Frequently Asked Questions
Ordering + Wellness Options
How many portions are in each meal?
Meals are intended to be single serving for adults, but may be shared between young kids.
How do you recommend I start ordering? I've never used a meal service before.
We suggest you start with 2-3 meals per person for the first week. This allows you to sample a variety of items without over-ordering and ensures optimal freshness. Don’t forget to try some of our delicious cold-pressed juices!
What is Whole 30? What about Paleo?
Paleo is a diet that has become very popular over the past years. The paleo diet avoids all inflammatory foods such as grains, dairy, legumes, potatoes, and processed foods.
Whole30 is a “reset” diet that is even more restrictive that paleo but that has a different form: that is, it is not meant to be forever, but is instead a 30-day program designed to reset and cleanse your body. Aside from the difference in form, the paleo diet allows for honey, maple syrup, and other unrefined sugars while Whole30 allows no sweeteners whatsoever. Furthermore, Whole30 allows for potatoes, while Paleo does not.
What are the health standards for Cooked meals that are not Whole 30?
We believe there is more than one healthy solution. We feel that while Paleo and Whole30 diets work for some people, for others whole foods are best. These meals are heavy in vegetables and proteins, but also include legumes, fruits, and whole grains. We avoid soy, poor quality oils, preservatives, and artificial flavors. For more about our food standards, please click here. Please use our menu filters to determine what items adhere to your dietary needs.
How do you calculate your nutritional information? Where do you share nutrition facts for each dish?
We have an in-house nutritionist who helps us determine the health facts for each dish. This information is shared on each menu items page.
Can you accommodate allergies?
Yes, all ingredients are written individual dish labels and on our website. However, for the most severe allergies, our kitchen is not completely free of nuts and other allergens.
Do you allow substitutions?
We are not able to accommodate modifications or substitutions.
Meal Plans + Other Options
Can I choose my own meals?
If you want to chose your own meals simply order items a la carte. Most customers find that over time they prefer to spend less time meal planning, and, for them, we have designed “meal plans.” Meal plans are set. You do not choose your meals; however, you do tell us of any and all dietary preferences so that we can choose the right meals for you!
If I chose a subscription for recurring meal plans, am I locked in?
Nope. Cancel anytime!
How can I cancel or change a subscription?
You can cancel (or pause) subscriptions on our website. Contact us if you have any problems doing this, and we will take care of it for you!
Are meals frozen?
Never! We cook meals from fresh ingredients and chill them quickly to maintain freshness. The meals then arrive at your door and are ready to be heated when you are ready!
How long do meals last?
Most should be consumed within 4 days, depending on the meal. Some items, such as fresh salads, should be consumed within 2-3 days to prevent wilting.
What is the difference between lunch and dinner items?
Dinner items are designed to be eaten at a table with fork, knife, (glass of wine?). Lunch items are designed with a busier time of the day in mind and can be eaten with little mess at a desk, in a meeting, etc.
Ingredients + Sourcing
Who cooks the meals? Where?
We do! We don’t outsource any cooking to restaurant or neighborhood chefs. We have a commercial kitchen in West Chicago where we have complete control of ingredients, cleanliness, proper food storage and temperature, and more.
Do you use local or organic produce?
Yes, we do! Our wonderful midwestern farmers and suppliers help us make sure that we take advantage of the best of unsprayed, organic, and local options.
What about beef, chicken, and fish?
We have strict criteria for our meats and fish:
Pork and Poultry is raised with no antibiotics ever.
Beef is raised with no antibiotics or growth hormones ever.
Salmon is raised in farms in the Faroe islands which provide a sustainable and clean solution. Please find out more here.
Where do you deliver?
We deliver to the Chicago area via delivery drivers, and we ship to 33 other states via Fedex. Please enter your zipcode on our website to see if we deliver to your area!
What is your order deadline for weekly orders?
You can order any time before 10 a.m. on the same day that the meals are delivered (Sunday, Monday, Thursday). Our new menu is posted for the following week each Wednesday, so you can order any time once our menu goes live!
What days do you deliver?
We deliver on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday.
What if I am not home when my order arrives?
We leave your meals in insulated bags if you are not home. You will receive a text message when food is going to be delivered. If you have specific delivery requests, please simply respond to the text message.
Is your packaging recyclable?
We have put a lot of time into putting together the most convenient and sustainable option for our meal delivery packaging. All of our packaging is either reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
- Bags: We deliver meals in reusable insulated bags with reusable ice packs. You are welcome to keep them if you need them, but if you do not ,we ask that you leave bags and ice packs out when we deliver next. We are able to reuse many of our bags and are thankful for your returns!
- Our meals are served in oven-safe plant fiber boxes that are compostable-- that means boxes and all food scraps can be composted and turned back into quality dirt in 90 days! All plastic containers, lids, and sauce containers are recylcable. To find our more about composting in Chicago click here!
I had my meals delivered within the Chicago area-- what should I do with my reusable bag?
Simply give it back to your delivery driver (or if you are not not home, leave it outside) at the time of your next delivery and as long as it is clean and in good shape we will wash it and reuse it.
How do I compost? Why compost instead of recycling?
We believe composting is a better solution than recycling. Plastics can be recycled only a few times, and recycling requires that you wash meal boxes, sort recyclables from non-recyclables-- and then hope the city actually recycles it! Composting is an infinite solution-- in 90 days your boxes and food scraps (no washing required) will be turned into dirt that can be used on farms and gardens! We partner with a company called Collective Resources, which services much of the Chicago area, but most cities either offer composting or have small businesses that offer the service at a small fee.
Greater USA Delivery
How are meals sent outside of the Chicago area?
We have partnered with Fedex to deliver healthy meals to 33 states. Our meals ship every Monday and Thursday afternoon.
What is the order deadline for ordering outside of Chicago?
We accept orders for Fedex until 10 a.m., on Mondays and Wednesdays-- the same days we deliver the meals to Fedex! From there, you will receive tracking information from Fedex via email and your meals will arrive within 1-2 days.
How does Cooked work to make the shipping process sustainable?
We are currently designing a program in which customers will be able to return much of the shipping packaging easily via fedex pick up. Stay tuned! Furthermore, our insulation is made from recycled denim which is biodegradable, and our shipping boxes and food boxes are recyclable.
Why is there a required minimum of $45 to ship?
The costs to ship fresh meals are quite high, and we subsidize part of that cost on every shipment. Here at Cooked we are committed to offering good wages to our employees, and high quality ingredients to our customers. To ensure that we are able to continue providing this service we have found it necessary to have the $45 minimum.
What do I do with my meals once they arrive?
Heat and eat! Dish-specific heating instructions are included with each item; however, the most important points are:
- Plant Fiber boxes are oven and microwave safe. Most items can simply be placed in the oven at 350 degrees F until the desired temperature is reached (usually 8-15 minutes).
- Plastic lids, food containers, and plastic sauce containers are NEVER oven or microwave safe. They must be removed prior to heating.
- Some items such as soups, stews, and some fish are better or more easily heated on the stove top.
Gift Cards + Cooking Classes
Do you offer gift cards?
Yes! Right here.
What else should I know about Cooked Chicago?
We cater, offer cooking classes, and rent out a party space in our West Chicago kitchen location!