If you’ve ever wandered into the kitchen, stared into a full refrigerator and still wondered what to make for dinner, you’re not alone. This can be especially worrisome at holiday time, when time is short.

Food delivery companies such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh are catering to that indecisiveness, delivering fully planned out meals straight to consumers’ doors. Food boxes include a recipe, step-by-step instructions, and all of the ingredients needed to perfect the chosen dish. This makes dinner easy.

Not only do these companies offer new and interesting recipes on a regular basis, but the ingredients are already at hand and ready to be incorporated — no mixing, measuring or hassle required. Another added benefit is that the calories are readily available in most cases, taking the guesswork out of diet management.

There are a variety of recipes available, sure to entice every appetite. Blue Apron offers recipe boxes for sour-cherry glazed chicken thighs, Tuscan chicken, saffron pasta and hiyashi chuka ramen, among many others. HelloFresh lists recipe boxes for thyme and honey pork chops, shallot zucchini risotto, and sweet potato and black bean tacos. PeachDish, based in Atlanta, specializes in southern dishes such as shrimp boils, red beans and rice, and shrimp and grits. Green Chef specializes in recipes for those following strict paleo, gluten-free or vegan diets.

If ordering from a company online doesn’t seem appealing to you, another option is making the rounds. One of them is HercuLean Meal Prep, a local firm founded by two brothers seeking healthier food options. Also, several local g ocery stores have started stocking small freezers of ready-to-cook meal kits, ranging in price from $12 to $30.

This means that you can get the exact amount of that specialized, rarely used spice needed, and you don’t have to spend countless precious minutes browsing the spice isle looking for it. You can also grab a quick, prepackaged meal kit and be on your way after a busy day at work, instead of spending precious time searching one end of the grocery store to the other for each individual item needed.

In today’s fast-paced world, it makes sense that we’re accelerating meal prepping. But accelerated doesn’t have to mean rushed. The fun part of cooking is still there. It’s just the hassle that’s gone. Meal delivery kits take all of the frustration and intimidation out of cooking, replacing these emotions with an approachable take on a good meal.

Photos courtesy Kate Blohm for PeachDish.

By Audrey Coots, Freelance Writer

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