Well Kiddos

Improving Kids Menus “One Restaurant and One Family at a Time.”

Balancing Meal Preparation Options

Posted on February 16th, 2015 by Manu

By Darya Mead
In my perfect world, I would prepare healthy, yummy home-cooked meals every night and make sure my increasingly independent kids ate mostly nutritious fare. I work hard at that goal, trying to have fresh produce at the ready for quick snacks and ingredients for a variety of simple, desirable meals. Add into the mix a yearning to encourage local food gathering and a tight budget and sometimes this goal becomes quite a slog. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I like more than going to the Farmer’s Market and cooking, but sometimes it’s just not so easy with two working parents and active lifestyles.

There are a number of ways to remedy this situation:

1) Cook large vats of food and freeze portioned containers
2) Have a number of go-to recipes that are easy, yummy and versatile and ALWAYS cook
3) Give up and order in or serve pre-fab meals far too often
4) Some combo of healthy eating and reasonable digressions

So I guess I have opted for #4 and recently that has included trying out a delivery service for pre- prepared meals. It’s not like ordering in, per se, but just gives you all the elements to put a meal together. Now in general, I have only been a fan of these services for friend’s who have had new babies, a surgery, a death in the family or perhaps another extenuating circumstance. I do have friends who often order from these outfits and say that, despite the cost, it really breaks up the weeks’ rhythm and is a welcomed addition to the routine, not to mention how much simpler it makes dinner time. If you don’t get home till 7pm and often hear ‘what’s for dinner, mom’ when parking the car or just arriving home, it can take the edge off that manic panic to get food on the table every night that will be eaten with gusto.

Pulled porkI got a delivery from Sous Kitchen, a slick company operating in Western States with this mission: “We strive to simplify your life. Sous Kitchen provides a Lifestyle of Delicious Chef Prepared Fresh, Ready-to-Cook Gourmet, Nutritious Homemade Meals that are easy to make and delicious to eat. And yes they can be conveniently delivered too.”

I got two meals, jerk chicken and cornbread and pulled pork sandwiches—two things I’ve never made myself but I knew my two sons and husband would love. The order arrived on my doorstep well packaged in cooler type box with simple instructions. It was fun, and I added some broccoli and baked potatoes on the night we had the pulled pork sliders. Sous Kitchen seems to have it down to an art, I’ve ordered from other places before and things were often a bit ramshackle, spilled or not what I ordered. This company seems to have found a niche. The food was delicious and plenty for leftovers.

The experience made me think out of the box a bit more, and lately I’ve taken to picking up meat at a taqueria and making our own healthy burritos or the other night, having made a big pot of Indian lentil daal, I was inspired to stop at a local Indian eatery and buy tandoori chicken to add to my daal and naan. I’m going to explore this avenue more, in my effort to mix it up but keep costs modest. With two growing athletic boys, some of my old reliable recipes are wearing thin and for them, (not me) the meat component is key.

Fit Snack2Another service, Fit Snack offered me a sample box to review and I thought I’d give it a try. Sadly the first box was delivered and apparently someone stole the snacks because when I got home the delivered box was empty on my stoop–maybe the mailperson was peckish? Anyway, second time was a charm and we are still making our way through all the tasty offerings. Their mission is:

‘The Fit Snack box is carefully curated each month to include 6 – 9 different items that are not only delicious but are also designed to provide clean energy to support an active, fitness-focused lifestyle.”

We got a few bars, some powders, vegetable crisps and some unusual offerings I might never buy myself. I’m personally leery of bars and such because I have a severe nut allergy, but my husband and boys have loved trying out these new products which claim to be nutrient rich, consciously made and full of ‘diversified energy’ and certainly good for athletes, those with gluten allergies or on a paleo or raw diet.

Eating sous kitchenBoth services were much appreciated and from their websites seem affordable and easy to manage. I can see how these kind of services would be a terrific option for families with two working parents, and as we are all subsumed by the ‘culture of busy’  this could be a nice way to supplement one’s efforts. My only concern is cost and the sort of crutch factor, but if interwoven into a hectic week I think these and other delivery services can take some of the stress out of that “what’s for dinner”, “what can I have for a healthy quick snack” questions we all ask or get asked.

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