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Finding the time to cook healthful meals can be difficult for busy families, especially those with younger kids. Kid-friendly meal delivery services may be a suitable option for many of those with less time to spend in the kitchen.
Many children in the United States
In this article, we discuss how meal kits work, give examples of their menu options, and suggest some of the top meal delivery kits for kids and families.
Meal delivery services vary according to the brand. Some offer ingredients and recipes to make at home, and others deliver ready-made meals. People can make a choice based on how much time they have, their cooking skills, and the service’s cost.
According to a 2020 study, meal kit delivery services may influence food behaviors, diets, and health. As a result, they may promote health via education, training, and enabling home cooking skills and habits.
Additionally, as these services provide only the necessary quantities of ingredients for each recipe, they may help reduce food wastage. The Department of Agriculture note that consumers contribute to food loss when they purchase or cook more food than is necessary.
Typically, people select recipes from a weekly menu to suit their preferences and dietary requirements. They can do this either online or via an app. Usually, people can also customize the recipes to swap ingredients or make specific changes, such as doubling up on protein.
Most companies offer plans according to a certain number of meals per day or week and the number of people they need to feed. Some brands provide meals tailored to particular ages — for example, toddlers or teens.
The company then deliver the measured ingredients or meals along with instructions on how to prepare the recipes.
Children’s meals should be nutritionally balanced, which people can usually achieve by varying their foods and opting for healthful options. By ensuring that their children eat plenty of nutritious foods, limit their intake of fatty and sugary foods, and get enough physical activity and sleep, parents and caregivers can help them
Meal delivery plans can have many benefits, including the following:
- They can save time planning, shopping for, and cooking meals.
- They are a good option for people with limited cooking skills.
- Many companies give careful consideration to balancing the meals nutritionally, so parents and caregivers do not have to worry about this themselves.
- Different members of the family can eat meals that they like without anyone having to cook multiple recipes.
- There is flexibility for adults and children to eat at different times if necessary, as it is possible to heat the meals in the microwave.
However, there could be downsides to a meal delivery service. For example:
- These services may work out more expensive than shopping for and cooking one meal for the whole family.
- They offer less flexibility than shopping at a grocery store.
- By choosing ready-made meals, adults and children are less likely to learn new cooking skills.
- Some ready-meals do not include extra vegetables.
Many meal delivery options are available to buy. Below, we list five options that may be suitable for kids.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All product information is purely research-based.
Nurture Life state that they provide ready-to-eat, dietitian-designed, and kid-approved meals.
They have a variety of suitable meals, with categories for babies, toddlers, kids, and teens and adults. They also provide cold lunches and shareables to complement their meals.
People can filter the menu choices according to their dietary needs. Nurture Life cater to vegetarians, those needing gluten-free meals, and so-called picky eaters.
- For babies 10–24 months old: Turkey meatloaf, English pea, and potato
- For toddlers: Egg bite with mini pancakes and sweet potatoes
- For teens: Veggie ragout pasta with fresh mozzarella
Prices range from $6.89 for finger foods to $10.99 for teen and adult meals.
Yumble deliver prepared meals for children aged 1–12 years. The website describes the meals as nutritionally balanced and fun. Yumble include extras in their boxes, such as sticker sheets for kids to enjoy.
People can choose school lunches, weeknight dinners, and snacks, all of which they can heat in the microwave in less than 2 minutes.
Yumble offer meals for vegetarians and people with dietary restrictions, including gluten-free and milk-free options. They do not use nuts in their recipes but are not certified nut-free.
Example meals include:
- meatball mac and cheese
- vegetarian bean burrito
- Italian chicken and quinoa
Meal prices start at $5.99 and depend on which plan a person selects.
Raised Real state that they deliver healthful organic meals for children aged from 6 months.
People put their ingredients and dietary preferences into the website, and Raised Real choose from the meals that meet their needs. The emphasis is on whole foods and vegetables that older children can eat as they are and younger children can eat as a puree or mash.
Example meals for a 1-year-old child:
- spinach, banana, white quinoa, chia seeds, and coconut butter
- green beans, butternut squash, white quinoa, rosemary, and olive oil
- beet, sweet potato, date, cinnamon, and coconut butter
Prices range from $4.99 to $5.49 per meal, depending on which plan someone chooses.
One Potato provide ingredients and recipes for people to make at home. They offer plans based on the size of the family and the ages of the children. The price per meal starts from $7.32.
All of the ingredients are seasonal, organic, and non-GMO. One Potato also offer recipes for vegetarians and those needing gluten-free and nut-free meals.
The kid-friendly recipes may make it easier for the whole family to get involved with the cooking. People can also add optional extras, such as smoothies or desserts.
- classic burger and fries
- Spanish frittata with tomato jam toast
- vegetarian chili with cornbread
Dinnerly also provide meal kits for people to prepare at home. People select their recipes and then receive the ingredients and a digital recipe card.
The company state that using digital (rather than paper) recipe cards, simple packaging, and a limited number of ingredients allows them to offer customers meal kits that are less expensive than those of other brands.
Dinnerly have 16 kid-friendly recipes to choose from each week, and they offer a family box that feeds four people. The cost of a meal starts at $4.29 per person, plus shipping.
There are vegetarian options, but Dinnerly do not provide a full menu to suit those with specific allergies or diets.
- beef fried rice
- cheese-stuffed meatloaf
- oven fried bean and cheese taquitos
As an alternative to meal delivery services, people can buy kids’ meals or ingredients for snacks or meals as part of their weekly grocery shopping.
Sourcing recipes from a book or online can also help parents and caregivers make their own nutritionally balanced children’s meals. Those with limited time can save some by cooking multiple meals and freezing them in batches.
Meal delivery services may help busy families save time in the kitchen while still eating nutritious, healthful meals. People should research the meals on offer and the costs involved to ensure that their preferred service is economically viable and provides a good variety of foods for their family.
It is important to bear in mind that children need various nutrients for growth and development, making it crucial that their meals are nutritionally balanced. Fortunately, many brands consider this, and some use dietitians to design their menus.