By Shannon Traphagen
You’ve heard of Blue Apron and Hello Fresh–food delivery services that offer prepared ingredients and meal ideas right to your door. Meal prep services have grown in size and quality over the last five years. According to the Restaurant Association, 60% of Americans use a meal delivery service to their home or office. And why not, meal prep services offer a convenient way for consumers to eat healthy and clean, or a quick dish for an entire family without the hassle of finding a recipe, shopping for ingredients, cooking, and cleaning.
Elisa Lovelace-Jones, in East Aurora NY, noticed a trend among her friends–many of whom were complaining about never having enough time to put a nice meal together for their family. “When talking to friends, many complained that they didn’t have time/energy or desire to plan, shop, and cook. When families these days are two parent working households, and the children play multiple sports or involved in many extracurricular activities, most literally don’t have the time to spend an hour or more cooking,” says Jones.
Jones comes from a multi-cultural background and has been cooking since she was young. “My parents are Dominican, so I grew up on a lot of rice and beans and some type of meat, tropical fruits and seasonings. Cooking was bigger than baking in our household,” states Jones. Jones saw a need among her friends, and it led her to create her company Meal Prep Girl.
“Over the past 9 or so years I really started getting into cooking, and looking for healthy recipes to cook that my kids would eat. I enjoy–believe it or not, the prep part of meal making. I look at the recipes and figure out what the easiest way is to prep them so that clients don’t have to do very much work in order to get a meal on the table. I also think that cooking fresh tastes best. It preserves the natural properties of the food,” Jones says. The meals and menus she prepares vary from Cuban/Mexican, to typical American fare, to the occasional Asian or Italian dish. Jones says, “I try to keep the menus family friendly and simple. I’m no gourmet cook, I just like to eat.”
How does Meal Prep Girl work? It’s actually quite simple. You choose what you would like to eat from the provided menu on the website. Jones shops, chops, measures, and packages the meals you picked out, and provides easy instructions on how to cook or re-heat the entree. Jones states that she has families that need meals for all five days of the week, and some clients that just need one day a week. Meal Prep Girl offers a wide range of selected menus, and the service is customized to fit a wide range of clients; from working single professionals and busy families, to new parents and people recovering from surgery. All meals are prepared fresh and packaged in disposable, plastic, or glass containers (client’s preference), then immediately refrigerated or frozen for the client to enjoy at their convenience.
Jones states one of the more popular requests are slow-cooker dishes, “I think the slow-cooker is one of the best appliances ever invented, next to the food processor that is. Meals are prepped and placed in a slow-cooker bag, you just drop the bag into it, turn it on, and walk away. When you get home from work, your whole house smells of these wonderful aromas, and your meal is ready to eat without you having to put in much effort!”
With the enormous amount of food sensitivities among consumers these days, Jones states that she does get requests for tailored menus due to food allergies. “If the client has a sensitivity to an ingredient, I can adjust the recipe for them. If they are on a special diet, I can meal prep for them as well, but it would be more of a customized personal cooking option,” says Jones. She also states this time of year tends to be very busy for her, “People don’t want to spend their time during winter driving back and forth to the store.”
With Valentines Day right around the corner, Meal Prep Girl is a great way to get a fabulous meal so that you can spend quality time with the ones you love!
For more information about the service, email Meal Prep Girl at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.mealprepgirl.com.