Dinner Options for the Busy Graduate Student

    Posted on Monday, Feb 13, 2017
    When you are in graduate school, your time is likely strapped with other responsibilities such as teaching, research and involvements. So by the time you get home, you open the fridge and find nothing that appeases you. In an optimal world, I would encourage you to go to the grocery store and prepare your meals for the week- many times that is not the case of what reality is. Myself, among many graduate students, face difficulties when it comes to having meals ready and/or a stocked fridge in order to cook. When I am working 9-13 hours in a day, I do not feel like “thinking” of a meal to cook much less actually cooking food for dinner.

    So what are your options? Recently, there have been some excellent new delivery services that bring all the ingredients right to your front door step. The best part about this, you don’t have to go to the grocery store or think of what you’re going to have for dinner- it is already all there for you. These delivery systems are excellent for you to have nutritious meals composed of protein, vegetable and grain- yay! So what are some of those choices, you’ve likely heard of Blue Apron or Hello Fresh because they do a lot of marketing. However, there are many other companies that offer similar services.

    The following information is taken from another article (with reference at the bottom):


    Meal breakdown: HelloFresh offers classic boxes, which include meat and fish recipes; veggie boxes, which are vegetarian with plant-based proteins; and family boxes, which are meant to be more healthful takes on kid-friendly favorites. HelloFresh has partnered with Jamie Oliver, and one of his recipes is highlighted each week. The meal kits don't cater to specific dietary needs, but in keeping with FDA regulations, the company does disclose all allergens on nutrition labels.

    What it costs: Starts at $69 for a classic box (three meals for two people), $59 for a veggie box (three meals for two people), $105 for a family box (three meals for four people).
    For more information, visit www.hellofresh.com.
    Blue Apron

    Meal breakdown: Blue Apron is a subscription-based model that offers vegetarian, pescetarian, and omnivore plans each week. Customers can choose from six new meals with the two-person menu or four new meals from the family menu, and can skip deliveries at any time with at least one week's notice.

    What it costs: A two-person plan includes three meals per person per week: $9.99/meal or $59.94/box. The four-person family plan includes either two or four meals per person per week, at $8.74/meal, or $69.92/box for two meals.
    For more information, visit www.blueapron.com.

    Meal breakdown: Plated focuses on seasonality, quality, and sustainability of all included ingredients, aiming for balance across offerings from high-protein seafood dishes to fiber-filled farro bowls and meatless options for vegetarians.

    What it costs: Plans start at $48 for two dinners per week plus shipping and $72 for three dinners per week (free shipping for orders of three or four dinners per week).
    For more information, visit www.plated.com.

    Terra's Kitchen
    Terra's Kitchen offers subscriptions for a variety of meal types, including vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and low calorie, and no recipe requires more than 30 minutes of cooking.

    Meal breakdown: Customers can choose from more than 40 meals on the website (new selections are added twice per month), such as pecan-crusted tilapia with lemony fennel-arugula salad and turkey spinach meatballs in skinny.

    What it costs: Choose from three plans (three dinners for two people, four dinners for two people, or two dinners for four people), at a $64.99 minimum delivery with free shipping and handling.
    For more information, visit www.terraskitchen.com.
    Martha & Marley Spoon

    Meal breakdown: Customers can choose from two subscription plans: a two-person plan and a family plan, which feeds two adults and two children and offers more kid-friendly foods. Every week, customers receive an e-mail with five to seven new recipes (at least three are vegetarian), from which they can choose, or they can skip the week. All meals are designed to be prepped and cooked within 40 minutes, and recipe cards include smart cooking techniques and other tips.

    What it costs: Meals range from $8.70 to $12 per portion, with the most popular plan (three meals for two people) totaling $61.50.
    For more information, visit www.marleyspoon.com.

    Meal breakdown: From the website, customers choose from at least eight weekly menu options—one-half of these are swapped out seasonally, while the other half are refreshed weekly. Serving a crowd? Individuals can order up to 12 servings per dish (no fewer than two). PeachDish aims to ensure three vegetarian options are available, and gluten-free dishes are specifically labeled.

    What it costs: Boxes start around $12.50 per person per meal, depending on the number of meals ordered.
    For more information, visit www.peachdish.com.

    Meal breakdown: Because Chef'd offers à la carte meals, customers can use the website to filter through the 300-plus available meals for their particular dietary restrictions (such as gluten-free or vegan), preference (such as low carb or family friendly), preferred skill level, and even cook time.

    What it costs: Two-serving à la carte meals range from $15 to $46; four-serving à la carte meals range from $25 to $79. In general, Ransford says per-serving meals range from $6.50 to $23.
    For more information, visit www.chefd.com.
    Green Chef

    Meal breakdown: Plans for various dietary preferences and restrictions include vegetarian, omnivore (two meat or seafood with one veggie dish), carnivore (three meat or seafood dishes), gluten-free, paleo, and vegan. The company aims for well-balanced meals with loads of organic vegetables and other wholesome ingredients. In fact, all ingredients are USDA-certified organic and GMO-free whenever possible. One example of what this looks like: a fall harvest bowl with kale, walnuts, barley, roasted veggies, and fresh pear. On its vibrantly colored recipe card, customers will see that the meal contains 560 kcal. For the remaining nutrition information, they'll have to visit the website, where a full nutrition label reads 21 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 21 g fiber, 18 g protein, and 290 mg sodium.

    What it costs: Two-person plans with three dinners range from $10.49 per serving for the vegetarian option to $14.99 per serving for the paleo selection. Family plans (two dinners with four servings each) are priced at $11.99 and $12.99 per person (for omnivore and carnivore plans, respectively).
    For more information, visit https://greenchef.com/home.
    Reference for all nutrition delivery service information: http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0117p24.shtml

    Thanks and Gig’em,

    Kristen Hicks MS, RD, LD, PhD Candidate | Nutrition and Food Science

    Kristen Hicks is a PhD Candidate and Registered Dietitian in BCS who aspires to improve the health of all Americans.

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