Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dream Dinners Worth the Money??

I must have passed the 800 North Dream Dinners at least twice a day for the past three years I've lived in the area. Never gone in. But heard a lot about them and thought that they offered a unique service.

In September I attended the Women's Expo and won a free Dream Dinners session. My daughter and I got to go in together to make a meal. She was hooked. I went back last month and tried out a whole months of meals. There were several positives and several drawbacks of the program that I found.


1) The staff is friendly and helpful and always available to help. During my session I was never without help and I loved the people that cleaned up my messes for me. (Thank-you!)
2) The store offers a wonderful selection of foods that appeal to all of my family members. They were also very accomodating on letting me change my menu around when several of the meals I picked wouldn't appeal to my family once I saw them.
3) Loved that I was in and out in an hour and a half. I rarely had to wait to make meals even though I attended one of the busier sessions. And everything had been labeled for me and was ready for me to go. I didn't have to wait for staff--ever.
4) I liked that I could substitute or make meals spicier or less spicier if I wanted. I also witnessed the staff assist one woman who was trying to make gluten free alternatives. They patiently answered her questions, helped her find substitutes and made sure that each meal was appropriate for her family.


1) I spent $130 for 13 meals--roughly $10 per meal. That is significantly more than I would pay for a meal at home. But it was nice to have some convienent meals on hand, especially during the busy month of November and December when our family is running around like crazy.
2) The menus selections didn't quite appeal to my family. I made several types of the same meal because my family wouldn't eat some of the meals they offered. But my minimum order was 12 meals. However, mixed with some of my own meals, I now have a great selection of family favorites and easy convienent meals.
3) I'm eating too good. My family finds that we're eating too good. I don't know if that's a drawback or not, but I find it funny that they actually miss a grilled cheese sandwich or a bowl of cereal as dinner.
4) Some of the ingredients aren't what we would use. I found some of the meals to be fattier than I would make. For example, I made their manicotti, and my manicotti is a low fat alternative. The one at Dream Dinners were prestuffed manicotti shells and had much more fat and calories than the ones that I made. So some of their meals weren't as healthy as I made, and I couldn't substitute my ingredients that I would normally use at home to make a lower fat version.
5) I found I missed a lot of my meals. I actually missed a lot of the meals that I made and was excited to start eating my freezer meals again. But I loved the convienence and the variety of meals I was able to eat. The variety was nice, but I think it's better if I mix the two.

So was it worth it?

Some months I believe it will be. I believe it will come down in large part to the menu they offer that month.

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