Fad Diet Takedown: Do Meal Kits Deliver?

Hello everyone, Kaori here and this week I’m going through a new popular way of eating healthier: Meal preparation services. In the recent years, companies like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Freshly provide a way for families and individuals to cook eloquent dishes by delivering fine quality ingredients and recipes in a box. I tried one of these services and had an awesome time with the experience.

I ordered a 2 person/3 meal plan which costed bout $60. That’s about $10 a person. The box came to my door with a huge block of ice to keep the contents cool. Every single item was neatly labeled, along with a recipe card with thorough step-by-step pictures and description.

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I’d like to preface this by saying I can cook reasonably, but the little instructions that the recipe page offered really added to my cooking abilities. For example blanching certain vegetables, or even pre-cutting everything to ease the cooking process. The instructions are very extensive which is most helpful and can help any at-home cook in improving their kitchen skills.

Photo: Scott Eisen [Getty Images]

Everything was delivered to me, from produce to meat to seafood to sauces to oils. Only basic cooking utilities needed and no extra visit to the supermarket. What you see in the picture is what you receive so long as you follow the instructions correctly. How to cut, be it vertical or horizontal. Whether you’re mincing or chopping, small or big chunks, etc.. Everything is a bit detailed but for a reason – Things are intricately described for optimizing taste. Very effective in the dishes as well as revving up your cooking knowledge.

The meals require a lot of prepping, pre-washing, pre-cutting–which accrues a lot of kitchen counter space and actually ends up taking a lot more time that I would like. That is perhaps my biggest gripe about the experience. I just don’t like washing a huge amount of dishes, and that’s kind of required with the way this system is set up. But was my delivery service true to their word about freshness and quality? Yes. Did my dishes turn out as good as I’d hope? Yes.

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Before each week, there are a lot of items on the menu and it’s up to you to decide which meals you want to create on your next delivery. You even have the option of denying all of them if you choose. All in all, it’s super convenient and nice to put on a chef’s hat and improve in cooking skills without heading out to the grocery store. However, I just couldn’t continue to keep up with the cost and time consumption despite cutting down that supermarket shopping, each meal still took a while to create. Too long for my taste.

Photo: REDA&CO [Getty Images]

In terms of health – A lot of these foods had a good amount of the big three: Carbs, Fat, Protein. Sometimes more of the two formers than I was comfortable with. Each ingredient is broken down with what exactly is in it, and even breaks down the macros for you. So essentially, you can eat healthy with these dishes, depending on how much fat, carbs and proteins you’re looking to fit into your macros. Perfectly clean eating wasn’t going to happen but very close due to the high end ingredients.

Would I recommend this? Yes – absolutely. Heck, if I had more time in the kitchen I’d love to continue these services but it’s just something that didn’t work out for me for now.

Have you tried a meal prep service? Let me know what you think! Next time, I’ll switch it up to meal delivery (yes – there’s a difference: meal delivery is the meal is already made, you just gotta heat and eat).

These are the dishes I made, and I can say I made them with minimal cooking appliances, and no more than 60 minutes cooking time. If you are good with that, then you will really feel great about your plating!