We have completed our trial of meal planning with the use of meal delivery services. Whew! And, I need a break. I will say one thing - the meal delivery services do not mess around. Basically as soon as you are receiving your box of meals on your porch, they are processing the order for the next week! This is great if you have only signed up for one meal delivery service and don't want to think about next week's meals, however, if you were like us and wanted to do trial runs with three different services this made it extremely interesting!
On one day, I accidentally ended up with two meal delivery boxes from two different companies! Yikes!
At least my fridge was full of healthy food to choose from, but it did cause me a little stress when it came to deciding the best order to make the meals so the food was still fresh. I ended up making two meals in one night (luckily my mom was visiting so there wasn't too much left over).
Overall, I LOVE the idea of having a meal delivery service to help with meal planning. When you order a meal delivery, you can choose (generally) two or three meals per week. Then you at least know what those meals will be and you do not have to plan them. That makes it nice for those of us who struggle to meal plan in advance!
The downside of meal delivery is that many services have limited options. If you are looking for plant-slant meals, often you get one, maybe two options. In other cases, you might end up with a meal that you aren't sure anyone will like. On the flip side, it's great to try new things, right?!
The other vast difference between meal delivery services is the cost. I could not believe how the costs varied! I will point out that I got all of the trials on some sort of offer or discount. With the discount the costs ranged from $22 to $56. Without the discount, the costs ranged from about $26 to $75! My advice - definitely research what the regular cost will be because as I mentioned before, these meal delivery services do not wait around for you to say you are in for Week #2. Week #2 just ends up on your porch (kind of like magic, but the kind of magic that comes out of your bank account).
For my family, the meal plan we liked the best was also the cheapest and most simple. We have kids (and a husband) who are sometimes tentative about complicated dishes. While I love poached egg mushroom ramen, they kind of give it that sideways look.
Dinnerly ended up being our favorite. It is cheaper than the other services, but it still offers a good variety of plant-slant and vegetarian meals. AND, the meals are simple - most of the ones we tried were ready in about 20 minutes!
There are often discount codes out there for you to give it a try. Just stay on top of the process - meaning if you just want to try it for one week, make sure to go in immediately after placing your first order so that you can skip the second week.
Overall, we found we love anything with southwest or Mexican flavors - black bean burrito rice bowl and bean tacos were a hit. And, while I could easily purchase these items at a grocery store and prepare the same exact meal, with the meal delivery, it's a no-brainer... meaning I did not have to think about what was for dinner. The ingredients and the recipe cards were already in my house!
Oh, before I go, one more thing I wanted to mention about the Dinnerly service. It is also a bit more eco-friendly. Instead of sending pre-printed recipe cards or booklets like some of the other services, Dinnerly emails you the recipes, so if you do not want to print them, you can easily view them on your phone or tablet.
Do you have a meal delivery service you love to help with your meal planning? Share with us here or on Facebook: Blue-Green Life.