Meal planning seems to be all the rage now, and I’m completely for it, but I just can’t seem to do it. Since becoming a mother of two I can’t quite get my ducks in a row long enough to even try to attempt this. The closest I get is making a list of the food items we are currently out of. I try to think ahead and add items to the list that would actually make a meal, but even then it’s usually only for a few days before I’m back to staring into the fridge wondering what I should make for dinner… again. Honestly, I’m just not that good of a cook and I don’t necessarily enjoy cooking, both of which make meal planning even more of a challenge for me.
I had heard about meal subscription boxes and started to see the advertisements online, but they seemed too good to be true and even a bit frivolous. I mean, why couldn’t I just go to the store myself and buy the ingredients to make meals for me and my family? Why did I need someone to deliver a box to my doorstep? What made me so special? As mentioned before, I just wasn’t good at it and I needed help. I needed help planning meals and making them healthy.
So I gave in and tried it.
I can’t quite remember what meals we got with our first box and I can’t remember which company it came from, but it went well from what I can remember. But that was it. I didn’t order another one. I think I felt a bit guilty again about not being able to plan and shop for myself. I wasn’t sure if the cost was worth it. Fast forward a few months and I am a mom of two toddlers and I can use any help I can get in any aspect of my day. At the encouragement of my husband, I tried a box again. I felt so relieved because for three nights in a row I had one less thing I had to think about and plan. The box came, I opened it, cooked what the recipe instructions told me to and voila! I still had to take the time to cook, but that was the easy part for me since I didn’t have to do all of the pre-planning.
Over time I have tried a few different companies and have some I prefer more than others. Everyone will have their own favorite. I tend to go back and forth between a few of my favorites and try a new one here and there.
Here are some of the ones I have tried:
I am not in any way affiliated with any of these companies.
Hello Fresh – I feel Hello Fresh is a good middle of the road meal box service. There are approximately 9 choices each week, they are fairly easy to make, and don’t take too much time to prepare. As much as I do like Hello Fresh, they seem to cycle through the same meals regularly and I wish that they would include some sort of bread once in a while.
Gobble – Gobble was not my favorite, but I can see how it might appeal to some. With Gobble, parts of the meal came pre-prepared. For example, if the meal included rice, the rice came already cooked and seasoned in a plastic bag, you just had to pour it into a bowl and heat it up. I prefer to go ahead and cook that sort of stuff myself. Because of pre-made items included in the meals, I would say Gobble was one of the faster meal subscriptions to cook per meal and there were many meals to choose from.
Blue Apron – I felt Blue Apron is on the tastier side, but overall the meals take longer to prepare. I believe there are 8 – 10 options to choose from each week and they typically include bread!
Sun Basket – I have not tried Sun Basket yet, but my first box is on the way! Sun Basket has a reputation for being healthy and fresh. I have recently gone gluten-free and needed more options. Sun Basket offers ‘classic’ plans, paleo, vegan, gluten-free, and more. Each week there are approximately 18 meals to choose from. And the best part? They look delicious!
Overall, meal boxes only cover three dinners a week (typically) so there are still groceries to buy and meals to plan, but those three nights a week are wonderful for me! If you are thinking of trying a meal subscription box, I suggest trying a few different ones before finding which one best fits your needs and preferences. Also, most if not all, offer a discount on your first box, some are even free!