Lately I feel like I am being chased around the internet by ads for these boxed meal delivery services. They offer varying amounts of ingredients (sometimes prepped, sometimes un-prepped) and it's all up-charged for being delivered right to your door, pre-portioned and complete with recipes. Sounds pretty dreamy, right?
Well, I've tried several of these services over the last year, and guess what? I am over them.
Here's why I am over meal kits and what you can do instead:
- The waste. Two eggs in a cardboard box, a single potato wrapped in a paper bag, a million little tiny jars, containers with a tablespoon of this and a quarter cup of that. While many of these items can be recycled, it is just not necessary to generate this much waste in the first place. Reduce, then reuse, then recycle.
- The time. I'm not sure we are really saving time. Most of these services offer three to five weeknight dinners for two to four people. So you still have to go to the grocery store to buy ingredients for breakfast, lunches, the other dinners you aren't getting food for, snacks, etc. Often ingredients still need to be prepped (onions and peppers chopped) and of course there is still plenty of hands on cooking.
- No leftovers. I love leftovers. I almost always double my recipes so we have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next night. If leftovers aren't your jam then you might want to consider ...
- The cost. Most of the meals cost close to the price of a take-out meal, where your entire meal is DFY and delivered to you basically in one container. Now, there are definite health benefits to using whole ingredients and controlling the amount of oil, butter and salt in your food while cooking. Many of us are using these services because we don't want take-out to be our "easy" option. So that brings me to...
What you can do instead of using meal kits:
- Ask yourself why! Why are you utilizing the service? Is it to save time or money? If so, there might be a better alternative (see below). Or, is it to be exposed to creative new recipes, learn a new cooking skill? There are still better alternatives that can achieve those same results. Perhaps you just want the piece of mind that you will have at least three home-cooked meals on the table each week and the ingredients on your doorstep to make sure that happens. If that is the case, then a meal delivery service may very well be for you.
- Extra ingredients. You can easily plan out just a few weeknight meals per week, double the recipes and use leftovers. Or, jump onto Pinterest or use Supercook to plug in your partial ingredients and find recipes to use up ingredients towards the end of the week. Here is an extra tip - if you find a recipe you want to make but are missing one less-than-crucial ingredient, consider just omitting it, or googling for a common substitution. My extra tip on top of that is that if you find a recipe you want to make but are missing ingredients, try googling that recipe and find a different recipe that might not use that ingredient.
- Planning. If you don't have time to plan, try just planning out three weeknight meals and maybe a Sunday meal (when you might have more time to cook). Basically, you could pick three recipes and create a shopping list in about 10 minutes. Need some inspiration right now? Follow my Weeknight Meals board on Pinterest.
- Grocery shopping. If you really want to save time grocery shopping consider alternatives like grocery delivery services, or see if you grocery store has curbside pick-up.
This is why I am developing a four-week course to help you set up your own meal planning system to be released this summer.
Now, if there is one thing I have learned from being a busy mom and through my training as a health coach it is that you have to balance what aligns with your values with what is realistic for you right now, in the current conditions of your life.
The sweet spot is at the intersection of your values and what you realistically have the capacity to do.
If something is working for you, by all means keep doing it.
Are you over it too? Ready to try something new? I'm so over it I am offering $10 off my Weeknight Meal Inspiration package! Just click here to get started!
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