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About meal delivery services

Updated: Jan 9, 2023


Due to busy work or study schedules, people may not have time to prepare food during workdays. Meal Delivery services could be a good choice for easier meal planning.


There are many meal delivery services, many types of recipes, many articles comparing those services. People can be very confused about too many options. This article will thoroughly explain all important things about meal delivery services.


Firstly, meal delivery services are not cheap, so it doesn't make sense to have something unhealthy but cost you lots of money. Unhealthy meals may cause heart diseases and diabetes, which could cost a lot of money as well. Just think about it, about 10% of people in the US or Canada have diabetes.


So what can be considered a healthy meal? There is a very important concept called %DV (Daily Value). "DVs are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume or not to exceed each day. The %DV is how much a nutrient in a single serving of an individual packaged food or dietary supplement contributes to your daily diet". If you want to know more, you may check FDA website:


A recommended %DV for a serving of meal with low carb, low saturated fat, low salt and low sugar should be:

Total Carbohydrate<=20%

Total Fat<=20%

Saturated Fat<=20%

Trans Fat=0%

Sodium<=20%

Sugar<=10 g

Added Sugar=0%


A good meal delivery service should include all the recipes with Nutrition Label and %DV. Otherwise, how can you know if they are healthy or not?


Secondly, there are too many fancy meal types. We will explain how it really works.


The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that people used to eat in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including France, Spain, Greece, and Italy. Although there are no strict rules or regulations for the diet, it typically encourages fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy fats (eggs, diary products, lean meats, fish, olive oil, etc). The Mediterranean diet is not a restricted food choice, and is considered the best choice for meals.


The ketogenic diet (or keto diet, for short) is a low carb, high fat diet. Because it's high fat, so it's not so healthy as many people thought. The keto diet is a restricted food choice.


A paleo diet is an eating plan based on foods humans might have eaten during the Paleolithic Era. A paleo diet includes: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, lean meats, fish, and oils from fruits and nuts. However, there are no whole grains, legumes, diary products, corn and potatoes in paleo diet. The paleo diet is a restricted food choice.


A vegan diet avoids all animal products, including meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. A vegetarian diet avoids all meat and fish, but can eat eggs and diary. A pescatarian diet avoids all meat, but can eat eggs, diary, fish and other seafood. A flexitarian diet is a style of eating that encourages eating mostly plant-based foods while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation. The vegan diet, vegetarian diet and pescatarian diet are all restricted food choices. The flexitarian diet is not a restricted food choice, and can be considered healthier with the proper %DV.


Some people may have some underlying health conditions, so that they have to limit food choices, such as diary-free, gluten-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free, egg-free, and shellfish-free. But for normal people without health conditions, we would recommend the Mediterranean diet (more expensive) and the flexitarian diet (less expensive) with proper %DV.


Thirdly, there are two ways for meal delivery services: food ingredients with recipes, or already-made meals. Already-made meals are more convenient, you only need a microwave to heat. However, it can cost more money, and you may not know clearly about the quality of the ingredients. For food ingredients with recipes, if it takes too long to prepare the food, and it costs lots of money, it may not quite worth it. Depending on each person's preference, those recipes should be prepared in 5 to 20 minutes, best within 10 minutes.


Lastly, the price should be reasonable for meal delivery services. Let's assume one serving of food costs $8 for a family of 4 persons, that's $64 per day and $1920 per month. But if you buy all the ingredients and prepare the food by yourself, it may only cost $800 to $1000 per month.


The best meal delivery service should meet the following criteria:

  1. Healthy food choices with good %DV.

  2. Restricted food choices for people with underlying health conditions.

  3. Made-meals, or less than 10 minutes of cooking time.

  4. Reasonable price. The most economic choice could be food ingredients plus simple recipes.

By considering all the options, we think the model for Hungryroot is probably a good choice. However, it is not cheap as expected. That could be because the selected food ingredients are not cheap as well.



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