Brenda I wanted to talk about meal planning services today. So, first of all, what is that?
Well, it is basically an online meal planning service. There are many, many different services, which have many different focuses, but the one thing most of them have in common is portion control. In our office we have all shared and tried out several of these services and they all have the same general feel.
You create an account and once you are logged in, you can see what available plans they have and choose how many meals per week and how many people. You enter some food preferences and then they send you suggested meals. You choose your meals for the coming week, or weeks, and then on a specific day you receive a box with everything you need to make those meals. Everything is perfectly portioned and, usually, everything you need is in the box, except maybe salt and pepper.
I am fascinated by the portions, because when Natalie cooks without the plan we usually have way more. So, I will admit that we usually add a salad to the meal to round it out.
One of the things that I like is that we tried doing an all vegetarian 3 days of meals and if we had been doing that on our own it would have been pasta, pasta, and more pasta. But with this we had veggie fajitas (DELICIOUS!), a spicy veggie stuffed cabbage, and gnocchi with sundried tomatoes (yes, that’s pasta, but at least it was only once).
The recipes are so simple. On days when we are working late, Jack can jump in and prepare everything for when we get home.
Brenda and her significant other, Mike, love being able to pick a meal online and having everything sent to them in the amounts they need for a particular recipe, not buying a whole jar of something that then sits around in the fridge ‘til it goes bad. Brenda and Yvette will be posting a few time on this blog as well, so keep coming back for that.
The one we are currently trying out is called HomeChef, and we like it, but I think there are hit or miss recipes. I am sure that is true of all these types of services. We also tried out Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Martha and Marley Spoon, for a few weeks each. HERE is an article that describes some of the services and there are links available inside the article as well for the others.
There is also a service called Plate Joy, which creates menus and grocery shopping lists for you, so you do not have to receive the food in the mail. Plate Joy does something they call onboarding - this means they ask you questions about food preferences and what appliances you have, so that they know what kinds of meals they can recommend. You can actually do the onboarding without signing up just to see what they might suggest for you.
All of these services have fees, but Natalie thinks that cost-wise it is similar to what you might spend cooking the meal on your own.
Here is a photo of one of the vegetarian meals we made recently ...