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Meal Services: Are they right for you?

May 24, 2017

By Meg van Staveren, MPH, RD

Meal services are popping up everywhere. You have likely heard about them from friends and acquaintances. Or, at the very least, you have seen the slick advertisements with perfectly packaged boxes overflowing with brightly colored produce. Meal services tout their ability to help you prepare healthy attractive meals with amazing convenience. No more fuss with finding the perfect recipe. No more spending your precious time walking the grocery aisle. Just open your front door and the meal(s) of your dreams is right at your fingertips. Simply open the box, unpack your ingredients, and follow the recipe.

Meal services might be the right choice for many, but are they the right choice for you? Should you stay nicely situated on your lounge chair, dipping your toe in the pool, or plunge right into the deep end? Here are a few things to consider and research before you commit to a meal service:

Convenience

The convenience factor is not an easy one to ignore. Most of us want life to be a bit simpler and having our meals just appear on our front porch fits that bill. Do we need to accomplish this with a meal service? It is possible, but there may be other options. Many local grocery stores are moving toward a convenience model, offering online ordering with at-the-door pick up.

Selection

Do you have any personal dietary preferences, food allergies or medically-recommended diets? If you need specific foods and ingredients for your health, it is important to review the possible meals and ingredients you may receive. If a meal service is unable to meet your dietary needs, it may not be the right choice for you.

Pricing and Policies

What are the policies of the meal services you are considering? Can you purchase on demand or do you have to buy a weekly, monthly, or yearly subscription? How much does it cost? Pricing comparisons will help you determine if using a meal service will exceed your food budget.

Environmental Impact

Does the meal service hold the same environmental values as you? Is their packaging environmentally friendly? How is the food grown? Is it organic? How does your food get to you— by plane, train, car— and what is the impact on the environment? Does the meal service consider these issues in how they produce and deliver their services? If not, it may be helpful to seek a meal service in your area that specializes in local, sustainable foods and business practices.

If you find a meal service that checks all your boxes, go ahead and take the plunge!

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