Dear Dietician: Weighing in on meal delivery trend

Leanne McCrate

Dear Readers,

In today’s busy world, only half of American families eat dinner together at least five nights a week. Both parents work full time; the kids have soccer practice; there are PTA meetings, basketball games, tutoring sessions, and the list goes on. It’s challenging to get everyone together for a meal, let alone take the time to plan a menu and cook dinner.

Leanne McCrate, RDN, LD, CNSC

One solution to this conundrum is meal delivery kits (MDKs). An entire meal for four arrives at your door with pre-measured, fresh ingredients for a delicious meal and includes cooking instructions. Dinner time made easy. More families are turning to MDKs, with sales projected to top $10 billion by 2024.

There are several MDKs on the market, and they are tailored to consumer needs and desires. They all have a variety of menus selections. They are set up for two to four people per meal, and you select the number of meals per week. Pricing is competitive, and many offer substantial discounts to get you started. Many of them even offer free shipping.

All plans provide nutritionally well-balanced meals, and some offer special diets selections, such as WW (Weight Watchers) and low-carb plans. The meals are easy to prepare and are designed to be ready in 30 to 45 minutes. By all accounts, the food is tasty. You can cancel or pause your subscription at any time.

We looked at four highly rated MDKs. Pricing is based on 20 meals per week and may include introductory discounts.

1. Blue Apron Meal Plans

  • Signature – meat, fish, Beyond Meat (meat substitute)
  • Wellness – nutritionist-approved, balanced meals
  • Vegetarian (a plant-based diet that includes dairy and eggs)
  • Offers WW-friendly meals
  • Cost: $85
  • Free Shipping

2. Every Plate Meal Plans

  • Classic- meat, seafood
  • Family- kid-friendly
  • Veggie (plant-based meals that include dairy and eggs)
  • Easy-no fuss meals with little cleanup
  • Cost $45
  • Shipping $9.99 per week
  • Far more economical than other plans

3. Factor Meal Plans

  • Calorie Smart-various calorie levels aimed at weight loss
  • Keto-low-carbohydrate, high-fat meal plans
  • Vegetarian (includes dairy products and eggs) and Vegan (strictly plant foods)
  • Meals are designed by registered dietitian nutritionists
  • Meals are already cooked; just reheat and enjoy.
  • A complimentary nutritionist consultation is included.
  • The maximum number of meals offered is eighteen per week. Cost: $100
  • Shipping: $9.99

Who would benefit most from MDKs? A novice who needs step-by-step instructions on how to prepare a meal; a busy family who has enough disposable income; a single professional; or someone who dines out frequently. The average cost of a restaurant meal (non-fast food) is $12 dollars.

Call me old-fashioned, but some of the best meals I have eaten were around my Granny’s dinner table. She loved getting the whole family together for a big meal. Afterwards, we would sit on the porch swing, sip iced tea, and talk about Aunt Edna’s gall stones. Oh, the nostalgia!

Reference

  1. “Best Meal Delivery Services – 2022 Buyer’s Guide.” Buyers Guide.org March 2022, https://buyersguide.org/meal-delivery/

Leanne McCrate, RDN, LD, is an award-winning dietitian based in Missouri. Her mission is to educate consumers on sound, scientifically-based nutrition. Do you have a nutrition question? Email her today at deardietitian411@gmail.com. Dear Dietitian does not endorse any products, health programs, or diet plans.