Are Meal Delivery Services Worth It To Reach Your Fitness Goals?

We live in a very busy world; one that doesn’t afford us much in the way of free time to invest in practices and behaviors that could benefit our health.

In the ever more desperate rat-race involving our careers, there seems to be less and less time to look after yourself.

And what is arguably the single most important contributor to a healthier life? How we fuel ourselves. Yes, with less and less time, finding time to exercise, manage our stress, get adequate sleep and cook balanced-healthy meals is becoming an impossible task.

Meal delivery services may offer a solution to this problem; having exploded in popularity over the past decade, covering virtually all forms of dietary practices, these services could be exactly what you need to ensure you’re living your healthiest life while meeting the ever-increasing demands of it.

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How Do Meal Delivery Services Work? 

Meal delivery services are simply that; a service which offers to deliver pre-made meals to your work or home. Not only saving you time (and often money) but also allowing those of us who are more health conscious to continue to preserve, and even improve, our state of health.

Throughout the years, meal delivery services have become increasingly more tailored and customizable to fit virtually any need and or lifestyle.

While most work off of a subscription-based service, there are companies who now offer “a la carte” options; a sample menu for you to trial for a short period of time. Companies will often allow you flexibility with your subscription, enabling you to pause, freeze and cancel when you so wish.

Homemade Keto Chicken Meal Prep

Keto meal

Meal delivery services will also often offer both fresh and frozen pre-made meals, each offering it’s own unique contextual benefits. Some will even provide a meal delivery kit allowing you to be your own home chef, should have the time and a love for cooking.

Related Read: 5 Best Frozen Meal Delivery Services

There are also a diverse range of companies on the market with some having particular specializations for a given dietary practice and others being more of a “jack of all trades”; with menus curating for dieters who follow practices from gluten free to vegan, keto, paleo and beyond, there truly is a meal delivery service suitable for everyone.

Related Read: Best Gluten Free Meal Delivery Services for CrossFitters and Athletes

Service companies will also typically offer a range of options for users as well; from multiple dishes a day with snacks to snacks alone or even one dish a day, the best companies keep their service customization as dynamic as their menus. Speaking of a dynamic menu, meal delivery services will mostly allow you to customize your meal plan, being able to choose which dishes you’d like to be included in your delivery that week so as you aren’t having to eat dishes which you may not like or become bored with the same old, same old every week.

Are Meal Delivery Services Worth the Money? 

This is a tricky question to answer because truthfully, whether a meal delivery service (or any product, service or whatever else) is worth the money depends entirely on the context surrounding that consumers choice.

These services are designed to help customers achieve a healthy balanced diet (for whatever dietary approach they may follow) in a way that saves them time and reduces their stress levels around food purchasing, preparation and cooking.

When you look at the service itself, it’s certainly worth investing in; carefully curated meals (often created by a team of expert chefs) delivered fresh or frozen to your work or home from a customizable menu specializing in your dietary approach of choice.

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While we believe it’s clearly worth the money, the question is, is it a financially viable option for you and what side of the meal delivery service requirement fence are you on: the side with expendable income but a restriction in time or the side who has abundant time but financial restrictions?

If it’s the latter then the service itself may contribute to the very issue they’re aiming to assist with, stress. Except, in this scenario, the stress induced is not caused by issues around food but rather the stress of investing in something which you simply cannot afford.

Read Also: Freshly Meal Service - 2020 Review

muscular man workout with barbell

However, what if you’re somewhere in between? If you have some expandable income and some free time to invest in your diet, are these services still worth it?

This again ties back into context and more so on you as a consumer and your preferences. Ask yourself;

  • Do I want to spend the free time I do have figuring out what constitutes a healthy balanced diet based on my goals and choice of dietary practice?
  • Do I want to go out and search for groceries and spend time doing this?
  • Do I enjoy cooking?
  • Would it help or hinder my progress to have meals catered for me?
  • How secure are my finances in the long-term and will my free time allowance ever change?

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These are important considerations to make for those who are on the fence (in terms of having free time to invest in purchasing, preparing and cooking food as well as enough expendable income that they could easily afford a meal service subscription).

One important point to make in all of this is how committed you are to a service; many believe they have to have their whole lives invested into a meal delivery service once they choose to have a subscription.

This is absolutely not the case and furthers the argument for their affordability. We often forget that the subscription option you choose can be just as flexible as the meals you wish it to include; you don’t have to go for the most expensive subscription option, most companies will offer more affordable variants.

Read Also: Best Paleo Meal Delivery Services To Match Your Fitness Goals

This will allow those who may benefit from, but may not always be in the most secure financial position to do so, still utilize a meal delivery service.

Many of these companies are compassionate to their customers needs; never be afraid to ask a question to ensure you trust, are confident and feel secure when choosing to invest in a meal delivery service subscription.

Pros and Cons of Meal Delivery Services?

There are aspects of meal delivery services which create both an argument for, and against, using them.

Here are some of the reasons why you would consider using one of these services;

  • It will save you time
  • They deliver fresh and frozen meals to your door or work (for example, Freshly)
  • There are also companies who deliver fresh groceries and recipes to your door or work which are easy for you to follow as a home chef (for example, Blue Apron)

Read Also: BistroMD 2020 Meal Delivery Service Review

  • They are often curated by expert, professional chefs
  • Meals may be catered to a specific dietary approach
  • The ingredients are usually freshly sourced and of the highest quality
  • The nutrient and calorie content are usually included making it easier to know exactly what you’re eating and how it fits into your diet
  • Menus are often customizable so you can pick and choose which dishes you’d like
  • Many companies offer flexible subscription packages and options meaning there are various pricing structures and capabilities to pause, freeze or cancel subscriptions
  • Comparatively, they’re typically cheaper than restaurant and or fast-food meals whilst also being healthier
  • There will be minimal food waste
  • And it may encourage you and or your family to eat at home more and together

Read Also: An Athlete's Guide To Intermittent Fasting vs. Multiple Smaller Meals

Here are some of the reasons why you should avoid using one of these services;

  • Money; the rough estimate for meals purchased through meal delivery services or meal kit companies would fall somewhere between grocery store purchases and going out to eat. In this sense however, the ingredients you’d be investing in may be of higher quality than grocery bought alternatives and so it is really the additional labour of having meals and foods sourced and or cooked (as well as the time saving component attached to this) that has to be taken into consideration.
  • Excess packaging in some cases
  • For less flexible subscription services you may not like every meal that is delivered
  • Delivery options may be limited depending on the company

As you can see there are plenty of things to consider before investing (or not investing) in a meal delivery service and or kit delivery company. At their core, these companies are designed for those who are time restricted and hoping to achieve a balanced, healthy diet. The biggest hurdle to universal use of said companies is the financial demand; affordability and security of finances will always play a major factor in any product / service-related decision.

Conclusion 

The question of “Are meal delivery services worth it?” is a difficult one to answer. The answer for one person may not be the answer for another and it all has to do with the context of the services use and that person’s individual circumstances.

Meal services and meal kit delivery companies can be a perfect solution for the health conscious on-the-goer who simply does not have the time, but has the money, to invest in their diet.

There is a vast spectrum of companies on the market to explore, each with their own unique offering and appeal.

Weigh up the pros and cons, whil considering your own situation, before investing in a company. If you do ultimately choose to explore using a meal delivery service, then we’d advise you to trial a number of them. Find which suits your ethos, taste and goals best, just as you would be as particular in choosing how you exercise or the gym you train in, you should be just as particular in choosing the company who helps you achieve your healthiest diet.

Jamie Wright

Jamie Wright

Jamie is a registered nutritionist and REPs recognized personal trainer with a MSc in Nutrition and BSc in Sports and Exercise Science. He runs his own nutrition and exercise coaching company, OUTWRK, and has authored a number of books of which include HealthyHer and FitHer. He has contributed on a number of external organisations nutritional guidance educational notes/booklets aimed at recreational exercisers/dieters to elite, internationally competing athletes. Additionally, Jamie has worked with this spectrum of clients in the past and just released his new program Everyday Athletes aimed at recreational exercisers/dieters. Reach out to him on his website for nutrition advise or consulting.

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