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|Best For Basics|
|Best For Families|
|Best For Adventurous Eaters|
Tired of serving your family out-of-the-box meals every evening? Frozen lasagna and mac ‘n cheese can get old after awhile and is definitely not the healthiest choice. But often there’s just not enough time to have fresh and healthy meals prepared on a regular basis. That’s where meal delivery services like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Plated come in, to provide easy-to-prepare, healthy dishes for all kinds of tastes.
All of the meal delivery services we’ve reviewed are committed to providing locally sourced ingredients to benefit our U.S.-based economies and ecosystems. And all of these services use pre-measured (often hard to find or rarely used) ingredients and seasonings to reduce excessive food waste. Healthy, delicious and earth-friendly meals delivered to your door? Score!
How Do Meal Delivery Services Work?
Fresh meals delivered to your home sounds too good to be true, right? While there is some work to be done on your part with most home delivery meals, you will save time on shopping and meal planning. Typically you choose the number and types of meals and recipes you want each week; then all the pre-measured ingredients are delivered to your doorstep in a temperature controlled box with ice packs to prevent spoilage. Then you follow the detailed instructions (also delivered in the box) to do the preparation and cooking.
The average cost of feeding healthy meals for a family of four runs $146 to $289 per week. But these figures don’t take into account the time you’ll spend planning, searching, shopping and prepping for meals, nor does it account for gasoline costs for running up and down the road.
Although you’re not getting fully prepared meals delivered to your home, you’re still saving a ton of time that you’d otherwise be spending searching for a variety of recipes, putting ingredient lists together and grocery shopping. Measuring out all the ingredients can also take time (not to mention can be wasteful because you have too much of an ingredient you don’t use). Meal delivery services can be seem expensive than buying all the ingredients on your own, but the time it saves may be worth it for busy people who wish to eat home-cooked meals.
What Can You Expect From Our Recommended Healthy Meal Delivery Services?
All the boxes we reviewed have the following:
- Calories Per Meal: Each meal typically runs from 500-700 calories.
- Meal Prep Time: Most services estimate their prep time at around 30 minutes.
- Delivery & Packaging: All services we reviewed use refrigerated boxes that can last for hours on your doorstep and most packaging is recyclable or compostable.
- Subscription Terms: None of the following services require a long-term subscription. You can skip weeks, as long as you meet their cut-off deadline. And you can cancel service at any time.
Note: Don’t sign up and expect to get your meals right away. Most companies require you to pick your menus seven days in advance, so they have enough produce to source and pack (without it going to waste). So, depending on what delivery day of the week you choose, you might end up waiting a week or two to get your first delivery.
Meal Delivery Video
Watch the following video to see how Blue Apron and their fellow meal delivery services work.
What Is the Best Meal Delivery Service?
The best food delivery service really depends on your needs, your palate and your budget. Below we’ve reviewed some of the best meal delivery services and to provide recommendations for each category that will help you fill up your plate with convenience and deliciousness! Pick a category using the menu below or scroll down to read them all.
Lowest Price | Best Family | Best Basics | Best for Adventurous Eaters | Best Organic
Hello Fresh, another extremely popular meal delivery service, doesn’t get as adventurous with its flavors as Blue Apron or Plated, but it’s a great choice for a couple or family who prefers more basic comfort food. Meal portions tend to be more generous than competitors, and they include more nutritional information on their recipe cards than most.
Hello Fresh is also a good option for vegetarians as you can choose their Classic Box or Veggie Box each week.
Customers who like spicy food, or more experimenting, should look elsewhere! But if you like the basics, then say hello to HelloFresh.
- Pan-Seared Steak with Cipollini Onions, Roasted New Potatoes, and Tomato Pan-Sauce
- Sole en Papillote with Mushrooms, Croutons, and Brown-Butter Caper Sauce
- Autumn Risotto with Butternut Squash, Sage, and Pepitas
- Classic Menu starts at $9.99 per serving for 3 meals for 2 people
- Veggie Menu starts at $9.99 per serving for 3 meals for 2 people
- Family Menu starts at $8.74 per serving for 3 meals for 2 people
HelloFresh is currently offering $20 off your first two boxes. No code needed, use this link to get started.
Blue Apron is probably the best-known meal delivery service, and they’re popular for a good reason; Blue Apron stands out as the best value for the quality and variety of meals you get each week compared to all the other services we reviewed. Blue Apron is one of few services that offers entire family meals delivered.
Blue Apron never repeats its recipes during the year and offers specialty products that are hard to find elsewhere. They source their ingredients from family-run farms and businesses.
BlueApron even offers a monthly wine delivery program with six bottles paired for your upcoming meals! At $65.99 per month (includes shipping but tax will be added), the wine delivery program is a great deal!
- Za’atar Chicken & Farro Salad with Beet, Goat Cheese & Pistachios
- Crispy Cod with Warm Cauliflower & Mustard Green Salad
- Queso & Pepper Arepas with Kale-Avocado Salad & Chimichurri
Blue Apron Prices
Blue Apron provides free delivery to the entire contiguous U.S. for its meal program, but they do charge shipping for their wine program.
- $10.99 per meal per person (3 meals per week)
Family Plan (for 4 people)
- $9.99 per meal per person (2-4 meals per week)
Ongoing: Get $25 Off Your First 2 Blue Apron Boxes ($50 total off) by using this link!
Are you a wanna-be chef? Or just enjoy trying new tastes? Plated may be the food delivery service for you — they have the most innovative and creative recipes compared to the other meal delivery services we reviewed and you can chose from up to 20 recipes (the most of any major meal subscription service). Not only does Plated flavor its dishes with unique ingredients, but they also give you more room to explore new cooking techniques than other services.
Plated is on the more expensive side mainly because they use meats raised with no antibiotics and sustainable seafood in their recipes. They also offer vegetarian and gluten-free meals, as well as specialty cuts of meat (for a bit more money).
Plated offers a couple of dessert options each week for an extra $4 per plate. If you’re earth-conscious and careful about what you put into your body, give Plated a try.
Our Personal Review
This service has been used a few times over the years by various member of our team. The biggest plus for Plated, in our opinion, is the creativity of the menu options. You will get at least one meal every week that you never imagined you would be able to make and it will be a success!
- Curried Salmon Cakes with Spaghetti Squash
- Apple Cider Pork Chops with Creamy Butternut Squash Polenta
- Cheesy Quinoa-Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Creamy Tomato Sauce
Plated provides shipping free over $50 per order. They charge per plate instead of having meal plans (minimum order is two plates). Here’s a sampling of what you’ll pay:
- 2 servings per week $11.95 per serving (2-4 nights per week)
- 3-4 servings per week $9.95 per serving (2-4 nights per week)
Get $25 off your first two Plated orders via this link.
Started in 2014, Sun Basket is based in San Francisco, CA. As one of only two USDA-certified Organic companies, Sun Basket has quickly established itself as a leader in organic and non-GMO meal kit delivery service menus (note: GreenChef is the other USDA-Organic service).
They offer straightforward pricing and a variety of menu options, including Chef’s Choice, Vegetarian, Vegan, Pescatarian, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Lean & Clean and Mediterranean.
They differentiate themselves with their sustainability practices that include packaging materials that are all recyclable or compostable and products that are responsibly raised and contain no GMO’s.
Most meals take about 30 minutes to prepare and are about 500-800 calories per serving. We like that each meal is contained in one big paper bag so you can easily grab what you need to get started and then recycle the bag when you are done.
Sun Basket recently added a wine club. Each monthly shipment comes with 3 bottles of wine from biodynamic, organic or sustainably farmed grapes.
Our Personal Review
A few members of our team have used this service regularly and were impressed with the wide variety of meals offered and the ability to 100% choose your menu, including whether you want 2 or 3 different meals for the week.
- Fish Tacos with Avocado, Baja Cucumber Salad and Mint Yogurt Sauce
- Ginger Sesame Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas and Red Rice
- Curried Black Lentils and Potatoes with Swiss Chard and Naan
Sun Basket Prices
Sun Basket offers 2 plans with lots of diet types for each (e.g. Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Lean & Clean (weight management))
- Classic Menu – choose 3 meals from 18 weekly options for 2 people.
- Family Menu – pick 2 (or 4 for an additional cost) recipes per week and each recipe serves 4 people.
Prices start at:
- $11.99 per serving for Classic Menu plan ($71.94* total for 3 meals that serve 2 people each)
- $10.99 per serving for Family Menus ($89.92 for 2 Family Menus that serve 4 people each; $175.84 for 4 Family Menus)
- $6.99 Shipping
Get 50% Off Your First Sun Basket Purchase by using this link!
The latest player to enter the meal kit delivery service is Dinnerly, the “little sister” to Marley Spoon”. Dinnerly aims to be the most affordable meal service with aggressively low prices per plate (only $5, which is almost half that of other subscriptions). They have lowered the cost to consumers by limiting the menu with no menu choice – you only get three super simple recipes with fewer ingredients per dish and digital recipe cards (which cuts down on waste too).
Because there isn’t the option to select your recipes, this isn’t the best choice for picky eaters, but it’s perfect for younger chefs on a budget or if you are looking to get a taste for meal delivery services.
- Chicken Broccoli Pan Roast with Creamy Mustard Sauce
- Grass-Fed Cheeseburger with Macaroni Salad
- Vegetarian Fried Rice with Edamame
- $39.99 for Two-Person Box (2 portions per recipes, 3 recipes per week) $5.00 per portion
- $68.99 for Family Box (4 portions per recipe, 4 recipes per week) $5.00 per portion
- + $8.99 shipping per box
Get 50% off your first Dinnerly order via this link.
Other Meal Delivery Services And Our First-Hand Experience
While the boxes above were our top picks, it’s worth discussing the following two companies too, especially since we had the opportunity to personally try them out and confirm their yumminess!
Chef’d| Green Chef | Home Chef | Martha & Marley Spoon | Purple Carrot
*Editor’s Note: Chef’d shut down unexpectedly in June, 2018.
Chef’d is a different approach to meal delivery, with much more flexible ordering options, and their recipes come from more than 25 nationally known chefs, including Robert Irvine, Scott Conant and Simon Majumdar.
There are no meal plans; you just pay per meal, which is typically either for two or four people. They have nearly 200 meals to choose from, as well as seasonal menus (i.e. Game Day menu gives you options to purchase bulk wings, pulled pork tacos, etc.).
With great search features, you can easily find vegan (they have partnered with Beyond Meat), vegetarian, kids meals and more. Chef’d has also partnered with Atkins, American Diabetes Association and Weight Watchers to provide unique plans for those specific needs. The meals can be a little pricey, but customers rave about the quality of the food.
- Fish Tacos with Chipotle Crema
- Steak Au Poivre with Roasted Rosemary Potatoes and Green Beans
- Portobello and Asparagus Farfalle with Basil Pesto
Chef’d provides free shipping for orders over $40 (orders less than $40 have a $10 flat fee). Their pricing is by meal, which is either priced for two or four people.
Prices start at:
- Varies greatly but starts around $7 per person per plate
- $6.00 per kid per plate (for their children’s meal options)
- Four Serving Plans – from $7 per serving
- Two Serving Plans – from $10 per serving
Green Chef stands out for catering to organic eaters who eat more unique diets including vegan, gluten-free, ketogenic (aka keto) and paleo. However, they also have vegetarian, pescatarian, omnivore and carnivore options too.
All of their ingredients are responsibly sourced, and Green Chef uses recycled (and biodegradable) jute to pad their box contents (which you can compost) instead of wasteful bubble wrap. The items are color coded and placed into a meal-specific paper bag so you can easily identify what you need when it’s time to cook. If you want healthy meals packed with nutrients and flavor, GreenChef is sure to be a winner.
Our Personal Review
This is the service that the majority of our team uses consistently because they offer a good variety of special dietary options. With two vegans, two pescatarians and two gluten-free eaters on our team, this service makes it easy to select your dietary type and forget about it, with appropriate, varied and delicious meals every week.
- Curried Pork Chops with Quinoa, Raisins & Almonds and Garlic-Chard Naan
- Italian Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Tomato Jam, Broccoli Slaw and Spinach Pistou
- Maple-Roasted Tempeh with Potatoes, Carrot, Braised Apple, Cabbage and Aioli
Green Chef Prices
The pricing is based on the type of meal you select and includes 3 meals per week for 2 people or 2 meals for 4 people (plus an additional $9 shipping and handling per box).
2 Person Plans (3 meals = 6 servings):
- Vegetarian $10.49 per meal
- Omnivore $11.99 per meal (includes veggie, meat and seafood options that can be customized for your dietary preferences)
- Vegan $11.99 per meal
- Carnivore $13.49 per meal (includes meat and seafood options)
- Gluten Free $13.49 per meal (includes veggie, meat and seafood options)
- Paleo $14.99 per meal
- Keto $14.99 per meal (low-carb, no dairy or gluten)
Family Plans (2 meals = 8 Servings):
- Omnivore $11.99 per meal (includes veggie, meat and seafood options)
- Carnivore $12.99 per meal (includes veggie, meat and seafood options)
Get 4 Free Meals with Green Chef via this link!
Started in 2013, Home Chef has served over 1 million meals (in 2015 alone) and staffs over 300 employees. They offer straightforward pricing and a variety of menu options from which to choose. They are on the more affordable side, and the shipping fee is included on qualifying orders.
HomeChef also has the option to add on ingredients for smoothies or fresh produce with your delivery. They deliver to about 90% of the country and work with quality suppliers who utilize sustainable food production practices.
- Mushroom Parmesan Penne Pasta with Basil, Tomatoes and Toasted Baguette
- Summer Risotto with Roasted Corn, Pesto, Tomato Vinaigrette and Burrata
- Goat Cheese Crusted Chicken with Carrot Mash and Crispy Potatoes
Home Chef Prices
Mix and match recipes from 11 fresh recipes featuring steak, chicken, pork, fish, vegetarian and more. Select the number of meals per week (2-6) and how many people you are cooking for (2, 4 or 6) then pick your selections.
Prices start at:
- Each meal is $9.95 per serving unless otherwise noted. (Shipping is free for $45+ or $10 if less than $45)
The queen of the kitchen and home entertaining Martha Stewart now has her own meal delivery service to add to her empire. Marley Spoon and Martha Stewart teamed up to prepare seasonal recipes made with the Martha seal of approval.
Similar to Sun Basket, the meals come pre-organized in brown paper bags for easy sorting out of the box. As with many other boxes they have photo step-by-step instructions and recyclable packaging. Their meals are simple, straightforward and make being a domestic diva look easy.
- Beef and White Bean Chili with Whole Wheat Couscous
- Shrimp & Rice Congee with Ginger-Scallion Chili Oil
- Spicy Eggplant Banh Mi with Pickled Carrots and Crunchy Slaw
Martha and Marley Spoon Prices
- 2 people $9.50-$12.00 per serving for (2-4 meals per week)
- 3-4 people $8.20-$9.50 per serving (2-4 meals per week)
All with free shipping.
Get $30 off your first Marley Spoon order when you sign up using this link!
Vegans often have fewer options when it comes to dining. The same is usually true with meal delivery services. Not anymore thanks to Purple Carrot. Each box is 100% vegan with sustainably-sourced vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, as well as healthy fats and lean proteins. We love that Purple Carrot thinks “outside the box” with their recipes and have found them to be fun, filling and flavorful.
The packaging is made from post-consumer waste and is reusable, recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable. Purple Carrot provides free shipping, with delivery on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
Purple Carrot offers three meal plan options: Quick & Easy (30 minutes or less), High Protein and Chef’s Choice (gourmet). Purple Carrot has also partnered with NFL quarterback and vegan Tom Brady to offer another meal option called the TB12 Performance Plan. It is specifically for athletes and people with an active lifestyle in mind (gluten free).
- Toasted Quinoa Stir-Fry with Crispy Sesame Shiitakes & Chinese Chives
- Beluga Lentil Taco with Quick Guacamole & Sun Sprout Slaw
- Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo with Warm Broccolini Radicchio Salad
Purple Carrot Prices
- 3 Vegan meals per week (1-2 people) $12 per plate
- 3 High Performance TB12 meals (gluten-free & vegan) per week (1-2 people) $13 per plate
All with free shipping.
We are not aware of any Purple Carrot coupons at this time.
Are Healthy Meal Delivery Services Worth The Extra Cost?
Without a doubt, healthy and eco-friendly meals delivered to your home can be a little pricy. But considering how much you spend on groceries already, at the end of a busy work day with the kids hungry and wanting a good home-cooked meal fast, it can be worth it if you can work it into your budget. They’re fun for the whole family and get you to experiment with new recipes you would have never otherwise tried or thought of. If you want to learn more about other types of subscriptions services, we’ve also reviewed the best vegan meal delivery boxes and snack boxes too.
What home meal delivery services would you recommend and why?
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