What Is A Meal Delivery Kit10 minute read

10 minute read

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Updated for March, 2019

Meal delivery these days is more than just a pizza delivery guy showing up at your house. There are now entire companies built around the concept of preparing pre-portioned meals, packaging them and sending them to your doorstep.

Meal kit delivery services are more than just heat and eat. The ingredients for preparing your meal come boxed with a recipe on how to make it. So, you’re still preparing a homecooked meal, but the recipe searching, list-making and grocery store run aren’t necessary.

senior man opening package meal delivery

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Table of Contents

There are plenty of meal kit delivery services out there to choose from. Some of them are subscription-based, others allow you to stop and start service at any time. Whatever type you choose, you will be given a list of meal options on the company’s website to pick from. You set up an account, decide what you want and place your order. The food will arrive at your doorstep frozen, pre-measured and pre-packaged, complete with all the ingredients you’ll need and instructions for preparation.

If you’re a senior looking for ways to ensure you eat nutritious, homecooked meals but you don’t want to or can’t deal with the hassle of going to the grocery store – meal kit delivery services may be worth your consideration.

Most of these types of companies (Meal Delivery) employ chefs who choose the recipes and ingredients.

Health Benefits

We should be concerned about what we eat at any age, but it becomes even more important as we get older. Eating a nutritious and balanced diet is key to staying healthy and staying at home for as long as possible. But just because that’s how we need to eat, doesn’t make it easy to do. Takeout or drive-thrus can become our go to meal option because it’s fast and simple. Depending on the choices you make, restaurant meals can be loaded with fat, salt, sugar and all kinds of other not so nutritional things, which can aggravate existing health issues or cause new ones.

Meal kit delivery companies can be a far better nutritional choice. Most of these types of companies employ chefs who choose the recipes and ingredients. Others employ registered dieticians or nutritionists who make food selections based on recommended daily allowances, so you’re getting the right amount of what your body needs. The best part is you get to choose what you want from all the healthy offerings.

Aside from personal preferences, often our health and medical issues can dictate the kind of food we should and should not eat. If you have heart or blood pressure problems, low fat and low salt meals are important. Diabetics require food with lower amounts of sugar and carbs. Whatever your needs, the good news is meal kit delivery companies cater to all types of dietary restrictions. Depending on the service you choose, you can get a wide range of options:

  • HelloFresh – offers classic, standard menus and vegetarian options.
  • Blue Apron – offers classic, standard menus, as well as vegetarian and pescatarian meals.
  • Green Chef – offers classic, standard menus, and prides itself on using organic ingredients. It offers Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, omnivore, Keto and vegetarian meals.
  • Plated – offers classic, standard menus with organic produce and antibiotic- and hormone-free meat.
  • Sun Basket – offers classic, standard menus with produce that is 99 percent organic and meat and seafood that is antibiotic- and hormone-free. It offers meals for those who follow a Paleo, gluten-free, Mediterranean, vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan or diabetic-friendly diet.
  • Martha & Marley Spoon – offers classic, standard menus featuring recipes from Martha Stewart.

Convenience

Cooking for one or even two can be difficult. Finding quick and easy recipes that don’t require a long list of ingredients can be tedious. Weekly trips to the grocery can start to feel like a chore. And even if you’re physically able, you may not have the desire to tackle those responsibilities every week. Meal kit delivery services are a convenient way to cut out that hassle.

Having ready to cook meals delivered to your door each week is fairly easy and convenient. Once you choose the meal kit delivery service you prefer, just set up an online account with that company and start scrolling through and choosing the meals you want to try. Ordering will require you to submit your credit card information online and then the delivery will show up at your door in a few days.

The ingredients arrive pre-packaged and in insulated boxes to keep them frozen and cold. All meal kit delivery companies use either dry ice or ice packs to ensure the ingredients don’t spoil. Ingredients for particular meals are separated in their own sack so there’s no confusion about what goes with what. All you have to do when your order arrives is unpack the box and put everything in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to prepare it. The prep time for the meals usually takes somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes.

Minimal Clean-Up

Have you ever known anyone who enjoys cleaning up the kitchen and the dishes after dinner? Cooking can create a mess and even if you have a dishwasher, the post meal ritual is still no fun. The clean-up with meal kit delivery is something that makes the services so appealing.

To prepare the meal, you will generally only need what is considered pantry basics – salt, pepper, sugar, cooking oil and eggs, everything else is included in your order. Most meals will require a frying pan, sheet pan, knife and a cutting board for cooking and chopping up ingredients, so the clean up is minimal and usually only takes between five or 10 minutes.

Trying New Things

As we get older, we tend to like what we like and not vary too far from it. But it’s important to try new things. Sometimes, our life situation requires it – either a health setback or scare can force you to change your diet. Meal kit delivery is a good way to try new and healthy food options without having to invest the time and energy to search for a recipe and craft the meal yourself.

If you’re concerned about messing up a recipe you’ve never tried before, don’t. The recipe cards that come with each meal are very detailed and easy to follow. Most of them have pictures of each step to make it as easy as possible to get it just right.

Meal Delivery Services

Most of the companies will offer a discount for first time customers and many of them offer free shipping for repeat customers.

Cost

With convenience comes cost. Having meal kits delivered to your door is going to be more expensive than going to the grocery and creating your own meals. But you’re likely to find a service that fits your budget. Most of the companies will offer a discount for first time customers and many of them offer free shipping for repeat customers. HelloFresh – allows you to start or stop your orders without a cancellation fee. Meals start at $8.99 a serving and you can choose the number of servings and how many recipes you want each week.

  • Blue Apron – allows you to skip deliveries, as long as you cancel before the order ships. Meals start at $9.99 a piece for two people. You can choose how many recipes you want to receive.
  • Green Chef – allows you to cancel your subscription at any time. You are also able to skip deliveries for free. The two-person plan contains three meals for two people and starts around $11.99 a meal.
  • Plated – allows you to skip deliveries or cancel your subscription at any time for free. Plans start around $11.95 per meal.
  • Sun Basket – allows you to skip deliveries or cancel your subscription whenever you wish. Plans start at $11.99 and come with a money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied.
  • Martha & Marley Spoon – allows you to skip deliveries and cancel. Two meals for two people will cost around $30.75.

Preferences

Meal kit delivery services can certainly allow you to try new things, but you may also be frustrated by the lack of options. Most services offer between six and 15 meals a week to choose from and it may not be prepared or paired with side dishes that you like. Meal kits are also usually only dinner considerations. Some companies are starting to branch out and offer breakfast and lunch meals, but if you’re looking for something that will provide your nutrition for the entire day, meal kit delivery services don’t fill that need.

Environmental Impact

While it is nice to have a box of ready to make food delivered to your door each week, the box and waste associated with it can be an environmental concern. Many meal delivery companies are working toward being as environmentally friendly as possible while still providing you safe, quality products. But it’s still difficult to ship food and retain the desired temperature without some waste. Cardboard boxes with insulation, disposable ice packs and plastic or paper bags are standard with most kits. The cardboard can be recycled, the box will just have to be broken down. The plastic and paper bags can be easily recycled. In order for the ice packs to be recycled, you have to cut them open and empty them. The whole process to make sure you’re being eco-friendly can be tedious and time consuming. It’s also important to note, that if you have back problems or health issues you may not be able to pick the box up and carry it the distance you need to in order to get it unpacked and put away.

No Leftovers

If you’re hoping to stretch your budget with meal kits by making two meals out of one, you’re probably out of luck. Most of the pre-portioned servings are the right amount of food for one person for one meal. So, generally, leftovers or sharing aren’t an option.

Contracts, Minimum Requirements or Limited Delivery Areas

Most meal kit delivery services don’t require a contract. If they do, you’ll want to steer clear. Many of them will require a minimum order but will usually let you skip deliveries or cancel subscriptions. You will have to inform them that you’re skipping a delivery or cancelling altogether five to seven days before your next box is shipped. Unfortunately, not all services deliver to every state or zip code. Many of them will ask you to select a plan and enter your zip code on their site to see if you’re in their delivery area.

It may take some time and experimenting to find the service and plan that fits your needs and your taste buds, but it may well be worth it

For seniors living alone or with their spouse or significant other, meal kit delivery services are a good way to get the nutrition you need with minimal effort. Especially if you still enjoy the idea of cooking but not the planning that goes with it. It may take some time and experimenting to find the service and plan that fits your needs and your taste buds, but it may well be worth it if it helps you stay independent for as long as possible.

Sources:

www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-surprised-us-after-30-hours-of-unboxing-meal-kits_us_59663f57e4b0deab7c646d36
www.hellofresh.com
www.blueapron.com
www.plated.com
www.sunbasket.com
www.marleyspoon.com
www.greenchef.com