With so many delivery meal services available, it’s tough to know both what’s best for you and what’s the most cost-effective option. Whether you’re shopping at the grocery store or eat too much fast food, there’s a better option!
Meal kit and prepared meal services both deliver healthy food with fresh ingredients to your doorstep. But the two delivery options are different in some ways, which is why we’re here!
Here we’ll go over the differences between meal kits and prep meal services, along with the pros and cons, so you can decide which option works best for you.
What is a Meal Kit?
In short, a meal kit involves all the ingredients you need to fix healthy meals to suit specific dietary needs at home.
With a meal kit, you’ll receive a selection of refrigerated ingredients along with recipes to prepare each plate. These kits feature all the elements you need to make flavorful meals—except for kitchen basics like salt and pepper!
Many meal kit services include proprietary blends of spices plus delicious sauces you can’t find anywhere else. Of course, this makes for a fresh and flavorful meal that’s ready when you are. Most meals take between 20 and 45 minutes to prep.
Since they involve getting in the kitchen and using more than just a microwave, meal kits are ideal for people who enjoy cooking and like to immerse themselves in making meals. If you enjoy dicing vegetables, searing meat on the grill or stovetop, and plating the meal in an appealing way, a meal kit might be right for you. Of course, there are some drawbacks to meal kits, depending on your personal preferences and needs.
Pros & Cons of Meal Kits
While meal kits are ideal for a lot of people, they’re not a one-size solution to crafting healthy meals at home. Here are a few pros and cons with meal kits.
- Ingredients are fresh and even organic
- Serving sizes are pre-determined for two-person plans
- Family-style kits are available to feed a group with ease
- Can often adjust delivery schedules and meal plans
- Often costs less than prep meals
- Cooking is required
- Plans typically cover meals only (not snacks)
Some Leading Meal Kits Companies:
What is a Prepared Meal Delivery Service?
In contrast with meal kits, prepared meal services feature dishes that are ready to heat (and eat) upon arrival.
Most prep meals arrive flash-frozen with instructions included for reheating. Not only are these meals easy—there’s no cooking or prep required—but they can also accommodate a range of dietary needs. Often, prep meal services focus on unique nutritional challenges like diabetic-friendly programs or weight-loss regimens. In contrast, meal kits typically focus on flavor and dietary preference rather than weight loss.
Nutritional facts are often included on the prepped meal containers, just as you would find in the frozen food section of your local grocery store. The difference is that the food is flash-frozen and not languishing on a shelf before arriving at your door; meals are timed to be fresh and delicious.
In short, prep meals are ideal for those foodies with hectic schedules, small kitchens, and specific dietary needs or wants. There’s very little time required to heat and eat the meals, but subscribers can choose from globally-inspired cuisine that satisfies both the palate and the clock!
Pros & Cons of Prepared Meal Services
While prep meals are super convenient and often delicious, they’re not necessarily the right fit for every person or diet. There are both pros and cons to prepared meal services, as you’ll see below.
- No cooking involved—just heat and eat
- Ingredients are fresh and even organic, then flash-frozen
- Single-serving packages help curb calories
- Plans for all dietary needs, including age distinctions
- Plans can include sides and snacks
- No cooking involved—for some people, cooking is half the fun of eating!
- Need to open another meal for a second serving
- Can cost more than meal kits
While both meal kits and prep meal services offer a level of convenience that trips to the grocery store plus meal planning can’t compete with, the two types of kits have both different goals and varying pros and cons.
However, if you are looking to cut down on mealtime preparation and avoid rushing to the grocery store every other weeknight, both options can help with that! And while we’re partial to meal kits since we find joy in cooking, that’s not true for everyone—and there’s nothing wrong with that!
With meal kit and prep meal delivery options, nothing is standing between people who love food and the meals that will satiate their hunger and tickle their taste buds! Ready to try out a meal kit that’s tried and true? See our recommendations for the best meal kits to get you started.