8 Delicious Ways Trying a Meal Delivery Service Will Change the Way You Cook
A meal-kit service may seem like the Cliff's Notes of cooking, but you'd be surprised at the valuable lessons you can use in your own recipes and meal-planning.
Meal-kit recipes, like those from HelloFresh and Blue Apron, introduce a variety of ingredients, some of which may be new to your diet. "This is a benefit because even on the nights you aren't getting HelloFresh, you will have had the exposure to new ingredients that will provide you with the positive experience to try them again," explains Rebecca Lewis, RD, in-house dietitian at HelloFresh. Additionally, a new ingredient can be used in different ways. For example, eggplant, can be roasted, chopped, and added pasta sauce for a new spin on a classic dish, according to Lewis. Meal delivery services like Euphebe, which is 100 percent plant-based, can also introduce you to new ways of thinking about food—namely, how you can feel full eating almost exclusively vegetables and legumes. These are the healthy vegetables you never knew you liked.
Build your kitchen cred
It's human nature to enjoy things we're good doing. "If we find cooking difficult and unpleasant, we won't want to keep doing it," says Lewis. "So, by giving our HelloFresh customers a chance to really shine in the kitchen, it keeps them motivated to do it over and over again." You may even learn how to finesse these common cooking disasters.
Get out of a rut
Home delivery kits often introduce taste profiles from around the world, which can help break your family out of a recipe rut. HelloFresh's meals are inspired by Asian, Mexican, Swiss, Thai, Italian, Southern, French, Argentinian, and other cuisines. If meal delivery isn't your forte, there are still great subscription services for everyone on your list.
Add pro skills
Even regular home cooks can get bored with the same old sauté scene. When you try a meal kit service, you'll be prompted to try new cooking techniques like searing steak, steaming fish, preparing a finishing sauce, roasting vegetables, and segmenting fruit. Expanding your repertoire of cooking methods will blow open the possibilities for your regular weeknight dinners.
Restaurants may be known for serving platter-sized steaks and mountains of mashed potatoes, but meal kit recipes are the exact opposite. By including only the amounts needed to prepare each recipe, you learn not only how to recognize proper portion sizes, which can help immeasurably with healthful eating down the line, but you also get a sense of how to save money and prevent waste as well. Here are some additional ideas for cooking healthy meals.
Trade fats for flavor
It's easy to create a heavenly sauce when you drop in a stick of butter or heaps of sugar or salt. The challenge is to add flavor without also adding calories and fat—and the meal kit recipes show you how to do that. The recipes feature parsley, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, chives, tarragon, oregano, and custom spice blends in ways you might not have thought to use otherwise. And as a bonus, they each have their own complement of antioxidants and other health-enhancing elements. Here are some tips to grow your own fresh herbs.
The HelloFresh model is to teach customers how to get a flavorful and nutritious dinner on the table in under a half-hour. "What most people say prevents them from cooking at home is a lack of time," says Lewis. "What HelloFresh customers love most is that for most days of the week they have a guarantee they can get either three, four, or five meals which will be nutritious, delicious, and made in 30 minutes or less." These brilliant cooking shortcuts will help you get in and out of the kitchen faster.
Make healthy swaps
Many meal services, including HelloFresh, list calories, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, sodium, and sugars right on their recipe cards, according to Consumer Reports. Getting familiar with reading labels can make you more vigilant about planning healthier meals even when the subscription runs out. Consider these ingredient swaps for healthier home-cooked meals.