Food Subscription Boxes: Healthy Alternative, or Grand Scam?

With the lingering effects of COVID-19, more and more people are looking for ways to cut their need to leave the house. Eliminating the grocery store is a great option, and food subscription boxes seem like a viable option. However, there’s a challenge here for those watching their waistline and their overall health. Do these boxes support good nutrition, or are they just a grand scam that feeds people with non-nutritious food in disguise?

Know Your Food Subscription Box

First, understand that there are quite a few food subscription box options on the Canadian market these days. They are not identical, either. While all of them take pride in offering the freshest possible food, your choice in company will play a role in how healthy the dishes themselves are. For instance, a carbonara dish might be delicious, but it’s going to pack in a lot of unhealthy elements, even if you’re using organic ingredients. So, the single most critical thing to getting healthy foods from these services is to shop smart.

Fresh, Real Ingredients

The three leading Canadian food subscription box companies are Chefs Plate, HelloFresh, and Goodfood, and all three include meal options put together with the freshest, highest-quality ingredients possible. These are real ingredients – often whole foods, but some companies will go the extra distance and pre-portion your ingredients so all you have to do is add them to the pot or skillet.

Food subscription box companies can offer fresher ingredients than what you’ll find at the grocery store for two reasons. First, they cut out the middle man and connect you directly with the producer. Second, they eliminate the time involved with shopping – you get the ingredients you want delivered to your door just in time for preparation.

And a quick note on the producers used – most of the leading food subscription box companies work with local producers. That offers a couple of important benefits. First, it reduces ship time, which in turn enhances freshness and nutrient viability in the food. Second, it supports your local economy.

Seasonal Ingredients

Another tick in favor of food subscription boxes is that they are usually created using seasonal ingredients. Seasonal food is, of course, tastier and fresher. However, it’s also packed with more nutrition than out-of-season food.

In most cases, seasonal foods are allowed to ripen fully on the parent plant, which ensures that they pack in as much nutrition as possible. Food that ripens off the plant often lacks key nutrients. Finally, because seasonal food doesn’t have to travel long distances to reach you, they don’t require as much pesticide to prevent pests from infesting them, and they don’t need chemical preservatives to keep them fresh during transit.

Vegetarian Options, Too

While not all food subscription box companies cater to vegetarians, many do, and that number is increasing. HelloFresh is a great example of a meal kit company that offers plenty of options to help support your lifestyle, including vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. In fact, the company has a “Veggie Plan” designed specifically for vegetarians (and you can tweak your meals so they’re vegan in the rare instance that there’s an ingredient most vegetarians eat but vegans don’t). Chefs Plate has also stepped up and now offers a vegetarian-only subscription choice!

What about the Calorie Content?

Sure, food can be deemed “real” and “healthy” and still pack in the calories. You’ll find that some food subscription boxes are high-calorie choices, but that’s not the case across the board. For instance, HelloFresh offers plenty of delicious choices and each meal comes in between 500 and 700 calories. That makes it easy to ensure you’re eating healthy food without sacrificing flavor or freshness.

A Healthy Choice for a Happy Life

In the end, food subscription boxes can be incredibly healthy. You do need to make sure to choose the right company, but most leading Canadian meal kit companies offer vegetarian boxes. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, you’ll find that the locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients are packed with nutrition and help you live a happy, healthy life. These companies also make it simple (and affordable!) to feed your whole family during the week, so what’s not to love?

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