely tasty. Her nachos are fantastic with homemade salsa and avocado creme and her lemon meringue pie is very difficult to share even a bite with anyone else! She also does a paleo variation for most of her (very varied) meals which range from deconstructed sushi to harira to chicken cacciatore. Customers can pick up fresh meals from three locations from Monday to Wednesday - La Boulange in Ponsonby, William Souter Espresso in Forrest Hill, and Mojo Coffee in the Vodafone building - and frozen options from the same places all week.

The Casual Foodie


Meals from The Casual Foodie in Birkenhead. Photo / The Casual Foodie

People on the North Shore are very lucky to have The Casual Foodie based in Birkenhead. They cater for all types - families, couples, singles and every type of taste. They always have some frozen meals available and the lovely fresh menu rotates weekly. Their free-range chicken and veggie soup is perfect for winter and whether you are a macaroni cheese type or are more inclined towards a Thai curry, quinoa salad or Vietnamese caramel chicken, they will have something for you. Some of their regular customers have even been known to take their own dishes in for the team to cook directly in, passing it off as their own to guests! We recommend picking up a tub of their smoked mackerel pate while you're there - we're addicted. Delivery available too.

Details: The Casual Foodie, 23 Enterprise Street, Birkenhead Point (09) 480 6625.

Take out as well as cafe


Salads from Ripe Deli in Ponsonby. Photo / NZ Herald

There are also several well known Auckland food institutions who do take-home meals as part of their other daytime offerings. Rocket Kitchen in Ponsonby do an Effortless Eating Frozen Meal Menu of mains, soups and - of course - desserts. Ripe Deli on Richmond Road do similar fresh and frozen meals (and from Queen's Birthday will be open later so you can pop in after work) and of course there's Revive on Lorne and Wyndham Streets in the city for divine vegetarian options, including their famous hotpots - they do online delivery now too. They've been known to sell out after a lunch rush so make sure you get in early.

- www.nzherald.co.nz

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