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Easy preparation, taste and convenience are all reasons why meal subscription services continue to grow. For those who are not familiar with the concept, it works like this: You sign up and meals are delivered to your door.
Those who use these services say not having to shop or cook dinner has become a lifesaver.
“I recently subscribed to one of the meal plans from Elite Lifestyle Cuisine. Not only did I lose extra weight that I was carrying, but I felt better, with an extra bounce in my step. No more yawning at 2 p.m., I’m fully energized!” states Todd Maloof, a realtor from Hoboken, New Jersey. “Not only is the food outstanding, it always arrives as scheduled. I recommend this for every busy professional.”
As the number of prepared meal companies grows, so do the options, pricing structures and food varieties.
On the internet many companies including Blue Apron, Plated, and Hello Fresh can be found offering raw products shipped to consumers for them to cook their own meals. Most of these options require 30 minutes or so of preparation time. Elite Lifestyle Cuisine features all-natural, pre-cooked meals that require six minutes or less of re-heating time.
To help sort through the different options, here are 9 things you should know about meal subscription companies.
Prices vary between $9 to $14 a meal, depending on how many meals you order. Consumers state that prices are comparable or better than your usual grocery bill. At Hello Fresh, twelve meals per week will cost $129, shipping included. Gobble prices begin at $71.70 with a minimum order of 6 meals, shipping is also included. As a comparison, Elite Lifestyle Cuisine offers 14 prepared, fully-cooked meals for $159. The shipping is also free.
Yes, for the most part. Some items like salt, oil, eggs, and other spices may have to be added. Otherwise, everything you need is in the box pre-measured. Recipe cards are always included. Elite Lifestyle Cuisine lists heating and preparation instructions directly on each dish.
The boxes are insulated and kept cold using ice packs or dry ice and are delivered on a specified day. The boxes and cooling materials are designed to keep the ingredients fresh until you come home and open your box.
The ingredients are sourced from throughout the United States and in some cases are non-GMO. Some companies like Hello Fresh, Green Chef and Elite Lifestyle Cuisine provide small biographies about some of their suppliers.
The majority of companies offer strictly dinner recipes developed by chefs and designed to be well-balanced and healthy. Menus typically change weekly. Elite Lifestyle Cuisine changes its menu seasonally and carries a product line of over 40 different options, including breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
Yes, many of the companies offer different menu plans depending on your dietary needs. In few cases, companies may offer customizable choices, including vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo and carnivore.
Most meals are within 500 to 800 calories. And nutritional information is provided. Elite Lifestyle Cuisine’s menu items vary between 275 and 585 calories.
Some services are flexible and allow changes to your subscription, providing you do it by the required deadline for the next week’s shipments. Elite Lifestyle Cuisine allows you to upgrade or downgrade your subscription. Most websites are very user-friendly.
The majority of companies are outfitted to ship nationwide. Visit their individual sites for delivery zone restrictions.