You’ve probably seen the ads everywhere - it seems like there’s always a promo code for a meal service floating around. All meal delivery kits promote similar things: to save you time, money, and trips to the grocery store! My family and I have tried a variety of delivered meal kits, including Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Home Chef. I’ve experienced that regardless of the brand, using meal prep kits has pros and cons. Here's the deal with the meals:
Pros of Using a Meal Delivery Service:
I have little to no cooking experience — my idea of a gourmet meal is heating up Trader Joe's frozen orange chicken. That being said, I have never struggled with cooking any of these meal kits. For the most part, they do a great job of making recipes simple and easy to follow, and don't require too many technical skills. I get to feel like I’m cooking up a fancy meal, without any of the real hard work. There's little prep, other than some washing, slicing, and dicing.
Another pro is these meals truly are fast to cook, usually taking anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. When you're in a rush, it isn't too much of a hassle to cook the meal, especially because all the prepping and measuring is done for you. Basically all that's left is to assemble and heat! Despite how quick it is, you still get the benefits of fresh ingredients and home-cooked tastiness. You can experience a variety of different foods without much effort.
Tasty & Healthy
You can choose the meals that appeal to you and cut out any ingredients that you can't or don't eat. That way, you can make sure only meals that you think you'll love are delivered. The meals are typically pretty healthy and most options include some sort of protein, vegetable, and carb. This minimizes the amount of produce that goes bad in the fridge, because they only send you the exact amounts you need for the meal. A huge plus.
Expands Your Recipe Knowledge
Finally, my favorite part of using a meal kit delivery service is you have the opportunity to choose meals and types of food that you wouldn't normally make for yourself. When going to the grocery store, I rarely look up recipes and usually just stick to buying the things that I already know. Using a prepped meal kit allows you to expand your recipe knowledge. You can hold on to your favorite recipes to re-make on your own time. Moreover, you can experiment with new meals without committing to buying full-sized ingredients.
Cons of Using a Meal Delivery Service:
You Have to Plan Ahead
I often like to make and eat my meals based on what I feel like for the day. With a meal prep kit, you are committing to what you are eating for the week (depending on what size subscription you have). If you have a day you feel like eating out, or putting together something else you have in the house, it gets a little complicated because you don't want any of your meals to go bad. That being said, it can be a good deterrent from eating out if you want to minimize spending.
Some Are a Miss
While I would say 80% of the meals range from pretty good to delicious, there are bound to be a few that just aren't in your wheelhouse. While some of the recipes sound good theoretically, they aren't quite as imagined when they hit your dinner plate. Especially if you like to branch out and try new meals, it's understandable that some won't be to your taste. However, it can be disappointing if your meal for the evening just doesn't hit the mark and you have to resort to a bowl of cereal for the evening.
Meal Delivery Services: Final Thoughts
My overall verdict is meal kits are perfect for the busy bee who wants to branch out in their meals. If you are into meal prepping, you'll probably enjoy a meal delivery kit too. If you don't like planning ahead and like to whip up food based on your mood or appetite, you may find the meal prep kits a little constricting.
Also, if you have a lot of dietary restrictions, the available meals can get a bit repetitive. However, they are a great way to find new recipes, and they do indeed save you from wandering the aisles of the grocery store unsure of what to buy.