Best Meal Planning Services

by Julie Wendt

Julie Wendt, MS, CNS, LDN | Mar 22, 2021

Best Meal Planning Services

Raise your hand if you feel like you’re burning the candle at both ends. You too? Now that we know we’re not alone, let’s talk about how can we hack our way to better nutrition so we can free up time to do all the other health habits on our list like meditate, work out, and, oh yeah, sleep.

A core pillar of my nutrition practice is what I call “Good, Better, Best” which recognizes that we may not be able to achieve the best change at this moment but if we do better than we are right now, we can still call it a win. In the spirit of that, let’s just agree right now that the best way to get food on your table is to follow these steps:
 -  Plan out what you want to eat
 -  Acquire the ingredients
 -  Prepare the food
 -  Eat it
We can all get hung up at various parts of this ideal process and it’s important to go through a mental checklist about where you may be struggling. Once you get a sense of where you can get the biggest bang for your buck, then you can look for solutions.

By way of example, I will give you a look at my situation: I love going to the grocery store, to be surrounded by beautiful, colorful foods and flavors is a highlight of my week. I also love cooking, it’s a nice transition for me from work mode into family mode. I turn on good music and sing my way through recipes. I am in the zone. And eating is definitely a highlight. So, where is my pain point? Planning what to cook! Would I love to spend hours pouring over recipe books and blogs and crafting a star-studded meal plan for my family? Yes! Do I have time? No! This is my pain point. I can’t do it all and what I am choosing to outsource is the meal planning. Lucky for us, there are many options out there that can help with this step. And the others as well, depending on where you live. In truth, the spectrum of what you can get help with during the process of planning for and delivering food to the table is vast. 

Here are the main places where help is available:

1. Planning: this is going to help you decide what to eat. You want a service that not only makes it easy to find recipes but that they recipes are not too complicated for during the week when time may be limited. Also, the meal plan should have an app that makes it easy to create a grocery list out of the items selected.

a. My favorite: www.emeals.com. I have used them for 8 years and never tire of the options that put out each week. They have an app that makes shopping very easy and a large variety of meal types to choose from. Also, their recipes are easy to follow and something the whole family could put together.

b. If you have a special diet, consider www.platejoy.com is a little more complex but geared more towards specific therapeutic diets such as an elimination diet or autoimmune diet.

c. If you need structure but want to handpick your recipes, try www.plantoeat.com is a little different in that they don’t give you the recipes but the app helps you organize all your food for the week and there is an extension for your browser that allows you to pull recipes off the web easily. 

2. Acquiring: this is going to help you get the food in the front door. Options here will vary depending on your location so if you are outside of the metro DC area, look for versions of this in your area:

a. Instacart
b. Amazon fresh
c. Store-specific such as Peapod at Giant or Safeway
d. Shipt 

3. Prepping: when you are short on time in the evening or your cooking skills are growing, these options will deliver meal ingredients prepped and ready to assemble. Available in most areas nationwide:

a. Green Chef: organic ingredients, special diets like ketogenic. www.greenchef.com
b. Blue Apron www.blueapron.com
c. Hello Fresh www.hellofresh.com
d. Purple Carrot www.purplecarrot.com 

Ready To Eat: some people just want to get healthy food on the table and don’t have the bandwidth for all the other aspects. Some great options for ready-to-eat meals:

a. Freshly: www.freshly.com
b. Fresh-n-lean: 5 different meal types, organic ingredients www.freshnlean.com
c. Territory Foods: Local to DC, 6 different meal types, gluten/dairy/sugar-free www.territoryfoods.com 

There’s always the private chef option as well but in this lifetime, I am going to be grateful to have help where I can get it! 

If you are interested in more professional guidance to your meal planning, schedule a consultation with our licensed nutritionist, Julie Wendt, MS, CNS, LDN

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Julie Wendt

I offer functional nutrition counseling that is rooted in a simple and compelling belief: the human body has powerful healing capacities that, when supported, can bring a person to their optimal state of health.

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