By Erin Wyatt A Recent ASU Nutrition Student
As a new mom, sometimes feeding myself a proper meal is low on my list of priorities. And forget about being able to plan a delicious and healthy dinner for myself and my husband these days. As tempting and easy as ordering takeout can be, it is not sustainable or nutritious. Enter the meal delivery kit. Each week a brown box full of healthy food arrives at my door, which feels like a gift from “Father Time.” This box not only saves me time that I would have spent at the grocery store but also saves my brain from trying to constantly come up with nutritious dishes.
These services have undoubtedly grown over the last few years, creating a $400 million industry with over 100 different services on the market.1 People are drawn to these meal kits, which provide quick and healthy food to prepare in a short amount of time, usually within 30-45 minutes. I think the appeal lies in the fact that one can still get the joy of cooking without the hassle of planning and shopping. Usually, the boxes contain three meals a week, allowing you the freedom to cook your own recipes or go out to eat the remaining days. While you may be able to get some of the same ingredients at the grocery store for a slightly lower price, the convenience and pre-portioned sizes are worth the few extra dollars. I like having the right amount of a specific item, like herbs for example, because it allows for less food waste. Another plus to these kits is that it shakes up your normal cooking routine, introducing you to new flavors and dishes. I had no idea that I loved turmeric cauliflower!
If you are interested in trying one of these services, doing a bit of research will help you discover which company is right for you. Each one seems to prioritize a certain aspect of their service, including the simplicity of recipes, a variety of meal options, and nutritional value. Personally, my preferences are of nutritional value and taste. Below are some features to think about when choosing a meal kit that would match your lifestyle.
Meal Delivery Kit Considerations:
- Some companies provide more nutritious meal options than others and they include the calorie and nutrient content of each dish. Certain companies offer different types of diets, such as vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, etc. Others even tailor your health goals into your meal plans.
- If you prefer to pick and choose your meals each week, some organizations allow you to select upcoming deliveries out of multiple recipe options.
- Everyone’s taste preferences are different, luckily most companies allow a free or reduced-priced trial week, so that you may sample their offerings without commitment.
- While most food boxes tend to be around the same general price range, consider factors such as delivery fees, specialty diets, and organic ingredients when calculating the price per person. Sometimes a slightly higher price equals a higher quality of food.
- These kits use a lot of packaging so it would be mindful to take note on which companies utilize recyclable/biodegradable containers and how to properly dispose of them.
For more specific information, Consumer Reports conducted a study that analyzed the top 5 meal delivery services. They tested and assessed each meal by taste, nutrition, and cost, among other aspects, to determine the value of these kits. It is extremely helpful to see a breakdown and side by side comparison of different companies, as it can be daunting to try and pick one from the myriad of choices. However, once you find the right fit, you will wonder how you ever lived without this convenient service.
- Lee, J. (2016). Meal delivery services put dinner on your doorstep. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/food/meal-delivery-services-put-dinner-on-your-doorstep/.