This is indeed the season of plenty. From the multiple gatherings and seemingly endless lists, to the crazy traffic at shopping malls and increasing stress, many of us wake up on New Year’s Day, bleary-eyed, reeling from a hang over that has more to do with the frenzy than the bubbly. Food in particular is completely in its element this time of year. Some people diet prior to the season, understanding that it becomes something of a free-for-all; others choose to worry about it after the madness. But there’s a way of having your proverbial cake and eating it, too. Meal delivery services have come a long way from the days of cantina — the weekly catering offered by numerous small Cuban restaurants to many time-strapped households. Now you can order anything from safe standbys suitable for the whole family to paleo, gluten-free fusion dishes that look great on Insta. You can regain control of your meals by ordering them ahead of time and giving yourself room for the festivities, or give someone the gift of not having to worry about what’s for dinner.
Ready to Go
A number of local companies prepare meals daily and deliver the day’s selections right to your doorstep — or office — very early in the morning. Breakfast? Done. Lunch? Bagged. Dinner? No need to defrost anything. One of the most popular companies, Deliver Lean, bills itself as a gourmet meal delivery service. Like most, it’s website features an online ordering portal where you can customize the menu to your liking — mixing and matching meal plans that include Classic, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free and Organic Protein.
Other companies — like Fit2Go, Shape Lovers and Catered Fit — hone in on the diet aspect of the service, providing customers a number of options that are low-fat, low-sugar, low-carb or a combination of these. Born Foody and Yummy in My Tummy take the concept a step further by targeting the pickiest of eaters: kids. Most services include snacks and offer other goodies like cold pressed juices and even cold brew coffee.
Do It Yourself
A slightly different take on this concept is meal kit delivery. Businesses like Plated, Blue Apron, PeachDish, Chef’D, Purple Carrot, HelloFresh and Terra’s Kitchen take the stress out of coming up with flavorful, healthy, varied meals, and do so by providing what is pretty-much a fool-proof kit with everything you might need ready to go.
Whether you are single and have a difficult time shopping and cooking for one, or part of a busy family with multiple tastes and restrictions, the meal kits can undoubtedly improve your dining repertoire — the variety is something customers often rave about. Recipes that might sound intimidating, become easy to follow, as all the ingredients are provided and prepped in their appropriate quantities. Proteins arrive packed over ice and other ingredients come in individual packages, so they are ready to add. While some companies, like Plated and Blue Apron, require a little more slicing and dicing than others, the concept is pretty much the same, and the ingredients themselves tend to be fresher and higher-quality than what you might find in the regular produce section at your local grocer. The services make for a great activity or a thoughtful gift for foodie friends, newlyweds or a family with a new baby.