Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Tips for Using Healthy Meal Services

There are a number of healthy meals services out there. These are companies that basically bring you healthy "take out" to your door. Or, to put it another way, act as your person chef for some heat-and-eat pre-cooked meals.

The idea is pretty simple - you outsource your healthy cooking. Instead of shopping for your own food, cooking and preparing it, and then eating it, you just do the last bit. Not only that, but they help you stay on a meal plan and can make it easier to access quality ingredients by hitting the farmer's markets for you.

This is very helpful for people with more money than time. Especially for people who'd be eating out anyway - the costs are comparable.

It's also useful for people who want to eat healthier but just don't know where to start. Like fitness training, healthy eating can be a tough thing to just jump into. There is a lot of contradictory information out there, and a lot of advice that just doesn't fit your situation or your goals. Everyone can use the help of a guide.

Getting your healthy meals from a chef or service is much like hiring a trainer. A good trainer can ensure your workouts fit your goals without you needing to learn all of the ins and outs of fitness training. You can just concentrate on getting it done, not deciding what to do. A good chef or food service can also ensure you get what you need without your personal biases towards what you like getting too much in the way.

What do I mean by a healthy meal service?

There are increasing numbers of these. Here are just a few:

Elite Lifestyle Cuisine (based close to me in Clifton, NJ!)

Metabolic Meals


Those aren't specific recommendations, just examples of the services I'm discussing here.

Here are some ways to use them:

All In

This is the total food service approach. Set up a weekly meal plan and let it all roll in. Then just eat what you get. Adjusting up or down is easy - order more, order less. No worries about eating too much if you've chosen correctly.

Pros: You don't have to cook anything, just eat. Cuts down on your shopping time, and cuts down food prep time to just heating and eating.

Cons: Expensive. You aren't learning to make your own healthy meals. You might still eat off the plan if you under-order or over-order. No accounting for sudden cravings. The "weight watchers" effect - you learn to eat their foods, but not how to eat when the deliveries stop.

Special Days

You don't need to subcontract out all of your cooking, though. One approach is to just figure out which days in your schedule need outside support. If one day a week you work all day and you can't cook (or no one can cook for you), try a meal service.

That way instead of day where you're grabbing food at random, or snacking all day, or not eating it all, you're getting healthy meals. It can change a "fast food and junk" day into one of your healthiest eating days. If you usually eat out on such days, you're potentially trading sideways on cost. Instead of $10 meals of junk, it could be $10 meals of healthy and good food.

Pros: More affordable. It makes a minus into a plus.

Cons: Still more expensive than making your own. You need to schedule in advance, often well in advice if it's shipped.

Certain Meals

If you're not one for waking up early and making breakfast, consider getting breakfast delivered. Work late? Get dinner brought in. Have lunch dropped off at your house and take it to the office or job site. Or have it delivered to work. Have it waiting at home when you get home from the gym late at night so you don't have to scrounge for a good post-workout meal.

Basically, whenever you need to eat but don't have the time to make good meals yourself, slot in a healthy food service meal.

Pros: Less costly than the all-in approach. Allows for your own cooking skills to develop while covering weak points in your schedule. Turns a minus (difficult eating situation) into a plus (prepared healthy food.)

Cons: Cost. Not as much impact on your diet as more encompassing solutions.

Jump Start

Approaches like this can also be a "jump start" for eating healthy. Slot in a few days in a week to have a healthy set of meals delivered. Then, either expand out or slowly cut back on the food deliveries. Try to make your own versions of the meals that come that you like. Use them as a template for eating on your own. Slowly taper down to one of the approaches above - certain meals, certain days, or just commit to all-in, always.

Pros: A quick start to weight loss, weight gain, or eating for health.

Cons: The "weight watchers" effect. Cost. You need to put in the effort to learn to make your own or it's just a temporary effect. Can be a tough adjustment as your entire diet changes radically, suddenly.

I hope that helps give you some ideas of how to take advantage of delivery healthy meal services!

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