I heard a story once from someone who was speaking to his grandmother some years back, and the latter was reminiscing about cooking. She had been cooking since she was young (she grew up on a farm) and had been cooking for a good 70 plus years. She expressed a wish that she could see, just for a moment, all the meals she had made over those years. I just imagine how many Christmas dinners would appear, how many roasts, cakes, batches of cookies, sandwiches, you name it – all that work of so many years. And that’s just it: cooking is work.

We live in an age of countless conveniences, yet figuring out what to put on the dinner table can cause a lot of angst, hassle, and eat up (pardon the expression) a lot of time. And let’s face it – those of us in later life can get a bit more tired than we used to, and having something that can save time and effort isn’t a bad thing! Over the last number of years, more and more companies offering straight-to-home meal kits have shown up on the market.

What are meal kits?

Meal kits are boxes that get delivered to your home on a pre-set schedule (you can choose how often you want them delivered). They come with recipe cards and all the ingredients required in pre-measured quantities. Together, they allow you to make meals relatively quickly. You can of course choose which meals you want delivered too.

What are the pros and cons to meal kits?

Like anything, there are pros and cons to buying and using these kits, whichever you end up choosing. Keep these things in mind before diving in.

Meal kit pros

1). Convenience. No need to worry about running out of ingredients, or having to visit the grocery store or schedule a grocery delivery. Everything comes to you for the meals you scheduled in one convenient box. Of course, if you want to spice up the meal(s) that come to you, you can always add additional ingredients or cook it to taste with additional herbs or seasoning.

2). Recipe cards. Get a meal delivered to you that you absolutely adored? No need to fret about forgetting the recipe, just keep the recipe card for future use. Or better still, take a picture of it (or scan it) and keep it digitally for a paperless option.

3). Know the exact nutritional value of what you’re eating. Ever wonder just how much salt or fat are in your meals? Well now you can know! If you’re watching your dietary intake of certain things (like salt), you’ll be able to know ahead of time which meals to avoid, and which are suitable.

4). Scheduling convenience. Don’t want meals every day? No problem! Meal kit services allow you to customize when you want meal kits (within reason) and how often you want them delivered.

Meal kit cons

1). Cost. Bottom line, these businesses exist for one reason: to make money. You will be paying more than if you went out and bought items yourself at most grocery stores. But you’re not using meal kit services for their cost (although they are usually cheaper than ordering food from a restaurant); you’re using them for convenience. You can pay anywhere from about $8-$13 per serving, depending on the meal and the service. So, in time, cost can quickly add up.

2). Variety and size. Although you do get a variety of options, you are still limited to whatever ideas they present to you. If you don’t like the choices offered by one meal kit service, you can always shop around and find another. And if you have a bigger appetite, you may not be happy with the portion sizes.

3). Stay on top of your orders/subscription. If you try a meal kit service and aren’t so thrilled with it, be sure to cancel right away. You don’t want to get saddled with additional meals delivered to you that you didn’t want, and their cost.

4). Waste. You may end up generating more waste in getting everything delivered to you in individual wrappers. Check to see if the materials they provide (like wrappers) are recyclable.

Weigh the pros and cons and see if they’re right for you!

These are just a few of the pros and cons when it comes to pre-packaged meal delivery kits. If you find yourself tired, running out of cooking inspiration, or just want an easier alternative at times to “slaving away” in the kitchen for hours each week, meal kits may be for you. Just check your budget, and shop around for a service that delivers to your area, and provides a good variety of healthy meals. Bon appetite!