Are You a Meal Kit Candidate? by Caron Golden

You’ve probably heard or seen your share of commercials for companies  that send you meal kits. Maybe you’ve wondered if they’re worth checking out.

Are You a Meal Kit Candidate?
What to Expect From a Meal Kit
Unlike meal delivery services, meal kit companies are like your virtual sous chef. Depending on the company, they deliver a box filled with all the components of a meal, ready for you to put together according to their recipe. For people who like the idea of home-cooked meals but don’t have the time or energy to do the shopping  or meal planning—or have little experience preparing meals—having all the ingredients delivered in a box and ready to put together can be a valuable service.
For those with type 2 diabetes, it can offer additional benefits, according to Viola Holmes, associate director of nutrition for the Science and Health team of the American Diabetes Association®.
“I think meal kits can be helpful for individuals with type 2 diabetes, even if it’s just for a temporary time,” she said. “It can help people get started with seeing what healthy portions are and what meal balance looks like . And they can experience foods they wouldn’t normally cook or eat.”
How to Choose the Right Meal Kit for You
But what do you need to know to make the right decision for you and your household? First, establish what kind of food you’re interested in eating and how much time you want to spend preparing it. Then do your research to find your match:
Do they offer diabetes-friendly meals? Some services claim to offer specific diabetes-friendly meal plans. Others will tout low-carb meals, but those meals may compensate by being high in fat, sodium, or processed sugar. You’ll need to look at the meal plans, the recipes, and nutritional information to determine if the meals will be a positive source of nutrition for you.
What kind of meals and ingredients do they provide? If you’re committed to organic ingredients, some companies offer them. There are specialized meal kit companies for vegetarians, vegans, those who follow keto diets, those who want to lose weight, and more. 
Do the meals appeal to you? Do the plans have enough variety? Can you design your own plan to meet your specific goals? 
How easy are the recipes to follow? How complicated are they? Some services just offer smoothies, soups, or bowls. Others have more complex menus. 
What kind of commitment do you need to make? How many meals and servings are included? How much flexibility do you have? Do they offer multiple courses or just the main course? Are all ingredients included for each recipe or does it require extra shopping?
The Takeaway
Choosing the right meal kit service that works for your and your household’s lifestyle involves some time up front and experimentation. One approach Holmes recommends is to find a local dietitian to go over the options with you to find one that works best for you. And look for companies that have low-cost introductory offers so you can try some out before you identify the one that’s right for you, whether it’s for the long term or just to ease into healthy eating.

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