This summer, I had an internship at a financial company in Midtown, NYC. I didn't know the area too well and was spending about $10-$15 a day on lunch. My supervisor was trying out this lunch subscription called MealPal and referred it to me. Desperate not to spend any more money than I needed to, I decided to give it a try.

tea, ramen, pizza, beer, coffee
Sabrina Yu

What is MealPal?

MealPal is a monthly lunch subscription partnered with different food places where people pay for a meal plan — either 12 or 20 meals. Subscribers are exposed to dishes from a variety of restaurants in their chosen city and pick up the food they have chosen. 

Each plan is less than $80.00 — each meal being a little more than 6 dollars, lasts for 30 days and renews automatically; lunch is served every weekday except on the holidays. There are no additional charges and the meals are pick up only. 

How It Works 

After getting an account and meal plan, you choose a meal everyday with the time to pick it up when the "Kitchen" opens at 5 pm. After a confirmation email is sent, you can change or cancel your meal until the next day at 9:30 am. 

The next day, you head over to the restaurant and say you're here for MealPal to the correct cashier. Some make you give a name, some see the confirmation email, and some accept a vocal "MealPal!". Regardless, you skip the lunch line and pick up your food easily.  

You continue to choose your meals until your cycle ends. Then you can re-start your cycle, cancel your account (you must email MealPal a week before your cycle renews), or put a hold on your account for up to three months.


When I started my subscription, I chose the 12 meals plan because I didn't want to be restricted by the choices MealPal offered. There were also some days when I worked through lunch and didn't have the time to go out and get a meal.

spaghetti, pasta
Sabrina Yu

My first meal was Pesto Linguine from Pescatore. I had reserved my meal the night before, and went out to retrieve my lunch. I was nervous because I didn't know what to expect, but I simply told the hostess I was here for MealPal and received my food with no problem. As for the food, the pasta came with bread and the portion was decently sized. There was a right amount of food, and the meal didn't taste bad. 

Sabrina Yu

The next day, I chose a chicken parm sandwich from a local pizzeria. Once again, I didn't know what to expect but this was an absolutely HUGE sandwich. This was so worth six dollars and filled me up.

pork, rice
Sabrina Yu

Another meal I picked was Ribeye Steak Bulgogi from Barkogi. Now, for this rice dish, I finished the meal in a couple of seconds. The steak and rice were tasty, but the dish was served in a super tiny container, and it was also very underwhelming. I ended up still hungry for the afternoon. 

That was the day when I learned that the pictures of the food shown on MealPal are different from the actual meals received. This is something to think about when trying out this subscription. 

salad, vegetable
Sabrina Yu

Halfway through the month, I was getting a little sick of seeing the same foods over and over again. Now granted, I limited myself by only choosing places that were near my work location, but I wished I had more variety. I ended up ordering Poké bowls from SweetCatch Poke three days in a row, but I wasn't disappointed. The fish pieces were small, but the portions were big enough to make me very filled. 

penne, chips, french fries
Sabrina Yu

I thought I had gotten the hang of discerning which restaurant would give a big or small portion, but I chose wrong when I ordered a penne dish from a small Italian café. I received a tiny container of pasta, along with a water bottle and a couple of small desserts, but it wasn't enough. 

Fortunately, I had better luck with the rest of my meals for the rest of the cycle. Overall though, most of my meals were very delicious and filling. 

SpoonTip: Pizzerias and delis give the biggest portions.

Overall Thoughts  

As my first cycle of MealPal was coming to an end, I was deliberating whether I should continue with my subscription or end it for the summer.  I decided to continue for the upcoming school year, and the most important deciding factor for me was being able to skip the extremely long lunch-rush lines and get my food quickly. Deciding my meal and just picking it up made my life so much more convenient. And as someone who has a short lunch time between my classes this semester, I knew this would be an extreme life-saver for me.

I decided to continue with MealPal and I have no regrets. Try MealPal here today.