Happy Sunday! A post on my personal page about a recipe & ingredient delivery program I tried generated a lot of interest, so I decided to get a little more in depth on my blog!

If you haven’t heard of these programs before, let me share what I have experienced and why I think it’s worth a try if you’re interested. I have used Green Chef and Blue Apron, and am looking forward to trying Hello Fresh. I also have heard of Purple Carrot as a plant based option.

1) There is usually an incentive to try it out. Whether it may be discounted meals, discounted codes on popular coupon sites, or a coupon code from a friend – I have seen many discounts/offers available!

2) The ingredients needed for each recipe are delivered right to your doorstep, either on a set delivery date or a date of your choosing. Once company I had to choose a Thursday, others were more flexible with a choice of Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

3) Everything is pre-portioned and the recipe cards are easy to follow with photos. Individual, pre-portioned items cut prep time and the step by step photos and easy to follow instructions inspire your inner chef.

4) It’s real food! As a Dietitian, I encourage clients to eat real, whole foods. These services may help fill the weeknight gaps when meal planning doesn’t quite go as planned.

5) Being back in the kitchen has its perks. Family meals, anyone? As these are designed for either 2 or 4 people in most cases, I think they can be a great way to bring families together in meal prep and family meal time. (And we know the benefits of family meal time go beyond nutrition: http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/Meals-Recipes/Family-Meal-Planning/Article-Viewer/Article/314/Why-Family-Meals-Matter.aspx)

I do have a few thoughts for this up and coming service:

1) Use nutrition information to optimize menus. I’ve seen sodium ranges from 115mg to 1680mg (the one I ended up with, figures right!) per serving. Maybe a good idea to hire an RD to help – I know Hello Fresh does!

2) Go a little further on the prep. I loved that Green Chef does little things, like cuts the top off the bell peppers and pre-mixes the sauce, and that makes a big difference in time. I found it hard to create a Blue Apron meal in the half hour I have, whereas Green Chef was easy to do.

3) Add some more veggies! Some of the meals don’t get in the amount of veggies I want at dinner for my family. And seriously, if I have to add them to make the meal complete it may not be the timesaver I am looking for. It’s another opportunity to optimize the health of this service.

I realize everyone has different tastes and preferences. I also realize some may want a savory meal every now and then. I think the services do a good job of creating tasty meals (of all we have tried, there hasn’t been a bad one yet!). For those focusing on health, even if it’s a specialized option, there are some great opportunities to meet the expectations of these clients. Let me know which solution you tried, and what you thought of it in the comments!

*Disclaimer – I am not affiliated with any of these services, and all opinions are my own.

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