Ideally, we could all cook all of our meals at home, create a fully balanced meal, have diverse meals so we won’t get bored, and consume each of these meals with perfect portions. While this can be achievable, many of us have busy lifestyles that make cooking at home and eating healthy consistently difficult. This is where the pre-packaged food comes to save all of your dieting dilemmas. As with everything, there are a couple caveats when considering pre-packaged meals such as: cost, dietary restrictions, and caloric needs.


When looking for a meal plan cost is important. The average person tends to spend about $200 a month on food when cooking most meals at home. On the flip side, most pre-portioned meal plans can cost around $300. It’s important to figure out what the cost of your time is when cooking and how beneficial this program is to you. You can also minimize cost by opting for meal plans that only include one or two meals a day opposed to three to five.

Special Needs:

Many people have dietary restrictions and there are programs out there that can accommodate you accordingly. While many larger companies can offer hundreds of options for your meals, you can seek out other programs to ensure your needs are being met. For vegans a popular choice is Veggie Brothers. Gluten free prepared meals are offered by a company called Metabolic Meals. There is also a paleo-centric pre-portioned meal service aptly named Cavegrrl.

Frozen meals:

While you may assume pre-packaged and portioned foods are healthy for you there are things you have to look out for. Frozen pre-made meals found in the frozen isle of your grocery store tend to be filled with sodium and offer proteins. Steamed vegetable mixes sometimes contain fats in their flavored sauces. This isn’t to say that all frozen pre-made foods are bad, some of them are quite healthy just be sure to check the contents and nutrition label on the back.

Receive and Reheat Programs:

When we think of pre-portioned foods we typically think about companies we see advertised frequently such as Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, and Medifast. These companies and other similar ones will sell you premade food that you heat up in the microwave or oven, much like a frozen dinner in the supermarket. The difference between these and similar programs is that they allow you to plan your meals with a larger variety of items, ensuring you’ll never get tired of eating the same meal 3-5 times a day. Another added benefit is that they have a higher chance of being healthy and nutritious.

Do it Yourself Kits:

There are also other companies, such as Blue Apron and plated, that will sell you pre-portioned ingredients and a recipe in a box every week or month. What this includes are ingredients for you to cook your own pre-portioned meals at home. If you’re new to cooking at home and portioning this may be a better option for you to  eat a home cooked and healthy meal without the task of all of the weighing and measuring that comes with portioning food.


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