Even if you love cooking, preparing meals for a family can involve more challenges than you may feel capable of after a long day at work or running after young children. Simply getting the right ingredients together is difficult enough, especially if you’ve got a restless two-year-old in tow. This is where a family meal delivery service can come to the rescue like some kind of culinary Superman.
Imagine a life without meal planning and grocery shopping! Better yet, with the best meal delivery services for families, you don’t have to compromise on quality nor nutrition either.
Obviously, a family meal delivery service needs to offer dishes that appeal to both young and old, while providing a balance of fresh ingredients, fiber, protein, and essential nutrients. Finding the best meal delivery service for families couldn’t be easier – just keep reading.
5 Surprising Benefits of Family Meals
Eating together is a social event and as a result, family meals carry a lot more significance than you might expect, influencing various different factors in your children’s lives. Research indicates that eating together as a family not only gives you the opportunity to reconnect at the end of a busy day but also has the following advantages:
Eating regular meals as a family, whether prepared from scratch or delivered to your home by a family meal delivery service, encourages children to develop a healthier attitude towards food. Research suggests that children that eat with their family regularly are less likely to develop eating disorders and tend to eat more fruit and vegetables.
2. Unhealthy Habits
Apparently, teenagers that regularly eat with their family are less likely to indulge in unhealthy habits like marijuana use, alcohol abuse, and the use of prescription and illegal drugs. According to a paper published in 2011, teenagers who eat between five and seven meals with their parents each week are nearly four times less like to try drugs than those who have less than three family meals per week.
Although you may have images of a silent, sulky dinner table where everyone just gobbles and goes, studies indicate that families that eat together frequently tend to be much closer and enjoy better relationships with one another. In one survey, over 70% of the respondents said that family conversations and the opportunity to catch up with one another are the highlights of any family meal!
4. Academic Ability
We all know the old adage, you are what you eat, but it seems that when it comes to teenagers, who they eat with is just as important as what they actually put in their mouths. Apparently, eating as a family every night of the week is likely to boost your child’s academic accomplishments, with teenagers who eat with their families regularly scoring A’s and B’s at school.
There is evidence to suggest that children who eat regular family meals have more opportunity to develop literacy skills and expand their vocabularies. According to research, preschool children who eat family meals regularly develop better literacy skills that will stand them in good stead as they move through high school.
The 5 Biggest Family Dinner Challenges
When you’ve got preschool-age children, you’ve had one set of challenges, usually involving selective eating and early evening meals. As your children get older, so those challenges change and you’re faced with trying to squeeze in a meal between sports practice and other extracurricular activities. Let’s take a look at the five of the biggest challenges facing parents in their preparation of a family meal and how the best meal delivery service for families can help overcome those obstacles.
1. Busy Schedule
Many working parents struggle to get home in time to create a meal for four before it’s time for their youngest to head off to bed. A family-friendly meal delivery service is a great way to tackle this problem, reducing the time it takes to prepare a meal to just 30 minutes and making the recipes simple enough that the kids can join in. If you can’t manage a family meal every night of the week, don’t stress – just make those that you can schedule in fun and full of flavor.
2. Lack of Creativity
Coming up with a meal that’s going to appeal to a fussy toddler, a vegetarian teenager and a carnivore of a husband is never going to be easy and making sure it’s a healthy balance of protein and nutrients is even more challenging. The best meal delivery service for families solves these problems by providing a new menu each week, from which you can pick and choose according to your family’s needs.
3. Limited Cooking Confidence
If you’re not confident in the kitchen or you’ve never really developed a flair for culinary creativity, preparing a meal for a whole family can be more than a little daunting. A family-friendly meal delivery service like Home Chef gives you step-by-step instructions that are easy enough for a child to follow. Not only will this help you create healthy and appetizing meals, but it will also develop your culinary skills and give you the confidence to try new techniques.
4. Grocery Shopping
This is either heaven or hell depending on how you look at it. You get to browse hundreds of different types of produce and imagine the things you could create with them = heaven. You traipse up and down aisles for hours with a screaming toddler and an inability to find anything you need = hell. By opting for a meal kit delivery for families, you can eliminate the need for a weekly grocery shop and focus instead on planning and sourcing ingredients for healthy breakfasts and nutritious lunches.
5. The Big Clean Up
Even when the meal preparation has been simplified through the use of a family friendly meal delivery plan, being faced with a chaotic kitchen full of dirty dishes at 9pm can be soul-destroying. Don’t forget that many hands make light work and get your family involved in the clean up as well as the preparation. Alternatively, invest in a dishwasher or create a roster of clean-up duties so everyone does an equal share.
The Best Meal Delivery Services for Families
#1 Home Chef
This highly flexible and affordable meal delivery service is great for individuals as well as families and you won’t need to rob a bank to pay for it. With meals starting at $7.99 per serving, Home Chef’s meal kit delivery for families may put a little strain on your budget but not too much.
According to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture, in January last year, feeding a family of four on a “liberal” (i.e. not budget) plan would set you back just over $200 per week. Getting seven Home Chef family meals delivered to your door each week will cost just under $224. Admittedly, you still need to provide breakfast and lunch, but it’s nonetheless very good value for money.
Home Chef is one of the best meal delivery services around, providing easy-to-follow recipes and good quality fresh ingredients sourced from local and sustainable suppliers. Being able to rustle up a nutritious meal in under 30 minutes is a pleasure, and may even inspire your kids to help out.
The Home Chef menu is traditional and inviting, although it can get a little repetitive, especially when you’re trying to accommodate different tastes and food preferences. Another negative is that, rather than adapting the recipe cards to reflect four servings, Home Chef simply sends you the recipe for two people, leaving you to remember to double up on the ingredients.
Despite these drawbacks, Home Chef remains our top choice of meal delivery services for families because of its convenience, versatility, and affordability. Delivering to 98% of the country, Home Chef meal kits are also available in Kroger-owned supermarkets so, if there’s Walgreens or Kroger near you, you could always pop in and try it out before signing up.
Alternatively, find out why we think Home Chef is the best meal delivery service for families by reading our full review here.
#2 Hello Fresh
Dedicated to making your life easier and providing nutritious meals that will appeal to the whole family, Hello Fresh has a family plan designed specifically for you. Hello Fresh isn’t as versatile as Home Chef and its meal kit delivery for families only allows subscribers to purchase three recipes per week and the menu is also somewhat more limited with just nine different options. These tend to be a mixture of classic American dishes and international flavors, some of which may be a little too adventurous for a young child. Having said that, you can enter your dietary preferences and Hello Fresh will suggest alternatives to any meals that don’t suit your family’s diverse palate.
If you’re cooking on a budget, Hello Fresh is a great option with servings starting at $7.49 each and shipping at just $6.99 per week. You can also skip weeks and alter your delivery day as you choose. To make managing your order and selecting meals even easier, Hello Fresh has a smartphone app that’s compatible with both iPhones and Android.
Unlike Home Chef where you can simply order as many servings as you want, Hello Fresh limits you to four servings per meal, making it unsuitable as a meal delivery for a family of 6 or more. Of course, you could sign up for both the classic and family plans, especially as there is a lot of overlap between the two plans’ menus.
Despite its limitations, Hello Fresh offers a range of family-friendly meals that are so easy to prepare, you can get your children involved. With the Hello Fresh app, you can also watch useful cooking tutorials that will give you and your kids the inspiration to create while also providing handy tips and techniques to speed up your meal preparation.
Again, if you want to try before you buy, you can always pop into your nearest Stop & Shop or Giant Food store and pick up a Hello Fresh meal kit, although you may have to pay a little more for it than you would if you got the family meals delivered to your door.
If you feel you need more facts and figures to make an informed choice, check out our full Hello Fresh review here.
#3 Blue Apron
In many respects, the Blue Apron family meal delivery service is the same as Hello Fresh’s with a family meal plan providing four servings of two, three, or four meals per week. The pricing plan is also consistent with that of Hello Fresh, and family meals start at $7.49 per serving. Furthermore, Blue Apron doesn’t charge for shipping, so it works out to be even cheaper than Hello Fresh.
Although Blue Apron’s fresh produce doesn’t always arrive looking quite as perky as it should, the simplicity of the recipes and the quick preparation times make it appealing to families with kids who want to get involved. Furthermore, should any of the items in your weekly delivery box look anything less than garden-fresh, you can take advantage of Hello Fresh’s Freshness Guarantee and inform the customer support department who will resolve the problem.
Blue Apron’s family meal delivery service is perfect for those who want to keep the kids happy most of the time while occasionally throwing something a little more exotic into the mix. You can also be certain of both quality and sustainability as Blue Apron is committed to environmentally-friendly agricultural practices and goes the extra mile by supporting regenerative crop cultivation. This means their farmers can rotate crops in a manner that will help to rehabilitate the land and reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
If you think there is no way you’ll ever get your three-year-old eating kale, try out Blue Apron today and see how quickly a meal of chicken, black bean & kale enchiladas disappears! Again, Blue Apron supply a number of supermarkets so you can sample a meal or two before you sign up.
Alternatively, read our full review to find out all the pros and cons of this family meal delivery service.
Cooking for a family isn’t as easy as it once was. These days, most families lives are full of extra-curricular activities while many parents work longer hours than they did in the past. Nevertheless, sitting down to a family meal every night will not only improve your nutrition but also your child’s academic performance and your familial relationships. With so many benefits, it would be churlish not to take advantage of the best meal delivery service for families, especially given how affordable it is.
The best meal delivery service for busy families delivers fresh produce to your door every week, meaning you don’t have to waste hours trawling the supermarket shelves looking for good-quality produce. As each ingredient has already been weighed out and portioned, you’ll also experience less food wastage which will save you money.
As the best meal prep delivery for families send user-friendly recipe cards with every meal, preparation time is reduced and you and your kids have the opportunity of developing new culinary skills and techniques. Most family-friendly meal delivery services offer recipes that will appeal to the whole family and can be prepared quickly and easily without the need for complex and expensive kitchen equipment.
Family mealtimes are a time of reconnecting and reinforcing relationships, so any service that can make that more accessible should be welcomed with open arms. Sign up for a meal delivery service today and enjoy more time with your family relishing healthy meals and discovering the art of creating dishes full of nutrition and flavor.