Prep Dish is a subscription meal planning service. Unlike Blue Apron or Plated, they don't send you anything, but you receive printable shopping lists, prep directions, and recipes for a week of meal planning each month. Given that they're not shipping you anything or shopping, it's obviously much cheaper than meal delivery. While those services run around $60 per delivery, Prep Dish is $14 a month. You will get four meals for the week, a salad, a breakfast, a snack, and dessert. Each email comes with a menu for gluten-free dining or paleo dining, all set to serve a family of four.
For January, here is a breakdown of what was included in the first week. For week one's paleo plan, the four meals were almond-crusted catfish, stuffed chicken, spaghetti squash, and veggie chili. The snack was pears with almond butter and the breakfast was hard-boiled eggs and cuties. This was wrapped up with a mixed greens salad and chocolate pudding.
The shopping list was divided by section of the supermarket and totaled exactly how much you would need that week. Then, you basically set aside a few hours one afternoon or evening to prep for the whole week. Everything is explained and outlined, so you can review and decide how to manage it. Finally, you get daily meal planning tips, allowing you to use the already prepared items and have dinner ready in less than an hour.
In week four, for example, the meals included beef and butternut tagine, spinach pesto chicken, pesto salmon, and chipotle shrimp. Also included were plans for baked apples, a mixed greens salad, baby carrots with hummus, and dark chocolate and almonds. The shopping list for the dairy section required 4 oz of feta crumbles, 4 oz of goat cheese crumbles, and an ounce of Parmesan for two different meals.
On prep day, you would preheat the oven, and while it was heating, you'd prepare veggies, as well as get everything together for the beef tagine. Then, as that cooked, you would make your pesto, hummus, sauces, salad, and apples. That would be the end of your preparation until each night when you ready for dinner.
The longest prep for any of the meals was the tagine, which took about an hour. There wasn't any real prep, though, just cooking, so it could be tossed in the oven while you did something else. The most complicated prep was the shrimp, because it included roasting three different items for different times.
If I ate meat, this would simplify my meal planning and encourage me to eat better. The meals are all well-balanced, and a few hours of preparation once a week minimizes your efforts during work nights. I also love that your shopping list identifies exactly what and how much you need by department, and the lists can be printed to take with you or viewed on your phone. However, since there isn't a vegetarian or vegan plan, it's not really something that makes sense for me, although the value is there. I was given a $1 trial, so I tried it. Since I could make very few of these meals, it just wouldn't work for our household, but I'd love to see it expanded for a vegetarian diet.