Meal Plans: Over Rated or Under UtilizedJan 20, 2023
Katie Breazeale, MS, RD, LD
CrossFit athletes have a rigorous training schedule to meet the demands of the sport. With training comes proper fueling. Meal services have become a popular way for athletes to get in the nutrients needed without the added prep work. Are meal services overrated or under-utilized?
Pros and Cons of a Meal Service verses doing it yourself. Besides the obvious of not having to cook what other benefits does a meal service offer?
More likely to eat at home. It is more tempting to come home and eat your food when you know you do not have to prep and truly cook your meals. You are also more likely to take your lunch to work because it is already prepared and waiting for you in the refrigerator.
You’ll try new foods. Pre-meals do not have the options to trade out sides so you can experience new flavors and foods. Also, if there is a food you have been wanting to try, but unsure how to cook and your meal service is offering it what a great opportunity for you to try it!
Poor cooking skills. Maybe you didn’t learn to really cook or tend to over cook your food. Not anymore with your meals delivered from your meal plan. This our creative creations that you don’t need fancy skills to be able to heat and eat.
Limited storage space in your kitchen. If you live in a small apartment, you may not have the space to have lots of groceries for meal prepping. By doing a meal service you are able to avoid excess clutter in your pantry and fridge. This is important because when you have excess clutter in these places food items tend to expire, or you can forget what you have shoved in there.
Minimize food waste. You don’t have to worry about making the correct amount, leftovers, or grocery shopping.
Time and convenience are other characteristics of a meal service. Busy schedules, work, training, significant other, or kids can make meal prepping and cooking a challenge. The convenience of a meal service helps with the challenges of schedules. Meal services can decrease time from doing dishes, meal prepping, cooking, and putting away the dishes.
The cost. Depending on your budget a meal service may not be cost effective for you. If you currently eat grilled chicken, a vegetable, and a starch that is simple that is a very cost-efficient meal especially when you buy some of these items in bulk. Now if you are spending $200 on groceries for you and your spouse and it is for 5 meals (which is 10 meals since you’re both eating) and the meal service is $200 for 20 meals then it might be worth your while.
You may not like every meal. If you buy a box where you do not get to select the meals, you may not love every meal option and now you’re wasting food and money. The get the most from the meal service if you are willing to try new things and have an open mind to the different creations.
Food delivery. If you work long hours and your food has to sit out in the sun on your front porch it can cause concern that the ice may melt and your food, go bad. I had this happen to someone I know. Their dry ice melted unusually fast and then sat outside till they came home from work and the food was ruined by the time they went to put it away.
Limited Options. Some meal services may offer a select menu. If you only like 3 of the options and need 7 it looks like you will be repeating a few which can make for a less favorable experience. Several meal services do not offer breakfast or snacks either so you will also be spending on groceries to make up for those items.
Is the meal service worth the cost? Depending on how you train, your dedication to meal prepping/planning/cooking, and schedule is helps determine the value of a meal service for you.
I have tried 3 or 4 meal services and I have loved them because it gave me a balance with my work and home life. I had more time to spend with my husband after work because I wasn’t preparing a meal after working till 5:00 PM. It gave us both variance for being able to go workout and still have meals together and meals to take to work.
I have looked up several different meal services geared towards CrossFit athletes and athletes in general. These are the top meal services out there.
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