typical New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier, but those
good intentions can fall by the wayside when the reality of
menu planning and grocery shopping hit.
the recipe meal kit delivery service.
relatively new service, recipe meal kits eliminate these two
steps. The kits include step-by-step recipe cards and all that’s
needed to make the meal from scratch, including fresh
vegetables and meat/fish, portioned exactly in individual
packets. The meal kits say they eliminate food waste (at least
at the cook’s level) by providing only what is exactly
needed. Additionally, cooks avoid buying a spice or condiment
that they’ll likely never use again.
are three main companies providing the complete recipe meal
kit delivery services: Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Plated. I
tried them all and found they all worked similarly, and the
quality and quantity of food was comparable.
websites are sleek and easy to use, with rotating menus
featuring meat, fish or vegetarian meals. Boxes are delivered
weekly with all raw ingredients; freezer blocks and liners
keep everything cold until the cook gets home. The packaging
is efficient enough that even if a delivery day is missed,
food should remain cold until the next day. This happened to
me. One of the boxes wasn’t delivered as expected, but even
a day later freezer blocks were solid and the meat cold, which
made me confident all was good. (Depending on the company,
refunds or credits are offered if food is spoiled.)
quality was good, and the recipe cards were easy to follow.
One quibble: I found the recipe cards/website underestimated
cooking time. The recipes say most meals will take 30 to 40
minutes to make, but generally the meals took me closer to 50
minutes to an hour, from start to finish, with one exception.
meals made enough leftovers for at least one lunch,
particularly if the dish had a grain component such as rice or
quinoa. That said, most of the recipes that used grain had
serving levels higher than I normally would consider in a
meal. For instance, when a dish included rice, the packaging
would include a cup of dry rice for two people, which produces
a lot of cooked rice.
they taste? Overall, they’re fine. Personally, I would like
more flavor, but considering these meals are designed to
appeal to a vast array of tastes, I imagine the seasoning is
these for you? It depends. The convenience doesn’t come
cheap. With meals costing anywhere from $10 to $15 each,
dinner for two people, three nights a week adds up, versus
doing your own grocery shopping and meal planning. However,
for people who eat dinner out most nights, many, but not all,
of these recipe kits would be cheaper.
are portion control and calorie counts on each menu, plus time
saved on planning and shopping. As promised, there was little
food waste at the cook’s level. However, there’s a lot of
packaging, from the main box to the liners, freezer blocks and
all the little bags containing food, which companies say is
alternative to the fresh recipe meal kit, I also tried another
recipe meal kit delivery service, Destination Dinners, another
easy-to-use website. The focus is on ethnic foods, but
includes only the shelf-stable, hard-to-get spices and recipe
directions. These kits require a trip to the supermarket to
pick up the vegetables and protein, which makes them more of a
plan-ahead dinner. The kit also includes a booklet about the
food’s country of origin, which makes it a learning
experience and gives it more a "special occasion"
feel. Flavors were robust and made enough for two lunches the
start at $10 per meal with a three-meals-per-week subscription
plan. Cooks can skip a week as long as they notify Blue Apron
before the delivery cut-off time. blueapron.com
plans include three meals per week, for two, at $69. The
three-meals-per-week plan for four people is $129. A
vegetarian plan is $59 and $109, respectively. hellofresh.com
up to seven meals. With a monthly $10 membership, the
additional per-plate cost is $12, while an annual membership
is $8 a month with the per-plate cost at $12. plated.com
$30 to $35 and can serve six to eight, depending on how many
vegetables are added. Three-, six- and 12- month plans are