Only until somewhat recently home cooking was the only option for most people. Having someone else cooking your meals was only reserved for those who were much better off financially.. But today, especially in a hectic big city lifestyle, the weekly meal planning, shopping and cooking could almost be called “the old-fashioned way”in some circles.

More and more busy people are relying on meal delivery services to streamline their weekly schedules. With an abundance of affordable wholefood delivery services popping up it’s tempting to ditch the knife and the frying pan and let someone else take care of some, or all of the meal preparation.

Should you do it too?

To see which options is the ideal for your situation and lifestyle, let’s run through the pros and cons of home cooked meals and few different meal delivery service options.

Home cooked meals

As funny as it sounds, this is the ultimate DIY way of getting the weekly food menu sorted. Plan the weekly meals, go shopping (or have the groceries delivered), cook and clean up the dishes.

It’s hard to beat a well cooked and nutritious homemade meal. If you are inclined to eat relatively simple during the weekdays, have time for cooking and don’t mind doing it, this is still the best option for most people.

Simple meal including a serve of protein, carbohydrate source, healthy fats and vegetables can be easy and quick to make. Especially if you do a bit of dicing and cooking on the weekend so all you have to do for the weekday lunch or dinner is to chop the fresh ingredients.

The major upside home cooking has over any delivery service is that you can source all your ingredients from where ever you want. You know exactly where each item comes from. But the benefits of doing your cooking goes beyond of having the control of each meal you make.

It’s easier to make healthy decisions on the go when ordering at a restaurant, even without knowing the strict calorie amounts of each dish. Having the basic cooking skills and knowledge allows you to eat better when out and about since you are well versed on what ingredients and cooking styles different dishes involve. In other words, you’ll become good at “guesstimating”.

All that being said, even the simplest food prepping on the weekend can easily take an hour or two. Or more if you want more than just something super-simple. And you do need to do the dishes.

Pros
  • Cheapest

  • Always fresh, possible to control all the ingredients and their origins

  • Flexibility to eat whatever you want

Cons
  • Time consuming (planning, shopping cooking, dishes)

  • Requires the basic cooking skills (although this can be a positive, as mentioned previously)

  • If you count calories you need to use a scale to prepare your meals (or you could use hand portions)

Best for those who want the full control of their meals, enjoy cooking and have the time for it.

Different meal delivery options

If cooking is not your thing, or you just don’t have the time for it, the last thing to do is to rely on convenient fast-foods and ad hoc decision making once hunger creeps in. As convenient as it might be, the standard western fast food is not something you want to base your diet around.

With the wholefood meal delivery services you have an abundance of different companies to choose from. The services included in this post are those who deliver wholesome meals. Meals that would fit into the principle of basing most of your meals on wholefoods.

Fresh food kit delivery – services

With this option you’ll get a fresh food kit delivered each week. It’s a box of raw ingredients with recipes dropped at your door, or in the workplace. This saves the time it would take to plan your weekly meals. Not to mention allowing you to skip the grocery store queues.

This can be a great option for those who enjoy cooking but don’t like to, or don’t have the time to plan what to have. Often these recipes don’t require more than 30 minutes of preparing and only the basic knowledge of cooking is sufficient.

Most ingredient boxes include the correct amounts of “special” ingredients so there is very little waste. You don’t have to buy a bag of caraway seeds to use a pinch for a meal. Only to store the rest away and never use it again before the expiry date.

However, most of these services require you to have the basics stocked in your kitchen. Things such as salt, pepper, eggs and flour. The requirements vary so check with each delivery service before ordering. And of course you’ll need the necessary cooking utensils to cook a meal with.

If you are new to cooking, one often overlooked upside of these kits is that they can act as a great learning tool for practicing your cooking skills.

Pros
  • Fresh ingredients and freshly cooked meals

  • Little to zero waste

  • No planning or shopping needed

Cons
  • Requires the basic ingredients in the pantry/fridge

  • Can be restrictive in swapping recipes for another

  • Not always available for single serves

Best for those who don’t have the time to plan and shop for meals, but enjoy cooking and can spare 30 minutes for it.

Ready-to-eat meal delivery – services

If 30 minutes of cooking doesn’t sound appealing you can go for the ultra-convenient, but more expensive route.

These services are for those who simply don’t have the time for planning, shopping and cooking. Or, for those who hate the thought of cooking. As this is the most expensive option, all you have to do is to choose a plan or pick your meals to get them delivered to your door.

Depending on which company you go with you have the option to choose from either cooked and frozen, or cooked and fridge-chilled meals. The frozen options are easy enough to cook in a microwave and require little to non cooking skills.

Some of these meals come as a downside of soggy vegetables. This is true more often than not with the frozen options. And you are often heating your meals in plastic container unless you bother plating them first.

Some cooked and fridge-chilled meal delivery services recommend you heat the meal on the stove or oven and provide clear instructions on how to do it. Some services even deliver separately packed items to allow individual heating times. This let’s you avoid the soggy vegetable issue.

As the offering and demand for ready-to-eat meal delivery services is ever growing, it’s possible to find a wide range of meals catered to different dietary needs. Paleo, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free are all available. As well as services that cater for a specific body composition goal, such as fat loss or muscle gain.

Pros
  • It’s difficult to make eating more convenient than ready-to-eat meals

  • Great variety of plans that cater for specific dietary requirements, or fitness goals

  • Eat what’s being served – takes the willpower out of home cooking and eating

Cons
  • Can get expensive

  • Portion size not always sufficient (especially vegetables)

  • Even the freshest options are not as fresh as cooking at home

Best for busy people. Those who rather do something else with their time than worry about what to eat. And have the spare cash for it.