Since moving to Austin, everyone is too busy to fully cook themselves lunch or dinner during the weeknights — opting for services that aren’t as expensive as going out every meal of the day. There are various different types of meal prep services that can be ordered online or picked up in their pop-up shop easy to grab and go. About a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would give this whole healthy, prepped, and portioned meal services a try in hopes to figure out the underlying question — are meal prep services worth it?
Snap Kitchen is the famous meal prep service here out south. They offer various different healthy meals that don’t contain gluten, artificial preservatives, antibiotics, hormones, and artificial colors and flavors. They have shops everywhere for easability when out and about wanting an easy, healthy meal on the go, or to take back to your office or home.
Last Saturday I thought it was time to give this a go and see if it was worth all the hype. I walked in, picked out about 10 meals that had various different tastes, prices, and calorie counts. Here is what I got, their calorie counts, and how much it cost:
- Steak & Eggs | 340 calories | $10.99 X 2 = $21.98
- Turkey Sausage Breakfast Tacos | 400 calories | $7.99 X 2 = $15.98
- Vegetable Curry | 240 Calories | $7.99 X 2 = $15.98
- Turkey Quinoa Hash | 410 Calories | $9.99 X 2 = $19.98
- Garden Salad | 190 Calories | $7.99 X 2 = $15.98
TOTAL: $89.90 (roughly $105 with tax)
Personally, when I spend roughly $280 every month on groceries — $60 every week, sometimes $100 one week of the month to refill random necessities like spices. If I were to want to keep up with ordering Snap Kitchen every week, I would be spending over $400 on groceries every month (not including the extra fruits and veggies I would want on the side).
After this little experiment, I wanted to break down the pros and cons to see if this is worth sending hundreds of dollars on groceries week after week.
1.Don’t have to worry about meal prepping
Every Sunday I normally run to the grocery store to come home and get to cooking for the week. I make basic stuff like chicken and veggies, or a rice mix with various nuts and veggies. Being able to run to the store quickly and easily without having to spend a couple of extra hours on food prep time afterward allowed more freedom to my schedule to work on other things, like my blog.
2. No dishes you have to clean
This is easily a pro and a con. As I am trying to cut down on my waste, this did the absolute opposite of that. I was recycling a full container every meal I had. But on the flip side, I didn’t have to wash a pile of dishes that normally accumulates after meal prepping, or after every meal I ate. This was a blessing but also went against my way of living minimalistically.
3. Proper portion sizing
Ugh, I love this part. If you read my blog post all about my SIBO journey, you know I have been struggling with how much food to each, when, and what macros are appropriate. It is a constant challenge to re-wire my brain to understand how much I really need. With these meals already being portioned out and with all their nutrition facts on the label, this makes things SO easy for tracking my daily intake.
Of course, you are paying for a service and a product. You aren’t going to get it as cheap as you would when cooking a meal yourself or this business simply wouldn’t be strongly standing. For me, 10 meals lasted me about a week with intermittent fasting and without any other fruits, veggies, and supplements I would need throughout the week. This is extremely expensive for me considering it costs me $40 less than that when I have everything I would need for the week in one trip.
2. They don’t last as long
As these meals have obviously been prepped about a day or two, if not longer, before you’re trip to Snap Kitchen, they aren’t going to be as fresh as they would be when you are prepping at home. If you are wanting to pay for this service, I would highly recommend going about 2-3 times a week to refill your meals. Mine got a little sour, but I still ended up eating them anyways since they were TEN DOLLARS A MEAL. No way I am letting those go to waste.
3. You don’t know exactly what you are getting
This sounds falsified considering every meal has a label explaining the contents of each meal, but if you are a newbie you don’t know if you will like it or not. I don’t mean to seem like a total brat, but I wasn’t impressed by these meals. They all were rather easy, and I know I could make them a bit better at home — fresh and with my own spices.
4. Left out foods that are crucial to a healthy diet
Like I have mentioned throughout this post, you don’t get your necessary snacky kinda fruits, veggies, and supplements with this service. Of course, this isn’t their specialty, so it isn’t their fault, it just costs more time and money to get these necessities at other places. I would spend probably an extra $20 on fruits and veggies to snack on throughout the day, and most definitely more for all my daily supplements. This turns my $100 weekly trip into $120-$140.
Would I Buy Them Again?
Right now, no, in the future, maybe.
Personally, with my fresh out of college salary and loans to go along with it, this isn’t a necessity. Honestly, I am a creature of habit who always cooks the same favorite meals over and over again. Along with that, I know what foods work good for my body and help boost my energy. Being introduced to foods every meal that I don’t know if it will work for my body or not — I don’t enjoy it.
Later down the road when I get my loans taken care of, and I start bringing in more money month after month, and time starts to become even more constraint, this is something I would be happy to revisit.
For right now, I am more than content with making my own favorite meals and being a boss babe on a budget working towards my money goals every month.
What would you guys choose — time or money?
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