Good Food, Good Mood

How to Fill Your Fridge With Healthy Food Without Going Insane During the Pandemic

by Kat Madamba

Financial Frequency. myWellness

May 4, 2020 . 4 min read

Shopping for groceries right now feels like you're going on a deep-sea mission that's doomed to fail. There are so many regulations in place just to get into stores, and it's become a rare occasion when you can actually find what you set out for in the first place. So you wander the aisles picking up whatever you can, which typically consists of items you probably would not pick up if it were not for the current state of the world. 

Now, don't get me wrong. In the beginning, this was shamefully exciting. It was a valid excuse to pick up items the responsible adult version of myself just would never allow in the house. I mean, what adult couple with no kids really needs a family size box of single-serve Velveeta shells and cheese or a case of ramen noodles? 

However, after a joyful few weeks of indulging in old childhood favorites, my fiance and I realized we may need to rethink our decisions. The pandemic and quarantine situation quickly escalated, and we decided that we had to figure out what was our new normal for grocery shopping. 

The problem is, stores are running out of everyday items quickly. Plus, the anxiety of going through the process of shopping in-store would usually throw us through a loop. So we experimented with a few meal delivery services and ended up going with a local vendor for most of our meals. 

So if you're trying to avoid grocery stores as much and try to save some money as well, we've got you covered. We've scoured the internet and found a few options that will help keep your fridge stocked with delicious meals and ingredients delivered right to your door, and isn’t too bad on the wallet.  

Single Serve Meal Services 

Freshly 

Choose your meals, and each comes individually prepped and ready for the microwave. The difference here is each chef meal is delicious and good-for-you. Plus, it's a meal prepared to eat in 3 minutes. Depending on how many meals you get during the week, this will run you anywhere between $7.99-$11.99/serving. This is an excellent option for couples who never agree on what they want for dinner or for people who live alone. The convenience of this service is a perfect way to check off another item on your to-do list.  

Daily Harvest

This plant-based service feels perfectly hipster and is actually delicious at $6.99 a pop. Each meal is prepped for you and requires just a quick blitz in a blender or quick nuke in the microwave. Throw it in a mason jar or in a pretty bowl, and you have an Instagram-perfect quarantine meal.  

Fresh and Lean 

This is a great option that delivers single-serve meals that are gluten-free, dairy-free, and organic. If you prefer super clean meals, this could be an excellent option for you. Meals arrive ready-to-eat in 3 minutes. It's much more cost-efficient if you order all your meals for the week, which makes this a better option for those who have strict diets or if you live alone.

Pre-Prepped Meal Kit Services

Gobble

Probably one of the better meal delivery services I've had, though also one of the more expensive at $11.99/serving. My fiance and I like a more substantial portion (cause we love food), and this definitely delivered on quick and delicious dinners both of us could enjoy. While there aren't a ton of options to avoid gluten or dairy allergies, we did find a few we could share and modify. All in all, an excellent service. 

Green Chef 

The difficulty with most meal delivery services is that they don't always cater to the ever-growing variety of diet restrictions. They undoubtedly have the most range, offering keto, paleo, vegetarian, and even family plans. And averaging around $6/serving depending on the box, this is not bad on the wallet either. 

Budget-friendly Delivery Services

Dinnerly

At $4.49 for an adult-sized serving, this delivery service is kind of a no brainer. The menu is chock full of all sorts of comfort, things like meatloaf, mac and cheese, and nachos. While these may not be "healthiest" of all options, the meals are definitely a hearty and excellent choice for larger families that have to deal with finicky palates. Plus, meals are always better for you when you make them yourself.

Imperfect Foods

This service helps to reduce waste by boxing up fruits and vegetables that grocery stores deem "ugly" and delivers them to you at a fraction of the price. It's similar to a CSA where you can choose options like the dairy pack or the snack pack, each filling your box up more with additional fridge and pantry staples. They also offer meat, fish, and grains as add-ons to your box. So if you like the freedom of making your own meals, this is the perfect budget-friendly option at $16/week for a full box of fresh veggies. 

Home chef

Yes, Home Chef does have ready-made meals, but did you know you can order protein packs. It's a less stressful way to fill up your fridge or freezer than to mask up and keep your distance from others in the grocery store. Their meal service will run you about $10/serving and offer a ton of different ways to customize each meal. 

As with any financial or wellness decision, you have to weigh the pros and cons of each option you have and understand what you're really looking to solve for yourself. For my fiance and me, healthy and straightforward pre-prepped meals have made it much easier for me to enjoy my extra time during the quarantine. For us, this ends up being around the same amount of money we would have spent by going to the grocery store without the stress. Our advice? Choose what's best for you, your current financial situation, and your happiness.

mW pro-tip: 

Many of the services we’ve mentioned offer first-time order discounts. Nothing stops you from going with one service one week and trying another the next. 

mW note to the reader: 

We're not certified nutritionists over here, we just want you to feel your best. And hopefully, protect your wallet too.