Most Commonly Asked Questions About Prepared Meal Delivery Kits
Prepared meal delivery services have really taken off the last few years, with several dozen big-name players currently vying for their share of the marketplace. It’s not hard to understand why these services have become so popular – they take a lot of the prep work, shopping, effort, and time out of preparing fresh, good-tasting meals at home.
Got questions about prepared meal delivery kits? We've got answers! In addition to our comprehensive reviews, we've complied a list of some of the most commonly asked questions to help you get started.
What is Prepared Meal Delivery?
Simply put, prepared meal delivery services deliver you a box of recipe cards and pre-portioned meal ingredients for those recipes. They’re usually delivered on a weekly basis, with anywhere from a few to a dozen or so meals’ worth of ingredients provided, for as many servings/people as you choose under your meal plan.
They provide a quick and easy option for people who want to cook delicious and healthy meals at home – most take 30 minutes or less to prepare. Since you do the cooking yourself at home, fresh ingredients and lack of processing are key benefits of the best-prepared meal delivery services. They’re great alternatives to unhealthy fast food and take about the same amount of time.
There are also prepared meals delivery services that deliver full, pre-cooked meals, that only need to be heated up in the oven or microwave. These may come frozen or refrigerated depending on the service. These can be even faster to prepare, since heating is all that is required before you enjoy the meal. However, they can also be less fresh and less healthy in some cases and cost significantly more than the kit-based prepared meal delivery options.
What Features Should You Look For in Prepared Meal Delivery?
Of course, the exact features and style of a prepared meal delivery service that is right for you will vary from others, depending on your preferences. Your schedule, dietary needs, budget, and other factors all come into play when trying to find the best prepared meal delivery service for you and your family.
There are also practical considerations, such as delivery area, as not all services are available in all parts of the country. With that said, here are some of the key criteria to consider when you are looking to choose a prepared meal delivery service:
Cost and value
Meal service pricing can range from approximately $8 per serving to as much as $20 per serving, depending on the service itself, the options and recipes chosen, and so on. There are also delivery fees from most major services that tack on a few extra dollars to your overall cost per week.
In general, these prices are comparable to or better than even casual quick-service restaurants, though may cost a bit more than fast food. The trade-off is they are much healthier than fast food.
Portions can vary considerably from company to company, and you’ll want to ensure that you know what you are paying for. $8 per serving sounds like a good deal, but if it’s half the size of what you get at $12 per serving from another prepared meal delivery company, then it’s not really a good deal at all.
Some companies provide frozen meal ingredients or even ready-to-go frozen meals that just need to be heated up. Others provide their ingredients in ready-to-refrigerate boxes that then need to be taken out and prepared prior to eating. These tend to be fresher, though you have to use them within the week (sometimes, less than a week) that they arrive, whereas frozen meals will last longer.
Meal plan options
Dietary and health restrictions are worth considering, and many of the best prepared meal delivery companies offer options such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, low-carb, low-fat, or other diet-friendly choices. Some offer the ability to customize your meal plan highly, and choose from different recipes every week, whereas others are pre-planned based on your chosen preferences.
What's Better Takeout or Prepared Meal Delivery?
It’s no secret that fast food takeout, and even casual dining takeout, is an easy choice for meals. When you’re in a time crunch, it’s an easy way to feed yourself and your family. But, longer term, it’s not a healthy or sustainable way to live.
Naturally, you want the best for yourself and your family, and fresh, healthy, well-balanced meals are a way to maintain good health, a healthy weight, and reduce risk factors for developing chronic health problems, especially later in life.
That’s why prepared meal delivery services have been so well-received by the They offer the speed and convenience of takeout, at comparable prices, but provide healthy, nutritious, delicious, well-balanced meals made from fresh ingredients that you cook in your own kitchen.
When considering prepared meal delivery, keep in mind some of the pros and cons over takeout:
- Meal delivery lets you prepare more in advance, and have a concrete menu plan for the week
- Meal delivery provides you with exact ingredients, nutritional information, and other details to help you monitor your weight and nutritional intake, as well as accommodate any dietary concerns or restrictions
- Prepared meal delivery allows you to adjust your choices of dishes, recipes, and ingredients to accommodate different diets, palettes, and flavor profiles
- Takeout is fast and easy and doesn’t require any cooking or thought
- Prepared meal delivery is usually a bit more expensive than takeout food
- Takeout food is often extremely unhealthy, whereas prepared meal delivery kits and options can be healthier and even support weight loss along with improved health
Who Should Use Prepared Meal Delivery?
Prepared meal delivery services are really valuable to a whole range of people – they can benefit almost anyone. The best prepared meal delivery services provide enough customization and options so that they can be useful for almost any living situation, income level, and dietary preferences. Some examples of people who have embraced prepared meal delivery include:
- Busy professionals with little time or energy at the end of the day to spend hours cooking
- Families with lots of activities and commitments
- Those who don’t know how to cook, or don’t like to cook
- Seniors who may have trouble shopping for groceries, or are not able to spend hours on end preparing meals
- New parents, who are still adjusting to their new schedules and living arrangements with a new child at home
- People recovering from surgery or medical procedures, who can’t get out to grocery shop or spend as much time cooking as before
- Those with dietary restrictions, allergies, sensitivities, or health concerns who need to be careful about what they eat
- Anyone who wants to eat healthily without spending all day in the kitchen