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Just a few years ago, there were only a couple of meal delivery services out there. At that time, they were pretty expensive, and they only delivered to major cities. My, how things have changed!
Now a simple search for meal delivery boxes results in pages and pages of these convenient, time-saving services. Better yet, they’re now available just about everywhere and cater to just about any dietary need and budget level. While that’s great news, more is not always merrier. With so many options, how do you choose? And which meal delivery service is best?
Well, that depends on what you like to eat, whether you love to cook or hate it, and how much money is in your budget, among other things. In short, there’s no one, best meal delivery box. To make your choice a little easier, here’s a rundown of which services excel in every category.
One of the biggest complaints about meal delivery services is the price. For the cost-conscious at-home chef, there’s Dinnerly. Compared to $10 per person per meal, the company’s $5 per meal (not including shipping) price tag is quite the deal. The best part? You still get fresh, premium ingredients. The company saves money by keeping a set menu and buying in bulk. They also occasionally repeat meals. Recipes are delivered digitally, have only five steps, and take less than half an hour to prepare.
Best for Weight Loss
If you want diet-specific options that can help you lose weight, look no further than Sun Basket. On top of their “lean and clean” option, which provides meals designed for people who want to manage their weight, the company offers a variety of healthy options. Options range from paleo, gluten-free, and Mediterranean to vegan, vegetarian, and diabetes-friendly. Of course, easy-to-read nutrition information makes it easy to use the meal plans alongside popular programs like Atkins and Weight Watchers.
Blue Apron is the company that started it all. They were the first company to pack and ship fresh ingredients and accompanying recipes, offering busy executives, couples, and families a convenient alternative to ordering out. Being the most experienced player in the industry has its perks. They have the logistics down pat, and they consistently deliver exactly what you want in a meal — quality ingredients and a variety of easy-to-prepare meals. Plus, they now have wine!
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While many meal kits use single-use plastic and styrofoam, you can feel good about ordering from Terra’s Kitchen. The company not only delivers high-quality food that is easy to prepare and delicious to consume, they have engineered an eco-friendly packaging and delivery system. Your meal will arrive in a reusable delivery vessel that can be reused up to 100 times. (They clean and sanitize them between each use.) Food is kept cold with water-filled, reusable ice packs, and ingredients are packed in reusable and recyclable containers.
Best for Large Families
Another challenge with choosing a meal delivery service is finding one that can feed the whole family. From steak and potatoes to meatloaf to pasta, the family meal plan from HelloFresh provides everything you need to prepare family-style meals that kids and adults will love. Like the rest of their meal plans, all of the ingredients are packed and shipped right to your home. However, these meals are specially-designed to save you a few dollars per serving, making them a more affordable option for bigger families.
Best Prepared Meals
While these boxes make it easy to prepare your own meals, there’s one that makes it even easier to eat healthy. Sign up with Freshly, and choose to receive between four and 12 fresh, ready-to-eat meals each week. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner options you choose will be shipped cold, but not frozen, so all you have to do is heat and eat. And, at $9 to $13 per serving, it’s no more expensive than grabbing a meal from a restaurant.
Easiest to Prepare
For the complete beginner, even the step-by-step instructions included with some meal kits may be overwhelming. If you’re not sure what the difference between “sear” and “saute” is, Home Chef might just be the service for you. The company touts their recipes as easy to follow, and includes tips and tricks with each one to help guide you as you prepare and cook your meal.
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Best for Vegetarians and Vegans
Purple Carrot delivers plant-based meals in an effort to “improve health, our environment, and animal welfare.” High-protein meal options will ensure you get all of the protein you need without the added impact on your health or the planet. Vegetarian and vegan athletes might try the company’s TB12 Performance Menu, developed with professional quarterback, Tom Brady.
Most Kid Friendly
It’s no secret that kids are tough to cook for, but One Potato has your back with organic, family-friendly meals. Meals are based on the founder’s very own recipes, and pricing is based on the number of adults and children in your household. Ingredients are pre-chopped, and the process is designed for kid involvement. Last but not least, each kit comes with slice-and-bake cookie dough.
At $12 to $18 per serving, PeachDish is more expensive than most other meal kits out there. Why? The company, which typically focuses on homestyle, southern cooking, offers premium options, like mustard-glazed Alaskan sockeye salmon, Sean Brock’s cornmeal-fried pork chops, and grass-fed sirloin. And don’t forget dessert! You can order a pumpkin, apple, or Kentucky bourbon pecan pie with your kit.
Even with these tips, it may be difficult to decide which meal delivery service is right for you. But don’t worry, there’s good news. Most of these companies offer you a discount to try their version of the service, so you can try them all and find the one that works best for your eating style, budget level, and convenience needs.