If you are looking to spice up your dinners, eat healthier or simply take the headache out of meal planning and shopping, then a meal kit delivery service may be right up your alley. With the market literally flooded with hundreds of services and meal options to choose from, there’s likely an option that may be a right fit for you.
If you want to dip your toe in the meal delivery waters, registered dietitian Ashley Amaral from Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix shared a few pros and cons she thinks you should consider before taking the plunge.
Helps with Portion Control
“Meal kits are pre-portioned to the number of servings you are cooking, which can help limit overeating or overindulging,” Amaral said. “While cooking on our own or eating out, we can often underestimate our portions.”
Provides Easy-to-Follow, Healthy Meals
With ingredients and nutritional information clearly labeled, it can take the hassle out of planning healthy meals. It can help those who may be in a food rut and give them an opportunity to explore new recipes and types of food.
“These type of kits can open up your palate and is a good reminder that healthy food can taste good with the right seasoning and pairings,” Amaral said.
All meal kit delivery services include nutritional information, but Amaral advised to watch the sodium levels. “Having about 500 mg at lunch and 500 mg at dinner is a decent amount,” she said. The World Health Organization suggests consuming 2,000 mg (2 grams) of sodium per day, and the American Heart Assocation recommends no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
Allows for Customization
“Most meal kits allow customization to accommodate for various dietary lifestyles or restrictions such as vegetarian, paleo, keto, vegan, gluten-free and nut-free,” Amaral said. “Many companies offer option for diabetics who are following a carbohydrate-restricted diet as you can customize to a low-carbohydrate option and choose high protein plant foods.”
Takes Thinking Out of Cooking
While these pre-planned meals take the thinking out of making a nutritious meal, they can also enhance creativity and help expand your recipes in the future when experimenting with cooking techniques, seasonings, etc.
The Price May be Hard to Swallow
Meal kits are convenient but aren’t cheap. “You may be only spending $70 a week on your deliveries, but you may not factor in breakfast, snacks and lunch items that you’ll have to purchase on your own,” Amaral said. “It still may mean a trip to the grocery store.”
Depending on your stage in life—single, retired or a busy family—having a meal kit delivery service may be a right fit. Regardless of the pros and cons, the biggest win for consumers is that there is no commitment with these services and they almost always have discount coupons to try them out.
“Try, don’t like them, no problem,” Amaral said. “You can pause and stop at any time. They aren’t perfect, but they can save you time and encourage cooking at home. And there is no better time to try them than at the start of a new year to help you achieve your goals.”
Do you have a meal kit delivery service you like? Share in the comments below.
If you have questions regarding healthy eating and meal planning, schedule an appointment with a Banner Health registered dietitian who can help you understand the impact a healthy diet can play in your overall health. Visit bannerhealth.com to find an expert near you.