How Can Home-Delivered Meal Prep Help Me?

Home delivered meal prep can serve as a valuable resource for you to help balance caregiving responsibilities with other aspects of life.

Helpful Highlights

  • Home-delivered meal prep is generally a subscription-style service (requires a form of payment on file) that is paid for out of pocket.

  • Home-delivered meal prep differs from nonprofit meal delivery programs like Meals on Wheels or other community and charity organizations that have broader missions.

  • Home-delivered meal prep also differs from medical meals paid for by many health insurance plans (post-discharge meals, medical nutrition therapy, and the like).

  • Many home-delivered meal prep services offer family plans (4 or more servings per meal).

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Tens of millions of Americans like you take care of a senior loved one on a daily basis. This can be physically and mentally exhausting, leaving little time for yourself.

By opting for home-delivered meal prep (meal kits), you can not only save time and effort on shopping and meal preparation - allowing you to catch a break and recharge - but also expand on the meal variety and nutritional support you already offer your loved one.

Additionally, home-delivered meal prep can be particularly beneficial when you are unavailable, and perhaps even help your loved one maintain their health and independence within their own home.

While not all home-delivered meal prep explicitly addresses medical or clinical needs, it is reasonable to think about home-delivered meals as a health service and expect that there are associated health benefits.

Types of home-delivered meal prep

PREPARED MEALS

  • These are fully cooked meals that are prepared by professional chefs or food companies and delivered directly to your loved one's doorstep.

  • Prepared meals typically come ready to eat or require minimal heating before consumption, making them extremely convenient for those who don't have the time or desire to cook.

  • You and your loved one can choose from a menu of pre-designed meals, often categorized by cuisine type, dietary preferences, or specific health goals.

  • Some prepared meal providers offer selections curated to your loved one's medically ordered diet (such as pureed).

  • Sodium content is frequently higher in prepared meals. If your loved one is on a sodium restriction, be sure to look for lower sodium options when ordering.

MEAL KITS

  • Meal kits come with pre-portioned ingredients and recipes to prepare meals at home (they do not come ready to eat).

  • With meal kits, you and your loved one receive all the necessary ingredients, typically fresh and uncooked, along with detailed instructions on how to cook the meal.

  • Meal kits offer the convenience of having ingredients delivered to the doorstep, eliminating the need to shop for groceries, but still require some level of cooking and preparation.

  • Meal kit services often offer a range of meal options, including vegetarian, gluten-free, and low-calorie options, allowing you and your loved one to tailor meals to meet dietary preferences and restrictions.

  • Sodium content can be adjusted by you and your loved one when preparing the meal by simply lowering or eliminating salt or sodium-containing ingredients.

Benefits of home-delivered meal prep

Promotes eating at home, cutting down on the expense of dining out and unhealthy fast food options, and even eating as a family more often.

Avoids overspending on more groceries than needed and minimizes food waste.

Simplifies decision-making.

Helps with sticking to regular meal times and preventing over- or under-eating, which impacts the gut, sleep, weight, metabolism, and many other health factors.

Ensures better nutrition and appropriate portions.

Helps curb impulsive junk food eating caused by giving in to cravings and convenience because healthy options are readily available.

Caters to dietary needs and preferences.

Supports learning new cooking techniques and recipes, which can be used over and over again to recreate favorites or experiment with new preparations and combinations.

Encourages trying new foods.

Mitigates meal boredom caused by eating the same meals over and over again, especially when trying to eat healthy.

What you'll need to have on hand

While nearly everything you need is included in your delivery (even milk and flour!), you'll want to have a few pantry staples on hand to support meal kit preparation:

  • Cooking oil (olive oil is recommended)

  • Salt and pepper

  • Sugar

  • Butter

~ Bon Appetit! ~

RESOURCES

Campbell, A.D., Godfryd, A., Buys, D.R., & Locher, J.L. (2015). Does participation in home-delivered meals programs improve outcomes for older adults?: Results of a systematic review. Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics, 34(2), 124-167. DOI

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No content in this app, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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