Before you click “Add to Cart,” there is a checklist of items to know about the meal provider who will be filling your refrigerator.
Nothing can prepare you for the responsibility of caregiving for another person. There is no instruction manual for how to balance the demands of your own life with the needs of someone else who depends on you. In some cases, it might even be you who needs help and support from a friend, family member, or healthcare professional.
In any situation, even the smallest conveniences can be a huge relief.
No one can deny the appeal of a home-cooked meal, but when life’s circumstances make that an unrealistic daily expectation, a meal delivery service is your next best option.
But if you’ve never hired a meal provider before, this will be new territory for you, and will likely generate many questions.
Do you know what to ask? If not, we’re here to lend a helping hand.
First and foremost, know the nutritional value of whatever meals you are purchasing. It is essential that you are ordering foods that will serve as a source of nourishment for the body, especially if these meals are intended for a person or persons in poor health.
To that end, is your meal delivery service providing the nutrition information upfront? Check the meal packaging, if available, to see if it lists ingredients and nutrition information. Otherwise, inquire if the information is available online.
You should also be considering whether these foods meet your dietary needs. If a doctor has provided recommendations based on your personal health, factor those into your decision.
Nearly as important as nutrition is taste, because it shouldn’t be a chore to eat your meals, no matter how nutritious. Find a meal delivery service that emphasizes the use of high-quality ingredients to craft a variety of menu options to suit your palette.
Let’s face it, if it doesn’t taste good, you’re not as inclined to eat it -- therefore, you’re wasting money and not getting the nutrition you need.
Choices. You need and deserve a lot of them when it comes to your meals. No one wants to eat the same thing day after day and night after night.
We’re talking about breakfast, lunch and dinner, in most cases, so you’ll want a wide selection from which to choose. Consider the menu options that are available, but also check to see how often the meal choices change, whether weekly, monthly or seasonally.
In addition to variety, you’ll also want to make the distinction between meals that are fully prepared and ready to eat versus meals that are strictly the ingredients, with the burden being on you to prepare the meal yourself. The latter option obviously requires more time and effort on your part, and might be more of a hindrance than a convenience.
Packaging and Storage
Your meal choices won’t matter if the meals are inedible by the time they reach your kitchen table. Take the time to learn how your meals are being transported and what kind of packaging is being used to maintain their quality.
But don’t stop there. What happens when that doorbell rings? You might need help carrying the boxes into the house, unpacking them, and then either recycling or disposing of the packaging. Do you know when the meals will arrive so you can make these arrangements? Ensure that you receive an order confirmation and a tracking number allowing you to follow its progress.
You’re not going to eat all those meals in one sitting, either, so consider your own storage space. Will you be able to fit all of the delivered meals in your refrigerator? You’ll also need to know how long the refrigerated meals will last before their expiration.
For some, it all comes down to cost. Not everyone has the budget to spend an excessive amount of money on meals each week. It should be clear how much you’ll be paying per meal, and if costs related to shipping and delivery are included in that price.
Quality also goes hand-in-hand with cost. Does the quality of the food match the price?
These are all important factors to consider when choosing a meal service provider, but ultimately it will come down to the company that makes you feel the most comfortable. Meals provide nourishment, but they should also be a source of joy in your daily life.
Find the meal delivery provider that you’ll be happy to invite into your home each week.