Meal Kits are the newest developments for time-saving food prep.
Each meal kit company provides different and unique options, but basically the consumer subscribes to a weekly service in which he selects meals for the week as desired. The kits are sent to the home and contain all the ingredients – pre-measured and individually packaged – required for the selected recipe. All you have to do is assemble the ingredients and cook them following the recipe card. This usually takes from half an hour to an hour.
The plans are flexible and it’s easy to make changes to the subscription on an as-needed basis.
Some of the most popular services include: Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Sun Basket, Home Chef, Plated, Martha and Marley Spoon, Gobble and many more.
Since each of these companies offers many choices, how do you choose what’s right for you?
Points To Consider when Choosing a Meal Kit Service:
🥗Special Dietary Needs
Today’s world brings us many more options to stay healthy – vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, keto, Gluten free meal kits and more. Meal kits can also mean that special dietary needs are now readily accessible, without investing extra effort. There are options for every dietary need that we can think of.
Sun Basket is a great example for meal kit company that focus on special dietary needs such as vegetarian, vegan, keto, paleo and more. Home Chef, Hello Fresh and Plated offer some great options for vegetarians.
💄Style and Complexity of Dishes
We are all different, and this is especially true of our likes and dislikes when it comes to styles of dishes, and how complex they are.
Some like complexity in their dishes and enjoy how all the different parts interact together to bring out the qualities of each ingredient. Such cooks like to have new experiences with food, trying new combinations and more sophisticated styles of cooking, while others prefer the traditional and familiar dishes.
From our experience, in terms of such complexity and style, Plated wins with its unique gourmet sense. It is especially suitable for savvy cooks. Either Home Chef or Hello Fresh deliver more classic and known dishes; though simple to cook, they still include a nice twist in every meal, and it is super delicious every time!
There are so many voices around us clamouring for the need to insure we’re getting a healthy diet. It’s hard to pick up a family magazine without the cover’s titles advising us what is healthy and what isn’t. Therefore, meal kit services are sensitive to this need, and some just stand out as extra healthy.
Sun Basket is well-rated, as all of its ingredients are organic and sustainably sourced. Both Home Chef and Hello Fresh go the extra mile for including fresh vegetables with almost every every meal.
Differences in sizes of the portions in meal kits might not occur to consumers when considering which to buy. Yet we’ve found a variety of sizes and it’s important to watch for this, so no one is disappointed when the dishes are brought to the table. The biggest portion sizes we’ve found were in Hello Fresh, Home Chef and Plated meal kits. Their servings are relatively quite large when compared to the other services.
Cooking time can be a very personal perspective. After an intense working day, some may wind down while cooking for an hour, while others want to be through in the kitchen as fast as possible. We noted that cooking times do vary between the different companies. Blue Apron and Plated generally take longer, with some of the recipes taking up to 45-60 minutes. Sun Basket, Home Chef or Hello Fresh averages around 30 minutes per meal, while Gobble promises an outstanding quick meal with 15 minutes of cooking time max for each meal on their menu.
🍽️Variety of Dishes
One of the advantages of using meal kits is that it helps prevent the ruts home cooks tend to get into, repeating the same meals every week or two, because that’s their comfort zone. Only few have the time to search cookbooks on a day-to-day basis to find new recipes. From the meal kits we’ve experienced, we’ve found that In regard to variety of dishes offered, Gobble and plated takes the lead, with 24 and 20 dishes every week, followed by Sun Basket with 18. At 8 selections per week in the 2-person plan, Blue Apron provides the least variety.
Prices for the meals vary from $8 to $14 per serving.
In our experience, Home Chef, Hello Fresh and Blue Apron are the most affordable of the meal services.
As if it isn’t enough to experience all the variety, good fresh ingredients, time savings and more by using meal kits, some of the companies spice things up with specials – we all like specials!.
Plated offers two great desserts every week, while Hello Fresh and Blue Apron list wines. Home Chef adds 5-minute lunches and smoothies. .
Using these criteria will help you to make the hard choices between so many options. It’s so beneficial to have clear guidelines when dealing with a tremendous array of meal kits which all look good at first glance.