What To Look For In A Meal Prep Service
Meal prep can be hugely time-consuming, and let’s face it, a bit of an inconvenience at the weekends or in your evenings. It’s only natural that we look for a nice simple solution that saves our precious free time.
With the demand for meal prep increasing in popularity, there are now a plethora of options readily available to those who need it. But how do you know which service is best for you, or what to look out for?
We’ve compiled a list of criteria we believe to be important to consider when selecting the right meal prep service for you.
Type of prep service
The best place to start with narrowing down your options is with the type of service. With meal prep services, there are three primary styles; frozen meals, an ingredients box, or freshly prepared meals.
Frozen meals are great to have stored in the freezer (obviously) for as and when you need them, but not so great if you’re wanting to use them daily or multiple times a day, as defrosting or cooking from frozen can prolong the process.
Ingredient boxes are perfect for people who like to cook, but maybe don’t enjoy food shopping, or lack inspiration for new recipes. If you like cooking or eating the same meals as your partner or family, then ingredients boxes are probably the best fit for you.
Freshly prepared meals are ideal for those with a specific goal, as often most of, if not all of your daily intake will be accounted for, leaving time for you to focus on your training instead. These options typically end up being more costly per day, but reduce the amount of time you spend shopping, preparing, cooking and washing up, and sometimes the amount of money you spend on food as well.
Another important aspect to consider is the meal selection process. Some companies will allow you to select your own meals, but these meals will often not be tailored to your individual needs, rather a set calorie or macro count for each meal that you can try to add up to your requirements.
Other companies (like us!) operate as more of a surprise-based setup. For Fresh Fitness Food specifically, our custom-built platform calculates the meals available on each menu day that would best fit your calories and/or macros, your exclusions and nutrition preferences, without you having to do any of the calculations yourself. If you’re paying for a service, it should be as easy as possible, meaning no maths, no deadline for meal selection, or anything else that might derail your progress.
With an ever-growing list of nutrition preferences, it is important (and probably obvious) to ensure that your preference is catered for. For example, if you are looking for a keto plan, FFF is not the service for you (you can find out why here), as the lowest percentage of carbohydrates that we can provide is 15%. However, if you are looking for a plant-based, flexitarian or macro-specific option, we might be the best fit for you!
Try to find out as much as possible about the plan options and service before starting your plan, so that you know what to expect.
Flexibility is arguably one of the most important factors to consider. Flexibility is key to ensure that you adhere to your plan, without compromising any social engagements, and allowing for a change in plan.
You might book a last minute holiday, or feel that your calories are too low – if you are unable to pause your plan or make adjustments to your nutrition, you may start to feel restricted, which is endlessly frustrating, and can impact your progress significantly.
However, it is important to note that all companies will have a notice period to honour in order to make changes – make sure to check this before ordering, as a week’s notice, for example, is not conducive to a flexible lifestyle.
Certification and support
Something that is somewhat overlooked is ensuring that the company you are considering has qualified nutritionists or dietitians on-hand to help out with any nutrition-related queries that you have.
Nutrition advice from those who are not qualified can be harmful to your body and mind. This is particularly important when considering a plant-based plan (as ensuring you receive complete plant-based protein is imperative), or if you have a health condition that has specific requirements (for example, diabetes or high cholesterol).
You wouldn’t go to a GP for a kitchen renovation, so don’t take nutrition advice from someone unless they are qualified.
An obvious factor.
Generally speaking, the more that is taken care of for you, the more convenient the service is, and therefore the more expensive it is likely to be.
For example, if you are opting for a company that provides your entire daily intake, this will naturally be more expensive than a company that sends ingredients, as that typically just covers one meal per day, and you are also required to cook the meal yourself.
It’s a balancing act of cost versus convenience.
If Fresh Fitness Food is in the running to be your bespoke meal delivery service, but you would like to find out more, please book a call with one of our qualified Nutritionists here, or if you’re keen to order straight away, head to our website and click the green ‘Get Started’ button, and use the code BLOG50 for £50 off your first week.