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The New Crop of Food Delivery Services

Considering a meal kit delivery service in life with diabetes

Today you can get many things delivered with the click of a mouse. Now you can add dinner to that list, and it’s much more than takeout! You may have heard of meal kit services like Blue Apron®, Plated®, HelloFresh® and others that ship the exact ingredients, in the amounts needed for their preplanned recipes, to cook dinner – right to your front door, even if you might live in a food desert.

Some users may find these services convenient, plus they cut down on food waste and eliminate the need to plan recipes. But how do these services work? And are they appropriate for diabetes meal planning?

While these mainstream services aren’t designed specifically for those living with diabetes, you may see if they work for your plan by exploring each service’s nutritional information and portion sizes. (Be sure to check with your diabetes care team before making changes to your meal plan.)

Here’s a breakdown of a few services that now deliver to the forty-eight continental states.

Blue Apron

  • How it works: Sign up online and Blue Apron will deliver an insulated box once a week packed with enough ingredients and step-by-step recipes for three meals for two or four people. Specify if you prefer meat, seafood, vegetables or chicken and the service will then choose your three meals based on your preference. (The service can accommodate some dietary restrictions, such as no shellfish, no red meat, no pork.) You can change your preference and choose from six recipes each week; however, not all combinations are available.
  • Good for diabetes meal plans? Each box includes a recipe card, which includes estimated calorie count and serving size. According to the calorie counts provided, no serving is over 700 calories. The user will have to calculate carb counts and other factors since detailed nutritional information isn’t listed on the recipe card or online.

Recent recipes include:

  • Mexican spiced salmon with black rice, avocado and orange salad
  • Center-cut pork chops with beet, carrot and walnut salad
  • Roasted butternut squash with stewed white beans, Brussels sprouts and gremolata

 Plated

  • How it works: Sign up online and Plated will deliver an insulated weekly box including recipes and ingredients for two to seven meals for two people. Every week they offer nine meals to choose from with veggie and fish options. There are no restrictions on choosing meal combinations. Note, as of the date of this posting there are a few cities in Texas, including San Antonio and Corpus Christi, that they do not yet ship to.
  • Good for diabetes meal plans? Each box includes a recipe card, which includes calorie count and serving size. You can visit their website and read a food label with all the nutritional information for each meal. This may help calculate carb counts, fiber and protein intake and other important dietary factors for people living with diabetes.

Recent recipes include:

  • Beef stir-fry with green beans over brown rice
  • Spiced fish tacos with avocado citrus salsa
  • Udon soup with bok choy, leeks, and mushrooms

HelloFresh

  • How it works: HelloFresh offers three, four or five recipes for two people each week, or three recipes for four people. When signing up online, you can choose between a classic box of ingredients with up to five recipes, or a vegetarian or family box with up to three recipes.
  • Good for diabetes meal plans? Each box includes a recipe card with the calorie count, nutritional facts and serving size per meal. It also includes the carb, fiber, and protein information right on the card, which may make it easier for diabetes meal planning.

Recent recipes include:

  • Sausage and warm orzo salad with zucchini, bell pepper and tomatoes
  • Chicken Paillard with mustard potato and green bean salad
  • Tunisian freekeh stew with crispy chickpeas and yogurt

Other things to know: Each service states that they deliver seasonal, fresh and often-local ingredients in insulated boxes so the food stays fresh in transit. You may also pause each service or skip certain weeks. Prices for each service vary, but all three offer trial deals and occasional promotions. (If you have specific dietary questions, it’s best to speak with someone on your care team.)

Happy cooking!

All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewees and/or contributors, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

© 2016 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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