I wish I could say that I’m a person who loves to cook. That I enjoy shopping, prepping, and serving beautiful, healthy and delicious meals seven nights a week. But that is SO not me… In fact, I’m ashamed to say that I rely on my husband to make sure we eat at least five nights a week. I mean, he’s a great cook, but maybe I should be a little more involved?
Somewhere in the winter of 2015, a good friend of ours introduced us to a meal/recipe delivery service. I was reluctant to try it…it seemed expensive, and I wasn’t sure the meals were going to be healthy or easy to make. But we gave it a try. And got hooked. Now we get our delivery about once a month, and spend the other three weeks recreating recipes or digging through our cookbooks. But I’m not gonna lie…I sure do look forward to the weeks that we are getting our delivery.
Many of my clients have asked me about my experience since we started using this service. And my answers (as usual) are long-winded and complex. So I decided to sum up a few key pros and cons about some of the popular recipe delivery services out there now:
- First of all, cooking at home trumps eating out…always, always, always. You will eat less, consume less sugar, salt and fat and save money.
- My husband and I have actually both learned to enjoy cooking more. We’ve learned different techniques that make meal prep much quicker and we’ve learned ways to cook foods that I’d never considered before.
- I’ve tried vegetables and healthy, whole grains that I had never eaten before. And some of these have become a regular part of our diets. Healthy points: ALOT
- These meals are good. I mean, really good. At least 90% of them. Restaurant quality, but healthier and served in the comfort of your own home.
- Though it’s healthier than eating out, some of the meals use a lot of salt and butter. This can be fixed (see suggestions below)
- The price can be a bit high, depending on which company you use, though you’ll still spend MUCH less than if you ate out a few times a week.
- In the beginning, we were definitely frustrated with the amount of time some of the meals took to make. But, as I mentioned…as you learn how to more efficiently prep and cook foods, buy the right tools, and get used to some of the cooking methods, the cook time definitely goes down. And plus, I’ve found it’s a nice way for the hubby and I to spend time together, and catch up on our days. Add a good glass of wine, and the time becomes even less of an issue J
- Nutrition information: this isn’t always completely revealed in all of the recipes. They may list the calorie count, but for those of us who care about macronutrients, fiber, sugar content, etc…this can be very hard to track.
All in all, I think these delivery services can be a great idea for many people, and I have recommended the one we use to many clients, friends and family. If you do choose to give it a try, heed these suggestions:
- If a recipe is 8 steps, and 5 of the steps list adding salt to the food, be smart. Maybe add it to the chicken before you sear it, but skip adding it in any of the other steps. We quickly made this adjustment, and didn’t miss the salt at all.
- Same with butter. Some of the recipes we’ve gotten come with up to two tablespoons of butter. Yikes! I’m all about using real butter in my cooking, but two tablespoons? So we cut it in half. And again, haven’t missed it a bit.
- The meals often say they serve two people, but can contain anywhere from 500-800 calories per portion. That’s a lot for some people, especially at dinner. Of course, this is completely dependent on your calorie needs (according to your size, activity level and goals), but be smart here. If you’re tracking calories and the dinner is going to bring you way above a healthy calorie range, do what I do: immediately divide the meal into three servings before you sit down to eat. Save the leftovers for work tomorrow. Trust me, you’ll look forward to lunch much more than usual (and save calories and money by not buying from the work cafeteria!)
So there are my thoughts. For many of us, time and money are valuable, but so is knowing that what we’re putting in our bodies is good. If you’re someone who doesn’t cook healthy meals for yourself or eats out regularly, you might just find a service like this is worth every dime…