It would be hard to miss the new trends in meal preparation. Everywhere I look, I see ads for subscription meal kits sent directly to the home. I’ve wondered for a while just how expensive these prepared packages are, what kinds of foods are included, and just how fresh could the foods be in that sort of system.
I had the opportunity to check this out first hand when I received a coupon for 60% off on one of those websites. We were looking into this one day at work with the thought that we may want some first-hand knowledge at AnswerLine. We wanted to compare some of the different companies to compare cost, shipping, and available plans. There are a larger number of companies that I realized. The costs are similar and most companies offer meals that can be ready in about 30 minutes.
I ordered 3 meals for the week from one of the companies and thought that I might make the meals for my husband and myself. The package arrived shortly after noon on the day of the week that I chose in advance. The food was well packaged and included 2 large ice packs that kept the food at a nice, safe, cold temperature. The food was packaged in a very organized way, meats were double sealed—vacuum packed and then inserted into a second plastic bag to prevent cross contamination. Vegetables were very fresh and appealing. Small bags labeled for a specific meal contained small amounts of several different ingredients. The only ingredient that I needed to have on hand was olive oil.
The recipes and directions were very clear and had step by step directions. Techniques that might be unfamiliar were demonstrated with videos on their website. I would recommend reading through the directions a time or two before preparing the meal. It can be easy to be confused and forget as step or do something in the wrong order when working with unfamiliar ingredients.
After sharing the first meal with my husband, I thought it might be fun to gather the AnswerLine staff to prepare the other two meals. This would give us all some experience with meal kits and it would be a good opportunity for getting to know each other even better. Marcia volunteered her home so we all met after work on a Monday night. We worked together to make the first meal, enjoyed it and then prepared the second meal. It was fun to work together as there is usually a fair amount of washing, chopping, and mixing to do with these meals. The food was delicious, serving sizes were ample, and the preparation fun. The meals are not inexpensive, but compared to picking up some fast food or restaurant take out the prices are comparable. These meals allowed me to try some new foods that I likely would not try on my own and to save some time by not going to the grocery store. I also liked that there were not any left-over foods to deal with; either ingredients or leftover entrée. Most companies will allow you to skip weeks of delivery so it could be something to use when you know in advance you will have a busy week. I tried two more weeks of meal deliveries and I have to say that all the meals were tasty. It is not something I plan to use on a regular basis, but I can see a place for this system.
This blog in no way endorses a specific company, but is designed to look into this new food trend. Let us know what works for you and your family during busy times. We plan to look at other ways to provide healthy meals in a hurry for your family.