Don't worry, the solution isn't acquiring a personal chef — but we do suggest someone else do the cooking. No, not your mom (or your man), but one of Chicago's amazing prepared meal services. Ahead, the top three spots that are on our speed dial — and should be on yours too. Bon appétit!
Why We Love It: Meez makes us feel as though we spent hours in the kitchen, when in actuality, all the dirty work has already been taken care of. There are five new recipes/meals each week (choose as many or few as you wish), of which three to four are vegan (and all can be made gluten free if they aren't already). All the ingredients are prepped, measured, bagged and labeled — it couldn't get any easier. Calorie counters, rejoice! You can actually check out a health "snapshot" of all the menu items on the Meez Meals website.
Meal You Can't Miss: While the menus change on a weekly basis, we're fans of comfort food selections like a barbecue pizza and stir fry that won't pack on the pounds.
Deliveries: Meals for the week arrive on Tuesdays in reusable cooler boxes. Your grub will stay cool for 12 hours, so no need to rush home when that package arrives.
Cost: Check out the clever pricing calculator to figure out your total cost based on the number of meals and frequency.
Meez Meals; 773-916-6339.
Urban Essential Meals
Why We Love It: Using Urban Essential almost seems like having a personal chef, thanks to a cool assessment process that covers everything from dietary restrictions and food preferences to your personal fitness and weight goals. Your results are translated into a personal plan, complete with suggested daily caloric intake and a macronutrient composition (low or high carb, protein, etc.)
Meal You Can't Miss: Roasted cod with tomato and olive tapenade? Yes, please — but we also have a soft spot for the Mediterranean stuffed lamb loin.
Deliveries: All meals are prepared fresh daily and delivered the same day.
Cost: After you complete your assessment, you will be required to pay for a three-day trial or a full month of service. One meal is $18, two meals a day are $17 each, and three meals or more per day are $15 each.
Urban Essential Meals; 312-523-7872.
The Green Gourmet
Why We Love It: The Green Gourmet might just let us achieve our New Year's resolution to eat more healthfully, thanks to a nutrition program with a 40/30/30 protein-carbs-fat ratio. An added bonus? You'll be aligned with one of the top personal trainers in the city for a one-on-one consultation to help you hit your fitness goals.
Meal You Can't Miss: Pan-seared scallops with crispy snow peas, orange couscous, and steamed broccoli rabe with slivered almonds. Dinner can't come fast enough.
Deliveries: You have an option for five- or seven-day delivery within a 28-day program. Meals are prepared fresh daily and delivered by 5 a.m.
Cost: An average of $42.95 per day, but final cost is determined after you choose a specific meal program.
The Green Gourmet; 773-442-2879.
Photo: Courtesy of The Green Gourmet