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Mississippi State University Dining Services offers a variety of meal plans for students. This year, a new meal plan has been made for commuter and upperclassmen students called the Meal Kit. This meal plan offers a combination of 30 block meals, $180 flex dollars and $120 Home Chef Kits.

Home-delivery meal services such as Home Chef are rapidly gaining popularity. Offering this kind of meal plan to college students should create a much larger customer base for these meal delivery companies, along with encouraging a healthier lifestyle for MSU students. With fast food restaurants and cafeteria food as many college students’ primary source of food, offering the alternative of cooking healthy meals at home without the stress of the grocery store creates an innovative option for students.

Home Chef offers students four different options for how they can use the $120 voucher credit offered in the Meal Kit meal plan. For $60 a week, students receive two deliveries of three meals with two servings per meal. For the same price, students get two deliveries of the two meals with a fruit basket and smoothie option. The next option is one delivery of two meals with six servings per meal, which is $120. The final option is to get one delivery of three meals with four servings per meal, also for $120.

For an additional $30, students who choose the Meal Kit meal plan can choose to add the Economy Kit, which comes with a hot tumbler, cold tumbler, Tupperware and a storage bag. The tumblers can be used at the Provisions on Demand (P.O.D.) stores to receive discounted fountain drinks and coffee.

The only part of this meal plan I do not approve of is the small credit given to students. $120 in credit only covers two box deliveries. In my opinion, this is a rip-off. With the steep meal plan price for what is offered, and the small amount of block meals and flex, this meal plan is highly likely to run out before the end of the semester, which is annoying.

Each week, MSU students who have chosen the Meal Kit meal plan can log on to the Home Chef website to customize their weekly menus. Customizations can be made until 12:00 p.m. the Friday before delivery. Customizing an order is fairly easy, and each box comes with a recipe cards which include step-by-step directions for each meal. It is extremely easy to follow, and the end result is delicious.

I recently tried out this meal plan myself. The meals I cooked both consisted of fresh, luxe ingredients. The meat was not cheap, and the vegetables seemed fresh and carefully picked. There was no waste with Home Chef because all of the ingredients were perfectly measured for the serving sizes I chose. This is ideal for the college student who does not have much cooking experience but wants to make healthy, home cooked meals.

Deliveries are made on Tuesdays throughout the day, and students do not have to be home to accept the package due to the sealed box and ice packs which keep the food fresh. This made the delivery very convenient for students like me who are constantly on-the-go. 

The box and its contents are also fully biodegradable and recyclable, which is appealing to environmentally-conscious students. 

Awareness for this meal plan and the Economy Kit deal needs to be increased. Besides the Flex meal plan, the Meal Kit meal plan is the cheapest meal plan offered. This meal plan is perfect for the commuter student who enjoys the benefits of campus dining, along with the ability of cooking at home. 

Even though the block meal count is low and the credit for Home Chef is slim, I still recommend this meal plan. Universities need to start encouraging home cooked meals and healthy lifestyles, and the Meal Kit is a step in the right direction.

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