It all started when I complained on facebook about how the worst part of being an adult is having to decide what to feed yourself. I was spending a lot of time menu planning, recipe researching, going to the grocery store, schlepping the groceries to my car, schlepping the groceries from my car... and then prepping everything, only to realize I needed three yellow onions, not two... so back to the store I'd go for the forgotten item(s).
This summer, we completed a Whole30, which meant a lot of time at the grocery store and in the kitchen. I'd keep lists of all of the protein + produce we had in the fridge to help prevent wasted leftovers (and to remind us of all of the good food we had to eat so that we wouldn't go hunting in the pantry for Goldfish!).
This got us into a routine of cooking at home, which saves money and calories. It also gives us some good quality time as partners. My beau's daughter wants to be a chef when she grows up, so whatever we can have a five-year-old help with (just about anything that doesn't involve taking something heavy out of the oven or knives) becomes a family event.
Enter plated. Garlic comes peeled. Spices come in premeasured baggies. Brussels sprouts come already shredded. Condiments come in tiny bottles. Very rarely does anything have to be measured - you just add the whole container of ___ to your pot/pan/mixing bowl.
We also tried blue apron and HelloFresh and found that plated was the best fit for us.
- We liked the recipes and packaging best.
- I liked the optional minimum of four meals. Sometimes all we can commit to is two meals cooked at home in a five-day period.
- They deliver in New Orleans on Wednesdays, giving us two weeknights and the weekend to prepare food.
- I like being able to know exactly what ingredients were coming so that I could modify/supplement; for example, if one night we're having a noodle-based dish, I'll make sure we have some frozen broccoli or fresh romaine on hand.
- We find the portions to be very generous; we order two plates and always have enough for two adults and one child and then typically have enough leftover for one or two lunches. (We both sit at our desks and eat lunch. A lot. A friend recently described this as eating "al desco," which I find hilarious.)
- The meals are relatively healthy. You know how many calories are in each serving and can portion accordingly.
- The animal products are all organic.
- The recipes are far simpler than the ones I typically make.
I recommend finding a friend who has free boxes to give away (I talk about it so much that I lack invites right now) and trying it, especially as we enter the craziness of the holiday season. Sometimes all you need to feel calmer is to stand around as a family, create something together, and then share it.