The Unique Comfort of RealEats (No Kitchen Skills Required)
Love is food for the soul.
And so is food that you don’t have to make yourself.
I used to go out to dinner all. the. time. When the Husb and I moved to Chicago as a newlywed couple from Miami, our method of exploring the city was eating our way through it. We would meet up after work for impromptu happy hours at swanky downtown rooftops with friends or colleagues. On a late night home, I would get off the bus and pop into our hole-in-the-wall taco joint next to the gas station around the corner for a to-go box of sopes and the best beer-battered fries you’d never think you’d find at a Mexican place. Or, if I was feeling like a big bowl of hot pho, there was the neighborhood Vietnamese place around the other corner. In arguably one of the best culinary cities in America, we had lots of options.
That feeling of spontaneity all changed when we had our first child. Suddenly, it was all about grocery shopping for healthy, fresh ingredients, and cooking meals at home and freezing slow cooker meals. Because I couldn’t just “pop out” for dinners and late-night meals on a whim anymore, and because I had a growing baby to nourish, we started eating at home a lot more – and of course, to save money.
These days, with three kids under my belt, I like to strike a balance. I save my meals out for the weekend together as family (or if I haven’t dropped the ball on coordinating, a monthly Moms Night Out). Most other meals are cooked at home, although I have a confession: I suck at meal prepping. I dabbled at it a couple times in the past, but I’ve realized I’m just not one for advance planning and organization, which results in me sometimes skipping meals for myself (not the kids though, they always get fed no matter what) due to always being on the go.
Cue RealEats, my fave #momhack of late. It’s one of the secret reasons I look like I got it together, well, now you know.
RealEats is a fresh meal delivery service that makes it possible to get dinner on the table faster than you can order takeout – in 6 minutes. And it’s not one of those meal kit subscriptions that require you to read recipes, cut things up and you know, actually cook. No, no kitchen skills required with RealEats: meals are sous-vide inspired, which means they are fully prepared and vacuum-sealed in a bag. All it takes is a pot of boiling water and 6 minutes of your time to heat up the bag.
This is more G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S than Fergie. And the meals are so good, it’s kind of like having a personal chef. Like, what is this mom life even?
Each meal typically includes 3-4 bags; each main component is individually sealed and labeled with boiling time instructions. And because the meals are compressed into flat pouches, your weekly meal plan arrives in a tidy, little box with dry ice and minimal packaging to dispose of.
How I Use RealEats in Real Life
Plans start at $60/week for a 4 Meal Dinner (smallest plan) and there are also 6 Meal, 8 Meal, and 12 Meal plans to choose from. If you are also in need of a breakfast boost in the mornings, you can select a combined Dinner + Breakfast plan, with the lowest option of 4 Dinners + 4 Breakfasts starting at just $80/week. (Click here for pricing of all available meal plans.)
Allow me to give you a little taste of four of my favorite RealEats meals. The Mustard Chicken with Black Eyed Peas was a stunning nod to authentic southern flavors, smoky and hearty – just like the traditional food we ate in Charleston over Thanksgiving. The Lamb Tagine with Caramelized Onion Couscous and Butternut Squash and Apples was a Moroccan dream; the tender meat fell off my fork, smooth and savory with Middle Eastern notes of cardamom, turmeric, and cumin that took me back to an early trip to Tangier. I’m a sucker for shrimp, so of course I had to try the Red Curry Shrimp with Asparagus – the shrimp were jumbo and didn’t shrink or get rubbery after boiling the bags; the flavorful curry sauce tasted like it had been simmering for hours, the asparagus maintained a nice crunch. And finally, for breakfast lovers, the Hearty Roasted Breakfast Hash with Ginger and Sage Chicken Sausage kicked off my morning with just the right protein-packed start so I could dash my kid to the bus stop on time.
I enjoy cooking (most of the time, anyway), and while RealEats is not going to substitute every single meal for me or my family, it’s been a huge lifesaver at times:
- when I’m solo parenting for long stretches
- when I don’t want to skip a meal or eat convenience food
- when I’m in a creative cooking rut
1. First, choose a meal plan here.
2. Next, choose from 18 thoughtfully crafted dinners and 4 breakfasts on the menu that change weekly.
If having a weekly stash of restaurant-quality meals at your fingertips isn’t awesome enough, you’ll also love knowing that meals are made with mostly organic ingredients from regional farms. Under each meal, you can read up on all the good-for-you whole ingredients, nutrition facts and key health benefits, such as whether it is low in cholesterol or contains a good source of Vitamin B6 or how many mg of Omega 3’s. Most meals are between 330 and 610 calories, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s amazing because I feel so happy and full after eating a RealEats meal!
3. Third, fire up a pot of water.
Once the water is boiling, slide your meal bags into the pot and set the timer for 6 minutes.
4. Finally, cut open the bags, plate, and enjoy!
RealEats is well-priced but the value is even greater: instead of spending that time grocery shopping, or on cooking, I have gotten back an extra hour to spend with my kids. I tend to eat my RealEats meals for lunch when my two older kids are at school, so I don’t have to share. The one thing to note about RealEats is that it’s not really a family dinner kind of meal plan (unless you order multiples of one meal); unlike other meal kits, RealEats portions are all single serving to ensure an even cooking temp and for best nutrition. (Don’t worry though, the single portion servings are very hearty and more than satisfying for one adult – or two kids could share it.)
Also of note, it seems like lately there are more meal options on the menu with a global influence, and that may be because of new Head of Culinary, Chef Aliya LeeKong, whose Michelin-starred background and approach to cooking is heavily inspired by global travel and studying food traditions in the homes of regional cooks. (I’m a sucker for any Eat Pray Love vibes, I’ll be honest.) My hardest decision of the day might be choosing between a Coconut Daal Bowl or North African Chicken with Oranges and Freekeh.
And that’s perhaps the most joyful quality of using a meal delivery service like RealEats: The only command is to relax and enjoy. Next week the Husb is going away on business again to Portugal (or is it Germany?). Okay, RealEats. The stage is set for a mommy rescue, let’s do the damn thing.
Thank you to RealEats for partnering with me on this post. All opinions are my own.