Ever thought about using a meal-planning service like Blue Apron, Plated, or HelloFresh? These kinds of services are wildly popular these days, and it’s not too hard to see why. In a time when you’re busier than ever, it’s logical that you’d consider paying for a bit of help in the kitchen and the opportunity to learn about nutrition.
The main problem with using meal-plan services is they’re not cheap. HelloFresh’s “classic” meal plan comes at the cost of $9.99 per meal, and Blue Apron costs the same for their two-person plan. So what lessons can you take from these services, in order to help yourself get lean and healthy, without having to pay the subscription fee?
Experiment with Portion Control
One of the major benefits of using a meal-planning service is having their portion sizes set in a reasonable manner. Portion control may sound like a simple and straightforward thing, but a major reason for many dieting woes is constant cycles of under or overeating.
To avoid this pitfall, experiment with getting your portion sizes just right when you cook. Each meal should have a healthy balance of protein, fat, and carbs, and should leave you feeling satisfied but not overly full. Experimenting with different plate sizes can also be a great way of calculating the portion size that works best for you.
Cook from Scratch, According to a Recipe
Many people find meal-planning services satisfying because you’re still cooking the meals yourself, from scratch, using a recipe.
The simple fact of home-cooking your meals is already extremely positive for health and weight management. The less packaged and processed food you eat, the healthier you are bound to be, as you skip the many potentially harmful and fattening additives found in processed food, according to a study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition.
At the same time, however, a lot of the magic comes from cooking according to a well-crafted recipe. Sticking to a good, easy-to-follow recipe ensures your experiments in home cooking aren’t just healthy but that they’re delicious, too.
Buy a series of good cookbooks with outstanding reviews, follow the recipes, and you can expect to be amazed at just how much more positive your relationship with food becomes. You may even learn about nutrition in the process. If you don’t have much time to drop by the grocery store and hunt for ingredients, order them online using a grocery delivery or pick-up service.
With a good recipe book and online grocery shopping, you can enjoy a lot of the meal-plan service experience, at a significantly lower cost.
Vary Your Food Types Regularly
Blue Apron limits how many pasta dishes you can request in one go, and all of the premier meal plan services boast a varied selection of recipes to keep your diet fresh and interesting from meal to meal. Varying the types of food you’re consuming on a regular basis isn’t just a way of keeping your taste buds satisfied. It’s also one of the best ways to get a good balance of essential, health-promoting vitamins and minerals in your diet.
Meal-plan services have some tremendous benefits for a lot of people, both in terms of promoting improved overall health and contributing to successful weight loss. Fortunately, the same benefits can be had, minus the pricey subscription fees, by learning a few key lessons from these companies and applying them to your personal life.
Of course, stubborn fat doesn’t always yield to sensible dietary changes. You may need to look at other popular trends to combat your trouble areas. That’s why the SculpSure® laser treatment, which can help you reduce stubborn fat in just 25 minutes, is so popular. The SculpSure® treatment permanently reduces the number of fat cells in the treated area and can be used on hard-to-lose areas such as your stomach, back, thighs, and even under your chin.
Nonetheless, sensible dietary changes, such as cooking from scratch, using a recipe book, and practicing good portion control, are bound to result in all sorts of health benefits and should be the first step in your health and weight loss regimen.