Are Food Delivery Services as Healthy as They Claim?

In today’s world of quick access and instant gratification, there is a surge in food delivery service options — HelloFresh, Marley spoon, Blue Apron, Plated, Sun Basket, Home Chef, Green Blender, Balance, Freshly, Terra’s Kitchen and the list keeps growing.

The convenience of having a meal ready to prepare and delivered to your door is great, but are they as healthy as they claim? Betsy Oriolo, MS, RD, LD, CDE at St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center, says most are healthy and provide good portion control.

“Overall, I am a fan of the new food delivery services,” Betsy said. “There are a lot of companies and different meal options out there. My favorites follow guidelines similar to what our bariatricians at the Weight Management Center recommends in terms of daily macronutrient intakes for carbohydrate, protein and fat—like Balance by Bistro MD.”

Pros and Cons of Food Delivery Services
Like any product you can buy, there are pros and cons to home food delivery services. Betsy tells us the positives and the negatives of the new trend.

Pros:

  • Good for weight control. Meals are pre-portioned and portion-controlled. They also use fresh produce. Calories are measured by serving and you understand exactly what nutrients are on your plate.
  • No food waste. Each meal comes portioned—if your recipe calls for one celery stalk you don’t need to buy an entire package of celery.
  • They can save you time. You no longer have to spend hours trying to figure out what to make for dinner. No more running to the grocery store and searching for ingredients.
  • Variety in your menu. You can choose your meal offerings from vegan to heart healthy and you are given recipes you may have never tried before.
  • They can be a cost savings. If you are a family that typically eats out, this service could save you money. A three meal package for two people averages $70.

Cons:

  • You have to cook and prep food. Some services take longer than others. If you aren’t used to preparing your own food, some meal options may require more work than others—more chopping, dicing and slicing.
  • They may not fit a restricted diet. Although many of the services offer choices, some plans don’t accommodate them fully. For instance, if you have diabetes, some meals may be carbohydrate heavy with rice or pasta.

DIY-Easy Meal Planning
If you like the thought of a meal delivery services but aren’t ready to make a commitment, you can try to eat well on your own.

Betsy offers three tips to replicate some of the pros of a food delivery service.

  1. Pre-plan a weekly menu and make your grocery list off of this menu. Take advantage of the many online resources and websites such as the American Diabetes Association, Sparkpeople.com or the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Do a computer search for healthy recipes and use this as a guide as well.
  2. Pre-prep your meals on the weekend so that you too can freeze and reheat later like a delivery service meal.
  3. Use online or curbside pick-up from your local grocery store if this is offered in your area.

If you need help keeping your weight goals on track, talk to your primary care physician or schedule an appointment at the St. Elizabeth Weight Management Center by calling (859) 212-4625.