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The meal ordeal 

Meal-delivery services take the guesswork out of lunch hour

We've all got those friends who balance their busy lives so well that they eat three healthy meals each day. Perhaps they spend a day meal-planning for the week. Maybe they prep for the next day in the evenings, or rise early to eat some eggs or muesli, make lunch, and thaw or marinade something for dinner. Hey, I salute you, and maybe I'll get there. In the meantime, many of us grab lunch out way too often, which can take a big toll on our budgets, health, and palates.

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Better habits are clearly needed, but if you're not quite at full DIY yet, there are a growing number of meal-delivery services that you can rely on for fresh meals a few times a week. The following isn't a comprehensive list, but just a few of the Rochester-based businesses, along with some examples of items that were on their recent menus. Different services cater to different diets, and many meals are comparable or less expensive than dining at a restaurant. And they have sites where you can browse their weekly menus, and order in your PJs at any hour of the day or night. What a time to be alive.

Note: though some of the plans are geared toward weight loss, CITY does not endorse a particular diet, lifestyle, or body type.

Kitchen-Verde

The entirely vegan menus change weekly; meals are available a la carte or as a recurring subscription. For a la carte, you make your selections from categories: Breakfast Meals (Tofu Egg Breakfast Sandwich, $7.50), Lunch/Dinner meals (Queso Rice Stuffed Poblano Peppers, $9.25), Add-ons (Warm Asian Quinoa Bowl, $5.75), Guilt-free Dessert (Cranberry Almond Cake, $5.75), and Soup/Salad (Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup, $5.75). For subscriptions, you choose items from the Weekly Meal Offering category (Each items' specifics vary from week to week, and item prices range from $5.50 to $9).

Place orders between 9 a.m. on Saturday and 11:59 p.m. on the following Friday. Pick up your meals at 777 Culver Road or have your food delivered anywhere in Monroe County ($5 delivery fee) on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. kitchen-verde.com

Meals by DeLeo

Choose between three different five-week meal plans: Fitness (high calorie and more protein, starts at $70/week for six meals), Weight Loss (low calorie and less protein, starts at $70/week for six meals), and Family (starts at $80/week for 2 meals that feed four people). You can customize how many meals you want and which dishes you'd like each week when you subscribe, and you're charged each Wednesday for five weeks, but you can also choose to pause your plan. All of the plans are gluten-free, peanut-free, and soy-free, and the wide variety of meals are based on balancing macros (protein, carbs, and fat), and there are Keto options.

Meals are delivered free all over the Greater Rochester region each Sunday or Monday between 8 a.m. and midnight, but they also have a pick up option in three locations. mealsbydeleo.com

Sweet Pea Plant-Based

Everything is vegan, and examples of recent main dishes include Veggie Spaghetti and Beetballs, Mushroom-Black Bean Burgers, and Cauliflower Tika Masala ($12 each). The company also offers a rotating variety of soups ($8), sides like hummus ($4), baked goods such as the Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffin ($3) and a variety of bake-it-yourself cookie doughs ($6).

Clients can place orders on Sweet Pea's site by 11:59 p.m. Wednesdays for pick up on Sunday at 630 East Avenue between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. (or you can have your order delivered; $7 fee for orders under $125). sweetpeaplantbased.com

Effortlessly Healthy

You may know this catering biz as a food truck or its Scottsville café, but it also offers meal delivery services that can be tailored to your specific dietary needs. This one can be pretty economical, with plans factoring out to as low as $7 per meal. With the Weekly Meals plan, you choose the number of meals you want per week (5, 10, 14, or 15), and either 4oz or 8oz of protein (plans range from $45-$135/week). The Calorie Counters for Weight Loss plan lets you choose 5-7 days per week, and 4oz or 8oz of protein (plans include 3 meals for each day you select, and range from $115-$170/week). After choosing a plan, you specify preferences and dietary restrictions, and when you want to begin meal service. Then you can choose items from the Breakfast menu, such as the Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata or the Key Lime Parfait, and the Lunch/Dinner menu, which recently included a Tofu Sunflower Caesar Salad and a Beef Trash Plate with sweet potato and coleslaw.

Once you subscribe, you'll get an email each week asking you to choose meals to be delivered on the following Tuesday and Friday of each week ($10/week fee), between 1 and 8 p.m. You can pause or cancel your subscription anytime. ehmeals.com


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Is your favorite restaurant closed on Monday night?

No worries, we tracked down some spots that are open:

Amore by Wegmans
Flight West
JoJo Bistro & Wine Bar
Swan Dive

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