Once upon a time, meal planning was a hobby and a duty. Most married women stayed at home and had time to plan and prepare the meals for the family. Because they didn’t have to work, they had plenty of time to make any kind of meals they want. Nowadays, even if we want to stay home and prepare the family meals, we can’t. Most couples and families can’t afford to live off a one-income home. And, with commuting and other activities that require our time, who has time to prepare good, healthy meals anymore?
I believe this is what is driving a new trend I’m seeing: Services that deliver curated, partially prepared or fully prepared meals to your home. This gives busy people the experience of a home-cooked meal without all the effort required. But these services can be expensive. And what about those of us who actually love to cook?
Enter Sunday’s Chef. This company, founded by Michael and Lauren Landis, provides subscribers with weekly meal plans and recipes. Unlike other recipe providers, Sunday’s Chef focuses on meals that can be prepped on Sunday nights for the rest of the week and then made in 15 minutes or less on weeknights. Their service is designed for families of three, but they offer options for larger families as well.
Given that I’ve reviewed a couple of cookbooks that use the same idea of meal planning and have written about how meal planning can help you eat more healthfully when you’re busy, I took the opportunity to chat with the founders of Sunday’s Chef (via email) to find out more about them and their service.
Carma’s Cookery: How and why did you start this business?
Sunday’s Chef: We started this business a few years after we got married and realized that neither of us was a great cook. At first, we tried to pick random recipes to use but this ended up being too unorganized. Next, we tried a recipe planning site which gave you a set of recipes each week and a summarized shopping list. We loved this service but the recipes ended taking up 45 min – 1.5 hours to make each night. With busy jobs, social lives, and then adding a baby to the mix, we did not have the time to devote to these recipes every evening. From this, we came up with the idea of Sunday’s Chef. We knew that preparing decent meals took a good amount of time and we decided to move all that work to a Sunday. Because we were generally free on the weekend we had a good amount of time to prepare the main ingredients for our recipes. Then on the weeknights, we set a goal of spending no more than 15 minutes on prepping the meal. With these goals in mind, we set out to make a business out of it.
CC: Have you found that meal planning has changed your life for the better?
SC: Yes, definitely. We have a lot more time in the evening to spend together as a family and have been able to eat a much healthier and balanced diet. Additionally, we have been able to save some money by not buying food that we will waste because we have not planned on how to use it.
CC: What makes Sunday’s Chef different from other meal planning services?
SC: The initial factor which distinguishes us from other meal planning companies is how we have structured our meal prep and our focus on quick meals each night. In the long run, however, our greatest benefit will be the value we bring to our customers. Right now with a meal planning company, you pay for each individual set of meals you want. If you want Paleo and Vegetarian meals, for example, you have to sign up and pay, for two different meal plans, and that’s only for dinners. With our services, as we continually expand our selection of recipe types, people will be able to access all the recipe types under a specific category (i.e. dinner) for one affordable price. We have plans for vegetarian, paleo, seasonal, region-specific, etc., and these will all be accessible to our customers for the same price they are now paying to access and individual set of recipes.
CC: How do you come up with your meals?
SC: We have hired a fantastic chef who has been studying and practicing the art cooking her entire life. She is a treasure trove of cooking expertise and has been guiding the development of our recipes from the start.
CC: What is one of your favorite recipes?
SC: One of our favorite recipes so far has been the Swiss Chicken with green beans and mashed potatoes. It is one of the recipes potential customers can find on our example set of recipes found on our website.