Eating healthy is tough. It gets even tougher when your time is limited. In my journey toward becoming a fit and healthy I have sought out solutions to making healthy food for my family. That’s where meal planning services can be a huge help. I’ve tried a few of these services and the latest service I’ve been using for the last several months is PrepDish.
My wife first heard about PrepDish on Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast and we were so intrigued by what they do that we signed up that week.
PrepDish’s philosophy is for you to go grocery shopping once and meal prep once for the week. Then, each day your dinners will involve minimal cooking before you sit down to eat.
When you sign up for PrepDish, you get weekly emails that deliver the menus. They offer a paleo and gluten free menu along with a “super fast” menu that intended to be used occasionally during those hectic, time pressed weeks. Each menu includes a shopping list as well as a set of instructions to guide you in preparing the food. Allison Schaaf, the chef and nutritionist behind PrepDish, will include tips in the email that give suggestions on making the prep easier, food substitutions (if needed) as well as link to resources or tools that she recommends.
The idea is that following PrepDish’s plan will allow you to get your meal prepping done and out of the way and not be stressed each night trying to get a meal ready for your family. That means saving time and even money if your default is to go out and eat at a restaurant when you don’t have enough time to cook.
As I mentioned above, I’ve been using PrepDish for several months now and I have experienced some great things using PrepDish.
The main benefit I’ve experienced is that I haven’t had to plan out a menu in a while. Compiling recipes and putting together all the ingredients into a shopping list takes a while…and, let me tell ya, I’ve got things to do. Plus, we have enjoyed nearly every single meal we’ve created. My wife is fairly picky and she really likes the meals on the menu each week. Granted, lwe’ve only eaten off the paleo menu so I cannot speak to the gluten free food.
Trying new vegetables
I have NEVER prepared bok choy before signing up for PrepDish. And the same goes for many other vegetables. I just don’t know how to prepare them and PrepDish has “told” me to buy them and then gave me instructions on how to cook them. I think all those new veggies are a good thing for our health! PrepDish will introduce you to other vegetables in the store if you haven’t bought them before and you’ll greatly benefit from it.
A workflow to follow
As I mentioned above, the menus come with a workflow to follow when you start cooking and this is very, very helpful. I like to think of myself as a culinary moron and wouldn’t know how to make all this food unless someone told me and PrepDish has done just that.
Saved time mid-week
On those days when I pull the PrepDish meal out of the fridge and get it ready for dinner, I can truly enjoy the evening more. That has meant more time with the family and a good feeling that I ate a good, healthy meal.
I’ve come across some typos in the menu here and there. It’s certainly not the norm but it can throw you off when the instructions tell you to chop the yellow onion and there was no yellow onion on the shopping list. During those few occasions I was able to pivot by using a substitution I had on hand or even skipping it altogether.
Gaps in recipes
I have had a times where I have kept food out during a prep day to find that it could’ve been refrigerated when I was done chopping or cooking. To me it wasn’t clear that those items were done. There have also been a few times when it wasn’t immediately clear to keep certain ingredients separated (e.g. chop the green onions but keep the green and white parts separate). I must say, though, that this has been improving quite a bit in the last few months. The menus have been more clear on this point lately.
This one will probably depend a lot on your level of skill in the kitchen. PrepDish’s goal is for us to prep the week’s meals in about 2 hours. Personally I have never been able to get it done that quickly. My fastest time is about 4 hours and I’d say I average more around 5 hours. Then, when you factor in the trip to the store, I’ve spent about 6 hours prepping food for the week.
This has been a big problem because I feel like it uses up most of my Sunday, i.e. half my weekend. Being hunched over the counter that long starts to put my neck and upper back into knots. I even got burned out on the experience and took a few weeks off because I wanted my weekends back. However, I didn’t have another solution in place so I’m back to meal prepping, but I’m trying to work smarter this time. Again, skill level has a lot to factor into this so this might not be everyone’s experience.
Side note: The time killer for me (and probably everyone) is chopping and dicing the vegetables. One thing I’ve tried is to buy pre-chopped vegetables at the store. They do cost more, but the decision is going to be about what’s more valuable—your money or your time?
Again, this might be something unique to my situation, but I’ve had a hard time getting my 4 and 6 year old on board with some of the dinners. While they are absolutely delicious, I have a hard time getting my girls excited about last week’s asian glazed salmon; or thai lettuce wraps. I introduce them to the food, of course, but I wonder if the food is too fancy for my kids? They tend to like very basic, straightforward kinds of foods and, if I give in to their requests, I end up making a separate dinner for them.
I am very curious, though, how others’ experiences compare with mine here because I do acknowledge that my kids are particularly picky compared to others.
With all that being said, I have to say that PrepDish is a great meal prep service that will help you and your family eat healthy meals. And if you’re proficient in the kitchen you will save some time, too. In the months I’ve been making their meals, I‘ve seen their menus and emails get better and better. They are truly working to improve what they do. Recent posts on SnapChat have indicated that a new service is coming to PrepDish and I’m eager to see what they come up with. Choosing to use PrepDish will be a good decision for you to make.