Courtesy of Plated

Embrace the motto: waste not, want not.

August 12, 2015

Eating out every night while traveling can start to feel a bit gluttonous, both physically and financially—which is just one reason why vacation rentals are such a great choice for families, groups of friends, and couples who like to cook. Having access to a kitchen is key.

But with even the most pragmatic of shoppers prepping for dinner, you'll end up with a significant amount food waste. Sadly, the average destination grocery doesn't sell olive oil by the teaspoon or cinnamon by the pinch, but that's where food subscription boxes come in. 

Over the past few years the subscription box economy has grown to include everything from beauty samples (Birchbox, Ipsy, now Sephora) to pet products (Barkbox) to coffee and tea (misto, cozymug). But the most intriguing service for culinary explorers is a new breed of food delivery services. 

With names like Blue Apron, Plated (pictured above), and HelloFresh, these mail-order meals come with all the pre-portioned ingredients necessary to create a healthy, home-away-from-home-cooked dish (though, it should be noted the recipes may require you minimal pantry ingredients like salt and pepper). 

Simply change your address for the week you'll be out of town to have everything you need delivered straight to your vacation rental's door, and voila, a waste-free alternative to a fridge filled with half-eaten food.

Worried about plastic waste in addition to food waste? Fair warning, these boxes contain an excess of packaging, but all three services come in recyclable boxes, and Plated is actually making the move to compostable, jute insulation later this year.

Caroline Hallemann is the associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @challemann.

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