A plethora of delivery services aim to make cooking at home easier and more healthful.
By: Mario Boucher
With the pace of life seemingly in perpetual acceleration, many of us are on the lookout for ways to make our days more efficient. Online meal kit services are a trending solution that makes cooking at home as easy as following a recipe. Popular with millennials, especially men, according to market research firm Technomic, the blossoming business grossed more than $1 billion in 2015. Nearly one in five people have tried a meal kit service, according to a recent Morning Consult survey. The services vary, so a little testing may be in order.
“There are many different options out there and people just have to find what works best for them,” says Angie Murad, a wellness dietitian with the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. “Utilize several of those options in order to make small changes for an overall healthier eating pattern.”
Blue Apron has a variety of vegetarian and healthy meal choices that come with a recipe card and detailed instructions for first-time chefs. Choices include za’atar-roasted broccoli and hard-boiled eggs; honey-sesame chicken and green beans; and Bob’s Burgers cheeseburgers with caramelized shallots. blueapron.com
Green Chef offers three standard meal plans (vegetarian, omnivore, and carnivore) and two special plans (gluten-free and paleo), color-coded by meal. The company promises restaurant-quality meals using organic, sustainably sourced ingredients and is the first USDA-certified organic meal kit company. Choices include chicken pho with veggies; green pea and feta falafel; and a spiced pork burrito bowl. greenchef.com
Hello Fresh provides herbivore, omnivore, and family (with kid-friendly recipes) meal plans. Ingredients come in mini boxes that can be stored in the refrigerator, and the recipe cards have easy-to-follow instructions. Choices include creamy dill chicken; one-pan orzo Italiano; and sweet ‘n’ sour yakisoba noodles. hellofresh.com
Plated has gained a strong reputation since its launch in 2012 for providing first-rate ingredients and gourmet recipes. It also offers customizable meals, with several recipe options to choose from every week. Choices include eggs en cocotte; baked flounder oreganata; and Chinese pork lettuce wraps. plated.com
Purple Carrot is strictly a vegan meal kit service and offers recipes such as tofu tikka masala and Portobello mushroom “BLT” with maple syrup. purplecarrot.com
Sun Basket offers a classic menu service that it says is among the best values on the market. Most recipes can be made quickly, in part because Sun Basket does some of the work for you such as including pre-made sauces. It has a plan for every diet, including vegetarian, paleo, and gluten-free. Choices include: Emerald cod chowder with potatoes and tomatillos, Thai chicken salad, and barbecue tofu burgers with kale slaw. sunbasket.com