All the planning and shopping has been done for you, and the fixings for a delicious, balanced meal are delivered to your front door. Sounds like a dream come true, right? Although meal kit delivery services have been around a while, they are experiencing a burst of popularity with many new services to choose from. If you want to learn to cook, try new foods, or make meal planning and dinnertime a little easier, a meal delivery service is a good option.
I decided to jump into the ring and give meal services a try after receiving coupons for a free week. I love to cook, but often don’t have time to plan out meals. My husband and I are both adventurous eaters, and we love to try new things. I hesitate to cook recipes with unusual ingredients simply because of unfamiliarity. That’s been one of my favorite things about the deliveries! Quality ingredients have been selected, I’m sent just the right amount, along with detailed instructions on how to prepare it. No more buying $12 bottles of infused artisinal vinegar only to use 1 tablespoon in a recipe, or unknowingly selecting bad produce.
The kits have allowed me to experiment with techniques, recipes, and ingredients without the stress of planning those meals. I continue to use both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh from time to time. One of the perks of these services is the ability to opt in or out for certain proteins (no beef or lamb, for example), and browse the menu in advance. You can skip a week if you’re not crazy about the options, or put your deliveries on hold. For both services the recipes are easy to follow and the meals are always interesting. I have found that often the meals do take longer than the stated prep time (usually about 30 minutes), especially with Blue Apron. I feel that along with the price tag, prep time is the biggest drawback to the meal services.
With so many options for meal services available, my suggestion is to take a moment to look around Facebook or websites for promotions and coupon codes. The companies are constantly coming up with creative offers to get you to sign up, and many services offer promotions for free and discounted deliveries to new customers. If you know someone that is a regular customer, check with them, too. They may have free meals or discounts to give away.
Hello Fresh offers simpler recipes than some of the other services, and a variety of packages starting at $8.75 per serving. Classic (omnivore), Vegetarian, and Family boxes are available with 2 to 5 meals per week. Recipes never repeat, and some ingredients come partially prepped and are always nicely packaged and organized. The website is easy to use and they have an app for easy delivery management, too. I personally recommend this one if you’re interested in giving a delivery service a try.
Blue Apron is perfect for adventurous eaters and those willing to experiment with new ingredients and techniques. The recipes take a little longer to prepare than stated, in my experience. Be sure to take this into consideration when you’re planning. Like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron has a great website and an app. Blue Apron offers both a 2-person plan and a family plan, starting at $8.74 per serving.
Peapod grocery delivery services are a wonderful thing, and they’re getting even better as the company begins to offer meal kits. Peapod has partnered with Barilla to offer dinner kits with your grocery orders for under $5 per serving! From the homepage simply search “Barilla Meal Kit” to view the 8 tasty options and add to your grocery cart. Little Lake County contributor Jessica and her family love Peapod and the Barilla kits.
Since I’m a Peapod addict, I love that the Barilla meals come with my regular, life-saving grocery order. All of the ingredients are pre-measured in their own little containers, right down to the olive oil and fresh herbs. The meat and vegetables are already chopped and ready for you to follow the step-by-step photo illustrated recipe. Although the dinner options are a little limited, I love having fresh, healthy, easy meals delivered with the push of of a button. – Jessica
Home Chef offers dinner kits for $9.95 per serving, which they state will be ready to go in 30 minutes. They also have fruit basket and breakfast options, too.
In addition to delicious, quick cook meals, Plated focuses on environmental responsibility and they’re moving towards carbon-neutral packaging. Their recipes feature antibiotic-free meats and sustainable fish. Deliveries for 2, 3, 0r 4 meals serving 2 people cost $12 per serving. Melissa tried Plated in 2013, you can read her review here.
Chicago’s KitchFix offers already prepared, locally and sustainably-sourced, organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo options, free of refined sugars. Nutrition and food integrity is clearly of the utmost importance to Kitchfix. In addition to meal boxes, a wide variety of snacks, beverages, and deli items are available, too. Kitchfix isn’t yet available in all of Lake County, but hopefully will be soon! Loralie wrote about Kitchfix in 2015, you can read her review here.
PALEO SCHMALEO. Don’t call this “diet” food. In my mind, good food is good food. If you’re concerned about nutrition it simply doesn’t matter whether you’re paleo, gluten-free, etc. or not. Kitchfix meals are packed with superfoods that are good for your body, my body, EVERY body.
Purple Carrot offers vegan meal delivery with minimally processed, organic, always non-GMO, and ethically-sourced ingredients. Boxes are available for 2 people, 3 times a week, or 4 people twice a week, starting at $9.25 a serving. The Purple Carrot is the brainchild of famed chef Mark Bittman–you may recognize him from the TODAY show.
Atlanta-based Peach Dish delivers the flavors of the south right here to Lake County. Deliveries of 2 meals, with 4 to 8 servings each at $12.50 per serving, are available.
Green Chef offers organic meal delivery services made with non-GMO, sustainably sourced, high quality ingredients. Vegetarian, Omnivore, Paleo, Gluten-Free, and Carnivore kits are available starting at $10.49 per person.
Local Alert! We love locally owned-businesses here at Little Lake County. The Kitchen at Elawa Farm in Lake Forest now offers Take & Bake meals. Start your weekend off right with a delicious and healthy meal. Simply order by Tuesday and pick up at the farm between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Friday.
Have you tried a meal kit delivery service? What did you think? Tell us in the comments.