What’s better than a fresh home-prepared dinner? Forget the burden of shopping for food and hard-to-follow recipes that leave you calling for takeout. Fortunately for you, We’ve made it easy to find a tastier, healthier, and convenient alternative.
Meal kit delivery services give you pre-packaged dinners separated with individual ingredients and servings sizes with easy to follow instructions. If you’re a stranger to the kitchen, no worries, meal kits make it super easy to put together delicious dinners that will make ordering takeout a thing of the past.
Top Meal Kit Value and Rated Best for Convenience
✔ What’s in the box? – 2-6 meals, 2,4 or 6 servings each
✔ Dietary needs – Vegetarian, soy-free, dairy-free and more
✔ Pricing – $7.99 or $9.95, per serving
Home Chef offers a “taste profile” to match dinners most appropriate to you. Every week Home Chef offers 18 distinct dishes to choose from, including brisk, 5-minute meals and entrées, additionally, Home Chef offers add-ons like smoothies. Also, there are selections for a wide range of dietary needs, including nut-free, gluten, and dairy-free. Home Chef meal options are simple and require little to no preparation. To speed some of the cooking times, some ingredients for select meals even show up pre-cooked, this saves a ton of time in the kitchen!
As the name proposes Home Chef’s meals do have a friendly vibe to them, which means they’re not excessively outlandish or daring, this may be a con to some of the more adventurous cooks. That being said, Home Chef definitely delivers their promise to spare you time, less waste, and unite families and friends around the dinner table with great food.
|✔Helps you build a “taste profile” to match you with recipes||x Limited range|
|✔Convenience of 5-minute lunches||x Simplistic recipes|
|✔Lets you choose meals a month in advance|
Best for convenience
✔Whats in the box – 3-5 meals, 2 or 4 days per week
✔Special diets – Vegetarien-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free
✔Price – $7.87 or $8.99, per serving
HelloFresh is one of the easiest and most convenient meal kit delivery services. With straightforward recipes and pre-portioned ingredients, all of its meals are done and dusted in 6 steps or less, allowing you to sit down and enjoy your dinner within 30 minutes. What’s more is that the convenience doesn’t end with the meals: HelloFresh’s website is extremely user-friendly, and modifying, cancelling or reactivating a subscription is as easy as pie.
There are 3 different meal plans: the Classic Box, Family Box and Veggie Box, with 17 recipes overall but a somewhat limited choice for the vegetarian option. However, if you’re an omnivore, there is plenty of variety, with an array of proteins, fresh produce and grains. Dishes range from zucchini flatbread to lobster ravioli and Korean beef Bibimbap, offering something to suit everyone’s tastes. Plus there’s a recommended wine pairing with each recipe, which we felt was a nice touch.
The diversity of meal plans may not be as great as other meal kit delivery services but the quality, ease and convenience of HelloFresh is second to none
|✔Fresh ingredients||xFresh ingredients need to be used in a timely fashion|
|✔Simple and time-efficient recipes||xSmaller, less diverse menu|
|✔Easy to manage subscriptions|
Organic, clean eating
✔Whats in the box – 2-4 meals, 2-4 servings each
✔Special diets – Vegan, quick and easy, lean and clean and many more
✔Price – $10.99 – $11.99, per serving
If you’re looking for innovative, healthy, tasty and sustainable meals, then Sun Basket is undoubtedly the service for you. The company caters to a variety of diets, including vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free and pescatarian, with 18 different recipes to choose from each week for all of its special plans.
Developed by award-winning San Francisco chef Justine Kelly, Sun Basket’s menus showcase ingredients and flavors from around the world. You may be eating Okinawa flaked tuna and egg stir-fry with arugula-mango salad one night, and Tex-Mex chicken fajitas with sweet-pepper tomato salsa the next. But while seductive and exotic, the recipes are neither gimmicky nor overly complex, but rather they are simple to follow and easy to prepare.
The variety of meal plans and dishes as well as the high-quality of ingredients and focus on sustainability sets Sun Basket apart from many of its competitors. There is a higher price tag for this premium product, but when it comes to interesting, easy-to-make meals and clean, organic eating, Sun Basket won’t let you down.
|✔Organic ingredients||xMore expensive than other services|
|✔Chef driven menus|
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 produce 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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