Mealkit or ready-made?
If you enjoy cooking and are prepping for more than yourself, then mealkits are an excellent option. All the ingredients are delivered to you with the exact amounts needed for the recipe. While most will include lots of healthy ingredients, they’re probably not the best option if you’re trying to stick to your macros unless you begin customising each meal. They’re a great option for families or couples that don’t have time to shop and want some new dinner ideas!
Ready-made meals on the other hand just needs to be heated making them super convenient – it’s essentially a takeaway meal. They make up over 90% of the providers on this site with many of them being high-protein to target the fitness market.
Fresh or frozen?
Fresh ready-made meals are great but also means you have to consume them pretty quickly to avoid them going off. In our experience this isn’t practical unless the provider is delivering multiple times a week or have added preservatives to make the food last longer.
Frozen is how you’ll find most providers sending your meals. Nutrient debate of fresh vs frozen aside, our experience is that frozen meals are a lot more convenient if you’re ordering in the usual 1 week cycles. Just pop the meals from your freezer into the fridge 1-2 days before you eat them and they’re good to go. There’s also an added benefit that should you dine out or have a cheat days, they won’t go off since they’re frozen.
Nearly all meal providers will deliver weekly with larger and local-only providers having more frequent delivery windows. So unlike fastfood, expect to wait anywhere between 3-10 days from the time of order. This is because providers need to order, cook and deliver the meals based on what’s ordered which is why they have strict cutoff times each week. When you miss the cutoff, you have to wait a whole week so plan ahead!
Meal size and customisations
Some providers especially those targeting fitness enthusiasts and athletes will give you the option to customise your meals. Some providers like Food4Fitness and My Muscle Chef will even send you cooked ingredients in bulk.
Packaging of meals
Ready-made meals will most likely come in 3 packaging varieties:
- Film sealed containers – most providers do this because it keeps the meals airtight and prevents leaks. It also suits factory / production line processes.
- Takeaway containers with lids – the more local providers will opt for this system which doesn’t have great sealing, but does give you the option to reuse the containers.
- Eco-friendly containers – these are either made from recycled materials or can be easily composted but reflected in the price too as the packaging costs are higher.
Interested to learn more? See: How To Live Green When Using Meal Delivery Services
Not all meals are healthy
Just because a provider generally has a lot of healthy options doesn’t mean every option has the same macros or are healthy. This is especially true if you’re only ordering meals that sound appealing to you – we started ordering pizza’s and lasagna’s thinking they had the same macros (it did not).