By Guest Blogger Karlie Stewart

There are a few things in this world that unite us… smiles, a native language, religious affiliations, blood lines, but most definitely FOOD! Food, regardless of taste, texture, color, or time of day consumed, we all need it! Having traveled the world (though not nearly as many places as I’d like), I have seen all types of food prepared, served, and devoured.  Anything from grits in the south, schnitzel in Germany, donkey spaghetti sauce in Italy, dumplings in China, or roasted cockroaches in Thailand to name a few but all were prepared with pride and enjoyed by many.

I am also a wife and a mother of two boys.  My husband and I are both full time teachers and if you know the life of a teacher, there isn’t much time for shopping and/or preparing for meals. Our boys are seven years apart so packing lunches and making dinners to appease various appetites, taste buds, and schedules was another challenge.  While I’m fortunate no one in our family has major food allergies, I was very aware of intolerances or behavioral reactions to certain ingredients such as dairy, sugar, dyes, and gluten.

I often contemplate, “Is this meal nutritious?”, “What ingredients are needed to make this meal?”, “How much money am I willing to spend?”, “Will my family like this new recipe or will it be a flop?”, “Should I even bother or stick to the same ol’ recipes?” These, among other questions, used to constantly consume my thoughts, time, and energy. No wonder I was an exhausted woman!

So, I began collecting recipes from coworkers that were tried and true.  However, I continued to struggle with shopping until I started on-line shopping.  Now, keep in mind, this was years ago and ordering my food on-line was a totally new idea.  After a couple times, I began to really love it.  It helped me stay on a budget, order exactly what I needed, and shop without distractions or long lines.  But, I was still locked into a time to pick up, items may have been switched or missing, and inevitably, I would forget something so I had to go in anyway.

One day, about three years ago, my mother gave me a voucher for a food delivery service.  This way I could get meals I chose with all the necessary ingredients in just the right proportions without having to run to the store. Don’t get me wrong, I still ordered online or went to the store for dog food, milk, apples, etc. but the urgency to go after work in order to prepare a meal only to realize I bought the wrong item or forgot something completely was now gone. I was hooked on food delivery services from then on.

I learned how to love cooking again. I learned how to cook a variety of meals using ingredients I never would have found in our local store. I was introducing new foods to my family and getting them involved in helping as well. I now had more time to help my kids with homework, exercise, read, or just take my time cooking!

Because I LOVE a good bargain and saving money (who doesn’t?), I have tried MANY food delivery services. Each one offers some kind of discount or coupon code to get you started.  Therefore, I’ll use the coupon, pause or cancel my account and then try another service at a discounted price.  I have found a few that I stuck with for a while because it fits my budget and our family’s tastes. However, I am always willing to try something new.

Below is a table indicating my experiences with each one. Please keep in mind, services and options may have changed since I used them.  Also my opinions are based strictly from personal preferences and experiences especially now being in the midst of COVID19.

Until recently we used Marley Spoon the longest. They offered the widest variety of foods that I thought were a nutritional compromise while being within budget.  I only stopped ordering from them because there were several delivery issues.

Regardless of the service company, I learned that if I order our meals for 2 serving sizes and simply supplemented with an extra chicken breast or an extra ½ lb. of hamburger, it was plenty for us.  The 2 serving sizes were also perfect on nights our oldest was at work or out with friends and wouldn’t be home for dinner.  I also learned that if there were any issues with ANY of the companies, I simply had to contact them, tell them the problem, and I was given either a partial or full credit on our next order.  All were very accommodating and aimed to please.

I hope this has been helpful.  It’s a crazy and confusing world out there, the food you eat shouldn’t be 🙂 Enjoy life, enjoy food!

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