I don’t know how it happened but all of a sudden I’m somehow the one in charge of figuring out what everyone in my house will eat. Like, every…single…day. I know, I know. It’s horrible. Okay, fine, it’s not the worst thing in the world. But I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to decide what to cook every single day. It would probably be easier if I had Khloe Kardashian’s pantry but I don’t. After all I enjoy cooking and I work from home. But yet, week after week, I’d buy tons of stuff at the grocery store only to end up ordering food or watching things spoil because I forgot all about it. I’d have sad, soggy fruits and vegetables staring at me while I tried to tuck my leftovers from takeout in my fridge. And so, I decided to try a meal delivery service for the first time. I chose a meal delivery service that delivers all the ingredients needed for the recipes I choose each week. And I learned a lot along the way. Here are the pros and cons I’ve discovered while eating my way through this new way of life.
Pro: Less waste
The one thing I noticed right away was that I wasted less food. Each meal arrived with just the right amount of ingredients to cook it. Nothing more, nothing less. My husband and I even laughed once when one meal arrived with just one clove of garlic. I’d never just buy one glove of garlic let alone one garlic when shopping. I don’t know why, perhaps because it’s cheaper to buy it in bulk. Or maybe I wanted to have extra on hand just in case. I’m not quite sure. But I’m embarrassed to say how many times I’ve purchased bags of produce like onions, lettuce or a spring mix of greens and forgot all about it.
The price of a meal delivery service varies. Although it’s cheaper than my grocery runs combined with frequent Uber Eats orders, it can be pricey if you compare it to a grocery bill when you buy in bulk or use coupons. If you buy in bulk, watch out for sales, and use coupons, you can definitely spend way less. However, if you’re buying in bulk and making frequent trips to the grocery store but caving in and ordering take out instead of cooking, you might benefit from a meal delivery service.
Pro: No need to research recipes
The hardest part for me was to figure out what to make each day. I had my go-to recipes but they were getting boring. Trying new recipes would some times require ingredients I didn’t have or kitchen tools I didn’t feel like whipping out. I would save recipes on social media, only to forget about them. With a meal delivery service, I choose from a bunch of recipes and I don’t have to worry about buying ingredients. I can even choose a recipe based on how long it will take to make or by the level of difficulty. It’s kind of like seeing a cool recipe on Instagram, and clicking a few buttons and someone delivers everything you need to make it.
Con: No leftovers
Meal delivery services will ask how many servings you’d like. And boy are they true to the serving sizes. Each meal is enough for just the amount of people/servings you signed up for. Most of the meals are just enough for my husband and I. That means, unlike when I cook meals I plan, there are no leftovers. This was something I was not used to at all. No matter what I made before I started using a meal delivery service, there were always leftovers. Which meant less cooking. One dish could cover 2-4 meals. With that said, if I’m totally honest, sometimes I’d have too many leftovers and they’d get tossed. Sometimes though, leftovers were definitely appreciated. It’s definitely something to consider.
Pro: I learned a lot about cooking
Although I have been cooking for quite some time now, I wouldn’t say I’m a pro. But after using a meal delivery service for just a few weeks, I have learned so much. I have learned how to make sauces from scratch and different cooking methods that I have never tried before. I have tried ingredients that I usually only have at restaurants. I have incorporated a lot of the skills I have learned from the recipes I have chosen into my everyday life now.
Choosing the right meal delivery service can be difficult especially if you are on a special diet, have dietary restrictions, or food allergies. My husband is a vegetarian and it limits the options that we have. I can only imagine how difficult it might be to choose meals if you have food allergies or any kind of dietary restriction. Although there are more and more delivery services out there than ever before, it still isn’t a fit for everyone’s health needs, preference, lifestyle and/or budget.
The meal delivery service I chose, Hello Fresh, is really flexible. I can skip a week or weeks. So if I am going on vacation or I just feel like taking a break, I can. There are no requirements or contracts. I love that I can even choose my meals in advance or opt out whenever I need to.
Con: The dishes
Okay so, there were definitely less dishes to be washed before my meal delivery plan. However that’s mostly because I used to cook less and ordered takeout more often. Some recipes require multiple pans or bowls. Most of my own recipes usually required one pan. The increase of dishes has been an adjustment that I didn’t quite expect.
A meal delivery service may not be right for everyone, and I have to admit I was skeptical at first too. However, I rarely order take out and cooking has become fun and easy again. It definitely works for us.