As a busy mom in a blended family with five children, I'm always on the go. While getting my kids to their various extra-curricular activities ranks high on my list of priorities, very few things top my desire to feed my family wholesome, organic, and when possible, local food.
I strongly believe that physical and mental well-being starts with the food that we put in our bodies. As our children grow and develop, nutritionally dense food provides the fuel needed to keep up with their metabolic demands.
I will shamefully admit that my children are mild food snobs. Given that they have grown up eating eggs, veggies, and meat from our local farm, they have a true appreciation for the flavors of good food. Their palate is diverse from the variety of vegetables and fruits that we often receive in our CSA.
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Therefore, when I was offered the opportunity to sample a meal delivery service aimed at children, I was a bit hesitant. After all, I cook often, and I've mastered the art of the crock pot and meal prepping. What could this service offer me that I don't already have, I wondered? The very next day, in between shuffling one child to dance and another to basketball, with a hungry preschooler in the back seat, I decided to give it a go.
My experience with Chicago-based Nurture Life began with answering basic questions about the ages and food preferences of my children. After agreeing upon a delivery time, the meals arrived at my home, beautifully packaged and cold. I was thrilled to learn that Nurture Life does not freeze their meals, as some delivery services do, thus retaining as much nutrition as possible.
The meals that we received were targeted towards preschoolers and school-aged children and ranged from Chicken Bites, Mashed Yams, and Green Beans to Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower. We also enjoyed the Teriyaki Salmon with Brown Rice and Veggies, as well as the Turkey Bolognese over Spinach Stuffed Gnocchi.
What I Loved About Nurture Life:
1. Large Serving Sizes:
My children have huge appetites, and the meals were more than adequate to fill their tummies, sometimes with food left over!
2. Unique and Good Food:
The food provided by Nurture Life is unique and flavorful, without being so unique that the children wouldn't eat it.
The meals are presented in a "tv dinner" style container that can either be microwaved or baked in the oven up to 325 degrees. As we don't use the microwave often, I appreciated being able to warm up the meal without messing more dishes.
4. Real Wholesome Ingredients:
Each meal selection comes with a label that lists real food. Over 90% of their produce is organic and sourced locally whenever possible. Most of the meals contain no added sugar.
5. The Leadership Team Knows Food:
The Nurture Life team is comprised of chefs and a pediatric nutritionist. The VP of Culinary Operations has over 17 years of experience as a chef at five-star luxury hotels throughout the world.
6. Nurture Life Cares About Sustainability and the Environment:
The packaging used by Nurture Life is made from recyclable and compostable materials.
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What I Wish Was Different About Nurture Life:
1. Nurture Life May Be Cost Prohibitive for Some Families:
I purchase local and organic food, and it is worth every cent. With that being said, Nurture Life costs approximately $52 per child for a five-meal plan, or more than $10 a meal. Multiply that by five children, and you are looking at roughly $250 for your weeknight dinners, not including food for yourself and your partner. Also, there is a per-meal shipping charge, capped out at $12. I find that with a large family such as my own, I can prepare a family meal for much less than $54 a night.
2. Some High-Sodium Meals:
Current recommendations state that children ages 4-8 should consume less than 1900 mg of sodium per day. Some of the Nurture Life meals are very high in sodium. For example, the beef lasagna contains 1110 mg of sodium, which is more than half of the daily recommended allowance.
Overall Assessment of Nurture Life
It's clear why Nurture Life is such a popular meal delivery service. The food is flavorful and nutritious, a win-win for both parents and children. While I personally enjoy cooking too much to use Nurture Life on a regular basis, I can certainly see the added-value, especially during particular times in my life.
For example, I will be utilizing Nurture Life when my family travels on vacation. We sometimes have a difficult time preparing healthy meals while away, so we will provide our hotel address and have meals sent directly to us on our family trips. Further, I think that Nurture Life will be a godsend to our family during particularly busy weeks.
For the busy family that doesn't like to cook, but wants wholesome food, Nurture Life is an excellent choice.