Your comprehensive guide to maximizing your health and minimizing cost with a paleo meal delivery service
If you had a million dollars to spend on making you the healthiest version of you, what’s the first thing you’d dish out some dough for?
I don’t know about you, but as a busy lady scheduled to the max, I’d be dropping dollars real quick on a PERSONAL CHEF. I’d get myself a culinary pro to plan, shop for, and cook all my paleo meals to ensure I’m eating clean and running strong, even on those 14+ hour work days!
With a personal chef, there’d be no more frantic, late nights scrambling to meal prep breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a crazy long work day. No more skipping meals or breaking down and eating junk because I’m so hangry my right hand looks appetizing. No more slaving away, sweating beside an oven that’s elevated the temperature of your kitchen to rival that of hell. And no more frustrating trips to Whole Foods after a long day, fighting an over-caffeinated soccer mom for the last parking space!
Nope, with a personal chef I’d get just the good part: stuffing my face with delicious, nutritious food!
Well that was fun while it lasted. Now back to reality.
Most of us don’t have a million dollars, so a personal chef is merely something to daydream about. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be busy and still eat healthy. Let me introduce the paleo meal delivery service!
So with this option, why would you ever cook again?! Though the paleo meal delivery service might seem like the ‘end all’ solution to convenient healthy eating, it’s still more expensive than cooking for yourself, so you’ve got to use it strategically.
In this two-part article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about the benefits of a paleo meal delivery service, choosing the right time to use one, the different catagories of meal services, and some ninja tips for getting the most bang for your meal service buck!
WHY PALEO MEAL DELIVERY SERVICES ARE AWESOME
If the sole promise of food that’s ready to eat when you are hasn’t sold you on the meal service just yet, here’s the full list of benefits to consider:
- Depending on the meal service you choose, you can either have your meals shipped directly to your door for a small fee or pick them up at a drop off location within miles of your residence for free.
- Meals are prepackaged and self contained, easily fitting into your awesome lunch box
- No cooking required! Some meals are ready to eat as is and others only require a quick zap in the microwave or oven.
- Eliminates the time spent grocery shopping and meal prepping. Boom, you just reclaimed 2 to 4 hours of your life – time for a new hobby!
- No more need to stress about finding the perfect recipe, planning your grocery list, which 3 grocery stores to hit in order to get every ingredient you need, or figuring out how to fit 2-3 hours of meal prep in to an already jam-packed weekend.
- High quality ingredients, balanced macro and micro nutrients, and appropriate portion sizes are guaranteed.
- Meal services are not a school cafeteria. They are owned by and/or employ chefs that are trained in the culinary arts and know how to make delicious food. If they don’t provide information on who’s in charge of the menus, be suspicious.
- Every meal is different! Most meal services offer a completely new menu each week so you’re always eating something new and exciting.
- Most meal services provide a number of options for customizing your meal plan. Need 2 meals a day or 3? Need snacks too? How about dessert? Or maybe you don’t eat one of the ingredients listed on the menu? Your meal service will give you options to make your food work for you.
Meal services epitomize convenience by providing you nutritious and delicious food while saving you the stress and time commitment of meal prep. It’s a win-win!
THE ‘RIGHT TIME’ TO USE A PALEO MEAL DELIVERY SERVICE
So with all these amazing “pros”, why isn’t everyone already using a meal service?
As you may suspect, the convenience of a meal service comes with a price tag. It’s not that healthy meals services aren’t affordable – they absolutely can be – but when you’ve got the time and basic cooking skills, your dollar goes further when you’re your own chef. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot of destinations on my travel list, so I want to save every penny I can!
Knowing when to use a meal service comes down to what I like to call the “health cost benefit analysis,” aka weighing the mental and physical health cost of stressing about cooking/sourcing/not eating quality fuel versus the monetary cost of the meal service.
Most weeks, the majority of us can easily make time for our own healthy meal planning and prep and still have time to binge watch half of the latest Netflix series. Mental and physical health on point? No problemo.
And then there are those weeks when you’ve got a work deadline swiftly approaching and you’re frantically burning the midnight oil nightly at the office, scrambling to get it all done. You’ve barely been home to sleep, let alone meal prep, so you’ve been eating McDonald’s all week just to get by. How’s your mental and physical health now? Between the sugar crashes and the digestive distress, probably not so hot. It’s times like these when the cost to your mental and physical health (not to mention your productivity!) is far greater than the cost of a meal service to your wallet.
Here are the 3 most common scenarios in which the scales of the “health cost benefit analysis” tip towards a meal service being totally worth it:
THE BUSY SCHEDULE
As in the description above, a jam packed work schedule requires a ton of time and energy, leaving little left for maintaining your healthy habits. When you’re already stressing about work, the last thing you need is to raise your cortisol levels even higher by stressing out about eating like shit and feeling like you’re going to fall asleep at your keyboard.
When sign up for a paleo meal service, the pressure of keeping your nutrition in check disappears, and the quality fuel you’re consuming allows you to focus on crossing off your “to do” list like a boss.
With healthy meals that are ready to go, you:
- Support your stressed-out body with nutrient dense food
- Stay on track with your weight loss and/or health goals
- Eliminate the decisions required of eating out, thereby extending your decision fatigue threshold
- Maintain your energy levels
- Keep your cravings in check
- Save time by not having to leave the office to get food
- Have food available whenever you’re hungry
- Free time can go to relaxing instead of meal prepping
- Maximize your sleep
- Lower your overall stress levels
TRAVEL FOR WORK
When traveling for pleasure, you should be immersing yourself in the culture, eating as much local food as your stomach can handle! But when you’re traveling for work, you don’t always have the time or mental bandwidth to enjoy the local fare, leaving you at the mercy of the sad hotel restaurant, mediocre catering, or the most convenient (which often isn’t the healthiest) food option available. You’re stressed with work, you’re in an unfamiliar city with little to no knowledge of local healthy dining options, and if you’re really unlucky, your employer was too cheap to give you a car rental so you’re limited to whatever’s within walking distance. After a couple days of that kind of food routine, it’s likely it’ll be more than just the time difference dragging you down.
This is another time when a paleo meal delivery service makes sense. Have your meals shipped directly to your hotel so you’re good to go from the moment you check in!
In addition to the benefits listed under the “busy schedule” scenario, when you use a meal service while traveling for work you:
- Support your immune system in an unfamiliar, new-germ ridden environment
- Save time not having to research or source local healthy options
- Eliminate stress with the knowledge you’re eating clean
- Free up more time for sightseeing
- Aren’t limited to the low quality dining establishments nearest to your work or hotel
YOU’RE UNABLE TO COOK FOR YOURSELF
Sometimes life throws you a curveball and cooking your own healthy food isn’t an option. Maybe you have an injury or illness, you’re taking care of a sick relative, all your kitchen equipment spontaneously combusted, or you just have a complete lack of cooking skills and no desire to learn. Whatever the case may be, in circumstances like these, using a meal service instead of grabbing fast food, ordering take out, skipping meals, or constantly dining out will save you time, likely save you money, and keep your body and mind sharp, along with many of the other benefits listed in the two prior scenarios. And you might even pick up some recipe inspiration!
There are some outstanding benefits to using a paleo meal delivery service. Especially when you’re on a busy schedule, not only are you saving yourself the time and stress of food prep with a meal service, but you’re also maintaining (and sometimes even increasing) your energy and productivity by consistently giving your body quality fuel. But this convenience costs money, so limit the times you use a meal service to a super busy schedule, travel for work, or when you just can’t cook for yourself. By sticking to these circumstances, you’ll maximize your mental and physical health, while minimizing the impact on your wallet, so you’ll still have dollars left over to check one more destination off your own travel list!
Next up, Part 2 of The Ultimate Guide to Paleo Meal Delivery Services, where I’ll break down the 3 different categories of paleo meal delivery services and give you some insider tips to make your dollar go farther!