28 Jan Stuck In a Food Rut?
Do you ever get sick of eating the same 10-15 recipes that you’ve been eating your entire adult life?
We all get stuck in a “food rut” and lots of people look to cooking shows, recipe books and the internet for inspiration. But do you ever find that isn’t enough to motivate you into getting those 1-2 unusual ingredients required to try a new recipe? I mean…new recipes are risky. Who wants to go to loads of effort looking for a new recipe, hunting down the ingredients, and spending hours preparing it, only to find out that you don’t particularly like what you’ve made? But what is the alternative? Sticking with what you know can be just plain boring after a while. And when you are bored with what you are eating, there is a pretty high probability that you will go looking for treats and snacks later on (even if you aren’t physically hungry).
To be truly “satisfied” with what you are eating, the food needs to excite you with its colours, textures, flavours and aromas. So how can you achieve this when you can’t afford your own personal chef?
There are a number of companies now who deliver what are known as “recipe boxes”. You go on a website, select which meals you want to prepare (and for how many people) and these companies box and ship all of the raw pre-portioned ingredients, along with a recipe card, right to your door. You then follow the recipe and assemble the ingredients that you’ve been sent, to prepare a hot and nourishing meal. The target audience for recipe box companies are typically busy, stressed out, working professionals who don’t have the time or energy to shop, cook or plan a variety of nutritious meals each week.
Here’s what a recipe box looks like:
- There is no food waste — all ingredients are portioned out exactly to what you need.
- Many of the recipes take 15-45 minutes to prepare.
- You get a recipe card so you can save it and then prepare that same recipe using ingredients you’ve bought yourself in the future.
- All ingredients are pre-measured and stored together in one bag, so there is less chance of forgetting to add something
- Since you make the meals from scratch, they have way more flavour than a ready meal and you can leave out any ingredients you don’t like.
- Recipe boxes give you just the right amount of each ingredient so that you aren’t left with a partially used jar of something you don’t like or don’t use very often (plus you don’t have to go searching for new ingredients in the supermarket).
- It’s expensive (£5-10 per portion of the recipe). So an order of 3 recipes (2 portions each) can cost £30.00+.
- Not all companies offer healthy food choices – some consist of foods which are very high in refined grain products (eg. White Pasta and rice dishes) and included very few vegetables and fruit.
- Almost all companies automatically sign you up for weekly deliveries which you then have to remember to cancel if you don’t want them any more (if you forget, you will still get a delivery charged to your credit card with recipes the company has selected for you)!
- The “bags” of ingredients for each recipe can take up a lot of fridge space.
- You must choose 3-5 recipes from a list of only 12-16 options each week.
The cost alone means these likely won’t be a long-term option for most people. However, they do seem to be quite an effective short-term strategy for getting someone excited about trying new foods and recipes. Getting these boxes a few times a month (or even a few times a year) might be just enough to jazz up an otherwise boring food routine.
The finished recipe 30 minutes later – Shredded Chicken & Peanut Noodle Soup!
When choosing a recipe box delivery service, consider the following:
- Can you see which recipes are available for the coming week BEFORE you have to enter your credit card details?
- Is there a straight forward ordering, “pause” and cancellation process (so you can control the delivery of your orders quite easily from the website without having to email customer services)? Some companies allow you to “pause” deliveries for up to six weeks in advance if you know you are going to be away.
- Are perishable items packaged in an insulated bag with ice packs so they can stay unrefrigerated SAFELY for up to 36 hours (in case you are out when the delivery is made)?
- Are weekend deliveries an option and does the company use a courier which notifies you of a one hour delivery window?
- Is there the option to return the packaging materials for recycling?
If you’ve tried a recipe box delivery service before, let me know what your experience was like! Did you love it or hate it? Have you made any of the recipes again? Let me know at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog compiled by Sheri Taylor, Dietitian & Nutritionist