A meal delivery company with a difference, Real Eats uses the latest sous vide techniques to produce delicious meals that take just six minutes to reheat.
With a selection of over 20 different dishes each week, Real Eats combines worldly flavors with local produce to give you the best of both worlds. Although Real Eats doesn’t cater to vegetarians or provide diet-specific meal plans, it does offer low-calorie dishes that are full of flavor and international culinary influences.
Rather than delivering meal kits or frozen pre-prepared meals, all Real Eats meals are ready to eat – all you have to do is warm them up. Each component of a Real Eats meal comes in a plastic pouch and remains in that pouch while you reheat it. As a result, you don’t need much in the way of kitchen equipment, time or culinary flair to enjoy them.
Unfortunately, Real Eats doesn’t yet deliver nationwide, but if you’re in one of the 20 or so states it does service, it’s well worth trying out.
Ease of Use
Signing up for Real Eats is incredibly simple and will take a matter of minutes, assuming you can decide on which meals you want to order which, given the range of taste bud-tantalizing options available, is no mean feat. Once you’ve chosen both your plan and your meals, you’ll be automatically redirected to the online checkout where you’ll complete the registration by filling in the necessary personal and financial information.
The meals are also not as easy to keep fresh as some other meal kit delivery services, which are delivering fresh ingredients as opposed to pre-cooked ones. Nevertheless, Real Eats do the best they can with cold packs and thermoregulated boxes and, in most instances, this proves more than sufficient.
Each meal has its different components vacuum-sealed in separate pouches which means they not only last longer, but they also take up a lot less space in your fridge. Unfortunately, the components for each meal aren’t then grouped together so you’ll have to hunt through your various pouches to find the right sides to accompany your chosen entrée.
Preparation couldn’t be simpler, however, and all you’ll need in your kitchen is a pot and some boiling water. Following the instructions on each pouch, you boil each component of your meal for the specified length of time, then simply open the packets and enjoy. Clearing up afterward is a breeze as well, as the plastic pouches prevent any leakage, making it simple to restore your kitchen to showroom quality once you’ve eaten.
Similarly, Real Eats prides itself on keeping meal preparation to a minimum so, while you might save money with a more affordable meal kit delivery service, you’ll also find you have to invest at least 20 minutes to half an hour preparing the meal, and the same again clearing up afterward. With Real Eats, you’ll need around six minutes to prepare your meal and a little less than that to clear up afterward.
In addition to your meals, your weekly delivery box will contain a weekly menu that contains information about each meal, how to prepare it, and how to plate it so it looks as delicious as it tastes. It also gives you all the menus so, if you feel like expanding your culinary talents, you can take inspiration from the menus and try one from scratch.
Real Eats is a simple, effective service that would benefit from improving its packaging to make finding each meal’s components easier. It would also be great if a little more flexibility could be introduced to its delivery days.
With 15 different dinners and four different breakfasts to choose from each, the variety available with Real Eats is well above average. While some meal delivery services have a wide range of different meal plans available, from paleo to pescatarian, Real Eats focuses more on diversity, incorporating into its weekly menus’ flavors and culinary influences from all over the world.
This approach has both advantages and disadvantages and those of you wanting to maintain a strictly plant-based eating regime will struggle to find enough diversity in Real Eats’ weekly menu. With only two or three vegetarian options each week, Real Eats isn’t the best option for vegetarians and, as for vegans, you definitely need to look elsewhere.
For those with a willingness to eat meat and fish, and a desire to experiment with new flavors and more exotic ingredients, however, Real Eats is a real treat. Having said that, a love of chicken is a definite advantage as this protein seems to dominate the menu, although there is a nice selection of fish dishes each week as well.
Inevitably, the variety of breakfast choices is a lot more limited than the dinner menu, with just four different options each week. As few of us tend to vary our breakfast fare, however, this isn’t a problem and you can choose to have four different breakfasts or simply repeat a dish like Chia Seed Pudding and a superfood start to your day.
While many meal delivery services accommodate specific diets like keto and paleo, developing weekly menus that adhere to these strict eating regimes, Real Eats focuses more on low-calorie intake, locally sourced fresh ingredients, and a world of different flavors. Most of the dishes on the dinner menu weigh in at under 600 calories per portion, making Real Eats a great way to broaden your culinary experiences while maintaining a healthy eating regime.
A typical weekly menu includes such delicacies as Grilled Swordfish with Kale, Nut and Seed Pesto Pasta;
Spiced Lentils and Bulgur with Pickled Vegetables and Smoky Yoghurt; and the mouth-watering Grilled Fajita Steak with Peppers, Onions & Four Bean Salad. If you’re more inclined towards traditional meals, this may not be the best option for you, but for most people, there’s enough variety to keep your taste buds on their toes, so to speak.
There’s gourmet, restaurant-quality and then there’s boil-in-a-bag which never sounds particularly promising. Easy to prepare, certainly, but are the end results worth eating? I for one have some pretty unpleasant childhood memories of boil-in-a-bag fish fillets and it’s not something I would choose to revisit so when confronted with Real Eats’ boil-in-a-bag approach to meal delivery services, I was more than skeptical. You can call it sous vide if you like, which certainly sounds a lot better than boil-in-a-bag, but does it really change the end product?
Well, it seems that sous vide is the latest trend and it’s proving tasty as well as healthy. The latest trend in the restaurant industry, sous vide enables chefs to produce complex dishes, cooked to perfection. While restaurants may be using specialized water bath gadgets to create their sous vide feats, with Real Eats, the work has already been done for you, so all you’re doing is reheating the meal, rather than cooking it. As a result, you can create delicious meals using just a pot of boiling water. Real Eats meals offer a balance of flavor and texture. It seems sous vide is a far cry from the old-fashioned boil-in-a-bag approach!
Fish and various meats benefit from the sous vide technique as it increases tenderness and flavor without over-cooking. Some of the vegetables, like the spinach, for example, don’t look particularly promising in their vacuum-packed state but, after cooking, taste surprisingly good.
If you have more traditional tastes when it comes to your evening meal, some dishes may not be particularly appealing but it’s still worth giving them a try. The wild rice varieties, for example, can be a little too crunchy for some and even the satisfyingly nutty flavor may not be compensation enough for the strange texture.
With world-class chef, Aliya LeeKong, inspiring the menus, Real Eats tries to combine worldly flavors with local ingredients to create delicious, healthy meals. For the most part, that’s exactly what they achieve as well. Occasionally, a portion of pasta maybe a little soggier than desired, or a serving of green beans rather more tender than crispy, but overall, the tastes are exceptional and the combination of flavors surprising enough to keep you interested without being overly outlandish.
The fact that all the components needed to recreate Real Eats meals are vacuum-packed means that, in terms of the meal prep itself, and the storage, it doesn’t get much more convenient. With some meal delivery companies, you need a certain level of equipment, including saucepans, colanders, chopping boards and knives. With Real Eats, you need very little at all – just a pot and some hot water. If you don’t have that, you can microwave your meals instead, just be sure to remove the plastic packaging beforehand!
Cooking in a plastic bag may not sound like the most healthy or ecological way to prepare a meal but the vacuum packs used by Real Eats are made from 100% food-safe plastic. This is the same material the sous vide restaurant industry and is guaranteed to be free of potentially harmful plasticizers and phthalates.
One nice thing about Real Eats is that there’s a lot less packaging to deal with than with meal kit delivery services. Not only are the pouches streamlined, but they’re also recyclable, so all you have to do is rinse them out and recycle them using your normal facilities.
Although Real Eats doesn’t have quite the nationwide coverage of some other meal delivery services, it delivers to over 20 different states, giving you a nearly 50% chance that they’re covering your region. Similarly, there’s very little flexibility when it comes to delivery days as these are set according to your zip code and occur on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays depending on your location.
Another impressive aspect of Real Eats’ service is that its surprisingly easy to cancel your account. For many meal delivery services, and their customers, this is a bit of a sticking point, but with Real Eats, you can simply click “Cancel” in your online account and the deed is done!
While it would be nice to see Real Eats introduce a more flexible delivery service and extend its coverage throughout the US, it’s none the less one of the easiest meal delivery services to get to grips with. The website gives a clear overview of its services and its values, while its ease of navigation makes swapping meals and adjusting orders straightforward.
The idea of shelling out over $13 for a meal you eat at home might be a little tricky to get your head around, to begin with, but if you sit down to think about it, it often turns out more cost-effective than you initially assumed.
For instance, according to a news release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, the average US household spent over $7,000 per year on food. A year of eating six dinners and six breakfasts per week from Real Eats would set you back $5,460, which really is food for thought, isn’t it?
Of course, it’s still going to be more expensive than buying raw ingredients and cooking them for yourself… or is it? Over the past decade, the price of some basic foodstuffs has doubled while items like seasoning and herbs have increased over 30%. Add on the additional expense of driving to the grocery store, paying for parking, and driving home again and suddenly, $13.50 per meal doesn’t sound quite so extravagant.
There are cheaper meal delivery services around, and more expensive ones, so your choice is very much dependent on your budget, as well as your nutritional needs and desired eating regime. You could opt for a budget meal kit delivery service and do the actual meal prep yourself which will save you around $6 per portion. Then again, you could opt for completely organic, plant-based meals delivered freshly prepared to your door for over $400 per week.
Given the wide disparity in meal delivery service prices, Real Eats is neither cheap nor expensive but offers good value for money for those seeking lots of variety without the calories. As with most other meal delivery services, Real Eats charges a basic shipping fee of $6.99 per delivery, which again, is average within the industry.
If convenience, healthy eating and culinary experimentation all appeal to you, Real Eats can deliver them all at a reasonable price. If you’re looking for a budget meal delivery service or one that offers the best gourmet dishes, then you may want to look elsewhere.
Real Eats is a great way to get varied, nutritional meals without spending hours in the kitchen or wracking your brain for culinary inspiration. Whether or not you’ll be able to make the most of the service depends on where you live, however, as Real Eats doesn’t yet deliver nationwide.
Using the latest sous vide approach to cooking, Real Eats provides healthy meals that taste great and are nearly always cooked to perfection. Preparing Real Eats meals takes just a few minutes and a pot of boiling water, so you can squeeze a healthy evening meal into the busiest of days, without worrying about the clean up afterward. Minimal packaging also removes the need for too much waste management which is often a problem with meal kit delivery services.
Using only locally sourced, fresh ingredients, Real Eats provides top-quality meals that retain their nutritional balance, flavor, and texture. Unfortunately, if you’ve committed to a specific eating regime, be it keto, vegetarian, paleo or vegan, Real Eats isn’t geared for you. On the other hand, if you’re a happy omnivore, then there’s a lot of choice and a lot of different culinary influences to munch your way through.
Although not the cheapest meal delivery service around, Real Eats offers good value for money. Greater flexibility in the delivery schedule would be a welcome addition to the service but, overall, Real Eats offers healthy, tasty dishes that are simple to prepare.
Navigating the Real Eats website is a treat, and the most difficult part of the entire process, from registration to consumption, is choosing from the 22 different dishes available each week. Variety, flavor, and ease of use combine to make this a great meal delivery service for those too busy or too culinarily challenged to cook on a nightly basis.