Cost, time, and energy… On the list of “Things We Worry About Every Day,” food is somewhere at the top.
Unlike the dramatic fluctuations at work and in our relationships, our problems with food are so consistent and all-consuming that they are, paradoxically, rarely brought to our attention. But in London, where eating out for lunch can easily cost you 20 pounds and there are only so many different Meal Deals available at your local Tesco Express, you have to wonder if there is another way to make sure you don’t starve.
Cue: recipe kits. Sometimes called “meal kits,” this rapidly rising industry is the solution to everything food. You might have already heard of the leading names, like: Hello Fresh and Gousto. With a set weekly subscription price, you select from a range of recipes available and receive a cardboard box full of all the ingredients you need, plus the beautiful, printed recipes.
I hate to break it to you, but recipe kits will prove to be much tastier (not to mention healthier) than your midnight impromptu pasta. That pasta is probably months old and the onion near-rotten; you also had to combine the pesto and the tomato sauce because you didn’t have enough of either. Recipe kits save you all the trouble and saves the world a whole lot of food waste at the same time. Here are exactly seven exhaustive reasons why you’ll want to secure recipe boxes starting from next week.
Have you ever had food delivered to your door? Yes, recipe kits do exactly that. But instead of cooked meals, these recipe kits are cardboard boxes that contain all of the raw ingredients from which you will have to cook up yourself. (Don’t worry, it’s not difficult at all.) Recipe kits are much cheaper than having ready-made meals delivered, and on the other hand, it’s much less hassle than rushing to the grocery store where we head out in sneakers without our socks on because we’re too hungry to care.
2. Perfect Portions
Recipe kits come in the portion sizes you specify at the time you order. Most recipe kit services will allow you to choose from 2 to 4 servings per meal, but do expect big portions. If you live alone, it’s a great opportunity to get into the meal-prepping habit. Perfect portions also mean that you’re producing zero food waste, because you only receive however much ingredients that you need.
Boxes delivered to your door are chilled by ice bags, and you’ll also be safe in the knowledge that your ingredients won’t go bad before you finish them (within a week) as it’s a weekly subscription. Just make sure to pop them in the fridge — and any meats in the freezer to be extra sure — the moment you receive them. Recipe kit services also like to source their produce based on what’s in season, so you won’t even have to try hard for those crisp, timely veggies on your plate. It’s your chance to finally expand your produce comfort zone beyond your regular onions, lettuce, and cucumber trio.
Nutrition details are available for every meal you purchase in your recipe box, and many of these services offer an abundance of different dietary options. Especially if you’re just starting to get into a new diet, whether that be vegan, low-carb, or dairy-free, recipe boxes cuts out the time and effort you’d take in pre-planning your meals. That means that there’s less chance for you to sneak in a cheat day here and there.
I’m going to be honest — recipe boxes are not the cheapest possible way to get food in your stomach. Whether they will look good on your balance will depend on your usual spending patterns and how much you care about the quality of the food you are getting. But regardless of the price tag, a recipe cost can save you a lot of time. A lot of the time spent on “cooking” comes from researching recipes, creating a shopping list, and doing the shopping. Sometimes you forget an item on your list and have to double-back to the store for that one milk carton. All of those worries will wash away with the introduction of recipe boxes into your life.
There’s only so many pasta nights you can have in a row until just the thought of it makes you want to run away. With recipe boxes, getting tired of your meals is not going to be a problem. With each box, you get to decide which recipes you want to try out from a host of menu options, and this can include anything from French-style fish fillet bakes to Asian street food favorites. One of the most wonderful things about recipe boxes is that they introduce you to a variety of sauces, herbs, and spices that you would otherwise never get from the store (because you won’t know what they’re for). It turns out, they’re the key to tasting like a restaurant.
When you first think about getting all of your groceries delivered to your door, sustainability can be a major concern. Don’t let that thought stop you, though — recipe boxes are actually more sustainable than doing your groceries the regular way. Recipe box suppliers cut down drastically on their carbon footprint by sourcing their ingredients straight from the farms, bypassing the warehouses and supermarkets that are part of the traditional supply chain. Gousto boasts their carbon footprint to be 23% lower than getting groceries from the store, and Hello Fresh is committed to offsetting 100% of their CO2 emissions. Plus, every corner of the packaging is thought out to reduce single-use plastic as much as possible. Conclusion: you can cook from recipe boxes and still hug your trees.
I’ve personally tested out a few recipe kit services and I can attest to their quality. You’re only a few clicks away from a groundbreaking discovery: that it’s possible to not worry about food. I’m not a Michelin-star chef myself (in fact, I generally tend to avoid cooking), but with the introduction to recipe boxes in my life, I’ve started to look forward to the next meal.
As Martin Holden-White, the founder of Grubby (a UK-based vegan recipe box delivery service), says, “I was approaching very much from a beginner’s perspective and I found so many of the recipes out there were really complicated…I wanted to make all of that more accessible for everyone.” Accessibility is a huge roadblock to the pleasures of cooking and a healthy diet. Whether you are a tentative vegan or a straight-out-of-school confused night-snacker, recipe kits are the door to a new you.