Time to Cook?

Finding recipes, planning meals, making a grocery list and going to the store. There’s a lot more behind a home cooked meal, then just the cooking part. And while the plethora of delivery services have made it easy to get almost any kind of food delivered, there’s still something special about a home cooked meal. If you love to cook but find you just don’t have the time or interest for the other stuff, this article is for you. There’s services and technology that have sped up or eliminated much of the pre work to cooking, leaving you more time to cook and devour.

1)Combine your meal planning and grocery list making. Save a little bit of time on your grocery list making with an app. Select whatever recipes you’re going to make for the week and it will add all the ingredients to your list. You can get rid of any of the stuff that you already have and add anything else you need for the week.

Pros: You wouldn’t ever forget an ingredient that you need, Can help reduce food waste

Cons: Adds to screen time if you weren’t previously keeping a digital list

Apps/Websites: If you already have recipes that you want to use: CopyMeThat, RecipeKeeper. If you need recipes: BigOven, Mealime All of these are available for free and across all platforms. Note: There are hundreds of similar apps out there. We selected these ones for ease of use and value, but there are many that we have not tried.

If you’re the type of person that always has to go back to the grocery store for that one thing this is perfect for you.

2)Cut out the grocery store. While online grocery shopping and delivery service have been slow to launch in Canada, they’re finally here and more and more services are being launched. Order your groceries online, just like you would do anything else and than depending on the store/service you can pick them up at a time you set at the store or have it delivered to your house. With items that turn out to be out of stock you can select that they choose a replacement item or just go without it. While replacement items are supposed to be the most similar thing they have, this can sometimes vary wildly.  There is also space to add a note if you have a specific request for the kind of meat or produce you are looking for. Prices for the food are generally the same as in the store but delivery/collection fees vary and there is usually a minimum spend needed.

Pros: Eliminates impulse junk food buys, Flexibility to order anytime you want – If you want to order food during some downtime at work or if you wake up in the middle of the night and want to be productive, great for when you’re coming back from vacation, will not have to go through 9 circles of Costco Hell

Cons: Can reduce activity and community connection, Adds screen time, bananas, avocados and anything else where you may want a specific ripeness level can be tricky, don’t find out if items aren’t in stock until pick up/delivery, groceries usually overly bagged even when you specify for them not to be, generally need a minimum order

Stores and Service Providers: 

PC Click and Collect: Pickup Minimum order: $30 Fee:$3  Lots of promos to try it out for free

Wal-Mart: Pickup Minimum order $50 Fee: Free

Save on Foods: Pickup and Delivery available Minimum order: $40 Fee: Pick up is free, Delivery varies on time selected $9-$15

Spud: Specializes in organic food Minimum order $35 Fee: Free on specific day of the week dependant on community,  $8 otherwise. They always run a discount for first time users.

Sunterra: Pickup and Delivery Minimum order $50 Fee: Free pickup $8 delivery

In aBuggy: Delivery within a couple hours from Costco, Safeway and Wal-Mart  No minimum purchase required. Fee: $19.98 additional stores $9.99

Instacart: Delivery from Superstore. No minimum purchase required Fee: $3.99-$7.99 $99 Membership gets you free delivery on orders over $35

While some find shopping for groceries irritating and some find it relaxing, there’s always times when it’s just not convenient to head to the grocery store. For those times shopping online is almost perfect.

3)Get a recipe and everything you need to make it delivered to your door. If you want to take it a step further there are meal kit companies. The companies send out recipes and all the necessary ingredients so all you need to do is follow the directions. Generally the recipes are designed to be completed in a half hour but many people (us included) find that they take a little longer and require using more pots/pans/dishes than a quick/easy meal might. Recipes are viewable beforehand and you can switch out something that you know you wouldn’t like with another recipe. There’s vegetarian options and options for kids which generally have less spice. The meal kits are designed for 2 people or 4 people so if you have more or less than you will either have to supplement or have leftovers. Most companies operate on a subscription basis where you can choose to receive 2-4 different meals a week and pause or stop orders with a week’s notice.

Pros: Great for kids to learn how to cook or take over cooking, no food waste, most companies give thorough nutritional breakdown, lots of variety, get to experience new foods

Cons: Can take longer than recipe states and longer than you would want to spend on cooking, requires that you pay attention to recipe, lots of packaging waste, cost is the same as getting ready made meal, not good value if you or your kids like to eat the same thing all the time, have to remember to unsubscribe or pause with vacation, serving sizes may not match your family needs

Meal Kit Companies:

Price Per Serving

Goodfood: $9-$12 Easy prep and family options available.

Hello Fresh: $11-$14 Easy prep, family and vegetarian options available.

MissFresh: $8-$11 Vegetarian options available.

Befresh (Operated by Spud):  $8-$11 Vegetarian options available. No subscription required. Not as detailed as a nutrition breakdown

Chef’s Plate: $10 Family, Easy prep and vegetarian options available.

If you want to try it out, companies usually have a 50% off deal for when you sign up so you can try a few and see if they work for you.

Unfortunately there’s no service yet which helps with the cleanup other than your kids or spouse and a dishwasher. If you want to learn how you can  save some cash on food stay tuned for our article out next week.

All prices are as of August 2018

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