As a dietitian, I’ve had a number of people ask me what I think about meal kits, the increasingly popular delivery services that send you the ingredients and instructions you need to cook dinner straight from the box. My standard response: “They’re great if you need a little help in the kitchen!”
But I was never sure they’d be right for me — someone who loves wandering around a grocery store, trying new recipes and improvising in the kitchen. That said, everything is different in 2021, a year in which I’ve prepared roughly 1,368 meals for my family at home (but who’s counting?), with few visits to restaurants to break up the monotony of our go-to dinners. These days, the convenience and variety these kits provide can seem very, very appealing.
I also appreciate how these delivery services can help anyone cut back on food waste, since they send just the right amount of ingredients for the recipe you’ve ordered (that could be especially helpful if you’re cooking for one or two people, I imagine).
With those advantages in mind, I signed up for four popular services. Through their websites, you pick your preferred meals about one week in advance, and they arrive at your home in an ice-pack-cooled box (with most packaging easy to recycle or even compost).
While their selection and delivery processes are similar, the services I tried have very different personalities, and there are plenty of reasons why one brand may work better for you than others. Here’s what to know.