What is a meal kit, and why do I need this in my life?
So I was chatting with one of my lovely university friends this morning, and we were talking about how it can be so challenging this time of year to make healthy dinners! Long work days, paired with dark evenings and long to do lists causes us to resort to pick up take out or eat a bag of popcorn instead (no joke, this was staple meal of mine in my past life). So when someone asks me how do you do it?! The answer is….meal delivery. I’m not talking about the mushy, pre-cooked meals that they deliver to elderly people. Try gourmet recipes, fresh ingredients, organic produce, and pre-measured spices, delivered right to my door. Yup, that’s the kind of meal kit and grocery delivery I’m talking about!
A few months back I was turned on to meal kit delivery by another mom. Before then, I had no idea this existed! So I went on a mission to try a different one every week for a month. In my investigating I also found new ones that I didn’t know about before so I am here to compare them all, I have personally tried most of these, and lets just say, my husband was very happy I took on this project. I started writing this blog post months ago, but never finished it up until now, so I hope you appreciate the product of months of cooking and googling! I obviously am limited to companies that deliver in California, so although there are so many awesome companies out there I started with these ones.
Use this link to get 4 meals free!
| Green Chef has really stepped up their game lately! The portion sizes are amazing…the recipes have been super tasty and they now color code everything to make it fool proof! I love that there is always a good variety to choose from each week. We usually chose the paleo options but if there was something we didn’t like there are lots other options to choose from instead.
All organic healthy meals.
Husbands favorite, large portion sizes. You get what you pay for!
Awesome flavors! Really feel like we are eating gourmet food every night.
Meat was always super fresh and arrived cold.
Most things come already measured and prepped, less time spent cutting up and measuring ingredients. Most of these meals take less than 20 minutes.
I like that you can recreate the recipes on your own if its something you really like. Provide recipe and cooking instructions online!
Great customer service, had an issue with a box and they got back to me right away and fixed the matter super quick!
They don’t re-use their packaging (that I know of!). Lots of little containers and other items that I threw away.
|Take about 20 minutes to prepare.
Have the option of vegetarian, paleo, pescatarian, omnivore, carnivore, gluten-free
Price varies on meal plan chosen. $9 delivery fee.
Vegetarian: $10.49 per serving
Omnivore: $11.99 per serving
Carnivore: $13.49 per serving
Gluten-free: $13.49 per serving
Paleo: $14.99 per serving
Flexible scheduling, can choose to have weekly, bi-monthly, monthly and skip at any time.
Get 3 Meals Free from Sun Basket! Fresh organic ingredients and easy recipes delivered, with Paleo, Gluten-free and Vegetarian options.
|Sun Basket and Green Chef are fairly comparable, but in terms of recipe wise this one is my favorite. It works for my family and they always incorporate different and new flavors that change each season depending on whats fresh.
Recipes are great, a good variety of food and multiple options to choose from each week.
Awesome FLAVORS! I can’t get over all the new spices and recipes I have tried and loved. Foods I would never think of making.
Meals are balanced and filling.
Portion size is average, with more than enough vegetables.
Organic produce and grass-fed fresh meat.
Price is reasonable and works out being less expensive than grocery shopping! (I tracked this over 2 months and compared, yes I am a nerd like that)
They REUSE their packaging! They give you a label to send everything back every 2 weeks.
Each meal comes in it’s own paper bag (doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it makes it that much easier)
Nutritionist designs meals so there are the proper balance of protein, fat and carbs.
Have video tutorials on how to make the food.
|No tracking on the boxes, and they get delivered very late on Wednesday night, so I often can’t make the food until the next day. Not Sun Basket’s fault, but still annoying.
||Take between 15-30 minutes to prepare.
Currently shipping to CA, OR, WA, CO, UT, AZ, NV and ID
Meals cost $11.49 per person.
2–person plan: $68.94/week
4–person plan: $137.88/week
6–person plan: $206.82/week
Skip any week or cancel at any time.
Get 2 meals free by clicking this link
|Meals were tasty, lots to choose from each week.
Instructions were simple and easy to follow.
Learned a lot about HOW to cook.
Food arrived cold and ready to cook!
Price is reasonable
Vegetarian recipes looked delicious.
Skip or cancel at any time.
2 person or family plan.
|Sometimes, not the healthiest choices. Not foods that my husband (who is very picky) will eat. No paleo option.
My least favorite recipes out of all of them.
Required quite a bit of prep work (e.g. cutting up squash is no fun and time consuming!)
Small portion sizes.
They don’t re-use their packaging (that I know of!). Lots of little containers and other items that I threw away.
Forgot items in one of my boxes.
|Free delivery nationwide.
Learn more here
|I really loved this service for the simplicity, low cost ($40-$60/week!) quick delivery, and the fact that you could order meals off an app. That being said, they have since discontinued their delivery service. So I won’t go into a full review.
||No longer available for delivery.
||Check out their app or website for great recipes! I still use their recipes often when I need to think of easy meals to cook.
Click HERE For a FREE meal kit for 2!
| I LOVE this meal kit for weeks that we are SUPER busy and I don’t have time to think about dinner. The main PRO…all the meals take only 10 minutes and there is NO prep work involved. Literally take the food out, cook the meat and vegetables and warm up the side dish in the microwave. Their recipes have really improved lately and I like that they tell you how to plate it and add the gourmet touches. Healthy choices for the most part!
Convenient, affordable, tasty.
Portion size a little small.
Great for weeks that you know are really busy and won’t have time to spend in the kitchen.
Reuse their packaging and allow you to print a return shipping label to send it back.
|Meals can be prepared as dairy-free, nut-free, or gluten-free by withholding certain ingredients that will be packed separately in the dinner kit. Not guaranteed to be exclusively dairy free or nut free, etc.
Limited choice of recipes each week, no paleo option.
$11.95 per meal if you order 6 or more meals and $13.95 per meal if you only order 4 meals.
Only available in California and Nevada
Check out the gallery of pictures I’ve taken over the past couple months! I don’t think we’ve ever ate the same meal twice.
On a side note, some of the links above are affiliate links for the meal kit delivery services, e.g. I get very small incentive bonus if you do sign up. I never let this influence my review, it’s just a nice perk of sharing the love!
What is Freekeh?
Freekeh is an ancient grain that is used in any of the same dishes that you would use other grains such as rice or quinoa. It is made from young green wheat that has been toasted and cracked. It is a whole wheat that is high in fiber, protein and other essential nutrients. (source)
So if you came to my house and opened our fridge and freezer you would notice that I buy A LOT of my groceries from Costco. Thought I’d share today what my typical grocery list looks like, the items I love, and the items to stay away from.
I usually go to Costco once or twice a month, we have a deep freezer so I am able to keep a lot of stuff frozen until I am ready to use it.
My Typical Shopping List
Download your own Printable Shopping List Below!
Obviously people have different preferences so change it as you like, and I intentionally left out items that I generally buy at the regular grocery store such as potatoes, herbs, etc.
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast & Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs– comes in pouches of two HUGE chicken breasts, these are great to defrost and make a quick dinner like Cilantro-Lime Chicken.
- Salmon – I will buy fresh most of the time, and freeze whatever I don’t use for dinner. Lately I have been buying the frozen one out of laziness, but it tastes just as good and is a bit cheaper.
- Top Sirloin Steak – These steaks are HUGE, so even though they are pricey my husband and I will split a steak so it’s enough for 4 dinners
- Ground Turkey Breast – Comes in packs of 4 so they are great to freeze and defrost to make turkey burgers, meatballs, tacos, or mix with spaghetti sauce
- Sliced Turkey Breast – Great for wraps
- Frozen Fruit- strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, cherries, pretty much whatever they have that day (it changes with the seasons)
- Spring Mix Salad- they have a HUGE pack of spring mix salad for $3.50. Pretty much can’t beat that. At that price I don’t feel so bad when I throw the last bit out that has gone soggy.
- Coconut Oil- I use this for all my cooking so we go through it quickly.
- Fresh Blueberries/Strawberries/Blackberries – whatever is in season.
- Apples or Oranges
- Tomatoes – awesome for cucumber and tomato salads
- Butternut Squash – they have it already cubed and at an awesome price, but unfortunately they don’t have this all the time.
- Cauliflower or Broccoli – comes already cut and ready to steam
- Bag of Spinach – we put it in our morning smoothies
- Low carb Tortillas – my husband likes these, I eat them, but if you are expecting them to taste like the real thing you will be in for a surprise.
- Almond Milk – best price for a pack of 3 cartons!
- Fage 0% Greek Yogurt – I don’t eat dairy but this is my husbands favorite nighttime snack
- Zone Protein Bars – Okay, this is borderline a cheat item because it is pretty much a chocolate bar but they are good to have on the go.
- Rotisserie Chicken – Okay, I NEVER leave Costco without buying one, even if we aren’t going to eat it that night. For $5 this tasty and easy meal is good for days. You can eat the chicken by itself, on salads, in wraps, in a soup, etc. It may be high in sodium but for the amount of protein it provides and how freakin’ delicious it is I’m okay with that.
- Bell Peppers
- Corn on the Cob
- Rolled Oats
- Granola Bars
- Chicken Broth
- Paper Towels
- Bottled Water
- Frozen Vegetables
- Olive Oil
- Skinny Pop Popcorn
Seems like a lot of food right? It IS! But, if I stick to just what I need and only buy ‘real’ food I can usually get out of there spending $180-$200 and that covers a good portion of our dinners for the next two weeks
BAD Shopping Choices at Costco!
Here are some things to stay away from if you want to save your waistline and your budget.
- Skip the entire section with snacks, nuts and baked goods. Even though a lot of these look like ‘healthy’ choices they aren’t. Chips that say they have Kale in them may be healthier than regular potato chips, but they still aren’t good for you! I personally LOVE their croissants, but I definitely don’t need to eat a dozen of them, so I just skip this section all together to avoid the temptation.
- Skip the frozen aisle with all the pre-made meals. Obviously taquitos, breakfast sandwiches, and processed foods are not a healthy choice…and they are expensive to boot!
- Skip the juice aisle. Juice or soda is fine for a treat every once a in a while but having a 24 pack of sugar packed juice boxes in the house will just encourage you to drink more than you should.
- Skip the nut & trail mix aisle. Yes, nuts are good for you…in moderation. If you have the willpower to only have a handful of nuts a day then great, save some money and buy them in bulk. Personally, I don’t because I end up eating ¼ bag of trail mix in one sitting which is the calorie equivalent of running 10 + miles. No thanks.
CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE SHOPPING LIST!
How to NOT spend WAY too much money
In order to save your budget try these tips.
- Go in with a list, commit to ONLY buying what’s on the shopping list. Yes, you definitely could use a new set of mixing bowls but do you need them? No. I am really guilty of this and I’m doing much better lately at sticking to the list.
- Don’t walk through every aisle. Only go to the sections of the store that you know have the items you need. I skip the electronics, home items, toys and clothing, and head straight to the back where the meat and vegetables are kept, then I make my way around the freezer and dry food aisles skipping the middle section of ‘seasonal’ stuff . That is what usually gets me. How can I not buy new beach towels? They won’t have them again until next year!
- Don’t buy items that you will not use in a reasonable amount of time. If it will take you a year to use a Costco sized bottle of Olive Oil then don’t bother. It will go bad before you use it all and it would have been cheaper to just buy a smaller bottle at the grocery store. Same with fresh produce, if the item is not part of one of your planned lunches or dinners in then next 7 days then skip it this time. I hate the day before garbage day because I always go through the fridge and find items that were forgotten and had gone bad. Throwing out fresh fruits and vegetables makes me cringe since it’s pretty much the same as tossing money in the garbage.
Want a 7 day clean eating meal plan based on the items you see above? Want the accountability of a trainer that checks in and helps you stick to your goals? Email me today to try my 7 day clean eating challenge and get started on the path to a healthier life!
In fitness & good health,
I posted another recipe on yummy lactation cookies that turned out great, so I decided to just take the ingredients and throw them all into a smoothie. It turned out great too! Here’s the recipe…
You need, a blender of sorts – We have the Nutribullet and it’s awesome.
1/4 cup rolled oats (old fashioned works best)
1 tablespoon brewers yeast
1 frozen banana
1 tablespoon almond butter
1/2 tsp coconut oil or flax seed oil
Cinnamon for taste
Handful of Spinach (optional – you can’t taste it but it’s a good addition!)
Put all the dry ingredients in the blender, fill with milk, blend until smooth.
So I hate baking but decided to take a shot at some lactation cookies since I hear all the galactagogues (milk producing foods) in them are great for maintaining milk supply, and hey… It’s a treat I don’t feel bad about eating!
Here’s the recipe I used, I adapted it from this one I found on mama natural.
PS, If you don’t like the taste of fennel you can substitute it for 2 tbsp of flax seeds, I personally like the taste but it can be a bit overbearing.
4 cups organic rolled oats (blended or whole, I’ve used both and it works fine)
1 cup organic coconut sugar
1/2 cup organic cornstarch
1/2 cup Brewers yeast (I got this in the supplement section at whole foods)
1 TB fennel seed, ground (can sub for 2 TB of ground flax)
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup, plus 2 TB coconut oil
2 TB organic blue agave
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1/2 cup of organic dark chocolate chips
Yield 20 large cookies
Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Put your 4 cups of rolled oats into a high speed blender or food processor (I used my nutribullet). Blend until the oats are ground but not completely smooth.
Measure out 1 TB of fennel seeds and grind until fine powder. ( or use 2 tbsp of ground flax seeds)
Put dry ingredients into large bowl and mix.
In a smaller bowl, put your almond butter, melted coconut oil, honey, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix well.
Pour the contents of smaller bowl into the dry ingredient bowl. Mix well with spoon or clean hands.
Grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil. Form flat balls, I made mine pretty big because I wanted them to be more like a breakfast bar but you can make them smaller if you want them to be more like cookies.
Bake cookies in oven for 8-10 minutes. Check for slightest browning on outside of cookie.
Take out and transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
Enjoy warm, or let cookies cool to room temperature.