You might have already seen and heard of meal subscription deliveries. Still, everyone seems to be wondering whether subscribing to a meal prep service is actually worth it?
Are they too expensive? Should you cook your own make-ahead recipes instead? These are the top questions we hear all the time.
We have got you covered with 12 pros and cons of meal prep services and subscriptions.
TL;DR: Our verdict is that meal prep services are totally worth it if you have the budget and desire to reach a specific goal that is calorie controlled. You will save plenty of time and it can help reduce stress from meal planning. However, the downside is the cost, packaging, and requirement for more fridge space. Also, the taste might not be up to scratch compared to homecooked meal prep recipes.
Types of Meal Prep Services
It is essential to first understand the different types of meal prep services because there are various delivery methods, services, and subscription plans tailored to individual goals and lifestyles.
Meal kit delivery
In most cases, you will receive a recipe box of prepped and chopped ingredients for the days ahead, which also contains cooking instructions and possibly storage tips.
This can be ideal if you plan to save plenty of time and do not want to worry about planning your meals or shopping for specific ingredients.
One advantage is that they will give you exactly what you need for a recipe. For example, if you need one red chili for a recipe, they will give you the exact amount, rather than a whole bag which can go rotten in the fridge if not used.
Meal kit deliveries can be the best option if you still enjoy cooking on weeknights and prefer freshly made food whilst saving time and almost eliminating the prep time.
Full meal prep delivery
This type of service is the ultimate way to save time and avoid cooking for the week. These are meals that have been prepped and cooked for you, and all you need to do is reheat or eat it cold.
There are plenty of meal prep delivery companies that may be local to you that provide healthy and nutritious meals.
Although you will need the fridge space, if you live alone or with your partner, there will be plenty of storage space considering you will only need to store the meal prep containers.
Benefits of Meal Prep Services
Meal prep can be a life hack because it can help you save time, achieve your goal, save money, and stay super organized for the week ahead. The list can go on.
When you subscribe to a meal prep service, which has a full kit delivery, you are going a step further for the ultimate convenience by eliminating the time to plan your meals, shop for the ingredients, and cook the recipes.
You basically place an order each week and everything is done for you, which means on weeknights and weekends, you have eliminated the time it takes to prep your meals.
As a result, if you have a busy lifestyle and looking for ways to save time or stay productive, meal prepping is super convenient.
Soccer players, athletes, and entrepreneurs often benefit from this convenience because they can maximize productivity and re-invest time in their self-development.
Achieve your goal
Suppose you are seriously into health and fitness or have a particular fitness-related or dietary goal.
In that case, if you want to build muscle or lose weight, meal prep services provide value in creating specific meal plans, chefs cooking your food, and delivery drivers dropping off your meals.
Having these meals prepared for you can eliminate the stress of knowing what to cook, the frequency of meals you need to cook, calculating macros, and ultimately free up your time to focus more on your training.
Although meal planning isn’t for everyone, it can be hugely beneficial if you have a particular goal because nutrition is what will make the difference.
It’s a great way for you to get started and kickstart your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
For example, if you wanted to try the keto diet but find it overwhelming to start, then temporarily subscribing to a meal prep service can help you ease into the process.
Help your local community
Meal prep services from home are on the rise, and it is how many established companies started.
For example, did you know that macro meals started off by cooking around 200 meals a week from a one-bedroom flat?
Now they deliver to elite soccer stars and celebrities twice a week!
You can find many local services by searching on the Facebook marketplace.
The benefit of finding a local service is that you will become their client, and they will most likely cook meals tailored for you or provide you with bespoke recipes.
You can certainly get more value out of local services if you want faster deliveries, too.
On the flip side, ordering a full meal delivery from someone local does mean they are cooking from home, and you may need to double-check if they have licenses for food safety and hygiene.
Discover new recipes
Although most meal prep services are designed to help you with your health and fitness-related goals, there are new recipes that you can discover, and they can help give you an insight into the healthy food that you love.
If one day you decide not to use a meal prep service, you can at least remember that recipe and make it again at home.
Eating healthy does not need to be boring, and many meal prep services can take away the stress of providing recipes that are super tasty and healthy.
If you can eat food you enjoy and look forward to, which is beneficial for you, it is the ultimate win-win.
Prevent food wastage
Providing you are eating or cooking the meals in time, ordering a full meal or full kit delivery will certainly prevent food wastage as you are only purchasing ingredients you need.
Food wastage is a problem, and it is mostly because people go to the supermarket unprepared or without a meal plan.
In fact, supermarkets strategically place items in certain areas to get more sales and conversions. You can avoid this with meal kit deliveries.
You can save money
Although meal prep services are not cheap, they can help save you money by eliminating all grocery, eat-out, and take-out costs.
Look at your personal banking app, group your food costs, and you’ll see what we mean.
Meal prep delivers can be a money-saving method if your expenses on food are ridiculously high.
Furthermore, it can help you save money on petrol by not driving to the supermarkets and can help you save money on your electricity or gas bill by not cooking.
You also do not need to buy equipment or bulk shop.
You will only need the basics.
Also, you need to think of the ROI of subscribing to a meal prep service.
If it helps achieve your goals, this can indirectly lead to making more money whether you are a busy entrepreneur or a rising athlete.
Disadvantages of Meal Prep Services
Can be expensive
The major drawback of subscribing to a meal prep service is that you will need a dedicated budget for a weekly service.
Expect to pay more than your weekly shopping trip.
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.
Which is still good value considering the thin margins these companies make.
As a result, you are paying around $6 per meal, and 10 meals per week are usually just lunches and dinners.
Of course, the cost per meal will reduce when you increase the frequency of meals.
It is much cheaper to make your own meal preps, which you can make incredibly tasty by using good seasoning and ingredients.
Most meal prep companies will need to use vacuum-sealed packaging to keep food fresh and in the right temperature zone which means a lot of plastic and cardboard.
Not to mention, subscribing to a full-time service usually requires two deliveries or more per week.
That is a lot of packaging that you will need to throw out.
Thankfully, most meal prep companies will be transparent about this and let you know what can be recycled.
Menu might not be flexible
Ordering food from a meal prep set menu can be beneficial as you do not need to stress over what you need to cook or even calculating the macros.
On the flip side, this can leave little room for flexibility which means if you are ordering meals week in and week out, you could be eating the same food which could be boring and undesirable.
The main benefit of cooking your own meal preps and mastering portion control is that you can eat what you enjoy and avoid falling into hating your diet.
Could limit your cooking skills
If your meals are already cooked and delivered for you, it means you only need to reheat it in the microwave.
Or you can eat it straight from the refrigerator if it is a cold salad. While this can be convenient to save time and boost your productivity, it can limit your cooking skills.
The main benefit of making your own meal prep recipes is that you will be cooking each week, learning about how food storage, and keeping your refrigerator super organized.
If you do this every week, you will become a cooking pro.
Even if you are a beginner, by repeating the same skill each week will make you better.
Unless it is a bespoke service, most meal prep services will have the same type of portion control which might not be filling enough for you.
This means it could leave you craving more food and ordering fast food as there is nothing in the refrigerator.
The benefit of cooking your own meal preps is that you can use strategies to keep yourself full without increasing the macros.
If you have dietary restrictions, chances are you will need to find a specific meal prep service to cater to your needs.
This can be difficult depending on where you are ordering from which is why learning to make your own meal preps for your dietary needs is much better.
As nutrition specialists, we are dedicated to providing the best and most effective meal plans. Our team constantly tests and experiments with different recipes and approaches to ensure our offerings are of the highest quality. We also collaborate with a network of nutrition and data experts from around the globe to bring you innovative and advanced meal plans. All of the nutritional information provided is sourced from the USDA API.