Meal kits have become increasingly popular in the past few years. Generally, they can make life easier by either providing pre-measured ingredients for a specific recipe, or by providing pre-cooked meals that just need to be heated up. But they can also be expensive and leave quite a carbon footprint, and may not even taste good. We're reviewing Epicured as a meal kit option for those with dietary restrictions.
RD on Staff. Epicured is a meal plan service that has a Registered Dietitian, Registered Nurse, and a chef on their team. I always ensure an RD is employed by a meal plan company because they are the experts that can bring together nutrition, food access, health, flavor, and awareness of dietary restrictions.
Low FODMAP & Gluten-Free. Epicured provides low FODMAP, gluten-free snacks, entrees, sides, beverages, and desserts. Epicured is a great meal plan option for those with IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis, Celiac and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.
Good Variety of Food. Epicured's culinary team consists of a seasoned chef with experience in Europe, the US, and created the Michelin-starred restaurant’s unique teaching program. Chef Dani cooks up modern Asian-inspired meals, Italian classics, and basic American comfort foods.
Flavorful. As an RD, I had the pleasure of sampling eight complimentary dishes, including Hawker Lettuce Wraps with Chicken and Peanuts, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Energy Bites, Country Cinnamon Oatmeal with Cinnamon & Blueberries, Baked Lasagna Bolognese, Classic Mac & Cheese, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Roasted Baby Carrots, and Spring Salad with Tempeh and Orange Vinaigrette. Although the Classic Mac & Cheese and Chocolate Chip Cookies were admittedly a little bland, the remaining dishes were flavored well and tasty.
I personally enjoyed the Hawker Lettuce Wraps with Chicken and Peanuts and the
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Energy Bites the best!
Quick Delivery. I was given the option to have my order delivered on Wednesday or Friday of that week. It came on time with ice packs and didn't require placing the order weeks in advance.
Reusable, Recyclable Packaging. According to their website, meals are packaged in "Polypropylene (PP) plastic containers. Our PP plastic materials are all recyclable, reusable and dishwasher safe. All Epicured boxes are recyclable. The ice packs are made of a 100% nontoxic and waterproof gel and #4 plastics. The liners are made from PET plastic and are recyclable."
Customizable for Dietary Restrictions. Not only are Epicured's meals low FODMAP and all gluten-free, they also offer customizable meals so customers can avoid other allergens like peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, sesame, soy, milk, eggs, and even meat.
Epicured promotes its company as:
"We are a healthcare company harnessing the natural healing power of food to help people eat better, feel better, and live better.
Expensive. Like all meals plans, individuals need to determine if ordering pre-made foods are worth the cost. There is no meal plan out there that is going to be more affordable than purchasing your own groceries and preparing the meal yourself.
Epicured is no different. It's a great option for those who are doing a low
FODMAP elimination diet for a few weeks, or just want a break from cooking every
few months, but for the average consumer a meal subscription will be a financial
burden to maintain long-term. That being said, Epicured offers some discounts.
If you would like to try a week's worth of food - either a la carte or ordering two bundles- you can use this code to get $50 off of your first order of $135+.
Referral Code: 785UQ
I do not receive commission if you choose to use this referral code. However, Epicured may provide other benefits like free samples over time.
Added Sugar. When I tried the Country Cinnamon Oatmeal with Blueberries, I was disappointed that brown sugar was added to my breakfast. It was delicious, but the extra sugar wasn't necessary.
Epicured does offer a filter to find meals that have less than 5g of added sugar,
less than 500mg of sodium, and less than 5g of saturated fat. Filters also exist for
high protein, low carb, and low calorie meals. The customer can decide what
nutrition needs they need met and choose meals that fit those categories.
Carbon Footprint. Credit should be given to Epicured for putting thought into their packaging. However, like all meal service plans, there is a carbon footprint associated with the production and delivery of the meals. It's best to do your homework on the meal service you choose if environmental health is important to you.
The Bottom Line on Epicured
Overall, I do recommend Epicured to my clients and audience as a short-term meal plan delivery service. I found it made my weeknights much easier to eat a pre-made meal that I knew was accommodating my dietary needs. It saved time and effort.
I think Epicured is specifically helpful for those clients who are working with a dietitian to do an elimination diet to determine which foods may be a trigger for IBS or other conditions. It could be an expensive few weeks, but very much worth it to reduce the stress, time, and effort to research which foods are low FODMAP.
For my gluten-free clients, this is a valuable service to use once every few months just to provide a break from cooking every so often.
For those with multiple allergies or dietary restrictions, this service is also a good option to use once in awhile because of the ease of filtering meals personalized to you.
As with all meal service plans, however, it's important to keep in mind these aren't budget or environmentally-friendly.
Meal Kits - Are they worth it?
Meal kits that provide pre-measured ingredients are a nice way to build confidence in the kitchen. They eliminate a lot of the potential human errors and save time spent in the kitchen on busy weeknights.
Already prepared meals save time, but do little to improve culinary skills.
The expense of meal plans are greater than buying your own groceries, including pre-made meals from the grocery store. Unless you have a lot of disposable income, it's almost impossible to justify the cost of meal plans over doing the shopping and cooking yourself.
However, we all need a break sometimes and if you can find a lower-cost meal plan that doesn't require a long-term commitment, it might be an option for your family every once in awhile. Many meal plans allow you to customize what you get delivered that week to accommodate tastes, preferences, and dietary restrictions. Epicured excels in this area.
Please feel free to leave a comment or email us with any questions about the foods we sampled from Epicured.