Written by Kelley Keehn
Monday, October 31st, 2022
My husband and I keep having an age-old fight: what's for dinner? We find the exercise of thinking up new and inspiring dishes, doing the shopping, and cleaning up utterly exhausting. And we don't even have children.
Last month, we decided to try something different: meal plan kits. And so far? Not one disagreement.
You've likely seen advertisements for or have even tried out a meal kit service recently. As my husband and I follow a Keto Diet plan and are also OMAD'ers (one meal a day'ers), most traditionally meal kit options didn't fit our bill. So we opted for a service called Inspired to Go as most of our dinners consist of veggies, large salads and meat protein.
So how did the numbers land in our experiment?
For 30 days of grocery shopping, including premium protein consisting of grass-fed beef, organic chicken, eggs and wild-caught salmon, our monthly tally was $750. With Inspired to Go, our monthly bill was $504. They don't offer meat, so our protein costs were an additional $300 for meat, fish and eggs. So that's a total of $804, which is $54 more a month than our grocery shopping and preparation past.
However, as two busy professionals, not having to drive to the grocery store regularly, prepare our food (only minimal grilling of meat and fish), clean up and the gas savings, $54 more is an investment we're willing to make. Plus, the best part of our new system has meant zero food waste, which previously was a huge issue in our household. And if you consider that the average household wastes $1,776 a year on food, we feel our option is cost effective for us.
If you're considering some type of meal kit/food prep option, here is a comparison of the pros and cons of each:
- Can get pricier items like meat and dairy for a better rate at discount stores
- Can get reward points at some grocers
- Can be cheaper than mealkits
- Requires time
- You may need to shop around at different stores to find deals
Meal kits and food prep services
- Time saver
- Much less waste that preparing meals yourself
- Loads of variety
- Can be more costly than discount grocery shopping
- Might not suit your family's food intolerances
- Meals might not be large enough to fill up your family
So what's the verdict? You really need to test out the service(s) yourself and tally up a month of grocery shopping that you and your family would normally and realistically do. If you head to the discount store once in a while but generally wouldn't, don't include that in your comparison for example.
If you'd like to give meal prep kits a try, there are many options in Canada. Most offer an introductory offer to get you started. Remember, they work on a subscription model so make sure you note what day you must alter or cancel your subscription before being charged for the next delivery (as well as delivery costs/free delivery options).
And the winner is....
And the winner for my family? Hands down, a combo of meal kits and prepared salads. Why not decide for yourself and give it a try in your own household. Mindfully grocery shop for two weeks and log your costs and any wastage. Then take two weeks with meal kits that works for you and see if they meet your family's meal expectations and the cost compared to shopping.