Are meal prep services worth it? 12 pros and cons of meal subscription services

You might have already seen and heard of meal subscription deliveries but everyone seems to be wondering whether subscribing to a meal prep service is actually worth it?

Are they really that expensive? Does it make you lazier? Are the deliveries safe? Should you cook your own meal preps instead?

I have got you covered with 12 pros and cons of why it might be worth it for you.

However, first, it is important to understand the different types of meal prep services because there are various delivery methods.

Here are the two popular types of meal prep services:

  • Meal kit delivery: In most cases, you will receive a package of prepped and chopped ingredients, along with cooking instructions, which you can cook fresh on the day. This can be ideal to save time and eating fresh food.
  • Full meal prep delivery: In most cases, the meals have been prepped and cooked for you, and all you need to do is reheat it or eat it cold. This is the ultimate way to save time and avoid cooking.

6 reasons why meal prep services might be worth it

1) Ultimate convenience

Meal prep is a life hack because it can help you save time, save money, and follow a meal plan without giving up. The list can go on. When you subscribe to a meal prep service, which has a full kit delivery, you are going a step further for the ultimate convenience by eliminating the time to plan your meals, shop for the ingredients, and cook the recipes. You basically place an order each week and everything is done for you which means on weeknights and weekends you have “your time”.

2) Helps achieve your goal

If you are seriously into health and fitness, for example, if you want to build muscle or lose weight, meal prep services provide the value in creating specific meal plans, cooking, and delivering the meals to you. All you need to do is reheat and eat. I am sure you have heard the famous saying that “bodybuilding is 80% nutrition” and there is a deeper meaning behind that. Having these meals prepared for you can eliminate away from the stress of knowing what to cook, the frequency of meals you need to cook, and ultimately free up your time to focus more on your training. That is a beneficial return because it will help achieve your goal.

3) Help your local community

Meal prep services from home are on the rise and it is where many established companies started from. I am sure you can find them locally on your Facebook marketplace or if you search on Instagram. The benefit of finding a local service is that you will become their client and they will most likely cook meals tailored for you or provide you with some innovative recipes. You can certainly get more value out of local services and it can help them scale up too. On the flipside, ordering a full meal delivery from someone local does mean they are cooking from home and they may not yet have the licences for food safety and hygiene just yet.

4) Try new recipes

Although most meal prep services are designed to help you with your health and fitness-related goals, there are new recipes that you can try and it can help give you an insight into healthy food that you love. Eating healthy does not need to be boring and many of the meal prep recipes can prove that. I mean, imagine eating food you enjoy and look forward to, which is beneficial for you. It is the ultimate win-win.

5) Prevent food wastage

Providing you are eating or cooking the meals in time, ordering a full meal or full kit delivery will certainly prevent food wastage as you are only purchasing ingredients you need. Food wastage is a problem and it is mostly because people go to the supermarket unprepared or without a meal plan. In fact, supermarkets strategically place items in certain areas to get more sales and conversions. You can avoid this with meal kit deliveries.

6) You could save money

Although meal prep services are not cheap, it can help save you money in other ways. For example, it can help you stop buying takeaways every week or purchasing expensive takeout food for lunch.  Also, it can help you save money on petrol by not driving to the supermarkets and can help you save money on your electricity or gas bill by not cooking. You also do not need to buy equipment or bulk shop. You will only need the basics. Also, you need to think of the ROI of subscribing to a meal prep service. If it helps achieve your goals, this can indirectly lead to making more money whether you are a busy entrepreneur or rising athlete.

6 reasons why meal prep services might not be for you

1) Can be expensive

The major drawback of subscribing to a meal prep service is that you will need a dedicated budget for a weekly service. Expect to pay more than your weekly shopping trip. Many meal prep services will price up their menu and packages differently but on average he competitive price for 10 meals per week will cost $60. As a result, you are paying around $6 per meal, and 10 meals per week are usually just lunches and dinners.  Of course, the cost per meal will reduce when you increase the frequency of meals. It is much cheaper to make your own meal preps, which you can make incredibly tasty by using good seasoning and ingredients.

2) Lots of packaging

Most meal prep companies will need to use vacuum-sealed packaging to keep food fresh and in the right temperature zone which means a lot of plastic and cardboard. Not to mention, subscribing to a full-time service usually requires two deliveries or more per week. That is a lot of packaging that you will need to throw out. Thankfully, most meal prep companies will be transparent about this and let you know what can be recycled.

3) Menu might not be flexible

Ordering food from a meal prep set menu can be beneficial as you do not need to stress over what you need to cook or even calculating the macros. On the flip side, this can leave little room for flexibility which means if you are ordering meals week in and week out, you could be eating the same food which could be boring and undesirable. The main benefit of cooking your own meal preps and mastering portion control is that you can eat what you enjoy and avoid falling into hating your diet.

4) Could limit your cooking skills

If your meals are already cooked and delivered for you, it means you only need to reheat it in the microwave. Or you can eat it straight from the refrigerator if it is a cold salad. While this can be convenient to save time and boost your productivity, it can limit your cooking skills. The main benefit of making your own meal prep recipes is that you will be cooking each week, learning about how food storage and keeping your refrigerator super organized. If you do this every week, you will become a cooking pro. Even if you are a beginner, by repeating the same skill each week will make you better.

5) Serving sizes might not be filling enough

Unless it is a bespoke service, most meal prep services will have the same type of portion control which might not be filling enough for you. This means it could leave you craving more food and ordering fast food as there is nothing in the refrigerator. The benefit of cooking your own meal preps is that you can use strategies to keep yourself full without increasing the macros.

6) Dietary Restrictions

If you have dietary restrictions, chances are you will need to find a specific meal prep service to cater to your needs. This can be difficult depending on where you are ordering from which is why learning to make your own meal preps for your dietary needs is much better.