What could be more delicious, satisfying – and yes, decadent – than enjoying gourmet meals in the comfort of your own home?
Well, you can attend a culinary school in the United States for about $30,000-$40,000 per year, and learn how to prepare gourmet meals.
Or, you can hire a personal chef to prep, cook and serve gourmet meals at your home for around $40-$50 per hour. (Figure in a lot more money for the ingredients – plus the time it would take to shop for them at the grocery store.)
Or, you can probably find a gourmet restaurant in your area that would prepare one of their signature meals for you to pick up and bring home to serve your friends and family, for a few hundred bucks. (Come to think of it, we probably should have added “what could be more expensive than enjoying gourmet meals at home?” at the top of this article.)
There’s an easier, much less-expensive way to enjoy fresh, healthy, restaurant-quality gourmet food at home on a nightly basis. You just have to take advantage of the latest advances in the food industry – and we’re not talking about fast-food delivery from GrubHub or DoorDash.
We’re talking about complete, satisfying, meal delivery services.
Using Meal Delivery Services: How It Works
There are a number of similarities among the top weekly meal plans that feature home delivery.
- Most allow you to choose the number of meals you want to order per week, and whether you want to order meals that will feed either two or four people. (Some offer so-called “family plans” or à la carte choices as well.)
- Almost all have online websites where you choose the meals you want for the following week, and most change their menus (or at least some of their offerings) on a weekly basis.
- Most use fresh ingredients to prepare the meals they deliver, the majority have nutritionists or dietitians who design healthy meals which are aimed at either weight loss or maintenance, and many have specific entrees or complete menus which cater to those on low-carb, Paleo and keto diets. A few even have a good number of dishes suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
There are, however, a number of qualities that allow you to differentiate between meal delivery services.
- The most common way these services work is that they deliver “meal kits.” That’s marketing-speak for saying they give you a box of ingredients and a recipe card – and basically say “good luck.” Doing all the meal prep? That’s up to you, not cooks or chefs at the meal service facilities.In reality, these aren’t really meal delivery services, they’re ingredient delivery services, which is fine if you have mad cooking skills and plenty of time to prepare and cook your food. Otherwise, prepare to invest a lot of time and to experience at least some frustration before you can sit down to eat.
- Some of these companies prepare fresh, delicious, complete meals – but they’re anything but fresh or delicious by the time they reach your door. That’s because these firms freeze the complete meals after they’re cooked, and you receive hard-as-a-rock packages, which need to be defrosted before they can be heated and eaten. The process means the meals may lose some of their crucial nutritional value, which is not ideal if one of your goals is healthy eating.You’d think that it makes the most sense to deliver fully-cooked, healthy meals that are refrigerated and only need to be heated before they can be eaten. Very few services, though, do it.
- No matter how these delivery services operate, they’re still businesses. And as in any industry, there will always be some companies trying to cut their costs and increase their profit margins. In the food delivery industry, these corner-cutters do it with ingredients that are less than optimal (using lesser cuts of meat, for example, or using foods that include preservatives), or by designing meals that aren’t as healthy as they could be.
- Some services provide meals that are so good they could legitimately be called “gourmet.” Most, however, don’t.
The greatest number of top-tier meal delivery services are in the “meal kit” category; you receive a box of ingredients, recipes, and then you’re on your own.
The healthy, gourmet meal delivery service that stands out in the crowd is Factor. To check out why Factor is so different, read on.
Factor: Fully-Cooked Gourmet Meals, Delivered
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably realized that the ideal meal service will use premium-quality ingredients, provide a wide variety of healthy meals prepared by gourmet chefs, and deliver fully-cooked meals fresh to your door.
Factor checks all of those boxes.
Factor doesn’t use lesser proteins to cut costs. You’ll find meals featuring beef filet, tenderloin and prime rib, not cheap steak or chuck roast. And all proteins, from the meat to the chicken breasts, come from sources that are grass-fed and pasture-raised, as well as antibiotic and hormone-free.
Wide Variety of Healthy Meals
When it comes to healthy meals, Factor goes all-in. They use no refined sugars or soy in any of their dishes. All of the ingredients used by Factor dishes are non-GMO, from the green beans and cauliflower to the sweet potatoes and parmesan cheese. And every meal is gluten-free, a boon for both those with celiac disease and allergies, as well as those devoted to eating healthy.
As for wide variety? Factor beats every other delivery service there, too. There are plenty of dishes you’d consider “gourmet,” like Garlic Tomato Shrimp and Goat Cheese Chicken, but also homier dishes like pulled pork and good-old-fashioned burgers. There are sides like risotto and quinoa, but also all-time favorites like mashed cauliflower. And there are dishes that are perfect for breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Fresh Meals Delivered to Your Door
Factor is devoted to healthy eating, so the company doesn’t believe in frozen meals. It doesn’t deliver them, either. Every complete meal from Factor arrives at your door properly refrigerated, as fresh as it was when the gourmet chefs prepared it. All you have to do is heat and eat.