The Pros and Cons with Meal Prep Boxes
Are you a busy person who struggles to prepare nutritious and delicious meals for you or your family? As you may have noticed, advertisements for meal preparation delivery boxes like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Fresh Prep have filled your newsfeed over the last few years. They promise to offer consumers convenient, ready-to-prepare meals with step-by-step instructions. This may seem appealing, but what are all of the considerations before committing to a meal kit delivery program that could sway your opinion?
What are meal prep boxes?
Meal prep boxes come from delivery services that provide pre-proportioned ingredients to cook nutritious, balanced, and easy to follow recipes. They are often delivered to your door with the ingredients in cooler bags and can be delivered every week or a-la-carte.
Promote Eating at Home
Eating out can be expensive and time consuming. During a pandemic like we are experiencing right now, it is encouraged that we eat at home and reduce the amount of restaurants we go to in order to reduce the spread. In addition, eating at home with family has many social benefits, such as the positive outcomes of meal time like eating with others and practicing self-care. As we know, healthy eating is more than what foods we eat, moreover where, when, why, and how we eat are also important factors in meal choices.
Cooking can be a daunting experience and sometimes people don’t know where to start. People with limited skills and are intimidated by cooking can turn to meal prep boxes to help them start cooking with little experience and inspire people to try new techniques. Meal kits can also help maximize downtime of busy families and help introduce cooking to children in an inclusive environment. Meal prep delivery companies want to spread the joy of cooking as it can be a great way to involve others in planning and preparing meals.
Help You Save Food
When grocery shopping, buying foods in bulk may be an affordable option, but this may lead to a lot of food waste in your own home if you only plan to use that ingredient for one recipe. For those who do not cook often or are scared of having too much of one ingredient, meal prep boxes can be a good alternative to reducing the amount of rotten foods in your fridge and taking steps to help the food system.
Encourage Adventurous Eating and Variety
Meal prep kit brands have expanded their menus by including lots of different types of foods from different cultures. Culture and food traditions are a large part of healthy eating, and having a diverse menu appeals to people who want a taste of home, or want to try out a new culture’s food! People who may not be exposed to different types of foods or find themselves in a food rut can find the meal just for them. This also allows people who may not have access to a variety of foods to enjoy foods they typically wouldn’t find at home.
A large issue with meal kits is that they only come in one portion, which is inherently difficult because everyone has different nutritional needs. With meal kits, it can be difficult to customize portion sizes if you need to eat more, or less. Following these portioned meals can also make people feel they are inadequate if their needs do not meet the “normal” standards. A good solution for this is to buy some of the bases for the recipe like more vegetables or rice if you need more food. If you need less, use less of the recipe and save for another time.
The price of meal kits can become expensive if used regularly, especially for larger families. Meal kits can be cheaper than eating at a restaurant, however they are still more expensive than buying ingredients from the supermarket and cooking yourself. The cost of convenience can be expensive due to the extra processing of food, such as pre cut, portioned, packaged, and delivery feeds that come along with meal kits.
To reduce contamination and promote safe food handling practices, excessive packaging must be used. This single-use packaging also helps the food stay fresh for longer, however this can have negative effects on the environment. As sustainability is becoming increasingly important, we must be considerate of our ecological footprint and the role that us as consumers have to preserve the planet.
Although meal kits are not perfect, they can help to free time in our busy schedules and help people appreciate food. The best thing to consider is to research what works for you and your lifestyle!