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Ins and Outs of Meal Delivery Services

posted by Marissa March 8, 2017 0 comments

Today we’re diving in deep to give you the scoop on some of the most popular meal delivery services available so you can easily pick what works best for your busy household. In the name of research, we put some of these services to the test. As a self-proclaimed cooking novice, I was a bit nervous to find out if I could pull off some of these more advanced-sounding recipes. Verjus-braised chicken? What’s verjus?  After a few weeks of subscribing I was pleasantly surprised to find that with easy-to-follow instructions and pre-portioned ingredients, anyone can be a chef! And bonus points for not wasting food! As a member of a two-person household, I was so tired of wasting half bags of greens (looking at you kale). With portions specific to your meals for that week, you only get exactly the amount you need.

They all have a few things in common – primarily their focus of cutting out the middle man and delivering farm-to-table ingredients that are of high quality (arguably higher than might be available at your local grocery store, depending on where you live). It’s like having the best of the country’s farmer’s market produce delivered straight to your door. Additionally, being subscription services, you can freeze or delay your weekly deliveries if you don’t plan on cooking one week and most allow you to set the delivery day of week based on your needs.

OK enough with the chit chat, here’s the details on five of the most popular services:

  • Blue Apron: Averaging a prep/cook time of 30-45 minutes, Blue Apron isn’t the quickest of your options since there is quite of bit of slicing and dicing but the meals are fantastic and easy to execute with their very helpful step-by-step instructions. While all the meals are delicious, if you’re calorie conscious other services might be better for you. With the ability to select from a pre-determined list of recipe options, you had a bit more control over ensuring you receive something your family will enjoy. {Price: $60/week for 3 meals for 2 people; $70/week for 2 meals for 4 people}
  • Hello Fresh: Unlike many of the others, until recently Hello Fresh only gave you an option to select from vegetarian or non-vegetarian but has also added a “picky eater” option to give you more options. The recipes tend to be a bit more “simple” than some of the other options and might be a good fit for a family with children who are a tad less adventurous when it comes to meals. A perk is that it provides you nutrition facts beyond just the calorie count and the servings are quite generous if you have a particularly ravenous family. Of course, if you’re a vegetarian it’s one of the few options that offers vegetarian-only options. {Price: $69/week for 3 meals for 2 people (“Classic box”) or $60 for the veggie; $105/week for 3 meals for 4 people}
  • Plated: Similar to Blue Apron, the meals from Plated might be the recipes to push you a little out of your element requiring a bit more “babysitting.” Perhaps what makes Plated stand out against the competition is the addition of desserts to your meal plan, so this could be a real winner if you have kiddos who enjoy having a sweet treat to look forward to after a good meal. Also, Plated offers more options in terms of serving size as they offer a 3-serving size option in addition to the 2- and 4-serving options common with the competition. {Price: Plated is unique in that they charge a flat $12/serving regardless of meal plan with the exception of their smaller box meal (2 meals for 2 people), which is +$6 to ship}
  • Peach Dish: Unlike the others, Peach Dish actually allows you to select a meal from a pre-determined set of recipes that rotate weekly and you just specify the serving size you’d like to purchase and the number of recipes you’d like to try. For instance, you aren’t held to a “plan” that will send you two meals per week for two people – instead, you log on, select from ten meal options (no minimum or max) and then select the number of people you’re serving. This is especially great if you are hosting a dinner one night and need a certain meal to feed eight people instead of your standard four-person family. Lots of flexibility with this company. If you’re just looking to get your feet wet and aren’t sure you want to stick with a subscription meal service, this is a good one to try out. Bonus: they specify which meals are gluten-free and vegetarian. {Price: $25/meal for 2 servings; $50/meal for 4 servings; $60/meal for 6 servings; $90/meal for 8 servings}
  • Green Chef: There are several new lifestyle-based meal services coming on the scene, but Green Chef is currently the only one that features only USDA-certified organic ingredients. While some options offer a vegetarian meal or specify which recipes have gluten, Green Chef is one of if not the only service that allows you to subscribe to an entire meal plan dedicated to your preferences. From gluten-free to vegan to omnivore and paleo-friendly, there truly is a meal plan that fits your family’s lifestyle. {Price: Prices range based on your meal plan selection but start at $11.99/meal per person +$9/box for shipping}

Do you currently subscribe to a meal plan service or plan to try it out? Most companies noted here offer a free trial week that allows you to test the waters without a long-term commitment. Give it a go and let us know your thoughts. I personally do not miss the grocery store one bit.

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