We all know that weeknight hunger struggle. After a long day of work, the last thing we want to do is spend an hour washing and cutting produce and then using our imagination to complete a recipe once we realize we only have a quarter of the ingredients. But with a long week ahead, the second to last thing we want to do is order mediocre delivery or spend a lot of money going out to eat. Because of this dilemma, many nights end with us eating crap from our freezers or cereal for dinner. Or worse, we cave in and use Seamless, tacking on orders of honey cakes and seasoned fries to meet the delivery requirement. Then we’re stuffed, bloated, and destined to have bizarre sodium dreams and wake up feeling lethargic and off-balance.
Clearly, these options weren't working for me, and I needed something new. I ruled out trying out Blue Apron because, while my cohabiting friends love it, as a single woman, I have no desire to cook meals designed for couples, leaving me with my imaginary partner’s half for lunch the next day. But I did like the idea of coming home to some measured ingredients that can readily come together to create a well-balanced and simple dinner. So I did a little bit of digging—and by digging I mean I ordered a ton of meals from delivery services across the country—and found more single lady delicious ingredients than I could even handle. Here are my favorites:
This service was my favorite, and the most chic and spa-like. The completely prepared and ready-to-eat meals were delivered at a scheduled time, eliminating the risk of a delivery that sits and spoils unattended—which is a huge issue with delivered ingredients. There’s a step-by-step guide for consuming, which takes the planning and thinking out of eating. It forced me to put my faith into the company, which worked out well. The meals, while seriously veggie-heavy—like, expect the majority of your meal to be roughage—were surprisingly filling. Sakara is an anti-snack company that encourages you to let your body digest in-between meals. At first, I was all “no one tells me not to snack,” but then I realized I wasn't even hungry for them. I felt full, but also light. The only snag is that it’s really pricey, and I wouldn't recommend doing a full day of meals. I definitely could see myself doing daily dinners, ensuring that I get one high-quality meal per day, to solve my nightly food conundrum.
TL;DR: Expensive, healthy, ready-to-eat.
While at first, this system felt a little overwhelming—there were a lot of instructions and a lot of individually wrapped plastic ingredients which I found super wasteful and unnecessary—once I got going, it was pretty easy. It’s definitely better for two people to cook (I’d recommend it for a couple or roommates who like to cook together), otherwise, you’re looking at more than 30 minutes of work, a length of time which not everyone is into after a long day on the job. But the results were pretty satisfying. I was stuffed and happy to know that even though the food was super-flavorful, it was all certified organic, and comes in vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. (I went with the vegan one.) It’s always nice when you have a tasty and filling meal, and you find out it’s entirely plant-based and safe, like icing on the dairy-free cake.
TL;DR: Time consuming, wasteful, tasty.
These ingredients come in a cute little bag with minimal plastic waste which is important in my book. While this wasn’t the quickest meal to cook, it was by far the most delicious. I made the corn risotto, and I could not believe how awesomely it turned out. It was seriously that good. You’ll have to allow at least 30 minutes from start to finish, but the meal choices are pretty creative and seasonally themed. If you’re looking for something that’s a little bit more experimental than Blue Apron, PeachDish is your dish.
TL;DR: Time consuming but de-lish.
I’m not really a fan of cleanses. I don’t really believe in the need to detox—our bodies do that just fine without the extra help. But after a weekend of traveling and a general feeling of being a little slow and dehydrated, I decided to give it a go. I ordered a one-day lifestyle cleanse that came in cute, little five-drink bundles with some tea and supplements. If you’re not a fan of cold-pressed veggie juices, this isn't going to be your jam, but if you're looking to hydrate yourself, clear yourself out, and get back on track, this is definitely worth the pain of a turmeric shot. Just as I thought I was too hungry to go on, I realized that the cleanses come with a superfood-packed salad that not only hit the spot but was outrageously delicious, especially for a prepackaged salad. It was better than most restaurant salads, honestly.
TL;DR: Great for a one-day spa-like cleanse.
I love making smoothies at home, but I don’t do it as much as I’d like to because I don’t always have the time to put the ingredients together. And I almost never have veggies and fruits that go well together. This service delivers a frozen, minimal-waste cup of smoothie ingredients to your doorstep. All you have to do is toss it in the blender and add a liquid of your choice. You can pick from a huge variety of fruit and veggie combos and store them in your freezer until you’re ready to blend. While my first impression was that this service is a little bit unnecessary (it’s not that hard to wrangle frozen ingredients), I soon realized that it definitely took the most annoying part out of the smoothie-making process, and so I ended up making and drinking way more smoothies than I would have otherwise. I also love the fact that they’re so easy to store. These are perfect for people who hate making breakfast.
TL;DR: Best for breakfast, clever, affordable.