You might not know this about me, but in my other life, I’m kind of a big foodie. OK…Maybe not kind of. I’m a really big foodie. I’m actually a food blogger. So, I guess that makes me more than “kind of.”
But for this tired and busy mom, no matter how much I love to create recipes and be healthy and creative in the kitchen on the daily, sometimes I just don’t have it in me. When we roll in the door from all of our activities each night, I’m usually exhausted and my kids are starving and no one is in any mood to be experimenting in the kitchen.
And this, my friends, is why meal boxes are this mom’s dinnertime dream.
So, I was eager to dive into the world of meal kit delivery. But as you surely know, there are so many options out there for you to choose from, where do you begin? There are diet-based options, vegetarian plans, and some even centered around just meat (yes, it’s a thing). Some are wildly popular and well-known, touted by celebrities and Hollywood endorsers, and some are smaller players in the game with loyal, yet decidedly less famous followers.
With so many on the market, it’s hard to choose. So we decided to help a reader out and give a quick run-down on five popular boxes out there and a sixth option for anyone not ready to dive into meal kits just yet. Bon appétit!
With so many meal-kit services on the market, it’s hard to choose. So we’re giving you a quick run-down on some popular boxes out there.
Blue Apron is one of the most well-known and highly advertised meal boxes out there. We’d be remiss to leave them out! A pioneer in the game, Blue Apron is a well-run machine. They have a great variety of recipes, and as a foodie, I can definitely say I’ve learned quite a few things from following them over the years. The variety really pushes you outside of your comfort zone in the kitchen, and it’s fun to try new cuisines and flavors in the comfort of your own home. The only downside is that it’s hard to feed a family with picky kids with a Blue Apron box. Perfect for young couples who aren’t trying to feed mouths that prefer hot dogs and chicken nuggets. Above all else, Blue Apron is a safe and dependable player in this field.
Calling themselves “America’s Most Popular Meal Kit,” Hello Fresh meals start at around $8.99 a serving. This is comparable to most meal kits, though for a family on a budget that quickly adds up. The meals, like Blue Apron, are fresh and there is a wide variety with classics like meatloaf and meals to stretch your palate like poblano tacos. Their packaging gets rave reviews for the ease: it’s sorted by meal with all ingredients together in well-marked bags, and it’s sustainable, using all recyclable materials. If the masses are correct, this is the meal box to try. The recipes seem straight forward and get great points for flavor, so if budget isn’t a consideration, Hello Fresh might be the best option for your family.
The meal kit for organic lovers, Green Chef uses only USDA certified organic ingredients in every recipe. Their recipes are varied and fun, allowing you to choose from 10 different dietary preference-based menus. Love Paleo, and wondering if they’ve got it? Is it gluten-free? You’re covered here, too. They seem to market mostly to two-person households, with only two-family options (omnivore/carnivore). A bit on the pricey side, with meals averaging around $12/serving, this is a meal box for people who are passionate about their ingredients and their diets.
For starters, Dinnerly is marketed as “Affordable, Easy and Unfussy Meals.” If that isn’t a motto that speaks right to my heart, I don’t know what is. At $4.99 a serving (and they’re large servings, too!), these meals are the most affordable meal box I have found, and for a family on a budget that’s very important. They keep their costs low by eliminating waste—not sacrificing quality. The recipes are sent as links, not costly print-outs, and they are simple, ditching large ingredient lists and complicated steps for a few high-quality ingredients, simple instructions and delicious results. They also have very kid-friendly recipe options; they were a real hit with all 3 of my kids!
“The Perfect Cooking Experience.” This is what Plated sells, all with the ease of delivery, or you can even pick it up from many grocery stores. Quality ingredients. Flexibility of choice. Ease of planning. What’s not to love? Plated is a bit lesser known than some of the competition, but the quality and passion behind the plan isn’t suffering from a lack of fame. By foodies for foodies, their recipes are fun and inspiring. The ingredients they use are among the freshest on the market, and the plans are highly customizable, allowing you to choose the number of servings and the number of meals you want to receive each week. Like Green Chef, quality comes at a price, and this service is a bit on the higher side, around $10 per serving, but it appears they deliver on what’s promised and are a great option for the foodies among us.
Not ready for a meal box commitment but desperately need meal planning help? Enter Platejoy. Not a meal kit delivery but a menu plan, this service takes your preferences and habits and creates a tailor-made menu and shopping list each week. Yes, more work than ingredients showing up at your door; however, there is more flexibility with a Platejoy plan, which works for many people. There’s a meal plan for literally everyone here, even the batch cookers among us, and the meals seem fun and easy to follow. Getting rave reviews from followers and bloggers alike, Platejoy just might be the place to start in your meal box journey.
No matter what your preference for meal kits is, there’s something out there for you. Give one of these a try today, and let us know how you like them.
(Feature image from Hello Fresh)
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