Meal delivery services like Blue Apron and Purple Carrot help busy people put a meal on the table. During the pandemic, their popularity has ballooned, partly because they allow people to limit trips to the grocery store. But how do these meals align with healthy-eating goals? Is meal delivery nutrition up to par?
To shed light on that question, researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia reviewed a year’s worth of recipes from the popular HelloFresh meal kit service, focusing on the nutritional quality of its recipes and ingredients. HelloFresh meals took an average of about 35 minutes to prepare and were found to be relatively high in calories (median 678 calories), fat (28 grams) and protein (44 g). Meals were also fairly abundant in sodium, averaging 839 milligrams per meal.
The researchers mentioned that adding more vegetables and whole grains or reducing portion sizes could improve meal delivery nutrition levels. While different services vary in the nutritional makeup of their recipes, it’s important that people understand what they’re getting and how to make adjustments if needed—as suggested, by trimming portion sizes and sneaking in an extra serving of veggies.