young woman prepares a healthy meal in a kitchen

Meal kits can help you develop healthy eating habits

Based on the amount of advertising out there, it seems like meal kit delivery services are more popular than ever. So, are these meal kits as healthy as these companies claim? What if you don’t have any skills or experience in the kitchen? Does the food even taste good?

According to Arianna Watson, a dietitian with OSF HealthCare Sacred Heart Medical Center in Danville, the current marketplace for meal kit delivery is full of several options.

Do meal kits support good nutrition?

healthy food prepared in carry out boxes ready for a brown bag deliveryLooking for some help eating healthy? There are meal kits for you.

“Kits like Hello Fresh or BistroMD actually have dietitians on staff,” Arianna said. “Many of their meals are formulated by dietitians and even doctors. They push for increased fresh vegetables and fruits and lean proteins.”

“These kits are a good way to start learning to cook,” Arianna said. “They’re good for younger people learning how to cook. You can learn skills you can use down the road if you decide to start experimenting with your own recipes. It’s a good introduction to the kitchen. They’re also good for big families where parents want to set a good example and establish healthy habits.”

BistroMD even allows you to pick meals based on any health issues you have. For instance, if you need low-sodium meals, the service has a menu curated for you.

Meal kits also help make portion control easier.

“When you order a meal for delivery, you enter how many people will be eating the meal, and you receive a single portion per person,” Arianna said. “So, you don’t have too big of portions. You can make it yourself and it helps you control what you’re eating.

“A great part of these services is they tailor to your lifestyle needs, how much time you have to cook and how much of the cooking you want to do. If you are not one with time to cook, there are meal delivery services like Trifecta, whose meals come premade. You just heat them up.”

What do I look for in a healthy meal?

“I haven’t seen any that have an excessive amount of carbohydrates,” Arianna said. “Even the sandwiches keep the portion low. You won’t get a ton of starchy carbs, either. At most, you’ll get half a cup of quinoa or rice.”

Look for lean meats, low-starch vegetables and fruit.

“These services show pictures of many of these meals on their websites, so if you notice a ton of potatoes, maybe get something with more green to it,” Arianna said.

And, if you’ve read this far, Arianna had a message of congratulations.

“Congrats to whoever reads this,” Arianna said. “You want to make change and take steps toward getting healthier. Be kind to yourself. If you don’t like one thing, there is always a way to figure out what works for you. Oh, and go see a dietitian.”

About Author: Ken Harris

Ken Harris is the proudest father and a writing coordinator for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare.

He has a bachelor's in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a daily newspaper reporter for four years before leaving the field and eventually finding his way to OSF HealthCare.

In his free time, Ken likes reading, fly fishing, hanging out with his dog and generally pestering his lovely, patient wife.

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Categories: Diet & Exercise