5 Considerations Before Signing Up for a Meal Delivery Service

Man Deliver Mail Box to Woman at her front door
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I always encourage weekly meal planning with my clients. However, for those crazy busy weeks, or just to change it up, I also work with them to choose a meal delivery service that fits their lifestyle. Meal delivery kits are ideal for people who want to cook at home instead of dining out but like the idea of having the recipe selection and grocery shopping conveniently done for them. They also help people discover new ingredients (I’m talking to you, celeriac). There are meal delivery services that range from gourmet cooking to family friendly to diet-specific.

When choosing a meal delivery service, it is important to consider your goals.  Is it to develop new cooking skills, try new ingredients, save time at the grocery store or adhere to a new eating pattern? Check out my top 5 things to consider before choosing a meal delivery service.

Know Your Budget and Research the Delivery Process

The pricing on meal delivery services can range from $5 per serving to $28 or more per meal. Establish a budget that you are comfortable with. Also, don’t forget to check delivery schedules! Some companies deliver to your door, some deliver to a common area and some only deliver in select cities. Some companies offer you the option to choose the day your box is delivered, and others only deliver on certain days. What works best for you?

Selection and Ingredients

Ask yourself if you would like to choose your meals each week, or if you would like to be surprised by what is delivered. If you have picky eaters in your household, choosing your meals is probably the way to go! A huge part of choosing the best meal delivery service is being comfortable with the ingredients sent. Are you looking for locally sourced or USDA-certified organic ingredients? There is a box for that. Some boxes also offer information on what farms the ingredients come from and provide notes from the chef.

Allergens and Food Preferences

Find a meal delivery service that works best for your food preferences and allergies. There is a service out there for everyone — paleo, vegetarian/vegan, pescetarian, no red meat, gluten-free, organic, plant-based, non-GMO and kid friendly.

Nutrition

A quality meal is based on so much more than just calories. Find a meal delivery service that gives you a full nutrition panel for each recipe. This includes the amount of saturated fat, total carbohydrates, fiber, sodium and more. You may find that some of the recipes included in a meal delivery service box can have similar calories, fat and sugar amounts to dining out at a restaurant. Knowing the entire nutrition profile will help you make the best decision for your health and wellness goals.

Be Prepared

Meal delivery services often require that you have certain ingredients on hand such as olive oil, salt and pepper. Read what the recipe requires vs. what is delivered. In addition, be sure you have the proper cooking utensils in the kitchen such as the right-sized pot, frying pan, cutting board and knife. Some recipes also may call for ingredients that require certain kitchen tools, such as a zester.

Meal delivery services often can be a healthier choice than dining out or going through the drive-through. If you are considering a service, choose a few to try to help find the best option for you and your lifestyle.

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Brittany Chin Jones
Brittany L. Chin Jones, MS, RD, LD, is the owner of Blush Nutrition, LLC and the communications chair of the Thirty and Under in Nutrition and Dietetics member interest group for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and has served as the Piedmont Dietetic Association president. Follow her at BrittanyJonesRD.com and on Twitter and Instagram.