I’m sure many of you have heard about the growing trend of meal delivery services over the past couple of years. Companies like Blue Apron Meals and Plated have revolutionized this space by bringing fresh ingredients and recipes right to our doorsteps to make their hand-picked dishes . One of my first Behind the Plates posts was actually about Blue Apron Meals and their offerings. And while I think these services are fantastic, I recently discovered another unique approach to meal delivery by a local NJ company that’s on the rise.
Paleo Box Meals delivers fully prepared, 100% organic (and/or grassfed) dishes to your doorstep once a week. The concept is to provide fresh food to people who follow the Paleo Diet (also often referred to as the Cave Man Diet). This diet encourages lots of protein, vegetable and fruit consumption. So even if you don’t follow the Paleo Diet religiously these nutrition packed meals are a great option for the health-minded. The company has created a partnership with D’Ambrisi Wholesale Foods LLC to help prepare the meals and they team up with local gyms to become drop zones for meal delivery once a week to their members. Right now most of the participating locations gym drop zone locations are in the Monmouth and Bergen County areas. Their hope is to continue the expansion so be sure to tell your gym if you think they might be interested. Paleo Box Meals will also deliver to your home. They are currently passing out meals in NYC, Hoboken, Central Jersey and parts of North Jersey.
Paleo Box Meals was kind enough to reach out and ask if I would like to try one week of service in exchange for some honest feedback. I was excited for the partnership and of course to share the experience with all of you! I ordered an Omega Meal Pack for the week which includes 8 meals (at $12 a meal). They also offer two other packages a Beta Pack (12 meals) and an Alpha Pack (15 meals). The ordering is all done online through a form where you simply choose your mix and match meals for the week. I was able to choose from 10 different proteins, or as Paleo Box Meals refer to them as, the hunted options. With each protein I was able to pair it with one side dish, or the gathered option. After submitting my order I patiently awaited my Sunday afternoon delivery for the week ahead.
The meals arrived and their packaging was simple and organized. The meals were clearly labeled and they were in easy to heat (in the microwave) plastic containers. I kicked off the week with the Paleo pulled pork and my chosen side of baked sweet potato wedges. It was a great way to start. The pulled pork was so succulent. It managed to stay moist during the reheat and didn’t lose any flavor along the way. I actually would love this recipe for myself; I think I would make it quite often! The sweet potatoes weren’t anything more than slightly seasoned, baked wedges but they hit the spot. That evening, my fiancé and I embarked on trying out the grilled seasoned hanger steak with a side of grilled portobello mushrooms along with turkey meatloaf meal with roasted zucchini medley. My first observation was that while my pulled pork was the perfect lunch size portion, at dinner time the amount of food seemed minimal. We decided to stick with just our box meals and see how hungry we were afterwards before adding anything to the mix. I was pleasantly surprised that after reheating the hanger steak for two minutes in the microwave that it was still very tender and not overcooked (it was actually close to medium doneness). The mushrooms were SO tasty with their sweet and tangy balsamic flavor however; it was just 4 small pieces. I really wanted more! As for the turkey meatloaf, it was a heartier portion than the steak. I liked the small layer of tomato paste type topping and the slight kick to the meatloaf. We ended up not needing any meal supplements after we were finished but I could see some people thinking that for dinner time meals they might want to pair with a salad or other small dish.
My bison burger was day #2’s lunch. I thought the idea to provide small side of pesto for topping the burger was a great pairing. I will warn that it might be best to remove the burger from the plastic container before heating. The juices/fat from the meat cooked off while reheating and made the eating process a bit messy. If you like your meat medium rare, you’re in luck! Even after reheating the meal the burger still had a cool, red center. The green beans I had with my burger were now muddled in with the greasy juices from the burger. Other than this mishap that I created; the green beans were simply steamed and a healthy little side. My only other comment for this dish is that they advertised these green beans to have crispy bacon mixed in. I had one small piece of the fatty white part of a bacon strip in my dish. Don’t tease me like that!
My fiancé ate the balsamic braised BNLS short ribs with slow cooked sweet potatoes as well as the buffalo chicken strips with baked sweet potato wedges. He loved the slow cooked sweet potatoes and the honey and cinnamon infused flavors. He thought that the buffalo chicken strips were great because the sauce tasted just like Franks Red Hot, which he proceeded to pour additional sauce from our fridge on top (he is one of those hot sauce fanatics…some is never enough).
My next meal was the chicken meatballs which were tied at the top as my favorite meal along with the pulled pork. The chicken meatballs were so flavorful and you could truly taste the freshness of the chicken and not the tons of fillers that most meatballs are often filled with. Instead the mixture of chicken, fresh vegetables and spices combined to make the ultimate healthy and delicious meatball! I finished off my 8 meals with the lemon and artichoke chicken which happened to be my personal least favorite of the meals. The lemon and artichoke chicken was two thin slices of grilled chicken. Maybe it’s just my own boredom with grilled chicken but with so many other great options on Paleo Box Meal’s list, I would avoid going for the hum drum (Unless you’re into that). As a side note I apologize for no pictures of these two meals! I dove in before remembering to snap both times.
Paleo Box Meals also threw in a homemade “cookie” that by my taste test included dried cherries and chocolate. It hit the sweet spot and was a nice little snack; just don’t expect it to be a true cookie in the sense of the word we know (it is still Paleo, aka grain free, after all).
My week ended with sentiments of some great, fit-inspired meals and a business that is sure to grow with the paleo loving crossfit movement still on the rise. I think this company is on to something. They have the trifecta of food trends in their favor-organic products, convenience, and diet specific (specifically no gluten or dairy!). At just $10-12 a meal, and the fact that they’re already prepared, these meals are not a terrible bargain. It’s obviously still an expensive endeavor however; take it from someone who just finished a month of paleo, shopping all organic is not cheap! When I look at it from that perspective, this weekly meal delivery seems like a steal. The convenience of not having to cook helps as well. Services like Blue Apron charge $10 a meal and you still need to prepare it with the ingredients they provide. All in all these meal delivery services only work if it fits in your lifestyle and budget. However; if you’re looking for a healthy alternative or have started on your own paleo journey, Paleo Box Meals is a good place to start.
For more information visit their website: http://www.paleoboxmeals.com/
You can also follow them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/paleoboxmeals
…all for the love of the dish