[Note: This post is not sponsored, I just happen to be interested in these delivery food services and purchased a trial service from Plated]
In our house I plan what we eat, grocery shop, and then cook our meals. Granted, Adam is a fabulous chef and is very capable of cooking (please refer to the prime rib, horseradish mash potatoes and homemade cheesecake he made us for Christmas), it's just he only likes to cook for special occasions. Adam likes to make things that take HOURS to prep and cook, whereas I like to make things that take 30 minutes or less. I love good food, but I do the cooking 7 days a week, so it needs to be quick and tasty.
So when I started seeing ads for Plated I was intrigued. Planning the meals for the week is the part of cooking that I hate the most. Looking through my pinterest pins, thinking of old favorites, checking cookbooks. I like doing these things for fun events, but week after week I run out of steam. Plus, I'm usually trying to make things that we will have leftovers for and that wont have 600 ingredients where a tiny bit will be used in this meal, and the rest will go bad.
The first service I tried was Plated. I signed up, picked my delivery date and picked two delicious looking dinners. A few days later they arrived on my doorstep neatly packaged and ready to open and begin cooking.
Here are my pros and cons for Plated.
PROS of Plated
- DELICIOUS! The food was absolutely tasty!
- The food was perfectly labeled for each of the two meals, no confusion whatsoever in which items went with either meal.
- The directions were easy to follow and clearly marked.
- Meals took about 30 minutes from start to finish (the more familiar you are with cooking, the faster these will go. I read reviews of people saying meals took forever to prep, but I think they just aren't speedy cooks to begin with).
- No more buying a bundle of herbs only to use a 1/4 cup in the meal and having the rest go bad.
- We got to eat and try new things I never would have dared make at home. Turns out barley is delicious! And easy to make! Would have ordered it at a restaurant, but never would have made something with barley at home. Now, I totally will.
CONS of Plated:
- So! Much! Waste! As neatly as everything is packaged, when it's all said and done you're looking at a box, variety of cooling packs, insulation, and all the little bags and containers each item came in that all get thrown out. So you're not wasting food, but you're wasting a lot of packing materials.
- No leftovers. These meals are perfectly proportioned for us to have exactly one meal, with one helping. With Plated we're not overeating which is nice, and they're exactly 500-700 calories a serving which is great for our waistline, but you're not going to be having one meal serve you twice unless you order a meal for a family of four, even though there are only two of you. Which, isn't cost conscious.
- The cost. It's just damn expensive. To have two dinners for two people delivered it will cost me $56 a week. For only two dinners! Where there will be no leftovers! I can make a weeks worth of meals from the grocery store with $56. They wont be as fancy, but it will be food.
- It's a subscription service. Their trial required me to make an account, which meant I was now subscribed. You can skip weeks, but then I'd forget to login and skip a week and suddenly I'd get an email on Tuesday morning that I'd been charged for my next shipment, and I'd have to contact customer service to refund my money. After doing this twice (I get it, total user error, but still) I just had them cancel my service completely.
In the end I did love making my Plated meals, and I loved the two dinners I created and my ability to try new things while eating well balanced meals that were perfectly proportioned, but in the end I just can't justify the cost. I wish there were more options. The fancy version, vs the make one huge meal and eat it all week at a discount version. Maybe a "Make-And-Freeze" version. Or maybe buy a month worth and get 50% off plan.
I can totally see the benefit of substituting a few meals a week, or even a month with a delivery service, but only if I suddenly get a super raise and the high cost is no longer an issue.