I really, really hate cooking. It’s something that stresses me out, rather than relaxes me. I don’t take pleasure being in the kitchen and I get annoyed at how easily a mess is made when I’m cooking. I don’t even particularly enjoy home-cooked meals, at least not at the level other people seem to. If it was financially feasible (and healthy) to eat most of my meals out, I would.
I’ve been fighting with this side of myself for a long time. Every healthy living blog I follow talks about spending hours in the kitchen on a Sunday meal prepping, and has all of these elaborate recipes to try, and none of that appeals to me. Sure, I could attempt it and would probably do it for a few weeks before I’d get burned out.
But if I really want to build a sustainable healthy life, I need to stop fighting against my absolute hatred for cooking. I need to accept it and figure out how to eat healthy without requiring hours and hours of time in the kitchen.
Enter, meal delivery services. I’ve heard about them before but I always get a little spooked when I look at the prices. It’s not cheap because you’re paying a lot for the convenience. In January, I decided to give it a try just as an experiment. I selected Catered Fit as my meal delivery service of choice because, well, they came up first in my Google search (the power of SEO, my friends). They also seemed to offer a pretty reasonable rate for their delivery service.
So, I signed up. I was hoping this would be a great kick start for me, allowing me to lose some of the weight I put on over the holidays and showing me a sustainable way to eat healthy on a daily basis. I wasn’t sure how long I wanted to try the service. I just knew I wanted to give it an honest attempt and see if this was the answer to all my healthy living woes.
Catered Fit has a wide range of programs you can try. They have programs for vegans and vegetarians, as well as athletes and those following a Paleo diet. You could also choose to add on extra items, like snacks, dessert, cold-pressed juices, and cold-brew coffee. I opted for the combo package, getting two fully cooked meals delivered right to my door every day (they were delivered between 3pm-9pm the day before). Typically, I chose something for lunch and something for dinner, my two biggest downfalls when it comes to healthy eating. All I had to do was pop the container of food into the microwave for a few minutes, and voila, lunch (or dinner) was served.
At first, I was really excited about this program. Every Wednesday afternoon, I got an email telling me that next week’s menu was up and I would hurriedly rush over to the Catered Fit member portal to look at my meals. In those first two weeks, I was salivating over the menu options and most days, I had trouble selecting just two meals. This impressed me because there were only six meals to choose from (three for lunch and three for dinner) and I am an incredibly picky eater, so I thought I would have a hard time choosing even one meal.
The other thing that impressed me? How friggin delicious every meal was! I was half-expecting each meal to taste like a Lean Cuisine (because that’s what they always reminded me of) but they were so tasty. I guess it helps that each meal was made fresh daily, not something flash frozen and then just heated up. Out of the 34 meals I received, I think there were less than five that I didn’t enjoy. Mostly, I gobbled up every meal and felt so satisfied with it. I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself or on some crazy diet.
I also loved getting my nightly deliveries because I was always surprised by the meals. Since I had made my selections sometimes a week prior, I always forgot about what I requested until I opened up my freezer bag to see what was inside. It was like a little present to open!
So, what caused me to cancel my membership when it all seemed to be so perfect? There were a few things that prompted the decision. First, during the third week on the program, when I clicked over to the member portal to pick my meals, I was disappointed in the selection. Nothing appealed me. The meals were a little too outside my comfort zone or something I knew I wouldn’t like. I ended up picking meals for each day but I didn’t get that feeling of satisfaction when I finally finished selecting my meals. I also ended up canceling one day of deliveries because there was absolutely nothing on the menu that I wanted. I was hoping it was a fluke. This week was also a weird week for me in general, since I had dinner plans one night and lunch plans two other days, so I had to pick out breakfast and lunch/dinner rather than just lunches and dinner. (And I wasn’t too impressed by their breakfast options; they definitely weren’t filling enough for me.) But the same thing happened the next week, and it was really disheartening.
But that wasn’t the only reason why I decided to cancel. I also felt like the portion sizes were a bit too small so I was always reaching for a snack just an hour or two after eating a meal. (In one meal, I received exactly four pieces of broccoli. FOUR. I don’t know about you but when I roast broccoli as a side, I give myself a large portion because it’s… broccoli. I don’t necessarily need to portion control that.) They have an “athlete” version of their plan but I’m not an athlete burning thousands of calories a week (or even hundreds, let’s be real here), so it didn’t make sense to choose that plan. I also wasn’t doing their “weight loss” version, which is just their Paleo plan. I chose Classic, which is supposedly for people who just want to maintain their weight, buuuut I’m skeptical about that. (Although, come to think of it, I didn’t lose any weight for the three weeks I was on the program so maybe it does work?!)
But the main reason why I canceled my Catered Fit membership was the price. I just could not justify spending nearly $150 a week for ten meals. I try to average $75 a week in groceries, so I was basically spending double the price. The convenience was nice. It was so nice to not have the think about meal prepping or cooking or doing the dishes. It’s so much easier to not talk myself into swinging by McDonald’s on my way home when I know all I have to do for dinner is heat up my meal. But, ultimately, I couldn’t justify the cost anymore.
I think I would like to have Catered Fit as an option for weeks when I’m too busy to think about grocery shopping or cooking but want to eat healthy, home-cooked meals. Or for weeks when I’m feeling uninspired by cooking. But it’s just not something I can do regularly.
The bottom line is, would I recommend Catered Fit? Absolutely. Unfortunately, the service is only available in California and Florida, but there are most likely similar options near you. I think it’s a great program and I had a really fun time using it. I would highly recommend checking out some sort of meal delivery service and just trying it out for a few weeks, especially if you’re like me and hate cooking. It was a good experiment but now I’m ready to figure out how to make eating healthy sustainable and budget friendly.
Have you ever done a meal delivery service like this?