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Second Servings: The Daily Meal's Week in Review 9/24/12

Second Servings: The Daily Meal's Week in Review 9/24/12


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Sure, it's been a busy week and weekend. So you may have missed some of the great stories put out by The Daily Meal's talented editors and their fantastic special contributors. But you wouldn't want to head into the work week having missed some of the best food stories on the Web. So here's a second serving of some of the great food and drink stories that you definitely shouldn't have missed.

TOP NEWS/HOT ITEMS

Nick Offerman Performs Slam Poem for Bacon displaying his infinite love for bacon.

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EAT/DINE

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This week's Sandwich of the Week: Spitzer's Fried White Catfish Sandwich hails from New York City's Lower East Side.

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Celebrity chefs share their Top 25 Favorite Seattle Restaurants.

Headed to India? Enter for a chance to win accommodation at the Taj Palace in New Delhi with The Daily Meal's #BestHotelRestos Taj Palace New Dehli Sweepstakes.

COOK

Want to lower the amount of sodium in your diet? Try these 10 Low-Sodium Substitutes, which are easy and healthy ways to replace the sodium in your diet without doing away with flavor.

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RECIPES

Figuring out which kind of oil to buy can be a slippery affair. Cooking Oils, Simplified sorts out the overwhelming selection.

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ENTERTAIN

Go beyond steins and lederhosen and get tips on How to Host an Authentic Oktoberfest Bash.

With fall underway, try these Clever Chili Party Tips to enjoy one of the season's heartiest dishes.

VIDEO

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DRINK

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Take the Wine Tutorial for Real Men and get tips from the Paso Wine Man.


With the rise of services such as Uber Eats and MENU app, getting food delivered is easier than ever. However, the restaurants these companies deliver for are not always the healthiest options. An alternative to fast food delivery which is just as affordable is EveryPlate.

EveryPlate is a meal kit service which sends you recipes and pre-measured ingredients every week. Everything you need to make a quick, healthy and flavorful meal will be delivered right to your door.

Products

EveryPlate&rsquos goal is to offer you everything you need to easily throw together a nutrition meal. Whether you are cooking for only yourself or your family, they have plans available. The chefs at EveryPlate create new recipes every week to change up your daily meals. Every box includes pre-measured ingredients and recipe cards.

These boxes can be shipped to your door for the most convenient access to healthy food possible. EveryPlate saves you time by coming up with healthy meal ideas so you will no longer have to spend time purchasing or preparing ingredients. This way, more time can be spent enjoying the delicious meal you prepared.


The Best Healthy Meal Kit Delivery Services Of 2020

We’re all human. That means we’re all working to make positive changes in our lives, whether it’s making more time for self-care, learning a new skill or developing better eating habits.

If your goal is the latter, have you thought about trying healthy prepared meal delivery services or healthy meal kits this year?

Even if you just want to detox after an indulgent winter of hearty meals and warm bars, there are a lot of factors that go making healthy and easy meals part of your routine rather than a once-off feat.

Groceries aren’t exactly cheap and whipping up a meal can be time consuming and after a long day at work. If you’re a family of four or six, finding kid-friendly meals and meal kits can sometimes be a headache. Sometimes, you don’t have the time or energy to run out and grab the groceries you need for the week.

We get that sometimes the last thing you want to think about is what you’re going to have for dinner. That’s where healthy meal kits come in.

Meal kits eliminate a lot of those stresses by providing you with pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes. Some don’t even require you to cook at all with fresh, ready-to-eat, prepared meals.

To help you with your healthy eating resolution, we’ve rounded up 9 of the best healthy meals kits to help you kick off a healthy new year.


2. Greek Chickpea Waffles

Total time: 30 minutes | Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup chickpea flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 6 large eggs
  • Tomatoes, cucumbers, scallion, olive oil, parsley, yogurt, and lemon juice for serving (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Heat a waffle iron per directions.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and eggs. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  3. Lightly coat the waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray. In batches, drop ¼ to ½ cup batter into each section of the iron and cook until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the waffles to the oven and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.
  4. Serve waffles with the savory tomato mix or a drizzle of warm nut butter and berries.

Per serving: 412 calories, 35 g protein, 24 g carbs (4 g fiber), 18 g fat


The Body for Life program combines two proven elements of weight loss: fewer calories in and more calories burned. If you follow it closely, you'll likely shed pounds and build muscle. But be careful not to overdo it on your “free day.”

Research hasn’t shown that eating frequent, small meals boosts weight loss success -- though it may have other health advantages. And eating more often may lessen the feelings of hunger that can sabotage anyone’s good intentions.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

Taking off extra weight will help prevent and treat diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, regardless of the diet you choose. But you'll need to watch your cholesterol and how much salt and fat you eat on this plan.

Also, this diet may contain more protein than you should eat if you have kidney or other health conditions, so check with your doctor or dietitian first to make sure this plan is right for you.

Portion control and avoiding empty calories can help you shed unwanted pounds. But the plan’s emphasis on protein and carbs while requiring only two servings of veggies a day may lead to a lack of certain vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

You may struggle with this plan if you have a hectic schedule, since it takes time to plan and cook your meals, as well as to fit in the exercise required.

The Body for Life Plan is an intense physical program. It may not be for you if you hate to exercise or have certain medical problems.

The plan is more geared to strength training and falls short of the amount of aerobic activity (150 minutes a week) recommended by the American Heart Association.

You may feel tired as you cut back on calories and up your exercise, so start slow and listen to your body. Check with your doctor first if you have any health issues or have been inactive.

Sources

Donald Layman, PhD, professor emeritus of nutrition, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Phillips, B. Body for Life, Harper Collins, 1999.

Ratamess, N. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, March 2009.


The Best Meal Kit Delivery Services for Every Kind of Cook

If you're in the market for a meal kit delivery service, there's a good chance you'll feel overwhelmed by all the options. Eating vegan or giving Whole30 a try? Cooking for yourself or a family of six? Are you an experienced chef or a complete newbie? No matter what your circumstances, there's a service out there that caters to your needs. Some meal kits provide ingredients paired with recipes, while others send pre-made meals or grocery items. All of them are meant to make the process of planning and cooking meals more convenient.

I spent months testing every meal kit I could find on the market (14 of them). I have some good news and bad news. The good news is that every meal kit I tested was pretty usable. The bad news is that opting for a meal kit subscription leaves you with more choices than you likely realized. I'm an avid foodie and I love to cook at home. I don't have dietary restrictions, but I made an effort to try plant-based meals along with more omnivorous options. Taking into account the recipes, ingredients, ease of use, the amount of packaging waste generated, and the fact that every home chef has different needs, I recommend the following meal subscriptions.

Much like mattress-in-a-box companies, meal kit companies usually have some sort of promotion going on, so keep an eye out for those if you decide to sign up. Most meal kit pricing models follow a similar style: the more meals you purchase per week, the lower each serving's price will be. We go into detail on dietary restrictions and subscription costs below. If you ever want to skip a week or cancel, you can find that information in the account section on your chosen service's website.

Updated April 3, 2020: As of March 31, at least some of the meal kit delivery services on this list, notably Blue Apron, are experiencing high demand, shipping delays, or reduced menu options due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Meal kit delivery services can help you comply with social distancing guidelines set by the CDC and other health authorities.

However, meal kits aren't the only food delivery solution. If you cannot safely get to a local grocery store, you may also be able to opt for grocery delivery through a service like Instacart or Postmates. Despite some bare shelves at the moment, grocery stores are not going to run out of food, so there's also no need to panic-buy.

For more answers to commonly-asked questions regarding Covid-19, head here. You can also check out our many buying guides, including our Best Cookbooks and Best Coolers guides.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-Year Subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if youɽ like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED


I Made Dinner With An Amazon Meal Kit. Here’s My Review

Think about it: Blue Apron, arguably the biggest name in meal kit delivery, works for years to create a new way for consumers to make dinner, eventually becoming the most successful meal kit company in a crowded field and, just after they have an initial public offering to pay back investors and employees for all their hard work, Amazon waltzes in with a meal kit service of their own the same exact month to send Blue Apron’s stock tumbling downward.

Does that dude look like he means business? Yes. Yes he does.

But Blue Apron’s bad fortune is my luck since I live in the Seattle market, where Amazon tends to roll out new food initiatives first. When I read yesterday the company was already shipping its meal kits, I decided to order one.

So here is my review. Before I start, it’s worth noting I will be comparing my experience with Amazon’s meal kit to that of Blue Apron. Why? It’s what I know. I subscribed to Blue Apron for about seven months last year and, as a result, Blue Apron is my main point of reference when it comes to meal kits.

The Order Experience

When I learned that Amazon is already shipping their meal kits in the Seattle market, I went to the site and checked out the meals available. And while I didn’t expect to eat an Amazon meal kit for dinner last night, when I saw the company offered same day delivery on their meal kits, my dinner plans suddenly changed.

A few observations about the order experience. First, I counted a total of sixteen available meal kits. I liked having the choice of that many meals, something I didn’t get with Blue Apron in a specific week, which gave me the choice of four meals to choose from every week, two of which they would ship to my house.

Second, same day delivery is a big deal. With Blue Apron, I needed to pick my meals roughly a week in advance to give the company enough time buy, prepare and ship the meal to me by early the next week. With Amazon’s meal kits, I ordered that morning before 10 AM, and it was on my porch before 5 PM.

For those of us who often don’t plan that far in advance, this is a nice feature. It also gives me more flexibility since I can order one meal or five meals in a given week. Blue Apron subscriptions offered only two options: a two-person meal plan with three meals per week and the family plan, which is two meals a week.

One advantage of Blue Apron is they offer family meal kits (a serving of four). All of Amazon’s meal kits, at least currently, are portioned to serve two people. While this could be a problem if I want to cook for my family of four, I figure it’d also be easy enough to order two Amazon meal kits for one meal. But more packaging means more mess, so I suspect Amazon will offer more portion options in the future.

Pricing is similar to Blue Apron on a per-meal basis. Blue Apron advertises meals priced at less than ten bucks per person, and that in line with all of the Amazon meal kits, which came in at $8-9 per person.

The Unboxing

This is where things got exciting.

The meal kit arrived at my home in an Amazon Fresh bag, inside of which there was a package wrapped in an insulated bag.

The Amazon Fresh bag with insulated meal kit inside

When I opened the insulated bag, I saw a single box with multiple ice packs.

Inside the Amazon Meal Kit delivery bag

When I pulled the box out of the insulation bag, I was surprised at how small the package was. Granted, it was a serving for two, rather than the family meal four-person servings I would get from Blue Apron, but I was surprised nonetheless at the small size of food box.

Below is a video of my “unboxing” of the meal kit.

Let me emphasize that the packaging and presentation of the Amazon meal kit was probably the most impressive part of the whole experience. I liked that all the food was packed tightly in a well-designed box. Contrast this with Blue Apron, where ingredients are, for the most part, packed loose in the big insulation bags.

Another small observation, but possibly an important one. The chill packs in the insulated bag were fully recyclable. The plastic exterior of the chill packs had a giant recycle symbol. Verbiage below that said the contents inside is plain old water and that I could empty and recycle the bags. I like that idea because other meal kit services (not just Blue Apron) often have some chemical concoction inside that is not recyclable.

Amazon meal kit chill packs are filled with water and are recyclable

The Ingredients

Next, I assessed the ingredients. Much like Blue Apron, the number of ingredients I had to work with always surprises me. I guess this is in part because if left to my own devices, I often cook simple meals and when I do cook with recipes and a bigger meal plan, I find it it’s a lot of work to assemble everything I need. With a meal kit – whether it’s Amazon or Blue Apron – the hard work of shopping and assembling ingredients in the right portions is already done.

You can see below what my unpacked box looked like:

The main difference I noticed with my Amazon meal kit and a Blue Apron meal kit is Amazon has done more of the work by chopping the vegetables. Blue Apron kits come with whole vegetables, and you chop them according to the recipe instructions. Some meals had me chopping five or six vegetables to prepare a meal. For this meal, which included sweet potato fries, a bacon jam with onions and a cole slaw, all the vegetables with the exception of the pickle were already chopped.

Whether this is good or bad comes down to personal preference. If you prefer whole, fresh food or like doing more of the prep work for your meal, Blue Apron makes sense. If you want to save a little time or find chopping veggies tedious, then I would suggest Amazon’s meal kit service is better in this regard.

Time To Cook

With my ingredients ready to go, it was time to cook.

Much like Blue Apron, Amazon includes a good looking instructions and ingredient card with their kit. The card, with ingredients on one side and cooking instructions on the other, was smaller than the Blue Apron cards.

Here’s the Amazon instruction card for my Wagyu beef burger meal:

The Amazon meal kit recipe card

At first blush, the meal I chose looked really simple. After all, how hard can making a burger be?

And while it was straightforward, I found the extra flourishes Amazon put into the recipe to make this, as they put it, a “burger for a true gourmand,” enjoyable. They had me make a bacon jam with onions and maple balsamic, finish the burger in the oven, and toss the sweet potato fries in a delicious seasoning blend. In general, it wasn’t too much work, but enough to make me feel like I could say I cooked something.

And just like Blue Apron, I found the 30 minutes of promised cook time was action packed. Once I finished one thing, I was onto the next and, all along the way, I was using timers (Alexa, naturally) as I orchestrated the cook.

In 30 minutes or so, I had the meal ready to plate.

I was feeding my son, who isn’t a fan of onions or cole slaw, so his was more basic. Mine was, more or less, as pictured on the instruction card.

It was good. Wagyu is high-quality beef and, add in the artisanal bun, the bacon jam, and the premixed burger sauce, and it was one tasty burger.

It was also a very big burger. The meal kit included a full pound of ground beef for a two person meal. I normally don’t make half-pound burger patties, but I decided to go for it, and it resulted in a very fat burger that was hard to get my mouth around (that’s a good thing).

While I think one meal is too small a sample size to generalize about Amazon’s meal kit portion sizes, if my meal is any indication, Amazon is not scrimping. Blue Apron four-person portions sometimes felt a bit light when it came to the main course, but satisfying. One thing I will be watching for as I sample other meal kits is if generous portions as part of Amazon’s overall strategy.

Despite the size of the meal, I will say it was good enough to finish the plate in its entirety.

Bottom line, I was happy with my Amazon meal kit and will be trying other meal combinations and recipes.

Last night’s experience tells me Amazon has put in a lot of time to fine-tune this product. The purchase experience, delivery time, packaging and presentation, cooking experience and quality of meal were all high-caliber.

Combine that with company’s strength in online commerce, customer loyalty, delivery infrastructure and – as of last month- their move into brick and mortar grocery delivery, and Amazon’s move into meal kits should be worrisome for Blue Apron and any other company in the meal kit space.

Join The Spoon editors and folks creating the future of the kitchen at the Smart Kitchen Summit.


EMeals

eMeals is one of the original online meal planning services, and from the volume of meal plans available, that&rsquos obvious. The service offers a huge variety of menus, from clean eating to low carb to heart healthy to crock pot to vegetarian. They even offer plans in partnership with Health, All You, and Paula Deen. eMeals costs $59.99 per year or $29.99 every three months. You can pay extra for lunch, breakfast, dessert, and special occasion plans.

  • Pros: With all the variety available, eMeals makes it easy to choose a meal plan that works for you and your family. They even offer store-centered plans that base recipes on what&rsquos on sale that week. Plus, you can swap plans when you want, making it easy to fit meal planning to that week&rsquos particular needs. eMeals will also export your grocery list to shopping apps like ClickList, which can be helpful.
  • Cons: With eMeals, you can&rsquot switch the serving sizes. The meals are set to either two to four or six to eight servings per meal with most plans, and you&rsquoll have to do the math to reduce or increase them yourself if needed.
  • Who it&rsquos for: If you don&rsquot mind cooking and want some flexibility with your meal planning, eMeals has the biggest variety available. You can easily switch to a 20-minute-meal or crock pot plan on a busy week, and then go back to your regularly-scheduled paleo or clean eating plan when life slows down.

$5 Meal Plan

At just $5 a month for the service, the $5 Meal Plan is super affordable. The recipes lean towards family-friendly comfort foods, but always include a health balance of fruits and veggies. The weekly meal plan comes with a grocery shopping list, as well as bonus desserts, drinks, or other treats. The plan also offers a weekly gluten-free plan option.

Also read: Fetch Review: Earn Rewards for Grocery Shopping

More recently, $5 Meal Plan has introduced a Meal Plan Builder tool. This is great for pickier families, as it lets you build your own meal plan based on the site&rsquos bank of cheap meals. Then, it will generate your shopping list for you.

  • Pros: This service is affordable, and it focuses on affordable meals. The plans take advantage of seasonal products and what&rsquos likely to be on sale. So most meals cost around $2 per person. The plan is also great in that it always includes at least one crock pot meal and one 20-minute meal per week. Many of the meals can also be prepped ahead of time for easier weeknight cooking.
  • Cons: The meals aren&rsquot customizable and neither are the recipes. (The website, however, offers a few six-week specialized menus, including a paleo option.) In other words, you can&rsquot bump up a four-person recipe to accommodate six people easily. You&rsquoll have to do the math–and adjust the grocery list–on your own.
  • Who it&rsquos for: The $5 Meal Plan is good for average-sized families who are neither super-picky nor super-adventurous. If you don&rsquot mind some cooking on weeknights and your main meal-planning goal is trimming that grocery budget, this might be the plan for you.

Once a Month Meals

This meal-planning service, which used to be known as Once a Month Mom, is so popular it&rsquos closed to new members right now. If you&rsquore interested, though, you can put your name on their waiting list and be notified when you can sign up again. This service costs $16 a month, or about $170 per year, and it has a unique selling point: all the meals can be prepped in advance and stashed in your freezer. You can cook once a month, and then just basically warm things up on most nights of the week. Now, instead of giving subscribers access to set menus, Once a Month Meals lets you build your own menu from their database of freezer-friendly recipes. Then it tells you what to buy and in what order to prep your meals for the most efficient freezer cooking day possible.

  • Pros: If you&rsquore just too busy to cook on a typical weeknight, this is a great service. It offers customizable menus that make it easy to change serving sizes for your meals. The service actually plans out your entire cooking day to a T, making cooking as efficient as possible.
  • Cons: At $16 per month, this is one of the more expensive services around, though it has more features. Cooking a full month&rsquos worth of meals in one day makes for one very long day and also requires that you can buy a month&rsquos worth of groceries at one time. Also, you&rsquove got to have a fairly large freezer to store all the meals.
  • Who it&rsquos for: This service is great for people who don&rsquot like cooking on weeknights, but can bring themselves to cook once a month. It&rsquos even better if you can team up with a friend, lighten the load, and split the meals for the month.

Plan to Eat

Unlike the above meal plans, Plan to Eat doesn&rsquot provide the recipes you do. The Plan to Eat app and online recipe planner collects your favorite recipes from anywhere. Then, you drag and drop your recipes onto your calendar-based meal planner. Plan to Eat then generates a grocery list for you.

  • Pros: It uses recipes you already know your family loves, which makes your life easier and your dinner more likely to get eaten. Plus, the grocery list it generates is interactive, so you can check off items as you pick them up during the week. At $4.95 per month or $39 per year, it&rsquos a pretty affordable option, too.
  • Cons: It doesn&rsquot do all the work for you, like some of these other services. You have to actually have a library of recipes your family enjoys to make this work!
  • Who it&rsquos for: This is best for people who don&rsquot mind cooking and have recipes they&rsquod love to eat, but who hate the list-making (and item-forgetting!) part of meal planning and grocery shopping. If you don&rsquot mind putting in a bit of extra work, it&rsquos a great option for streamlined meal planning.

The Six O&rsquoClock Scramble

At $1.44 per week for a two-year meal plan subscription, The Six O&rsquoClock Scramble is one affordable meal planning service! The service focuses on healthy meals that are quick to fix, and all the meals include side dishes. You can also customize meals for gluten free or vegetarian diets.

  • Pros: It&rsquos very affordable if you decide to opt for the two-year subscription, and even the one-year meal plan subscription at $2 per week comes in pretty low. With a focus on wholesome meals that are also easy to prepare, this is a great balance for families. Other reviewers have also noted that the weekly newsletter that comes with the service is helpful and interesting.
  • Cons: Adding new recipes to the pre-planned menu can be difficult, and customization isn&rsquot the easiest thing to do. And if you add a new recipe, you&rsquoll have to print a separate grocery list.
  • Who it&rsquos for: The Six O&rsquoClock Scramble is geared towards families with family-friendly recipes based on simple ingredients. If you&rsquore not too fussy about customizing weekly menus, this is a simple way to plan quick weeknight meals.

The Fresh 20

The unique angle of this meal planning service is that it focuses on twenty fresh, local ingredients per week. The Fresh 20 splits the difference between daily meal prep and monthly freezer cooking with a one hour per week prep period to make weeknight meals simpler to prepare. Currently, it offers classic, gluten free, vegetarian, kosher, dairy free, and paleo plans, as well as plans for one person. Each plan costs $79 per year or $14 per month.

  • Pros: With a focus on simple, fresh ingredients, The Fresh 20 is a healthy option. The one-hour prep period per week helps streamline meal prep each evening, too. When you pay for it annually, the plan is pretty cheap at just over $6.50 per month. You can also purchase specific plans, including dairy free, kosher, and six weeks&rsquo worth of lunches, for an additional fee.
  • Cons: You can&rsquot switch between plans without adding additional costs, and you can&rsquot change meal sizes easily with this one.
  • Who it&rsquos for: If you want both a great meal plan and fresh ingredients, this could be a good option. It&rsquos geared towards families who want tasty, easy meals, but who also want to reduce their environmental footprint.

Pepperplate

Pepperplate is another app that will hold all your recipes. You can create and edit your own or import them to the service by pasting in an URL. The app comes with unlimited library space for your recipes, and you can schedule them as needed. The app also lets you scale recipes, and will generate shopping lists based on your meal plan.

  • Pros: As a free app, it doesn&rsquot get much cheaper than this! If you already have beloved recipes you love to use, this is a great app for compiling them and making them simpler to use.
  • Cons: This is another app that doesn&rsquot do it all for you. With Pepperplate, you&rsquoll have to take time on the front end to save and import your favorite recipes, and you&rsquoll have to take the time to plan your menu each week.
  • Who it&rsquos for: Pepperplate is another good option for those who already have recipes they love on hand. And since it&rsquos free, it&rsquos great if you&rsquore on a super-tight budget that just doesn&rsquot have $5-$10 per month of wiggle room for a meal planning service.

Eat This Much

If you&rsquore on a specific, calorie-restricted diet, Eat This Much may be the meal-planning app you&rsquove been waiting for. It lets you put in how many calories you want to eat per day. Then you can build out your weekly meal plan with pre-made recipes and those that you add. You can track calories and your weight over time, as well. It lets you filter certain types of foods out of your meal plan, as well, which is great for low carb diets, vegetarians, and more.

  • Pros: The app has a free version, but you can use premium features, including leftover planning and automatic weekly meal planning, for $3.99 per month with an annual subscription. This app is great for planning meals specific to your dietary style, right down to the calories you eat. It also offers unique features like an option to plan your meals based on restaurants or pre-made meal options.
  • Cons: Family meal planning is part of the app&rsquos premium services, so it&rsquos not free. It also will only integrate personal nutrition targets for one person at a time.
  • Who it&rsquos for: If you want to follow a specific diet plan, either as a bodybuilder or someone who wants to lose or maintain weight, Eat This Much offers unique features you&rsquoll love. It&rsquos probably not the most family-friendly option on the market, though.

PlateJoy

The goal of PlateJoy is to help you be more joyful about your eating by providing you with meal plans that fit your life. When you sign up for an account, it will give you a quiz that lets the site customize a meal plan for your time constraints, eating preferences, and health goals. PlateJoy also offers a digital pantry, which keeps track of ingredients you should already have in your kitchen. And it automatically minimizes the number of ingredients on your grocery list to minimize waste.

  • Pros: With the customization quiz, PlateJoy is likely to give you everything you never knew you wanted in a meal plan. It&rsquos a good option if your family can all fit under the same time, health, and preference constraints.
  • Cons: At $99 for a 12-month subscription or $69 for a 6-month subscription, this one is on the more expensive end of our list. But, still, if it results in a meal plan you love, the cost could be worth your while.
  • Who it&rsquos for: This meal plan could be for just about anyone, since it offers the get-to-know-you quiz when you start your meal plan subscription and then bases your meal plan on your personalized answers.

CookSmarts

What if you really want to meal plan and eat at home more, but you don&rsquot really know much about cooking? In this case, CookSmarts might be for you. It includes helpful how-to cooking videos for beginning chefs, making it great for learning how to cook. Other features include weekend prep steps to ease your weeknight meal prep, automatic food waste reduction, and several diet options. It also has a free version that gives you access to three meal plans, so you can try it.

  • Pros: This is an excellent option that takes some of the stress out of learning to cook. At $6-$8 per month, it&rsquos not too expensive, either. And customizing your meals is easy, since each meal comes with a gluten-free, vegetarian, or paleo option. Your subscription also gets you access to the archives, so you can shop for a different plan if you don&rsquot like that week&rsquos.
  • Cons: CookSmarts doesn&rsquot offer as wide a variety of menu types as some of the options listed here.
  • Who it&rsquos for: This one is formulated specifically for beginning or inexperienced cooks who want to cook fresh meals and learn more about specific kitchen skills.

Getting Started

Signing up is simple. Once you provide your delivery and payment information, PeachDish asks for your dietary preferences: Omnivore, Omnivore - No Pork, Vegetarian, or Pescatarian. Then, select one of its plans, which range from two dishes for two people to two dishes for 12. You pay about $12 per serving for two dinners, $9-$11.75 for four, and about $4 each for six.

During signup, you select the day of the week you would like your delivery, but that can be changed each time you place an order. All orders must be $45 or over. Shipping is free most of the time, but as noted, there's a $15 fee to deliver to some states. And even in states where shipping is waived, you'll pay a delivery fee if you check out as a guest rather than becoming a member.

Next, you choose your first set of meals from among meat, seafood, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, and vegan options. Each week, PeachDish has at least nine meals on order six change weekly, while the others change seasonally. You add recipes to your cart one by one in servings of two, four, or six. Once you add a recipe to your order, you can increase its serving quantity to 12, 16, or 24. Once you subscribe, weekly orders are recurring, so if you don't choose your meals, PeachDish will choose for you.

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As is standard, you need to supply cooking oil, salt, and pepper. Unlike AmazonFresh meal kits and Plated, PeachDish supplies eggs if they are included in your recipe. PeachDish also has a "market" that sells meat, seafood, spices, sauces, cookbooks, table linens, and many other a la carte products.

When your cart is ready, you select the day you'd like delivery, with your ZIP code determining which days you can pick. In New York City, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are available. Blue Apron and HelloFresh ($8.99/per serving - 2-Person Plan at HelloFresh) deliver seven days a week, which is more convenient.


4. HelloFresh Review

The Best Meal Kit For Flexibility

Meals: HelloFresh allows you to choose from 20 recipes a week. You can skip weeks, swap recipes and cancel anytime without any commitment. Choose from a variety of recipes like 20-minute meals, taste tours and one-pot wonders, as well as dietary restrictions like veggie or low-carb.

Plans: From two or four-person servings, with two to four recipes a week

Pricing: Meals starting at $7.50 per serving


The best 5:2 diet cookbooks

Despite all these ideas for 5:2 diet meal plans, staying creative with what you eat on the diet can sometimes be tricky. If you want to find out more about the 5:2 diet or what you can make, nothing beats an old-school recipe book.

We’ve rounded up some of the best 5:2 diet cookbooks out there including The Fast Diet Recipe Book: 150 Delicious, Calorie-controlled Meals to Make Your Fasting Days Easy, The Simple 5 Ingredient Skinny Slow Cooker Recipe Book, and Pinch of Nom Everyday Light: 100 Tasty, Slimming Recipes All Under 400 Calories.


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