The Luxury of Using a Meal Prep Service
I have been in the Healthy, Meal Prep” or prepackaged meal business now for over 20 years. The market has changed considerably than when I started. I really must attribute that to My Fit Foods, which came on the scene in 2006 and surprised everyone by how fast they grew in this specialty market. The owner/founder of this concept, in my opinion, is a marketing genius; he figured out how to reach the masses and helped create more demand for healthy meals.
In today’s meal prep market, there are many options to choose from: online nationwide companies, local retailers that offer diet meal plans for pickup or delivery, and others who offer meals that compliment a specific but more narrow eating philosophy, such as gluten-free or paleo. So, how do you choose which company is best for you to use? Should you stick with just one or is it better to buy from a few? What works best for you long term and what is most cost-effective within your budget? And, which service is the most convenient enabling you to stay on track and have healthy meals available when you need them the most?
I’d like to address some of these questions to help you with your decision process.
First, how do you choose the right meal prep company to buy from? Like managing your financial budget, figuring out your eating budget takes just a little work upfront but then can go into auto mode. My advice would be to first think about how many meals and/or snacks you need help with during the week. Keep it simple. If you know lunches at work are the hardest to figure out and maybe a few evening dinners too, then you should order just that. No need to buy all the extra items that come in a pre-planned, 21 day or pre- purchased program, you’ll waste some of the food and your hard-earned money. Once you know what you need you can note, 5 lunches, 3 dinners, 5 snack items per week. This practice enables you to budget cost and will help you with your research with the various companies and the services they offer.
Second, since you will be spending money weekly or bi-weekly to purchase meals, you will naturally spend less at the grocery store and hopefully have a lot less waste. Many companies offer fresh meals that can be frozen for later use. We do and I know of several others, just ask the company, they can let you know. The good news is in Houston, we have so many choices for prepared meals, so do your research and find out which company’s philosophy most matches your own. Some companies follow a strict gluten free plan while others offer low fat, high protein, and moderate carb meals as we do. I would also just be a little weary of the high-pressure plans that promote the “eat our food for every meal and lose weight” program. While this may sound great at first, the idea behind most plans is to get you into a habit of eating portioned control meals regularly throughout the day. It’s important to understand what you are eating and why so you can apply this knowledge to your own meal prep and know how to order when eating out at restaurants too.
Third, many companies offer local delivery or shipping or retail services. If ordering from a national company, I would find out how the meals are prepared and look closely at the detail of the label statistics. If the label states 16 g of protein, you are only getting around 2 ounces, many of these lesser expensive meals are just that due to the small amount of protein in each. Local companies can offer you more customization and usually, you can work with a consultant at the business or on the phone for a more personal approach. Delivery is by far the most convenient, but you must order first! Shopping in a store for your meals is great also, but you must get to the store and sometimes that extra errand can get put off later and you end up without having meals available when you need them.
The bottom line is enjoying the convenience of having healthy, prepared, fit meals not only is the ultimate in convenience but the best way for you to stay on track with your weight loss and fitness goals. Choose reputable companies that are open and willing to help you with your individual needs and whose philosophy of eating is close or the same as your own. Figure out what you need help with most and order those food items, this will save you money and compliment what you are doing yourself. Smart Meals® is happy to help anyone with this approach, our FastStart Package is a beginner package designed just for this. With the purchase of the FastStart, you get a free meal planning consultation to assist you with your first order so you can figure out what you need most and what works best with your budget. I hope this information will help you get started on a healthier eating plan with the result of you reaching your health and fitness goals. And, as always, please email me with any questions or comments.
In good health,