How I Quit Meal Planning: 5 Subscription Meal Kits For Busy Moms

Meal planning. List making. Grocery shopping. Meal prepping. Cooking. At the end of the school year in May, my brain was exhausted from the mental load of these tasks.

I wanted to spend the summer hanging out with my children, not worrying about searching for another recipe or cooking a meal that last-week me thought was a good idea. However, we still had to eat. And I didn’t want to eat the same thing over and over. I like to eat. I like variety. I even like to cook! I just wanted a break from planning for it.

Enter: subscription meal kits.

There are dozens of subscription meal kits out there these days. There are kits for main meals, kits for sides and breakfasts, kids for snacks, and even kits for kids’ meals. I rounded up my favorites that I’ve tried, as well as a few that I’m excited about trying in the future. If you, too, need a break from the monotony of weekly meal plans or just need some variety to shake things up, check out these fun kits below!

HelloFresh

two young children in the kitchen one chopping vegetablesHelloFresh is America’s most popular subscription meal kit, and for good reason. The meals are easy to make and delicious to eat. They offer a variety of meal options: vegetarian, low carb, quick and easy, and even 10-minute lunches. I especially appreciate how simple the app is to navigate. I can edit my weekly box, select my meals, and follow the recipe {with timers for each dish of the meal!}, all from my phone. If you prefer a recipe card, HelloFresh provides those as well, with easy-to-follow instructions and pictures. Each week, there are over 25 recipes from which to choose. You can also choose from a wide variety of add-ons, like garlic bread for an Italian dish or raspberry cheesecake, if you want a dessert. I do find some of the meals to be repetitive. However, that would be the case if I were planning the menu myself as well. So to me, repetition is not a deal breaker.

Cost: about $10/serving
Pro: delicious, easy to make, excellent app, each meal individually packaged
Con: repetitive, not good if you’re looking for low calorie or healthier options

mother helps young daughter chop vegetablesBlue Apron

Blue Apron is a great choice for healthy-ish, fast, and delicious meals. With over 16 subscription meal kits to choose from each week, you’ll be sure to find something new each week. There are not as many selections for various diets {low carb, paleo, keto}, but they do offer vegetarian options, and many of their meals are WeightWatchers friendly. The meals themselves are simple to prepare- they require less ingredients, less equipment, and less time overall. They also offer microwave meals, which take less than 5 minutes to throw together. Sometimes, the simplicity leads to a sacrifice in flavor, but not so much that I still didn’t enjoy the meal. The app is easy to navigate, and it sends reminders to help you edit your order before the weekly deadline. I also appreciate the add on options: wine, breakfast options, crudité platters, or even a la carte proteins.

Cost: about $10/serving
Pro: quick and easy meals, good variety, healthy-ish, teaches various basic cooking techniques
Con: less variety for different diet plans, not for the experienced cook looking to level up their skills

Dinnerly

I haven’t tried this one, but am excited to do so soon. With the increase in grocery prices, I haven’t noticed much of a difference in the two subscription meals kits I’ve tried and what I typically spend at the grocery store if I plan the meals myself. Dinnerly prides itself on being an affordable meal kit service, with quick and easy meals. The meals are simple {some reviews indicate they’re too simple, with some recipes lacking in flavor} and ready to go in about 30 minutes. Dinnerly offers over 30 options from which to choose each week, and you can narrow your choices by dietary type {gluten free, low carb, etc.}, choice of meat, healthy, vegetarian, and more. The meals are heavy on the protein and carbs, with less options for vegetable sides. I would have to add my own veggies, but the low price tag makes this addition less of a burden. I think this service would be perfect for busy families during the school year.

Cost: starting at $4.69/serving
Pro: quick and easy, affordable, focused on environmentally friendly {digital recipe cards, less plastic packaging}
Cons: lacking in flavor, all ingredients packaged together {not organized by meal}, not good for those looking for well balanced meals with more veggies

Hungryroot

Hungryroot’s model is a mix n’ match meal kit of grocery items. You fill out a questionnaire about your meal preferences: dietary restrictions, allergies, what your goals are {save money, eat healthier, focus on flavor, etc.}, if you prefer just main meals or meals and snacks. Then the algorithm generates suggested recipes, which are built from their brand’s grocery store ingredients. Each meal only has 4-6 ingredients and takes about 15 minutes to make. According to reviews, just because the meal is simple does not mean it skimps on flavor! The focus is on plant based ingredients, but there are plenty of meals with meat and fish. I filled out the questionnaire for my next box, and they suggested one lunch and two dinner recipes, as well as several various snacks and desserts to try. I can’t wait to try it out next week!

Cost: $9.69/serving, $184.62 for the whole box {My box includes 12 meal servings, 5-7 snack servings, and 4-6 sweet servings.}
Pro: customizable, healthy, delicious, easy
Con: interface is a bit confusing, comes with a lot of packaging

Yumble

Yumble was created by a busy mom of 3 who was tired of trying to figure out what to feed her picky kiddos each week. She teamed up with a chef and nutritionist to create fresh and healthy meals delivered to your door and ready in just a couple of minutes. Each meal provides protein, carbs, a healthy fat, and a serving of vegetables. Some of the recipes are your typical kid-friendly food: macaroni and cheese {with a cauliflower cheese sauce} or chicken nuggets. However, they also offer fun options like a Baked Taco Pocket {like an empanada} and Presto Pesto Chicken sandwich. They even offer meals that are lunchbox ready, making the meals a great option for school. Each meal is individually packaged, so if you’re ordering for several children, your refrigerator space will disappear fast. And if meals aren’t enough, the box also includes fun items like coloring books, stickers, and table talk questions!

Cost: $5.99/serving, if you order the max of 16 meals {the more meals you order, the cheaper the price/serving}
Pro: delicious, individually packaged, quick cooking time, recyclable dishes, good for busy families
Con: not great for really picky eaters, expensive if you have the time to plan basic meals for children

mother supervises young child at the stoveFor busy families, subscription meal kits are a great alternative to meal planning and grocery shopping. Do you have any favorites?


 

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Rebecca S. is a born and raised Houstonian; she grew up in Katy, graduated with a BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Houston {go Coogs!}, and made a home in West Houston with her native Houstonian husband. She quickly realized that the chaotic lifestyle of the hospitality industry was not for her and soon found her calling in education. She taught while earning her masters in Library Science from the University of North Texas. Currently, she is staying home with her son, Thomas {2016} and daughter Charlie {2020}. In her free time, she loves to read, write, run, and roam the world. While her roots are firmly planted in H-town, she takes every available opportunity to go on an adventure and explore historic cities, hike and run new trails, and, of course, try beers from every country.

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