As people become more and more aware of the food that they’re putting into their bodies, the pressure to have a healthy, home cooked meal every night for dinner grows. And while it’s not at all a bad thing—obviously, incorporating more whole foods into your diet is a positive change—it can be a difficult goal for busy people to accomplish. Whether you work long hours or have many little mouths to feed (or both!), cooking a nutritious meal each night can seem next to impossible. Many people are turning to meal delivery services to save time, but are these services really worth the price? The Basics Of Meal Delivery Although Blue Apron was one of the first, there are now several different meal delivery services to choose from, including Hello Fresh and Plated. They all vary slightly, but the basic premise is the same: fresh ingredients are delivered to your door each day, along with a detailed recipe. The ingredient delivery has everything you need to make the recipe (except for some pantry staples like salt and olive oil), saving you both the hassle of deciding what to make for dinner and a trip to the grocery store. You still have to prepare the dinner yourself. Cost Factor Food places that deliver like Blue Apron and Plated are certainly not cheap, but their cost effectiveness often comes down to how many people you’re cooking for and what the alternatives would be. Generally speaking, these plans range from about $10-12 per person, per meal. Typically, you choose from either a two-person plan or a four-person plan. So, if you’re cooking for two people, you’re looking at a price tag of about $20-24 per meal. For four people, the $40-48 per meal might be cost prohibitive. This is more money than you’d spend buying your own groceries at the store, but you’re paying for the convenience of having everything chosen for you and delivered to your door. Conversely, if you were going out to eat, you’d likely be paying this much or more for your meal. A service like Plated might encourage you to cook more of your own meals if you’re someone who usually relies on takeout. Time Commitment As previously mentioned, these meals do not come ready made. The time commitment ranges depending on the recipe, but you can expect to spend 30-60 minutes in the kitchen preparing your dinner from start to finish. You are saving time by not having to shop for and prepare ingredients, but some people may find that 45 minutes in the kitchen is still too long. Much like the cost factor, the amount of time you wish to commit to this endeavor will vary from person to person. Is It Worth It? If you’re just starting to cook or are simply looking for inspiration in the kitchen, these services can be very useful. The recipes tend be a little unusual, and might incorporate ingredients that you’ve never used before. There is also something to be said for not having to think about what you want for dinner each night. That said, the cost is high and might be too much for the average family—especially if you’re cooking for more than two people. The decision to use a service like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh will likely come down to whether or not you can afford the price tag.