For anyone with a busy schedule, it can be hard to find the time to cook quality meals every day. Without meals or food ready, many people resort to unhealthy fast food or overpaying restaurants for a simple meal that could have been made at home with enough time.
A solution to this issue that has been popularized in recent years has been meal delivery services. These services and companies have expanded so quickly that you can now find multiple in your area that offer a meal plan for your dietary requirements or weightless goals. But are meal delivery services worth it?
In this article, we will break down all the benefits and downsides to meal delivery services and analyze the cost to see if they are truly worth it.
Are Meal Services Worth It? The Pros And Cons
To give a proper assessment of the value of meal kits, we have to first look at all the advantages and disadvantages:
Pros Of A Meal Kit Service
Here are why meals kits have grown in popularity in recent years and may be a valid option for you and your family:
Meal Delivery Kits Save Time
You may not realize it, but the time spent preparing your own food adds up over the course of a week.
Grocery shopping, ingredient rep, recipe hunting, and cooking can all take hours out of your day and week. With meal kit delivery services, it is as easy as taking the meal out of the fridge and heating it up.
Potentially Save Money
At a basic level, nothing will ever be as cheap as buying raw ingredients and cooking them yourself at home. However, if you are someone that finds themselves eating out or ordering food through apps like Uber Eats or Door Dash, you will certainly save money through a meal delivery service.
Not to mention, even if you do buy your own groceries, lots of money is lost on food waste. I am sure that I am not the only one that has bought too many groceries and ended up throwing money away as a result. With a meal delivery kit, you are really only paying for the food that you will eat as the meals are well portioned.
Of course, this will depend on the exact meal service and plan you choose, but as a whole, a meal kit delivery service will have healthier options than what you will find eating out.
Most of these companies have meals plan laid out for each type of goal or diet. For example, some common meal plans include bulking, losing weight, maintaining, vegan, keto, etc. In line with that, each meal will have its exact nutrition facts so you know exactly what you are eating.
Tasty, Unique Meals
You should know what you are getting into when it comes to the taste of meal kits. At the end of the day, they are prepared meals that are meant to be reheated so do not expect 5-star restaurant quality. That being said, I think most people would be surprised by how good some of these meals actually taste.
I have my favorites among the current major meal kit companies, but having tried a variety of options from each, I have never really had a meal that I would consider as completely unappetizing.
Another major benefit in this regard is that most of these companies switch up their menu every week or so to keep things fresh. For people that have limited cooking skills, this could be a major bonus.
Cons Of A Meal Kit Delivery Service
Here are the potential drawbacks of meal kit delivery:
While most meal delivery services will have a variety of plans and options, they will never really allow the same level of choice as cooking at home will.
You can voice your needs or dietary restrictions to the company, but at the end of the day, it is not entirely in your control.
If you are only looking to try out a meal kit service for a short period, you may run into subscription commitment troubles. Many companies require a minimum number of meals to allow you to sign up.
Do Meal Delivery Services Save You Money?
The average meal kit service will cost somewhere between $8-$12 per meal. If we assume that you are eating these meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that is around $30 per day in meal kit cost.
Of course, this does not compare to buying groceries and preparing the food yourself. If you go to a Costco or Walmart, you could easily get enough groceries to last you one week for $80 or less.
That being said, this does paint the whole picture. The time that goes into shopping and cooking out of your day. This could potentially mean monetary losses depending on the job you have.
Aside from the financial cost, there is also the time cost of spending time cooking meals. Time spent cooking could be better spent with your family, exercising, or doing some other recreational activity.
Overall, meal kits are currently not as cheap as cooking food yourself. But once you factor in times costs, you realize that the situation is not so black and white. It is up to you to decide how much you value your time before subscribing to a meal delivery services service.
Who Are Meal Delivery Services Best For?
While everyone can potentially benefit from quality meal services, here are the groups that would most benefit from taking a look at a quality meal service:
Young People and Students
There is a reason that the stereotype of the poor college diet exists. Thanks to a combination of lackluster cooking skills, limited budget, and busy schedules many young people have terrible diets from a nutrition standpoint.
A meal kit delivery service could provide a solid alternative to eating out or living off processed boxed foods. In fact, I would argue that local meal delivery services offer better prices than whatever meal plans your university dining hall offers.
If you are a young professional just starting your career, chances are that you do not have the time to go grocery shopping and cook for yourself on a daily basis.
If you just want the most efficient options from both a time and money standpoint, meal kits are the easiest solution.
Whether you are an athlete, bodybuilder, or just a gym-goer you are well aware of the importance that nutrition plays in reaching your goals. In fact, many people would argue that nutrition plays a much larger role than the work you do in the gym.
Since meal delivery services offer exact plans with macros specified, it becomes easy to hit your daily protein goals or calorie goals on a daily basis.
People With Diet Restrictions
If you follow some sort of specific diets like keto or veganism, you know how hard it can be to find quality meal options that allow you to stay within the parameters of your diet.
Since most meal kit services offer a variety of meal plans for each type of diet, sticking to your diet becomes much easier. Knowing that your meals are ready to go removes lots of the stress that comes with trying to find viable choices every day.
Are Meal Delivery Services Environmentally Sustainable?
A common contention in the meal delivery world is whether or not the practice of meal delivery is actually Eco-friendly. In fact, I see many people online that love the idea of meal kits, but cannot get themselves to sign up due to concerns over the environment.
In the early days, it was likely true that most meal kit companies did not follow proper Eco-friendly practices. But over time as these companies realized how important sustainability is to their customers, significant changes were made.
While the packaging required for meal delivery services is substantial, the vast majority of it is recyclable packaging. But it is not only the packaging that you have to consider. A recent study from the Center Of Sustainable Systems found that meal kit delivery services actually reduce food waste and actually have a smaller carbon footprint than shopping at grocery stores.
Meal delivery services can you tons of time and money under the right circumstances. With their recent spike in popularity, you can likely find many options in your local area that will have a meal plan that suits your needs.
They will never be quite as cheap as basic grocery shopping, but the time-saving and convenience factor may be worth it to you.
So if you go in with the right mindset and just expect some basic, quality meals you will not be disappointed.
What are the negatives of a meal kit delivery?
With meal kit delivery you will never get the same level of customization that you do when cooking from home. Also, while these services will save you time, they are still not as cheap as just buying groceries and cooking food yourself.
Are meal kits cheaper than fast food?
The average cost of a meal kit is somewhere around $10 per meal. If you compare this to your average fast food meal, this is around the same or cheaper. The difference is that with meal kits, you are usually getting higher quality ingredients and healthier options overall.
What are your recommended meal delivery services?
This will all depend on where you live. If you live in the Florida, New York, or New Jersey area checkout my our Jet Fuel Meals Reviews.
Pallini Winnifred, RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist), is a trusted authority in the realm of nutrition and wellness. With her extensive knowledge and expertise, Pallini empowers individuals to make informed choices about their health through proper nutrition. She brings a unique blend of professionalism and warmth to her approach, making nutrition not only nourishing but also enjoyable. Pallini’s guidance and personalized recommendations will help you navigate the world of healthy eating with confidence and delight. Experience the transformative power of nutrition with Pallini Winnifred, your trusted partner on the path to optimal well-being.