I started meal prepping on a somewhat regular basis after moving to a city that doesn’t have a Chipotle.
ha, I know.
Plus, what health and wellness blogger doesn’t have copious amounts of photos displaying plastic containers of pre-portioned meals – with the hashtags #mealprep and #cleaneating, of course – on their Instagram feed?!
Few things used to make this recovering obsessive-compulsive perfectionist and control freak feel more accomplished than turning a refrigerator full of groceries into a refrigerator full of perfectly stacked equally sized plastic containers holding food that will feed me for the entire week!
Recently, I decided to break out of this pattern, because I realized that the reasons I went into it are either false or no longer apply to my life.
The healthy meal delivery service experiment
Last month, Nate and I tried Blue Apron. The only reason we did this was that we received a voucher for three free meals attached to a sleek mailer.
Good marketing will getcha!
We were super impressed by the flavor and fanciness, and I was reminded of how therapeutic cooking can be. Here are photos of what I made…
However, I ultimately decided that the meals were a bit too high in calories for my liking. Plus, the service doesn’t even share the rest of the nutrition facts, which makes it impossible for me to track – a deal-breaker for me.
After I did some light research on healthy meal delivery services, we landed on HelloFresh. As soon as I placed the order in mid-late July, during which point I was finally able to see the meal selections and nutrition facts, I cancelled all subsequent orders and started researching lower-calorie options. And…
Except I almost enrolled in a similar service by Weight Watchers – in AUSTRALIA.
At that point, I gave up on the idea of subscribing to a healthy meal delivery service, and my HelloFresh order hadn’t even arrived yet!
When the order arrived Sunday, I had already made up my mind about it. Then, to my surprise, over the course of this week, I realized how much lighter the meals felt than that of Blue Apron, both based on the ingredients used (at least they don’t send two tablespoons of butter!) and how I felt physically.
However, after just having finished my four-day order, I’m missing it and longing for another order. I gave a coworker one of the discount cards that HelloFresh sent with the box, and she told me that she signed up for the “fit” option.
Why wasn’t I informed of this option when I cancelled my initial subscription, citing that I was cancelling due to the service only accommodating vegetarians and not the calorie-conscious?!
Apparently, you can only do so under the two-people, three-day subscription – oddly, not the two-people, four-day subscription that we had.
Meal prep myths
As I move toward HelloFresh and away from meal prepping (not indefinitely but at least for now), I think about the beliefs I held that got me into this a few years ago. And then I think about why I’m putting the plastic containers on a shelf.
- “It saves me time during the week.” It’s no secret that the only true way to take control over what you’re putting in your body is to cook it yourself. However, this can be time-consuming – not only with the cooking but also with the meal planning, grocery shopping, etc. With that being said, I thought that I was getting more time back in my weeknight evenings by cooking in bulk on Sundays, but, in reality, I was giving myself more time to do things that don’t contribute to what’s really important: fueling my body, doing something nice for my husband and spending time enjoying something together, which brings me to my next point…
- “It gives my husband and me something that we can do together.” No kitchen is large enough for two people to cook separate meals for the next five days. Especially two people who exercise and eat accordingly. Aside from fitness, Nate and I have different interests, so we tend to bond through doing things parallel or, at the very least, talking about what we did that day. Since we both couldn’t get anything done while the other was cooking, we found ourselves cooking alone, if the other wasn’t sitting at the kitchen island.
I look forward to winding down from a day in the office and at the gym with some time mindless measuring and mixing and glorious instant gratification…to not washing so much G-D Tupperware…and, most of all, to serving Nate fresh meals after work and enjoying them with him while seated across from each other at our kitchen table.