The new year is the time many of us decide to eat healthier, but sometimes it takes too long to cook a meal from scratch. Meal prep services are popping up all over Tampa Bay. Now you can let someone else do the cooking without hiring a personal chef.
Dr. Theresa Crocker, a registered dietician with USF Health, said it can be challenging finding the right meal pick-up or delivery service for you.
"Know what your personal individual goals are. Are you considering these meals because you want to save time, because you want to lose weight, because you want to increase the variety in your diet?" she said.
If you want to check out choices in person, Fitlife Foods might be for you. With seven walk-in spots in town, you can pick up a small, medium or large meal, made fresh, all less than $13.
"We put a best-by date on the front label for you. They last about four to five days, so people can come in and they can stock up for the whole week or they can just grab a lunch or dinner for today," Kendall Queen with Fitlife Foods said.
Starting this month, they're offering personalized coaching and meal planning for anyone who comes through the door.
"We take all of the thought out of it. We'll plan all your meals, and you really just have to eat it," Queen said.
If you want your meals to show up at your door, Nutrition Solutions plans for the whole week.
"We basically clean up comfort foods," said Chris Cavallini, CEO of Nutrition Solutions.
With a fitness background, Cavallini said his meals deliver changes to your body. You can try 10 entrees a week for $80 or the five-day plan with 20 meals for $119.
Healthy versions of cakes and peanut butter cups are on the menu.
"We try to break the stigma as far as what people associate when they think of a diet, you know, and we do have things like protein pizzas and red velvet protein pancakes," Cavallini said.
For farm to your front door food, try Whole Body Fuel, the meal prep company that uses 90 percent local produce.
"When something is super fresh you can definitely taste the difference," Brian Adamo, owner and chef of Whole Body Fuel said.
Adamo features seven new meals every week so you don't get bored.
"You see way too much, you know, chicken, rice, and broccoli so why not elevate the food?" Adamo said.
He uses foods you may not try otherwise. A week's worth of meals with run you $120.
Dr. Crocker said you should ask the seller questions and you can even ask for a sample to make sure the food is right for you.
"Can you tell me what the ingredients are in these dishes? Can you tell me the macro-micro nutrient composition," she said.