A Dietitian Reviews Dinnerly is the very first in my Dietitian Reviews series. In an effort to use my newly renovated kitchen more often and more economically, I’m finding that meal delivery kits may be a good fit for me. A ton of companies market their meals as “healthy,” but let’s break that claim down from a dietitian’s perspective.
Now that my kitchen reno is done done done, my goal is to use my kitchen often and economically. My week doesn’t often offer a lot of structure and this makes mealtime complicated. On weeks that I do a big grocery haul, I end up working in the office (a cafe = free food) and eating dinner at Mr. Cassanova’s and so many of those groceries go to waste. If I forgo the weekend grocery run, as luck would have it, I end up at home for all my meals eating eggs and toast or chips and salsa over and over again.
So I’m finally giving the meal kit thing a try and I must say, there are some strong pros right up front. I’ve already saved a noticeable amount of time and thought by not having to plan meals, check my cupboards, write an ingredient list, and trek to and from the store. Not to mention the amount of time I dilly dally in a grocery store and the money I spent on impulse purchases. I’m cooking meals from scratch and, whether or not the “exact ideal nutrient profile” I’m looking for, cooking from scratch is almost always a better alternative than takeout.
In no particular order, I’ll aim to review 10 or so of the top meal kit delivery services… from a dietitian-and-also-normal-human perspective. Up first: A Dietitian Reviews Dinnerly.
Price: $5.29 per serving | Pricing will vary based on volume. I ordered three meals with two servings each. I paid $8.99 for shipping + $0.41 sales tax. Based on their FAQ, meals are as low as $4.69 per serving.
Choosing Healthy Choices: Recipes are categorized as Healthy, Vegetarian, Family Friendly, Fast, Special. They are also tagged (category = ability to sort, tagged = just… tagged??) as Dairy Free, Kid-Friendly, Low Calorie, Low Carb, Meat, No Added Gluten, Nutritious, One Pot Meal, Poultry, Seafood, Spicy, Under 30 Minutes. This is all well and good, but there is no information on how Dinnerly defines Healthy, Low Calorie, Low Carb, No Added Gluten, or Nutritious. Do “Healthy” and “Nutritious” mean two separate things? I’m confused, Dinnerly!
Customization: There is no ability to customize a recipe, but you do get to choose from about 16 recipes each week.
Packaging and Sustainability: Dinnerly delivery boxes are made of “paper sourced from sustainably managed forests,” whatever that means, and are curbside recyclable. My box was lined with encapsulated cotton; both the paper and plastic parts are recyclable. All ingredients are in recyclable bottles or bags, depending on locality. And lastly, recipe cards are digital. Thumbs up for sustainability.
Nutritional Balance: I always, ALWAYS recommend pairing at least two food groups at each meal or snack to enhance physical fullness + emotional satisfaction. That being said, I really do prefer to balance all three–protein, starch, and vegetables. None of my meals fit that bill.
Portion Size: Okay. Portions were a little small. And by a little small, I mean that they were probably appropriate. As a society, we are used to eating off gigantic plates and these meals were all meant for salad-sized plates.
So How’d It Taste?: I was really happy with my meals! Everything was fresh and recipes were simple, so the natural flavors in the food really shined through. I gave all three of my recipes 4 stars. (5 stars is reserved for anything that makes me say “ohmygah ohmygah ohmygah.”)
BONUS POINTS | The Ingredient Hub: The Ingredient Hub is AMAZING. It’s a must for anyone who has food allergies. This earns major bonus points from a dietitian.
A Dietitian Reviews Dinnerly: Bottom Line
Dinnerly is the first meal delivery kit I’ve tried, so I can’t compare it to anything else, but I was pleased! The ingredients were fresh, my meals were (mostly) multi-colored (read: a variety of nutrients), and the preparation was neither difficult nor time-consuming. Plus, you can’t beat that price tag! The portion sizes worked well for me, but I also supplemented some of my meals with extra veggies, especially if I felt the meal was missing a non-starchy component. I’ll be purchasing Dinnerly again, but not before I email them to find out the difference between Healthy and Nutritious! 😉
Danielle Cushing is a Registered Dietitian. During corporate daylight hours, she is the Wellness and Sustainability Director for a hospitality company. All opinions are her own. She is a Dinnerly and Amazon affiliate.