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Casting about for baby gifts for a pal of mine who just had her third child, I started thinking hard about meal kits. She had plenty of clothes – and all the gear in the world.

I started considering whether or not a meal kit is just the ticket for a new mom.

Rather than guess at it, I decided to try it myself. (I had to remember what it really felt like to have a newborn and then to have a newborn with older kids – these were delightful memories and one of the greatest things about this experiment).

The takeaway: I have learned that services like Blue Apron may very well be a game changer for a growing family.

These are the top five reasons a meal kit is a great gift for a new mom:

  1. Cooking without the hassle. Meals lovingly prepared by others in the early days can be just the ticket. But quite soon, one starts to run out of freezer space. Meals provided are of (ahem) variable quality and (often) similar content. Some things freeze better than others. When my children were born, I liked being up and around as soon as possible – at least within my house. It made me feel more together than I actually was. This meant that I liked filling my home with delicious smells whenever possible, attempting some sense of normalcy. Meal kits allow for this to conveniently occur.
  2. No planning. In the throes of sleep deprivation, I wanted to just be directed about what to do. Meal planning was a challenge for sure. When a meal kit shows up there is no choice. You cook what you are sent. It is strangely empowering and oddly relaxing.
  3. No shopping. The worst thing to me about cooking with children is taking them to the grocery store. I always end up spending more than I would with my kids in tow than I do alone. I hate that they sell toys, and there is candy at every checkout. I hated schlepping a sleeping newborn in a car seat into a germ slicked shopping cart. Even after wiping it down with antiseptic everything the whole experience still felt like a cold waiting to happen. Meal kit = no shopping.
  4. No shopping part II. Meal kits are great gifts for a working parent. The work/life balance (whatever that means) is a real struggle. The road from work to home is longer where there are errands. Errands can make a parent weep. A waiting meal kit simplifies. No figuring out what to buy, what to make. It’s just there. Follow the directions – boom! On the table before your toddler can ask for a second or third showing of Thomas (yet another source of mom guilt, alleviated).
  5. Breaks up cooking monotony. Some find meal kits slightly tyrannical because what if you don’t like what is on the menu? (Note: you can set some food preferences). For example, I am not a fan of potato salad but last week I made, if I do say so myself, a pretty good one. The meal kits contain quality ingredients – clean meat and wild caught fish. A meal kit challenges me to do myself what I require of my kids – try new food. The flip side of the apparent rigidity of a meal kit is that it is a decision made for you. This can be so nice. (Parents make decisions all day long – this is a set recipe with directions to follow).

I’m not sure what is on the menu for today but I eagerly await my delivery.

When you sign a new mom pal up, make sure to know her food preferences. Or, send her a gift certificate so that she can just go ahead and set her own preferences. There may be days of the week that are better for her than others.

Go ahead and send along some disposable plates, flatware and the rest too, especially for those earliest days when visitors may be helping with the cooking (but not so much the dishes).

If Amazon Prime is an option throw that in to pretty much guarantee there’s no need to shop again for a while.

(Some meal plans even deliver paired wine to accompany meals. And that is a double yum for many).

 

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