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When You Just Can’t Cook Anymore
Most of us have probably cooked more this year than any year before. It is one of many reasons why the meal kit industry has been exploding. Are you a new cook or working from home? Perhaps you unable to cook for yourself. Do you have limited pantry space? Or maybe you just hate to cook. We are here to help you decipher between the various meal kits.
Personally, I love to cook so I have a full pantry consisting of almost every condiment, spice, a variety of cooking vinegar, at least five different types of flour, bread crumbs, olive oil (three different types), canola oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, and every other imaginable pantry. My daughters’ apartment in NYC did not even have the space for anything but the necessities. And, even though I love to cook, it is nice to work from one of the meal kits every once in a while.
My elderly mom recently fell and cannot cook her meals or get to the grocery store. This is a great option if you have elderly parents with aides that can no longer manage their ADL’s. (Activities of Daily Living).
We sampled various meal kits as an alternative to cooking on our own. Votes are in. Read on, for thoughts, comments, and opinions.
While Plated and Blue Apron were two of our favorite meal kits, you will need to invest 40 plus minutes to cook a meal. Before signing up, I would definitely look at Groupon
, RetailMeNot, and Facebook for coupons making it even more reasonably priced. Another tip is to look at your credit card; many times they offer a percentage or dollar off when you purchase from one of the meal kits retailers, which adds to any additional savings. You could theoretically use a coupon code to get a great deal and then get even more savings by paying with a specific card.
A Mom and Daughters’ Reviews
My girls’ pantry used to be filled with ramen and goldfish or they would call out for delivery every night. Meal delivery services are a great way to keep your kitchen stocked without taking one trip to the grocery store. Not to mention, there are so many options for vegetarians, meat-lovers, or those who just want to eat healthily. Here is a go-to guide to meal kits from our(hungry) perspective.
– I recently tried Mosaic Foods
for the first time. What tempted me about this meal kit company is they are plant-based foods that are frozen and there is no prep or cleanup. These are perfect meals for when you want to take a break from cooking or if you don’t like to cook but like to eat healthily. The frozen meals take about 5 minutes to microwave or a little longer if you choose to cook them on the stovetop. Another must on my list of factors that are important is the amount of protein in the meals. While their sugar and fat content falls within a reasonable range, some of the meals were a little higher than I would have liked. It’s a trade-off because I am unwilling to sacrifice protein and I avoid foods laden with preservatives.
First, can I say I have never been an oatmeal person at all but I loved their Golden Milk & Black Oat. What I loved more was I started my day having 10 grams of protein. I also tried their North African Veggies & Couscous, Black-Eyed Pea & Sweet Potato Ndambe, Coconut Chickpea Curry, and Jackfruit Chili. These frozen foods are a great alternative for vegetarians and vegans. Another plus is they source their fresh veggies, hearty whole grains, and perfectly-ripe fruits from farms and distributors.
Another plus? I’m a huge advocate of Do-Good brands
which is why I also like Mosaic. For every Mosaic box sold, they work with the non-profit City Harvest to rescue 2 pounds of nutritious food and distribute it to New Yorkers in need. Additionally, their packaging is 100% recyclable.
– Daily, we see ads for meal plan delivery subscriptions. One that caught our eye, was Every Plate. What made this one stand out? Let’s talk about the price because staying on budget is a big factor when selecting the meal plan you decide to go with. Every Plate costs $29 (with shipping, $35) for the two-person, three meals per week plan. Before you say, “but I am only one person,” let us tell you why this plan is so ideal. The amount of food that comes with each meal is great for one person for dinner with leftovers to have for lunch the next day. We actually do not recommend this meal plan for two people to use for dinner, as the portion size is just not enough.
Let’s talk about food preparation. All ingredients come with your box except for the basic items most people have in their household, including butter, salt, and pepper. The ingredients do not come chopped, so plan on prepping your dish before cooking. That said, with Every Plate you can expect to spend about 35-45 minutes on each meal. We recommend Every Plate for someone who doesn’t mind cooking or actually enjoys it since it is timely and does require your attention. Now how would we rate the food? The food is good in terms of quality and taste and price.
Choose from 12 delicious and affordable recipes that change with every week. THEY DELIVER, Everything you need ships to your door. YOU DEVOUR, Home-cooked deliciousness is ready in 30 minutes!
-I have never been a fan of cooking. I love food and trying new things, but the thought of chopping vegetables, preparing marinades, and then waiting for all of it to be done, makes me run for the hills (or to UberEats). Being that I am a pescatarian with slight lactose intolerance who tries to be health-conscious (a mouthful, I know), it can sometimes be difficult to find meals that check off all the boxes. I’ve tried all kinds of meal delivery kits, and have found some of them make cooking easier, but Gobble takes the gold on this search.
I selected the below three meals for my week: Pan-Seared Barramundi served with fennel, carrots, and green harissa with feta cheese, Black Pepper Tofu served with stir fry vegetables and jasmine rice, and Thai Basil Salmon served with green beans, sweet peppers, and cashews. All ingredients come in one bag. One negative is the amount of plastic bags but Gobble took 10 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to cook with less than ten steps – that’s it!
The vegetables come cut, though some recipes may require you to cut into smaller pieces. The protein comes in serving size, so you don’t have to worry about what 5 oz. really looks like. Cooking requires minimal dishes, which makes cleaning up simple. For an affordable price, Gobble is a great option for anyone! You can cook your own dinner in less than 20-30 minutes after a long day and have leftovers for lunch the next day – plus did we mention, it’s delicious!
– I picked three vegetarian meals to test out – ordering the 3 meals per week for 2-3 people. Everything was individually packaged and all I had to supply were the cookware, some oil, eggs, sugar, and pepper. TheVeggie Pad See Ew was super easy to make; you do need to cut up the vegetables but the entire process took a total of 30 minutes and there was more than enough to serve 3 people (we even had leftovers). We also made the fajita-style veggie tacos – again very easy to make – I would add in some cotija or fresco cheese- and, if you are not vegetarian, add in other proteins. The last dish was the garlic knot cheese ravioli – Super easy to make but you do need a box grater. You can skip weeks and you do need to either print out the recipe or pull it up digitally because that is one of the ways they can keep the prices down (along with fewer ingredients per dish and simple packaging). We paid $23.93 for all 3 meals taking advantage of a special they had. The main thing I loved about this was the fresh vegetables and the simplicity.
: About 10 years ago, I decided to make a change to my eating style. One of those changes was to try to minimize the amount of bread I was eating. Back then, there were not as many tasteful options but that has drastically changed. I am a big fan of sprouted bread and whole grains. I use them for making sandwiches, wraps, even pizzas. Whether you want to order for yourself or perhaps get some for your student, this will allow them to make nutritious meals- they even have great recipes
: This was a great meal kit for the price! It was a little tedious, but the meals were yummy. The portions were large and I was able to split the meals between 2 people and still have room for lunch. Green Chef is a great vegetarian option with a lot of variety! The miso tofu bowl was delicious, as was the Mediterranean couscous and vegetable pasta. The meals were great for the amateur to average chefs. They definitely beat the dining hall vegetarian options! Check Groupon
: With Hungry Root, you only need minimal kitchen tools and extra ingredients (oil, etc) and can make a variety of yummy recipes. The sauces are premade which is great for new chefs and efficiency. These were by far the quickest meals to make. However, they were also the simplest, often consisting of only a few ingredients. If you’re looking for super quick, healthy, and easy meals this is a great choice! They have a ton of vegan options, but also some non-vegan. Loved that the pasta was Banza and they had well-known healthy brands such as Kite Hill. My order came with a bonus free chickpea cookie dough which was soooo good!
– This vegan meal kit literally blew my mind. If you’re comfortable in the kitchen and spending 40 minutes for restaurant-worthy meals, this is definitely worth trying. These kits come with every ingredient, and the outcome was delish! I tried the following:
- Muhammara stuffed sweet potatoes topped with chickpeas, cucumber mint relish, and a red pepper vinaigrette
- Coconut Cauliflower ramen (much easier and quicker than the above!)
- Punjabi Kadhi with Spinach Dumplings and Mango Chutney
- Moroccan Carrot Pancakes
- Italian Cannellini Bean Stew
It can be difficult cooking and finding new vegan recipes, especially in a college town, so if you’re looking for gourmet vegan meals made with quality ingredients, I would highly recommend giving Purple Carrot a try! Even for just a few meals a week, this meal kit is a great substitute for your usual vegan chicken nugs and veggie burger!
– Different from many meal plan options, Veestro comes fully prepared with only 5-10 minutes of cooking time. No prep, no dicing, and slicing, and most importantly, no dishes needed. Veestro makes having a fully vegetarian and organic meal quite simple for those that get home from class late at night or don’t have the equipment and supplies to sauté and bake. Veestro arrives at your door packed with ice to ensure it stays frozen until you get home. Once you receive it, simply keep it in your freezer until it’s mealtime. We tried multiple ways of preparing the dish, in the microwave and on the stovetop, and both delivered results that made the meals taste as though you cooked it from scratch. Most of the meals were great and we would definitely recommend this delivery company. The only setback would be that some of the meals may come across bland with very little salt in the product. If this is the case, simply spread some seasoning or sauce on your food depending on your personal taste.
A solid vegetarian option for the person who loves to cook and has about 30 minutes to spare! Hello Fresh has definitely expanded their vegetarian options and our choices turned out delish. We chose two vegetarian dishes and one with shrimp since we are pescatarian. The sweet potato fajitas were easy to prepare and had just enough spice! After 30 minutes of prep and cooking, I am pleased and satisfied with the turnout! The quantity is also plenty for 2 people (Split with your roommate like us for cheaper prices!). If you want to save the rest for leftovers, they make a delicious lunch! The shrimp tacos are also an amazingly yummy dinner and suppress my craving for Chipotle (mission impossible.) Another great vegetarian meal is the Mediterranean couscous, which I brought to work for a few lunches and it really filled me up. Not to mention, I get tons of compliments on how good my meals look and smell, so now my family and friends think I’m a great chef. I ordered mine for three recipes to serve two (I had leftovers since it was just for myself) or a total of six meals. Hello Fresh also offers $30 off the first box.
Blue Apron – My Blue Apron box came on time with ice packs and cute packaging (they label their spaces and small items as knick-knacks.) They offer an extensive menu, but I narrowed it down to the Ancho Chicken Chili and Dukkah Spiced Shrimp. On the real: Blue Apron makes me feel like a fancy restaurant chef. The meals come out SO GOOD. They take around 45 minutes each so if you are not looking to spend that much time cooking, it is not for the faint-hearted. The Ancho Chicken Chili is tomato-based and the sweet potatoes make it really hearty. The servings were huge, I was eating chili for days. My favorite was the shrimp with Mediterranean seasoning and tahini and served with roasted cabbage and potatoes. I might still be salivating just thinking about it. Blue Apron runs specials for first meal deliveries. Click here to get that offer.
We are ready to check out some of the other meal kits that are new to the market. One resource that breaks down the meal kit industry is Food Box HQ
. Tell us about your favorite meal kits!