Meal Prepping – DIY vs Professional Services

Meal prepping can be a drag – it takes time, money, and not to mention: a ton of energy. Commitment can be difficult when you rely on yourself to make the time and effort it takes to plan your meals, go grocery shopping, cook and plate meals, and clean your dishes every week.

Why meal prep at all? Think about it – most of us are busy-bees. Whether you are a parent, a full-time worker, a student – you likely give up quite a bit to keep up with your lifestyle. However, that which you compromise should never be a healthy meal or more time relaxing with your friends and family. This is why many people take part in the practice of “meal prepping” – preparing meals ahead of time, all at once, to have meals ready to pop in the microwave when you are ready to eat. However, often times you don’t even have enough time or energy for taking a day to complete the process.

Ordering meals from a meal prep service is usually the best solution to this conundrum. While it may seem pricey to pay up front for your meals for the week, after you compare it to your grocery bill, the amount you spend on eating out, and the time you spend planning and preparing these meals – it can definitely be worth the cost.

Meal Prep Service Benefits

Meal prep services prepare meals for you – so that upon pickup or delivery of your meals, everything you need for the week is already prepared, plated, and ready to heat and eat. Many companies even offer delivery for multiple times during the week so that you can have fresh meals that last you all week!
A lot of prepared meal companies also take advantage of having a brick-and-mortar store where customers can visit and pick out meals from a Grab and Go cooler – that way you can try a meal before committing to a weekly delivery service or even to just grab a quick lunch during the day.

Choosing the Right Meal Prep Service

There are a few important factors that should be considered when looking for a meal prep company. The first factor to consider before moving forward is to ask yourself: what is your purpose in signing up for a meal prep service? What are your goals? You obviously have a reason for researching meal prep subscription services, so keep your personal goals in mind when checking out the companies in your area. Most of the time, people sign up for a prepared meal service to save time on cooking meals,
however you also might want to:

  • Reduce stress in planning meals that meet your macronutrient requirements
  • Lose weight
  • Gain weight
  • Regulate your diet because of dietary restrictions due to a health condition
  • Just to eat healthier food

All of these goals can be met by using and sticking to a meal prep delivery service! Here we’ll review some of the most important factors to consider when searching for the right meal prep service for you. Think about how these factors matter to you and your goals.

Think about your budget. If you plan on replacing all of your meals with those from a meal prep company, look at your monthly expenses and review what you spend on food. The amount you spend on grocery shopping and eating out can now all go towards paying for your meal plan subscription – this is something that people often don’t think about when signing up for a meal prep service, and often believe at first that it is too expensive. 

If a meal prep company is only charging you a couple of dollars per meal, well, then you get what you paid for! Look for companies that charge between $7-10 per meal. Any less than that, and you’re likely to be getting lower quality meals. The more you pay, the better the quality. Compare companies to see how many calories are in the meal – a meal with less calories and less food probably shouldn’t cost much more than a meal with more calories and more food. 

If you’re getting your meals shipped or delivered, look at this cost, too. Many companies factor their expenses for delivery and shipping into the cost per meal and they offer you free delivery, while not every company does this. If meals are low in cost and charge nothing for delivery, you’re likely to be getting meals that are not good in quality. 2. Ingredients 

Is the meal prep company you’re checking out using fresh ingredients? If not, look for another service. It’s usually pretty obvious simply by looking at the pictures of their food if they are using a ton of processed ingredients and preservatives. 

If a company is using anything fried that they expect you to reheat, move on! Sure, waffle fries sound great – but do you really think they made those fresh in their kitchen? And do you really think they are healthy? They probably came out of a freezer bag and won’t do you much good in the health department. 

Are you allergic to anything? If you have food allergies, you’re likely already aware that this is a big consideration when it comes to eating anywhere or ordering from any place. If you have a severe allergy, that is you can have a very bad reaction from being in the same room as an ingredient, from touching it, or eating foods that are cooked in the same area as that ingredient, then unfortunately a meal prep service just might not be for you. Your health and safety is a priority – a meal prep company should be transparent about what they use and common allergens in their meals, but you have a responsibility to make it clear if you have a dangerous food restriction. 

Do you have dietary restrictions? If you need low-carb meals due to your own personal diet needs or because you are diabetic, find a company that offers ketogenic meals.