Meal kits are becoming more and more popular for people who want both variety and simplicity in their daily diets. With meal kits, subscribers receive a package of fresh food ingredients on their schedules, then prepare quick and easy meals when it’s convenient.
Here, we’ll look at the differences—and pros and cons—of meal kit subscriptions versus shopping at the grocery store.
Why Choose a Meal Kit?
Meal kits have taken the foodie world by storm, and for a good reason. Meal kits combine healthy ingredients in set portion sizes, so meal preparation is easy, accessible, and enjoyable. Most meals are ready between 20 and 45 minutes, and many menu options cater to specific diets.
From vegetarian and vegan to diabetic-friendly, pescatarian, and plain old omnivore, there is a range of companies that provide home chefs with endless options and flavors. And while many kits are created to serve two people per meal, some companies also have family plans that can feed a whole group.
Meal kit pricing does vary, depending on what menu plan and the total number of meals you subscribe to. In general, however, pricing doesn’t differ much between plans. Tons of meal kits contain only organic ingredients, while others adhere to specific nutrition guidelines regarding fiber, protein, and calorie content.
Some of our favorite meal kits allow subscribers to swap out meals from different menus, meaning you can enjoy a plant-based diet most of the time but switch it up to pescatarian when you prefer. Similarly, many family plans have customization such as carnivore or omnivore plans, though some limit your ability to swap out vegan or vegetarian dishes.
Whatever plan or service you subscribe to, you can customize your delivery date and know when your food will arrive. The items are fresh and, in some cases, flash frozen to retain as many nutrients as possible while preserving the food for shipping.
Pros and Cons of Meal Kits
While meal kits are a convenient choice for many foodies to cook at home, they’re not for everyone. Here are the pros and cons of meal kits.
- Relatively affordable
- Organic ingredients
- Pre-portioned kits make meal prep simple
- Predictable and customizable delivery dates
- May cost more than grocery store shopping
- Some limitations concerning specific meal plans
Why Shop at the Grocery Store?
Most people shop at the grocery store and cook their food at home, but plenty of people also rely on eating out for many of their meals. That’s because grocery shopping can be time-consuming and quite a bit of work, especially if you have to seek out recipes, prepare ingredients, and go through a process of trial and error when trying new things.
However, grocery shopping is a necessity, even if you subscribe to a meal kit service. Most meal kits contain lunch or dinner items, not necessarily snacks, desserts, or even breakfasts. This does vary, but most people probably can’t skip the grocery store in favor of having every food item they need to be delivered in a meal kit.
And when you do step into the grocery store, you may be tempted by impulse buys, particularly those with tempting packaging or those items which are conveniently located near the checkout. While you’re standing in line, you tend to pick at what’s on the shelves, making every shopping trip not only costlier but also potentially less healthy, too.
Of course, maintaining control over both your budget and your day-to-day menu are also perks of grocery shopping on your own, and some people enjoy the experience, especially the thrill of saving money with couponing or special store sales.
Pros and Cons of Grocery Stores
Grocery store shopping is the norm for most people all over the world, but it’s not always the most convenient or simple option for making healthy meals at home. Here are the pros and cons of grocery shopping.
- Not shopping for strictly full meals
- Often affordable if buying in bulk
- Convenient as far as obtaining a last-minute ingredient any time
- Produce can go bad before you use it
- Buying in bulk is often wasteful if food spoils, negating the savings
- Must find recipes/practice making dishes
- Many shoppers wind up buying on impulse
While grocery shopping is the norm for many people, it doesn’t have to be the only way to obtain fresh ingredients for flavorful recipes you’ll prepare at home. Meal kits combine everything we like about grocery stores—fresh produce, organic ingredients, convenience—and make it more accessible and affordable than ever to cook without having to find the perfect fruit or vegetable, purchase bulk containers of ingredients, or stand in line to check out.
If you’re ready to look into meal kits either to try one out or switch up your menu, take a look at our best meal kits options. These come highly recommended regarding pricing, taste, and options.