Healthy Meals Made Easy: The Scoop on Meal Delivery Services

If you’re like most of us, you’re busy. You know that eating healthy is crucial to your health, hormone balance and energy level. You know that eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains will benefit your health — and that reducing processed foods loaded with added sugars, carbs and hard-to-pronounce ingredients will help you feel better in the long run. 

But finding time to plan out, shop for, prepare and cook wholesome meals can be a challenge. It’s the very reason so many of us find ourselves reaching for the nearest convenience food despite our best intentions. 

Recently, a plethora of online meal services have set out to solve that problem by delivering healthy, whole-foods based meals right to your door, taking planning and shopping off your list. Some of them even do the cooking for you!

But how do these programs work, and are they really worth the cost? We explore a few of the most popular options below. Whether you use one of these services as your main meal strategy or as a quick fill-in to complement your own meals planning, there are a variety of options to suit just about every diet. Best of all, you can customize your weekly meal plans, and skip any weeks you won’t be needing it (ie, you’re going on vacation).

Like to Cook But Lack the Time?

If you’re someone who enjoys cooking but lacks the time or willpower to find healthy recipes, shop for weekly ingredients and prep time-intensive meals, a service like Hello Fresh or Purple Carrot may just be the extra bit of help you need to keep your healthy diet on track. Both services curate your recipes and ingredients for you, leaving you to simply take care of a little meal prep and cooking.

Hello Fresh offers ten new recipes each week, so you never have to fall into a dinner rut again. You’re also in the driver’s seat — you choose whether you want meals based on meat and veggies, low-calorie recipes, or a plant-based menu. Customize your weekly meal plan to accommodate the number of people you’re feeding, and enjoy healthy meals for as low as $5.66 per serving.

Meanwhile, for $7.49 per serving, Blue Apron offers chef-designed meals from balanced Mediterranean dishes to quick and easy one-pan dinners. Choose from meat, fish, or vegetarian focused menu plans. They even offer special diabetes-friendly recipes.

Need Fast, On-The-Go Meals?

Whether cooking isn’t your forte, or you just need quick, easy morning and lunch options, there are a number of ready-to-eat meal services on the market. Unlike the options mentioned above, these services do the prep and cooking for you, so all you need to do is drink your breakfast, or heat up your meal.

Fairly new to the scene, Daily Harvest delivers soups, smoothies, oats and harvest bowls that are pre-made and arrive frozen. Smoothies come in ready-to-sip bottles and include a variety of nutritious options, such as Banana & Greens, blended with fresh ingredients like kale, spinach, wheatgrass, cucumber and banana. These make for a nutrient-dense kickstart to your day, or work great as a post-workout meal or afternoon snack. The harvest bowls (such as Brussels Sprouts and Tahini) and soups (such as Green Chickpea & Kale or Cauliflower & Leek) give you wholesome, filling lunch options that are easy to heat and eat during a busy day. No more drive-through food for you!

This service also allows you to focus on your particular dietary needs, including vegan, gluten-free and even ketogenic options. Daily Harvest can be spendy (many options run over $7 for serving) but can be worth its weight in gold for keeping your diet and health on track.

If you’re looking for a healthy and easy vegan and gluten-free meal plan, Splendid Spoon focuses on delivering nutrient-dense whole foods in the form of smoothies, soups and grain bowls. From breakfast smoothies like Carrot Ginger and Green Matcha to fresh soups, it’s a quick and easy way to get plenty of fresh, whole foods and nutrients on the go. 

Their hearty grain bowls also make a great lunch or dinner option, with delicious options like Brown Rice Taco, Moroccon Spiced Buckwheat and Carrot Lentil Curry bowls. Weekly meal delivery runs $65-135 per week, depending on whether you want morning smoothies only, or a more complete breakfast/lunch meal plan.

A Commitment-Free Way to Kickstart Healthy Eating

Even if you don’t plan to use a meal-service long term, one of these options can be a great way to kickstart healthy diet changes. If you find yourself still grabbing fast food or heavily processed foods, using one of these meal services can help you create healthier habits with little additional effort. 

Whether you use these options as a stepping stone to creating your own healthy meal plans, or determine that these are great long term options to keep your diet and health on track, we can all use a helping hand.

And if you decide a service is not for you, you can pause or cancel your deliveries at any time.

Here’s to healthy eating!

The Importance of Micronutrients in your Diet

If you’re making the effort to eat better and be healthier, considering your intake of key micronutrients is vital. According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, micronutrients have a major impact on our health and wellbeing. Are you getting what your body needs?

In this month’s blog, we take a look at what exactly micronutrients are, why they are important to our health, and how to ensure we get enough in our diets.

What Are Micronutrients And Why Are They Important?

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that are only required in small quantities by our bodies, but have a big impact. In fact, micronutrients are essential for a number of different bodily functions, including growth and development. 

Although micronutrients are only required in trace amounts, becoming deficient in these micronutrients can cause a variety of problems in the body. And it happens easier than you may think. In fact, micronutrient deficiencies are quite widespread, affecting a third of the world’s population. 

Vitamins A, B6, C, D, and E are all examples of micronutrients, as are iron, magnesium, iodine, and zinc. 

Micronutrients are essential for maintaining your brain, muscle, bone, circulation, skin, and immune system. Failing to get enough micronutrients leads to deficiency, which can contribute to a number of health problems ranging from fatigue, depression, muscle weakness, and headaches to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis.

How To Obtain Micronutrients

While a plethora of studies offer conflicting and often confusing suggestions about micronutrients and nutrition (including the effectiveness of certain supplements) one thing is certain: the best way to get vitamins and minerals is from a well-rounded diet, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and lean sources of protein, along with healthy fats, such as nuts and olive oil.

“You should ideally try to meet your vitamin and mineral needs through your diet rather than supplements,” says Dr. Howard D. Sesso, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Medical Editor of the Special Health Report Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals: Choosing the foods and nutrients you need to stay healthy.

If your diet consists of highly processed foods filled with sugar and salt, and if your diet lacks a well-balanced variety of fresh produce, you may be at risk for micronutrient deficiency.

Choose Fresh Foods Rich In Micronutrients

Five micronutrients in particular play vital roles in maintaining immune function and overall health: vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc. While these and others are often sold as daily supplements, there is no evidence that such supplements have any more benefits than simply  following a fresh, healthy, wholesome diet. Adjusting your diet to include a variety of whole foods is always preferred to popping a supplement every day. 

Harvard Medical School suggests the following foods as great ways to get some of these essential micronutrients:

Obtain Vitamin B6 from…
Chicken, cereals, bananas, potato skins, chickpeas, tuna, salmon

Obtain Vitamin B12 from…
Fish, chicken, eggs, low fat cheese and milk

Obtain Vitamin C from…
Tomatoes, citrus fruit, sweet peppers, broccoli, kiwi

Obtain Vitamin E from…
Sunflower seeds and oils, almonds, peanut butter

Obtain Magnesium from…
Whole wheat, legumes, nuts, seeds, avocados, spinach, quinoa

Obtain Iron from…
Chicken, turkey, oysters, kale, collard greens, swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, legumes

Are You Deficient In Micronutrients?

If you’re concerned that you may be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals, or if you’re feeling extra sluggish or have possible symptoms, contact Exceed Hormone Specialists today to schedule a consult. 

Dr. Chauhan and Dr. Pearson are trained to evaluate your vitamins and supplements based on your medical history, complete evaluation, lab studies, and a clear understanding of your nutrition and performance goals.

Our specific recommendations will be based on core medical knowledge and the latest reliable research. We will then tailor the recommendations to your particular situation and needs. Such an approach ensures that your ongoing supplement and vitamin choices are aligned with your individual health situation, your needs, and your aspirations.