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I’ll admit, I’m not a big “meal planner”.
My general strategy for feeding myself is to just show up at the farmers market or grocery store, see whatever looks good or is on sale, and buy it. At most, my grocery shopping strategy consists of looking for veggies, starches, meat/eggs, and maybe a treat here and there if something looks good.
Being a single nutritionist, this strategy works pretty well. I don’t have to worry about making the food taste great since I’m usually only feeding myself, and I generally know what food I should be looking for to stick to a healthy-ish diet across the week.
But there are a few shortcomings to this approach.
I rarely have a cohesive plan for what I’m going to make with the food I buy. Usually it ends up that I simply sauté whatever meat and greens I’ve bought, through a few potatoes in the convection oven, and put some salt and pepper on everything so that its palatable. Sometimes I’ll get fancy with some spices, but for the most part the food I eat is pretty plain. And while there’s nothing wrong with plain, it doesn’t always leave me feeling satisfied after a meal.
And I sometimes forget to buy ingredients for any recipe that I do want to create. It’s kind of a pain to have to write down all the ingredients that you need, take your best guess for the amounts to buy, and kick yourself when you get home from the store and realize you’ve forgotten a key ingredient for a recipe.
That’s why I was so excited to try out Relay Foods – an online grocery that makes shopping for quality, healthy, and sustainable groceries simple and easy.
What Makes Relay Foods Special?
There are a few things that make Relay Foods an awesome way to shop for your food.
They have a ton of options for local, organic, and sustainable groceries, and they support small food businesses in the area. They offer free delivery of the groceries to certain drop off points in your area, or you can pay a little extra and get the groceries dropped at your door.
They also cater to a variety of dietary choices, including Paleo, gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free. Not only can you shop for individual products that fall into one of those categories, but they even have meal plans that you can shop from. That’s one of the strategies I used when I tested out their service.
[Tweet “Get healthy, local #Paleo and #glutenfree groceries delivered to your door with @RelayFoods!”]
Another awesome service they offer is something called “Cook It”, an app for Google Chrome that allows you to find any recipe online and pull the ingredients from it to put into your shopping cart. It’s a really cool app and I used it for two of the recipes I prepared when testing the service.
Here’s a little video explaining how it works:
My Experience Shopping with Relay Foods
I decided to pick my groceries up from the drop off point at Nickelpoint Brewery in Five Points, a neighborhood near downtown Raleigh.
The pick up process was super quick and easy. Since everything was paid for ahead of time, I simply walked up to the truck, told them my name, and was handed a few bags full of my chosen groceries.
After I brought my groceries home, I did a little inventory check to make sure I got everything. The cost of my groceries was just over $100, and I got enough food for at least 8 full meals plus 2 dozen eggs for breakfast. (Fun fact – one of these dozen eggs actually came from Polyface Farm!)
Admittedly, it didn’t seem like a ton of food when I opened everything up, but to be fair I usually go a little buck wild at Whole Foods, so I’m just not used to seeing such a normal grocery haul.
I put all my food away and a few days later started experimenting with the recipes.
Using Recipes At Relay Foods
When you order your groceries from Relay Foods using a meal plan or recipe from the Cook It app, they send you an email with the recipes of the meals that you shopped from.
This was really helpful for me to stay organized with the recipes I was planning to use the ingredients for, and made it easy to figure out which ingredients needed to go for which recipes.
One thing I recommend doing is double checking that there aren’t any ingredients that are needed by two different recipes before starting cooking. I accidentally used all my green onions for the sweet potato and chorizo pasta I made, leaving none for the bison stuffed zucchini. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it might have been had the ingredient been more pivotal to the success of the recipe.
I cooked four different recipes over the course of the week, and since nearly all of them were designed for 4 people, I was pleased to have plenty of leftovers throughout the week.
This meant that instead of eating whatever random food I could find in my fridge for lunches during the week, I had tasty home cooked meals available to quickly reheat for lunch.
Here are the recipes I created (and enjoyed!) throughout the week:
All of the food was really tasty, and I served some of the lower carb dishes with sides like white rice and homemade mashed potato.
Despite the fact that I almost never use recipes, it was kind of nice to have a more cohesive food plan than I’m used to having. And the Cook It app certainly made using the bazillions of Paleo recipes online WAY easier.
Plus, their customer service department is amazeballs – if you’re unhappy with the groceries for any reason, they’ll give you a refund. So you don’t have to worry about paying good money for wilted lettuce or spoiled dairy products.
Ready To Try Relay Foods?
If you live near Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC, Washington D.C., Baltimore, MD, or Richmond/Charlottesville, VA, and you decide you want to test out Relay Foods for yourself, USE THIS LINK, to get $30 off your first order of $50 or more.
And trust me, you won’t have any trouble finding $50 worth of healthy, local groceries to have delivered.
I’ll definitely be using Relay Foods a lot in the future. They may just have broken me of my “no meal planning” habits!
BONUS OFFER: You can use Relay Foods to help you shop for the ingredients on the meal plans created by Prep Dish, a Paleo and gluten-free meal planning service. And if you use this link, you can get your first month of weekly meal plans for only $4.
Have you tried out the service(s) yet? Share your experience in the comments below!
FTC Disclosure: Relay Foods provided me with a $100 gift certificate to test their services. If you use the links provided in this article to order groceries through Relay Foods and get $30 off your first order, I will also receive a $30 credit for the service. Using these links will infer no extra cost to you, and helps support my blogging activities (and helps feed me in this case!) I do not promote products that I wouldn’t use myself.