Are Meal Subscription Boxes Worth the Hype?

Most people love getting real “snail” mail, and receiving a much-anticipated package can brighten up a ho-hum or stressful day, especially if that package is packed with fresh and tasty ingredients to create a delicious meal.

Meal subscription boxes have become a popular go-to dinner solution for busy professionals and families who yearn for a home-cooked meal but lack the shopping time for or the culinary know-how to create a healthy, scrumptious dish.

Even though meal subscription boxes remove the dreaded “What’s for dinner” question and time in the grocery store, are these food prep meal boxes worth the cost?

Subscription joys

Having everything you need to whip up a home-cooked meal that’s heavy on fresh, healthy and often times locally-sourced ingredients delivered to your doorstep are definite pros for meal box subscriptions.

“Most meals are pretty healthy — they are built around fresh produce and lean proteins. Plus, they are designed to make a specific number of servings, which can help you with portion control. Just keep an eye on the calories: Depending on what you order, the meals can run up to 800 calories per serving,” reports

The meals are probably ones you’ve never had before, too, so not only do you get a fabulous-tasting dinner, you’ll be exposing your taste buds to something new. You don’t have to settle for taco Tuesday just because it’s Tuesday and you can’t think of anything else to make.

It’s also a great way to get your kids involved. Meal subscription boxes are basically food presents, and most kids are thrilled to open presents. Plus, the boxes come with step-by-step directions. Even if your little ones aren’t ready for stove or knife work, perhaps they can wash the veggies or read out the steps. Just knowing they can be part of the meal-prep process might inspire them to try new foods, without you having to resort to yelling, negotiations or bribery.

Subscription woes

Food is expensive and, with meal subscription boxes, you’re paying for the convenience as well as the ingredients, which can come with a high price tag.

According to Associated Press Writer Bree Fowler, who evaluated several popular meal subscription services for two over the course of the month, the overall cost of a mailed meal was definitely higher than a grocery bill, but less than ordering in or eating out in her neck of the woods.

In addition to the higher cost, Fowler discovered that the subscribed-to meals yielded zero leftovers, which is bummer for next day’s lunch prospects. notes that if your house is populated with discerning eaters (aka picky kids or stubborn adults), you might want to reconsider a meal subscription service because “many ingredients can be on the daring side.”

Recipes included in the meal subscription boxes often require advanced culinary skills as well.

“These aren’t dishes you’re going to throw in the microwave — they require some time and work to prepare. You’ll be roasting, searing and dicing, so if you don’t want to handle the prep work, a meal delivery service may not be for you,” according to

If you’re looking to try something new and are willing to put in the required time and effort in the kitchen and are fine with increasing your overall food budget, meal subscription services can be a worthy investment for you and your family. However, if your culinary skills are more akin to microwaves or crock pots and your kids will only eat mac ‘n cheese, you’re probably better off not investing in a subscription service, at least for the time being.


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