That said, meal kits have their advantages and disadvantages:
Advantage: Convenience. With home-delivered meal kits, there’s no need to come up with a meal idea, then spend time shopping for the ingredients. The meal kits do all that for you, delivering what you need to prepare and cook meals at home.
Disadvantage: Cost. Meal kits aren’t inexpensive – the cost typically falls somewhere between ordering food from a restaurant and grocery shopping. Brinkmann’s suggestion: try it, then replicate the meals you like for less by using ingredients purchased at the store. “Maybe use them as inspiration,” she says.
Advantage: Portion control. The meal kit design skips the guesswork of how much meat or vegetables you should have on your plate, which can help you maintain a healthy diet. “Most of the time, they’re pretty good on vegetables and protein,” Brinkmann says.
Disadvantage: Packaging. Starting with the insulated box and working your way inside, you may find a lot of packaging designed to keep everything cool and fresh on the way to your kitchen counter. If you’re trying to cut down on your trash output, that could be a deal breaker.
Advantage: New flavors. Putting your meal planning in someone else’s hands gives you the chance to try foods and flavors you may have never thought of.
“They’re a good way to break out of a dietary rut,” Brinkmann says.
Disadvantage: New flavors. On the other hand, you might not like what you find in the box. The mail-order version of “chef’s surprise” is fun until you get something you can’t, won’t or don’t eat. Some kit meals might also have your kids wrinkling up their noses. In that case, you’ve got two choices: widen your culinary horizons or revisit the checkboxes on your meal kit order form.