Most Frequently Asked Questions About Healthy Meal Plans
Meal plans have exploded onto the scene in recent years, with new companies and plans seemingly popping up overnight. It makes sense – they’re designed to save consumers time, a precious commodity in our increasingly busy world while allowing people to eat healthily.
Meal plans stress that you don’t need hours of planning and prep work every day to make fresh, healthy meals for yourself or your family. And you don’t need to rely on fast food when you’re in a time crunch, sacrificing health and nutrition, either.
Healthy meal plans put a health-centered spin on this phenomenon, providing healthy, well-balanced meals (that also taste good). Like most meal plans, they can come pre-portioned and pre-made, that only require heating up, or come in ingredient form along with recipes that are quick and easy. The choice is entirely up to the consumer, and numerous services offer multiple options for healthy meal plans. Learn more about healthy meal plans below.
What is a Healthy Meal Plan?
A healthy meal plan is generally a regular meal plan that has been tweaked and adjusted to provide more healthy options. Nutritionists and other experts are often employed by healthy meal planning companies, to craft dishes that are well-balanced and provide optimal nutrition, while promoting good health, weight loss or maintenance, and similar objectives.
There’s no one universal definition of what a healthy meal plan is, of course, and some can be designed for specific health conditions or goals. For example, healthy weekly meal plans for those who are gluten-free, vegan, have heart health issues, or are focused solely on weight loss are all available from different meal prep and delivery companies.
More general healthy meal plans that embrace trendy diets and movements such as paleo, Mediterranean diet, organic, keto, etc. are also available from many companies. So, healthy meal plans can really be as health-focused, in general, or specific, as you choose.
Ultimately, the best healthy meal plans are those that will provide you with a healthy, balanced diet, and save you time. They reduce the time needed to prep and cook a healthy, homemade meal, cut down on the need to shop for ingredients or find/come up with recipes. And, they provide top-quality ingredients in a fresh, regular delivery routine that will let you and your family eat healthily, prepare meals quickly, and do so without breaking the bank.
What are the Benefits of a Healthy Meal Plan?
To those ends, it’s important to understand the benefits of healthy meal plans. They’re more than just a trend for the sake of being a trend – they’ve become so widespread and embraced because they offer so many positives for the vast majority of people. Some examples of the benefits of the best healthy meal plans include:
They help with weight loss and weight maintenance, without the hassles of a restrictive diet plan
They allow you to be healthier, with better, more balanced nutrition, and more stable energy throughout the day
Healthy meal plans save you time by reducing or eliminating shopping needs, reducing or eliminating prep work time, and reducing the time necessary to put together a well-balanced meal
Time savings can also mean you have more time to exercise, spend time with your family, and live a healthier lifestyle
Ingredients and recipes are reviewed and chosen by experts in nutrition in many cases, so it’s like having your own nutritionist supervising your diet plan without going to that extreme or expense
Most of the best healthy meal plans offer fresh daily or weekly delivery of ingredients, meaning you’re eating healthy choices without a ton of preservatives, processing, or other manufacturing steps
What is the Best Healthy Meal Plan?
The ideal best healthy meal plan for you and your family may vary significantly from the ideal plan for the next person down the street. Your particular health goals, flavor preferences, health conditions, dietary restrictions, and other factors all play a part in determining what healthy meal plan makes the most sense for you.
Do you intend to meal prep in advance once or twice a week, and refrigerate or freeze meals for quick heating on weeknights? Do you have gluten sensitivity or other food allergies? Are you vegan or vegetarian? Is your main purpose of choosing a healthy meal plan to lose weight? Your answers to these and similar questions will help guide you to finding a meal plan that fits your life, goals, and budget.
There are many different meal plans currently on the market. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the pros and cons of 3 of the most popular healthy meal plans, to serve as a kind of guide or starting point for you to research and choose a healthy meal plan for yourself.
- Easy to skip weeks, with no commitments or penalties
- Very affordable prices, typically around $8-10 per serving plus shipping
- Highly reviewed and praised recipes and service
- Environmentally-friendly packaging
- Only three plans to choose from – vegetarian, classic, and family
- Some of the dishes may be a bit more upscale than what a lot of people are used to, which can be a turn-off for picky children eaters
- No specific healthy meal plan option is available
- Highly customizable program, including easy skipping of weeks or meals
- A library of recipes to choose from to cater to different tastes and dietary needs
- Environmentally-friendly packaging
- Reasonable prices that start at the $8-10 range, with premium choices available
- No fixed meal plans, it’s up to the individual to choose what they want on a per-meal basis in advance
- Healthy meal plans are not the main focus of Home Chef, so the nutritional aspects have to be carefully chosen by the user
- A big focus on organic and responsible sourcing
- Environmentally-friendly packaging.
- Around 18 recipes to choose from per week.
- Large number of meal plans, including healthy meal plans, such as Carb-Conscious, Paleo, Mediterranean, Lean and Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, and more.
- Prices tend to be a bit higher than average - around $12 on average per serving as opposed to $8-10.
- Manual selection of recipes and meals allow for customization, but can take some time.