Choose the Best Meal Delivery Plan for You

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How Do Meal Kits Work?

There’s nothing quite like a delicious, healthy home-cooked meal, but sometimes the hassle of meal prep can leave you heading for the drive-thru for another fast food dinner. Luckily for you, help is on the way.

With meal kit delivery services, you receive pre-packaged meals that are broken down into their individual ingredients and come with easy to follow recipes. Even if you’re a stranger to the kitchen, you can throw together fantastic meals that’ll have you forgetting about those pizza delivery magnets on the fridge. It’s meal prep made easy.

How Do Meal Kits Work?

There’s nothing quite like a delicious, healthy home-cooked meal, but sometimes the hassle of grocery shopping and following complicated recipes can leave you heading for the drive-thru for another fast food dinner. Luckily for you, help is on the way.

With meal kit delivery services, you receive pre-packaged meals that are broken down into their individual ingredients and come with easy to follow recipes. Even if you’re a stranger to the kitchen, you can throw together fantastic meals that’ll have you forgetting about those pizza delivery magnets on the fridge.

What Types of Meal Delivery Services Are There?

Vegetarian
Meal kits combine fresh, organic, and even locally-sourced produce which is sent directly to your door, saving you the trouble of trying to find a store with the premium product you need.

Most meal kit delivery companies offer fairly extensive vegetarian meal options. These tend to cost the same or less than the meat meal plans, and can provide you with new and interesting ways to make tasty vegetarian meals. Some companies have more extensive options than others, for instance HelloFresh, which has a veggie plan as one of the 3 meal plans offered.
Check our best vegetarian meal delivery kits >> 

Vegan
When ordering from a meal kit delivery company, check if it has specifically vegan meal plans, and if not, read the fine print and see if you can get enough mileage out of the vegetarian options. As a vegan, it can at times be hard to find out new recipes to stretch your no-animal products diet - meal kits can help.
Check our best vegan meal delivery kits >>

Gluten-free
Gluten-free menu options are a feature offered by most meal kit companies, which know how important it is to many consumers today, especially those with celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten. A number of companies also specially-wrap their products in order to prevent gluten cross-contamination.

If you’re trying to cut gluten out of your diet and are a bit stumped about how to fill that gap left by bread and pasta, meal kits are a great way to find new recipe ideas that can keep dinner-time interesting.
Check our best gluten free meal delivery kits >> 

Organic
The meal kit delivery industry has its finger on the pulse when it comes to organic food. Most companies tout their investment in finding sustainable, organic food, and this has become a major selling point for these companies.

Sun Basket, for instance, is a USDA-certified organic handler with over 99% organic produce, while Freshly has a list of 85 banned ingredients (like corn syrup and preservatives). Blue Apron is one of a number of companies that have partnered with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch to make sure their seafood offerings are sustainable.
Check our best organic meal delivery kits >>

Weight loss
Meal kits help you plan out meals ahead of time with interesting, healthy ingredients. In time, you will learn new recipes and cooking techniques that you can then integrate into your daily life. This can help you eat healthy at home more often, which can be a great way to lose weight, even without a rigid diet.

If you’re looking for a strict diet meal plan, there are a number of companies like NutriSystem or BistroMD that can provide you with dietitian planned meals sent to your door which are specifically designed to help you eat healthier and lose weight.

Paleo
For the most part, the paleo diet focuses on meat, fruits and vegetables, and cuts out breads, dairy and sugars. A number of meal delivery companies offer menu items which are suited to the paleo diet. SunBasket takes it farther, offering more than 120 Paleo meals that feature high-quality lean meats.

Even if a recipe doesn’t specifically say it’s paleo, you can look closely at the ingredients when placing an order to see how it matches up to your requirements.

Kid friendly
In a wider sense, all of the meal kit delivery industry is kid friendly. After all, these companies get you in the kitchen making home-cooked meals for your dinner table, and we all know that’s where the magic happens when you have a family.

More specifically, many companies feature family meal plans, as well as “kid-friendly” recipes. Kid-friendly recipes are dishes your kids may recognize and are typically not spicy. The family meal plans typically include meals that are designed for 4 people and are easier to make. The family plans often have a lower cost per serving as well.

With Marley Spoon, for example, you can order 2-person or 4-person “family boxes,” and you can filter the menu options specifically for ones that are “kid-friendly.” SunBasket offers a family plan and family menu, which features 6 “family-friendly” recipes per week.

Diabetic
For diabetics focusing on weight loss, dietitian-designed meal plans like South Beach Diet may be the right fit for you. Many companies have meal plans specifically for diabetics, while others will help customers design their own diabetes-friendly meal plan through consultation with a dietician.

If you’re going with the big name meal kit delivery companies like Blue Apron, you can speak to customer service to get assistance planning a diabetic-friendly plan, and also always remember to look closely at the menu list to make sure the offerings aren’t high in sodium, fat, and sugar.
Check our best diabetic meal delivery kits >> 

The 5 Best Meal Delivery Services

Check out our mini-reviews of the top meal kit services to simplify meal prep in your kitchen.

Updated 2018


Home Chef logo

Home Chef

Pros

 Plan your meals up to 5 weeks ahead

  Easy cooking instructions

  Get meal suggestions based on your preferences

Cons

✖   Only 14 meals to pick from each week

Home Chef’s mission is to make it as easy as possible to cook fresh food at home. It offers a meal kit program that can be customized as much or as little as you want. You can even change delivery dates and skip weeks. Home Chef strives to offer you a simple and delicious experience with meals anyone can cook in under 30 minutes. Choose from 14 meal options every week, with choices that meet a variety of dietary needs including vegetarian, low carb and low calorie. With 10 million meals delivered last year alone, Home Chef is expanding rapidly.

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Key points about Home Chef:

  • 2, 4, or 6 serving offerings at $9.95 per serving

  • Taste profile suggests meal ideas based on your personal preferences

  • 14 weekly meal options

  • Skip or cancel meals at anytime

  • Receive $30 off your first order

Our favorite meal:
Acapulco Beef Burger with fresh pico de gallo and cilantro-lime fries

Head for the Pacific coast with this easy to make a burger and fries combo which has become a top customer favorite for Home Chef.

  • Meal prep and cook time: 30-40 min

  • $9.95 per serving

Home Chef burger

Read the Full Home Chef Review


Sun Basket logo

Sun Basket

 

Pros

  Recipes are developed by chefs and nutritionists

  All produce is organic and non-GMO

  Boxes are 100% recyclable

Cons

✖  $11.99 per serving on classic package - higher than many competitors

Sun Basket’s environmentally conscious ethos also comes through in its delivery, sending ingredients in 100% compostable and recyclable packaging. Sun Basket is a meal delivery kit that emphasizes healthy cooking and knowing exactly where your food is coming from. It only uses organic and sustainably sourced ingredients, and makes sure that its ingredients are all coming from farmers and ranchers that harvest sustainably. With Sun Basket, you know you’re getting high-quality food without having to do the meal prep yourself.

You can choose from 2 plans that can be customized according to your needs– classic or family. The classic plan offers farm-to-table inspired meals and comes with 3 recipes per week, while the family plan has more family-friendly meals that both parents and kids will love.

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Sun Basket highlights:

  • Choose a “classic” plan at $11.49 per serving, or “family” plan at $9.99 per serving

  • Recipes created by in-house, award-winning chef

  • Organic, non-GMO, and fresh ingredients

  • Gluten-free, vegetarian, and Paleo approved recipes

  • Shipping is always free

Our favorite meal:
Marrakech chicken wings with sesame, bok choy slaw and cashews

This gluten-free, paleo-friendly meal packs only 620 calories per serving and is easy to make in 35-50 minutes. The wings are seasoned with citrusy sumac and Moroccan spices that take it to another level. The Marrakech Express has arrived - We hope you’re hungry.

  • Meal prep and cook time: 35-50 minutes

  • Calories: 620 per serving

Sun Basket chicken wings

Read the Full Sun Basket Review


HelloFresh logo

HelloFresh

Pros

  Recipes have up to 6 steps and take around 30 minutes to make

  Pause or cancel at any time

  Family plan costs only $8.74 per serving

Cons

✖     No dessert options

Use HelloFresh  and say goodbye to greasy take-out and processed food. This meal delivery service has a great reputation and offers an affordable pricing plan starting at just $9.99 per serving. HelloFresh delivers the exact amount of required ingredients to your door, making it ideal for people who don’t want to waste. It’s also perfect for busy couples who can use its flexible subscription model to change the box type, alter the delivery schedule, update meals, and pause or cancel their account.

HelloFresh is so confident you’ll love its recipes, that it offers to send your first box at a discounted rate. Free shipping is also offered on all orders.

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More noteworthy features:

  • $40 off your first order

  • Gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, and vegetarian options

  • Family plan offers recipes that even the pickiest kids will love

  • Uses responsibly-sourced ingredients

  • Free delivery on all orders

Our favorite meal:
Bulgogi Chicken Thigh Tacos

If you love Korean food and Mexican food - why pick between them? This recipe pairs chicken in Korean bulgogi sauce with tortillas and a spicy sauce, that’s perfect for taco night with the family.

  • Meal prep and cook time: 25 minutes

  • Calories: 840 per serving

HelloFresh chicken tacos

Read the Full HelloFresh Review


Blue Apron logo

Blue Apron

Pros

  Freshness guarantee

  Big commitment to sustainability and high-quality produce and meat

  Shipping always included

Cons

✖   No lunches, snacks, or dessert

Blue Apron was one of the first meal delivery services on the market, and has an impeccable reputation. Its chefs and farmers work together to offer you fresher ingredients, better pricing plans, and a greener planet for everyone. Each delivery box comes with farm-fresh and seasonal produce, meat with no added hormones, sustainably-sourced seafood, and everything else you could possibly need to make your meal delicious. You’ll also get recipe cards and the story behind the ingredients.

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The benefits of Blue Apron:

  • 2- or 4-person meal plans

  • Hormone-free meat, sustainable seafood, and non-GMO produce

  • Personalized menus to accommodate dietary and taste preferences

  • Pause, skip, or cancel your subscription anytime

  • Free shipping on all orders

Our favorite meal:
Seared Salmon and Salsa Verde

Healthy, simple, delicious. This pan-seared salmon is linked with an Italian salsa verde and a crisp, warm salad.

  • Meal prep and cook time: 30-40 minutes

  • Calories: 720 per serving

Blue Apron seared salmon

Read the Full Blue Apron Review


Home Chef

Pros

  Recipes are all 6 steps or less

  Some gluten-free and vegan options available

  4-person box comes out to only $8.70 per serving

Cons

✖   No breakfasts, lunch, or desserts

Launched in 2014 as a regular meal delivery service, Marley Spoon took a new angle by partnering with Martha Stewart in 2016. The company rebranded as Martha & Marley Spoon, and emphasizes delicious meals and recipe ideas by one of the biggest names in the food industry.

The service is ideal for people who love to cook but don’t have the time to make the meals they crave. Ditch lengthy meal prep, sign up for a subscription and receive the ingredients at your door. Martha & Marley Spoon’s ingredients are chosen by season for maximum freshness and none of its recipes require more than 6 steps. The company delivers to 7 countries, and its meals have been cooked in 250 million households worldwide.

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More reasons to choose Martha & Marley Spoon:

  • Free delivery in chilled boxes that keep your food fresh

  • Options for 2 or 4 people; skip a week anytime you choose

  • Delivered and designed for easy weeknight cooking

  • Recipes are never more than 6 steps

  • Over 18,000 recipes created by Martha Stewart

Our favorite meal:
Roasted sausages and peppers with fennel and wilted spinach

Fennel and spinach add some new flavors and color to the classic sausage and peppers in this customer favorite that cooks together in a single pan.

  • Meal prep and cook time: 30-40 minutes

  • Calories: 437 per serving

Martha & Marley Spoon sausages

Read the Full Martha & Marley Spoon Review


Choosing the Best Meal Kit for You and Your Family

Family meal plans
If you’re looking to feed your family, then your first step should be to find a company that offers family meal plans. These are typically boxes that include meals for 4 people 2-3 times a week.

Take a look at the “kid-friendly” options offered by various companies. These tend to be easy, one-dish meals that you can whip up quickly after a long day at work and which even the pickiest eaters - kids - shouldn’t need much convincing to try.

Price the different plans
With most meal kit companies, the prices hover around $9.99 per serving. That said, with a number of companies that price can rise to $11.99 or more, and with added shipping fees, it can get steeper. Take a look to see if you can find a company that offers the selection you want with the prices that are right, and even with shipping included.

Special dietary needs
Are you a vegan or have you recently started a paleo diet? It may be hard to find a meal delivery service that is specifically crafted for your dietary needs, but there are definitely companies that offer vegan, paleo or gluten-free options (among many others) on their menus on a regular basis. Check the frequency of these menu offerings and decide which company offers more of the options that you need.

Flexibility
We all know that our day-to-day lives can be unpredictable at times. When looking for a meal plan, try to make sure that the plan is flexible. Find one that will let you freeze the plan certain weeks, or cancel orders or your membership at any time.

Shop around
By signing up for a home meal kit delivery service you can take part in one of the most dynamic and interesting developments in home cooking. You’ll find new recipes to inspire your culinary creativity and boost your confidence in the kitchen, and also you’ll save yourself some of the hassles of having to come up with new recipes each week.

Which one is the best option? That depends mainly on you - what type of dietary needs you have and the budget and menu options that are best for you. Take some time to browse through these top meal kit companies and you’ll be whipping up some delicious home cooking in no time.

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*The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan.