Meal Kits: Advantages and Disadvantages

Meal kits are becoming fashionable in many cities because they streamline mealtime procedures. Learn their benefits and disadvantages here.
Meal Kits: Advantages and Disadvantages
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 09 December, 2023

Meal kits are becoming fashionable to save time in the preparation and purchase of food. A meal kit is a box with partially or fully prepared products inside, allowing consumers to spend just a few minutes to make and enjoy their meals.

As detailed in a study shared in Health Promotion International , this modality has the ability to influence users’ eating behaviors, diets, and health. Whether it has advantages or not depends largely on the foods it includes, as well as their energy and nutritional composition. Let’s take a closer look.

The advantages of meal kits

Among the main advantages of meal kits is practicality. You get home a box with everything you need to enjoy a tasty dish in a short time. If the menu is designed by a nutritionist, it can be adapted to the needs of each diner, which would be even more positive.

This prevents deficits of essential nutrients that can negatively affect the functioning of the body. Also, the products received usually have a long expiration date. For this reason, there will be no problem with microbiological risks.

Meal kits also do not have to be consumed within a short period of time. Simply follow the instructions on the box to maximize their shelf life. Often, they will keep for several days in the refrigerator without a problem.

Finally, it’s key to emphasize variety. The different meal kit companies offer many different elaborations, which can please all tastes and dietary needs. The organoleptic quality is also usually good.

However, it will not be the same as homemade food. The fact that it has to be partially prepared and then refrigerated means that aromas, textures, and flavors are lost. Even so, the end result is very well achieved in most cases.

meal kits
The main advantage of meal kits is that they save time in food preparation.

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The disadvantages of meal kits

Sometimes, the quality of the ingredients in meal kits is not as good as desired. Some of the foods included may contain artificial additives that negatively impact health.

An example of these would be nitrites. According to research published in the journal Nutrients, these elements could increase the risk of developing tumors associated with the digestive tract.

Similarly, certain products may contain trans fats. These nutrients have been shown to increase inflammation levels in the body.

This results in problems such as mitochondrial dysfunction and alterations in DNA replication. From this point on, the incidence of chronic diseases will be higher, especially as the years go by.

We should not forget either that, on many occasions, the preparations contained in these kits have an excessive dose of sodium to enhance their flavor. Their energy density can also be high.

This leads to a progressive gain of fatty weight, which complicates the functioning of the organism. Overweight has been related to physiological inefficiencies, according to a study published in Circulation.

However, many of these aspects will depend on the company with which the service is contracted. There are alternatives specialized in healthy eating that even offer menus with macronutrients adjusted to the customer profile.

In these cases, it could be a good solution, although it entails a significant increase in price. In any case, the consumption of this type of kits in a timely manner will not result in risks at all.

a meal kits
Sometimes, meal kits contain ingredients that are abundant in sodium, trans fats, and harmful additives.

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Meal kits: An alternative solution for people with little time

Meal kits have advantages and disadvantages that are worth knowing. They can be a good alternative for certain people, but as long as they choose varied, healthy menus that are adjusted in essential nutrients.

Some care must be taken, since this mechanism can lead to the use of low-quality fast food, which is best avoided. In any case, this modality should be reserved for specific cases .

One should not lose the habit of preparing dishes at home, as this guarantees total control of portions and ingredients. It also avoids the use of low-quality artificial additives that compromise your well-being.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Moores CJ, Bell LK, Buckingham MJ, Dickinson KM. Are meal kits health promoting? Nutritional analysis of meals from an Australian meal kit service. Health Promot Int. 2021 Aug 24;36(3):660-668. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daaa095. PMID: 32944742.
  • Cho M, Bonn MA, Moon S, Chang H. Home chef meal kits: Product attributes, perceived value and repurchasing intentions the moderating effects of household configuration. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management. 2020 Dec;45:192–202. doi: 10.1016/j.jhtm.2020.08.011. Epub 2020 Sep 9. PMCID: PMC7480982.
  • Shenkin A. Micronutrients in health and disease. Postgrad Med J. 2006 Sep;82(971):559-67. doi: 10.1136/pgmj.2006.047670. PMID: 16954450; PMCID: PMC2585731.
  • Song P, Wu L, Guan W. Dietary Nitrates, Nitrites, and Nitrosamines Intake and the Risk of Gastric Cancer: A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2015;7(12):9872-9895. Published 2015 Dec 1. doi:10.3390/nu7125505
  • Oteng AB, Kersten S. Mechanisms of Action of trans Fatty Acids. Adv Nutr. 2020;11(3):697-708. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz125
  • Powell-Wiley TM, Poirier P, Burke LE, et al. Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2021;143(21):e984-e1010. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000973

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.