Thanks to Smartphones and the Internet, we can have anything we want at the swipe of a screen. Cupcakes at 2:00am? No problem. Spaghetti and garlic rolls for dinner? Got you covered. The problem with all this accessibility however, is that we are tempted far too often to make unhealthy choices.
That’s why meal kit delivery services can be an interesting option, especially if you are busy or too tired to think about cooking. Or if you are tempted too often to choose what’s easy instead of what’s healthy. Instead of ordering a high-fat, high-carb dinner from a delivery service, you have all you need to make a healthy meal at home.
Meal kit services are especially helpful if you live in a crowded city, because making healthy choices can be time-consuming. The grocery store lines after work hours can get long and frustrating. Not to mention – it’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed with making dinner every night when you work long hours and take care of children, so why not have a service that not only tells you exactly what to make, but delivers the ingredients and recipe right to your doorstep?
That’s why meal kit services have been a bit of a phenomenon lately. There are several to choose from – but most offer the same service. You choose your options and preferences, including vegetarian, gluten-free, etc., and the service sets up a weekly delivery, usually for 3-4 meals per week. They provide recipes along with ingredients all measured out, so you can control the portions.
One downside is the price – they can get pretty expensive compared to shopping for yourself, but the convenience and ease makes up for it. (Of course, meal kit services are much cheaper than eating out.) Keep in mind, it does take time to make the dishes, especially if you’re not used to cooking and need a little coaching on how to cook certain foods. (For instance, Blue Apron offered a crispy tofu dish where I breaded and sautéed the tofu, but it took me a few tries to get the crisping right.) But most recipes can be done quickly since the portions are pre-measured for you.
Blue Apron is a popular service, and picks default meals for you, depending on your choices (vegetarian, no red meat, etc.). You can swap meals, but your choices are somewhat limited to the combinations they offer – but Blue Apron does offer a more interesting selection of ethnic dishes. You can cancel your meal order, but you have to do it more than a week in advance or it automatically ships.
There are two plans: a 2-person and a 4-person subscription, both with 3 meals per week. The 2-person plan is $59.94 per week ($9.99 per person) while the family plan is $139.84 per week ($8.74 per person).
With Hello Fresh, you can choose 3 options out of five available meal choices for the week. The recipes from Hello Fresh are more straightforward if you’re not such an adventurous cook. They have two plans as well: 2-person and 4-person subscription options and 3 meals per week. The 2-person plan is $69 per week ($11.50 per person) and the family plan is $129 per week ($10.75 per person).
While Medifast does not exactly deliver meal kits in the terms of individual ingredients that you have to put together, they do deliver healthy complete meals for those looking to loose weight. You can order Medifast Achieve kits that come in 2 week trial kits (for $149) to a 30 day complete kit (for $399) that contains 135 meals which cover breakfast, lunch and dinner. Example meals include cereal, soups, beef stew, and chicken cacciatore.
Plated is a more curated service with fancier recipe options (like seared scallops for a premium price). Plated prices are based on the number of plates you order, with a minimum of 4 plates per order/week. Most of them are about $12 each, so a 2-person 3-meal order would come out to $72 per week.
All of these services offer something different, so check them out and see what works best for you. If you’d like some help with your diet – choosing healthier options, cooking at home without the hassle, or portion control – meal kit services are a great option.