Delivery services have been popping up everywhere. You would be hard pressed to find an item that you can’t have delivered straight to your door. So why would having chef designed DIY meals be any different?
Disclosure, this is not a sponsored post I just write about what’s trending or interesting me each week.
My husband and I LOVE to cook, we may be the minority but are those people who look forward to planning the week of meals and cooking most nights of the week. This is probably why I never looked into meal delivery services before.
I saw the commercials and the ads popping up on Instagram and my podcast channels but never thought much of it or planned on trying it. I did look into a local produce delivery but was turned off by the options in my area. I do enjoy going to the local farmers markets around me, there is so much variety and I could browse the stands all day.
So what ended up peaking my interest about companies such as Sun Basket, Plated, and Blue Apron? Well, my friends started using them and raving about them. Once I heard it from more than two people, I knew I had to at least TRY one of these companies and convince my husband that this was a good idea!
We shopped very light the weekend of our first delivery and I waited for our Saturday delivery (you can choose from Tues-Sat & Saturday was closest to Monday). I decided we would make the Blue Apron meals Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and cook our own dinner the rest of the week.
It was exciting leading up to the delivery because I didn’t know what to expect, and it also made grocery shopping on Sunday a lot easier since planning was for two days instead of the usual five.
An email came alerting me that my shipment was happening and also what to expect for meals that week (you have an account online that you can check a couple of weeks in advance as well). I did like the feature of being able to pause a week or change delivery depending on what the month looked like, or if I wasn’t crazy about a certain meal I had the ability to change it.
My trial shipment was to include these three dinners:
Catfish & Coconut Rice, Spicy Peperonata Pasta, and Summer Vegetable & Quinoa Bowls
Saturday arrived and as promised, a large cardboard box, insulated with cold packs arrived on my doorstep. Blue Apron says the food is safe for several hours on your stoop but I immediately brought it inside to unpack and place in the fridge.
I was curious to see the freshness of the produce and fish (being a pescetarian, I chose the fish only option but you are able to choose what type of meat preference you have which includes beef, poultry, lamb and pork).
Upon opening the box, I was pleased to see the produce was in great shape and the temperature was cold enough to keep the fish at an optimal temp.
Monday came and I was ready to prepare my first meal, the Catfish & Coconut Rice. Blue Apron suggests you cook your fish first to ensure you are having it at its peak freshness. I would have done this anyway and is something I try to do when I am buying fish for the week.
The box includes recipe cards, which show you step-by-step instructions on how to prepare the meal and give you interesting facts about an ingredient included in your shipment. The calorie counts are listed with each dish as well as a wine pairing if you are so inclined.
I found the directions to be straightforward and the only comment I have here is that with all three dishes, my husband and I both agreed they ask you to over-season. It felt as if I was peppering or salting to taste every time I picked up a knife or new ingredient, so in those cases we used our best judgment.
Ok, time for my pros and cons as I think this is the best way to accurately assess and review a product.
Top 5 Pros of Blue Apron
- Convenience– not having to plan three nights out of the week was extremely helpful. Also, not having to go out and pick up the ingredients at the store was a bonus.
- Variety- Although I pride myself in coming up with interesting dishes, Blue Apron takes it to the next level of creativity with meals I wouldn’t have thought up on my own.
- Reduces Food Waste– Something we practice in our household is using up what is in our pantry and fridge, Blue Apron has you using every last kernel and tab of butter they send, which helps with our MAJOR waste issue in the U.S.
- Sustainable Fishing– Blue Apron pride themselves in using sustainable fishing practices to source their seafood which makes me as a consumer feel better about where my meal is coming from and the footprint I am leaving behind.
- Regenerative Farming Practices– Blue Apron supports local farmers (yay!) who use regenerative practices, which means they are using minimal pesticides, reduced carbon emissions and leave healthy soil behind.
Top 5 Cons of Blue Apron
- Cost– you may be able to purchase your own ingredients at less of a cost depending on your area and what you are making.
- Preferences– While you can choose which type of meat you do or do not want, there is nowhere else to tailor the meals to your specific tastes.
- Shelf life– The ingredients are fresh when they arrive, however by the last meal I make on Thursday I would not go any further as the produce begins to wilt and turn.
- Lengthy instructions– Sometimes you want to just throw things in a pan at the end of a long work day and you don’t feel like concentrating on 10+ steps, when you don’t know what you’re making it’s hard to cut corners and not follow each step.
- Over seasoning– I mentioned this before, if you follow the instructions exactly, I felt they called for way too much salt and pepper. The dishes would have tasted over-seasoned if I had.
Overall, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with Blue Apron and the convenience it gives. It’s hard to say if I will continue the service, but for now my husband and I do like not having to think of meals for most days out of the workweek. Both working full time it is helpful to have the shopping and guess work on what’s for dinner taken away.
One perk I didn’t mention but correlates with my simply fit lifestyle is the perfectly proportionate meals that are both balanced and tasty. If you are looking for an easy and simple way to have planned healthy meals, Blue Apron is a great option. I know some friends of mine have learned portion size this way and have seen a difference in their appearance without even trying. What a perk!
What are your thoughts on meal-delivery services? I would love to hear your trials or questions 🙂