Pre-prepped meal kits are the newest fad in diet and meal prep culture. Many of these kits include pre-made meals that are delivered to your door with a weekly or monthly subscription service. Customers can choose from a variety of meals and select how many meals they would like per week. Meal kits save customers time not only in grocery shopping, but with preparing meals, as well.
Alyssa Oceguera, senior nutrition and food science major and vice president of CBU’s nutrition club, shared her thoughts and positive experience.
“You pick your meals for the week and can see the ingredients and portions,” Oceguera said. “They have vegetarian, Mediterranean and pescatarian labeled food kits that are healthy and delicious.”
While meal kits are convenient and have many benefits, Oceguera shared that being able to cook your own food gives individuals more control over the ingredients they consume.
“At a restaurant, seeing what goes into the food is not the full picture,” Oceguera said. “When you cook for yourself, you get to choose the best ingredients for you and have full control over what goes into your meal, how much of it and what kind it is.”
Oceguera explained that while grocery shopping tends to be less pricy, this may not always be the case when purchasing quality items.
“It is possible to shop on a budget by making a list and shopping at multiple places,” Oceguera said. “I get a mix of foods from Trader Joe’s, Ralphs and Costco. This allows me to get the best price for our family. I also buy in bulk when cheaper and prepare oven-ready meals in the freezer.”
Oceguera felt that meal kits are best when serving one or two people but becomes unreasonable in price with larger households.
“I cook to feed a family of two to six, so meal kits are not cost-effective for feeding a large family,” Oceguera said. “I also prefer to control what we eat, and cooking allows me more choice, freedom and convenience for my situation.”
Jackie Cruz, senior business administration major, spoke on the financial side of meal prepping.
Cruz said grocery shopping will allow for more flexibility in cost and gives customers the ability to find discounts and not be tied down to a fixed budget.
“The flexibility of home-cooked meals allows for the cost to fluctuate and even be less than what a kit can cost,” Cruz said. “I believe meal kits are worth it for a household size of one due to the convenience, time, variety and quality. (A meal kit) saves a person’s time and gas.”
However, Cruz agreed with Oceguera that when feeding multiple people, meal kits become financially burdensome and are not worth the cost.
An article titled “Are Meal Prep Services Worth It” by Meal Plan Weekly weighed the pros and cons of meal kits. The article explained that meal kits save individuals time, help them achieve their fitness goals, stay organized and even save money in some situations.
These kits take away the stress of having to calculate calories and macros, saving them not only mental energy but also time. This extra time gives individual leeway in their schedules to exercise or focus on other responsibilities, according to Meal Plan Weekly.
The article elaborates on Cruz’s point that one major drawback is little flexibility in a spending budget. Because meal kits come at a fixed price, customers cannot change their grocery budget depending on the week or month.
“Many meal prep services will price up their menu and packages differently, but on average, the competitive price for 10 meals per week will cost $60” according to the article. “As a result, you are paying around $6 per meal, and 10 meals per week are usually just lunches and dinners.”
Meal kits have many benefits in terms of options for dietary preferences, such as vegetarian, vegan or keto, but they may fall short if your dietary restrictions are unique or specific to your taste.