Many of us have been cooking at home more than ever over the last few months. At this point that may be getting a little old and you may be feeling like you need some variety in your choices. A great way to liven things up is by trying one of the many meal kit services that are available.
If you aren't familiar with them, meal kit services allow you to pick from a variety of delicious meals and however many servings you need each week. Based on those choices they deliver all the ingredients right to your door, once a week, with simple instructions to prepare the meals. So even if you don't consider yourself a master chef you can put together delicious meals without every having to leave your house.
Recently as a thank you gift for their hard work throughout the pandemic my husband's employer gave everyone the opportunity to choose one meal for our family from one of the meal kit services, Hello Fresh. So we did. We chose Pork chops with zesty green onion salsa & buttery black beans over rice with lime crema. It was delicious!
I was a little skeptical honestly. When I cook pork chops they seem to lack tenderness and moistness so I really don't cook them often. These were not dry at all and the green onion salsa and lime crema that went on top of the beans and rice were super tasty! That was another part of the meal that I wasn't so sure about, the green onion salsa. I'm not a huge fan of raw onions so I couldn't quite imagine them as a salsa, but it was delicious and the perfect compliment to the Southwest spiced pork chops. That's one of the things I love about meal kits, they lure you outside your comfort zone a little bit in the kitchen and get you to try things you might not otherwise.
Some meal kit services are even offering ready to warm and serve fresh, not frozen, meals that don't even require preparation – just pop them in the oven to warm and they are ready to eat.
One really nice thing is that you aren't locked in to these meal services for any length of time. You can try it out, once even, and if you aren't digging it or need to take a break for whatever reason you just skip or cancel the service altogether, no penalties or fees. It is just one more tool in your toolbox to help you get meals on the table that are not only nutritious, but taste really good too.
Meal kits are really great if you are someone that doesn't love the planning and shopping that go into preparing healthy meals for yourself or your family. They also allow you to branch out and try different foods or different preparations of foods that you wouldn't normally make. I love to cook and enjoy a variety of foods but I, like everyone, can get a little stuck in a rut when it comes to dinner meals – or even lunch for that matter – throughout the week. I really feel like they are a super convenient way to take some of the work and stress out of being adventurous in the kitchen and make eating and preparing meals fun.
Because of their flexibility in serving sizes I think they are doable no matter if it is just you, or you and a partner in your household or if you have kids around still. Most of the services offer meals for 2 or 4 people.
Here are a few of the different services out there and some basic info on each.
SunBasket focuses on providing quality ingredients. Their produce is all organic, the meat is antibiotic-free with no added hormones, and the seafood is fresh-caught and wild. Reviewers rave about how fresh the food tastes and the simplicity of the recipes. They even offer breakfast, lunch, and healthy snack options too. They also have specific plans that cater to dietary needs such as diabetes-friendly, vegetarian, and Mediterranean.
What I particularly love about this meal kit service is that their Director of Nutrition, Lindsey Kane, is a proponent of Intuitive Eating and shares information about it with SunBasket customers. You can read more about her here and hear her talk about SunBasket and Intuitive Eating on this episode of the Quit Dieting for Good Podcast here.
Three of the twenty-two meal choices this week are Creamy mushroom penne with baby spinach and almonds, Mojo pork tacos with pickled onions and salsa verde, and Mu shu pork bowls with hoisin sauce. My mouth is watering just typing those titles out. Yum!
Price: $72 per week for three meals for two people; $88 per week for two meals for four people. For new subscribers they offer $35 off plus 4 free gifts. Or you can get $40 off your first order by going here.
HelloFresh is a popular one. Each week they offer 20 simple recipes that cater to a variety of preferences including vegetarian, family friendly, quick and easy, and pescatarian. They also allow for skipping deliveries as needed and to cancel at anytime. Recipes are not super complicated and fancy, but probably are best for someone who has some experience in the kitchen.
This is the service that we received from my husband's employer and as I said above, I was impressed. The instructions were pretty easy to follow and the end-product was delicious. They give you the option of two or four servings, and two, three, or four recipes per week. HelloFresh is also environmentally conscious and their packing materials are all, or mostly all, curbside recyclable.
Price: $60 per week for three meals for two people; $96 per week for three meals for four people (prices include shipping). For new subscribers they offer $80 total off over your first five deliveries and free shipping on the first box.
If you are looking for a meal kit that is a little more affordable, EveryPlate is budget friendly, with meals costing half the price of most other meal kit services. They have 13 options available weekly to choose from, with some vegetarian options. Their focus is also on ease of preparation and helping you get dinner on the table in six easy steps. Some of their options this week include Farmers Market Linguine with Lemon & Parmesan, Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas with Pickled Onion and Lime Crema, Steak au Poivre with Crispy Potatoes & Roasted Asparagus. Again, yum!!
Price: Meals are 4.99 per serving, so that works out to $38.93 per week for three meals for two people and $68.87 per week for three meals for four people. A shipping fee of $8.99 is also added. They currently have an offer for new customers for $2.99 per serving for your first three orders.
So, if you are short on time and struggle with the planning, shopping, and preparation of meals for you and your family you might consider checking out one of these services. It's a great way to mix it up and bring some excitement into your home-cooked meals.
In my next blog I will highlight some local options that are available to help you take the difficulty out of getting dinner (or lunch) on the table.