Meal delivery services are the perfect solution when you want a high-quality meal but find meal planning stressful. They’re also a fantastic option when you don’t have much time to cook.
The number of meal kits and prepared meal delivery services has exploded in the past few years, meaning there’s more choice than ever. This is great, but it also makes it challenging to find the right one! If you’ve been thinking about trying a meal delivery service for the first time, check out some of the best services around and why we like them, plus the pros and cons of meal kits and meal delivery services.
Pros and Cons of Meal Kits
If you’re on the fence about trying out meal delivery services, here are some advantages and disadvantages of meal kits to consider to help you decide.
|Takes the stress out of meal planning. With meal delivery services, meal planning becomes as easy as choosing your recipes and waiting for a box to show up at your door!||Food stays fresh for five days on average. Meal kits might not work for you if you’re not reliably home to cook in the days after they’re delivered. Although many meal kits offer some delivery flexibility to better suit your schedule.|
|You’ll get high-quality, fresh ingredients for healthy meals. Everything’s included except a few staples like oil, salt, and pepper.||Meal kits and pre-made meals may be processed in facilities that could allow cross-contamination. If severe allergies are a concern, be extra cautious.|
|No food waste! With meal delivery services, you don’t have extra food that’s likely to go uneaten and tossed out.||Meal kits may not be ideal for very large families. They typically send food for 2, 4, or 6 people.|
|Meal kit recipe cards show you what to do, step by step, to create restaurant-worthy dishes right in your own kitchen – even if you don’t consider yourself a great chef.||Meal kits tell you exactly what to do. While for some people this is a major plus, it could be a downside for chefs who love to be freewheeling and experimental in the kitchen.|
Are Meal Delivery Services Cheaper than Dining Out?
Is it cheaper to get a meal delivery service or to eat out? It depends on what kind of restaurant you choose, of course, with high-end restaurants costing significantly more per person than even the most expensive meal delivery service.
But even “fast-casual” restaurants like Panera, Chipotle, and Five Guys will cost you an average of $12 per person, which is more than the average price per serving at $10 for the meal kits and services on this list. And the most affordable meal kits on this list start at $4.99 per serving, which is even less than the average $6 meal at a fast food joint like McDonald’s or Wendy’s.
Verdict: In short, meal delivery services are often cheaper than dining out.
6 Meal Kits to Try
Which meal kit service should you try? It can be hard to choose, but each brings something a little (or a lot) different to the table. (Pun intended!) Here are our picks for great meal kit delivery services to try, and a little info about what makes them different from the others.
The meal delivery services below send either pre-prepared, ready-to-heat meals and/or fresh, pre-portioned ingredients in just the amounts you need to make a home-cooked meal in about 30 minutes. A flat shipping fee of around $9.99 per box is standard.
HelloFresh is one of the most popular meal kit delivery companies. It currently offers several types of recipes to accommodate a variety of preferences: Family-Friendly, Fit & Wholesome, Quick and Easy, Pescatarian, Meat & Veggies, and Veggie.
Cost: $7.99-$9.99 per serving, plus shipping
Serving Size: Select a kit for 2 or 4 people and between 2-6 recipes per week
Number of Weekly Meals: HelloFresh has 30+ options each week to cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, and more.
Best for: Meal kit newbies. HelloFresh is a great all-around meal delivery kit at a good price with a wide variety of people-pleasing meals to choose from. If you’ve never had a meal kit before, HelloFresh is a great place to start!
22 Free Meals + Free Shipping + 3 Surprise Gifts
Home Chef is another great meal kit service that offers a wide variety of choices to make cooking at home fun, fast, and delicious!
Cost: from $7.99 per serving, plus shipping
Serving Size: Select a kit for 2, 4, or 6 people and between 2-6 recipes per week
Number of Weekly Meals: Home Chef has 25+ options each week to choose from
Best for: Cooks who want options. In addition to dinnertime meal kits, Home Chef also has add-on options for breakfast, dessert, and protein bundles, plus its Customize It tool lets you upgrade, swap, or double the protein in your recipes. And if 30 minutes to prepare a meal is too long, try Home Chef’s Express Meal kits, which are fresh meals you can prepare in just 15 minutes, or its selection of fully cooked, pre-prepared Heat & Eat dishes.
New Customers: 75% off First Box + 60% off Box 2 and 3 Fresh and Easy Meals
Green Chef differentiates itself from other meal kit services with its focus on healthy meals made with sustainable, organic ingredients. It offers recipes suitable for Keto + Paleo, Gluten Free, Fast & Fit, Mediterranean, Vegan, and Vegetarian diets.
Cost: $11.99-$13.49 per serving, plus shipping
Serving Size: Select a kit for 2, 4, or 6 people and 3 or 4 recipes per week
Number of Weekly Meals: Green Chef has 30 options to choose from each week.
Best for: Ingredient-conscious cooks. Green Chef’s ingredients are high quality, certified organic, and contain no GMOs, pesticides, or antibiotics. It’s also suitable for people who can’t eat gluten: Green Chef was the first national meal kit to get the Gluten-Free Food Service certification from the Gluten Intolerance Group for some (not all) of its recipes, meaning that cross-contamination is not a worry.
$250 Off + Free Shipping
EveryPlate offers affordable options for singles, couples, and even busy families. Their menu includes meat and veggie, vegetarian, family-friendly, quick and easy, and low-calorie offerings. Although EveryPlate is budget-friendly, you can also order premium meals at a higher cost when you feel fancy.
Cost: Meals start at $4.99 per serving plus shipping.
Serving Size: Select a kit for 2 or 4 adult servings. (The four-serving kit may serve families larger than four if you have little mouths to feed.)
Number of Weekly Meals: EveryPlate has 25 menu items to choose from each week.
Best for: Budget-conscious cooks who are in a hurry. If you’re budget-conscious, feeding a family, and you’re short on time, EveryPlate is a fantastic option. Not only are meals affordable, but EveryPlate makes it possible for you to get meals on the table in just six steps. Their recipes tend to be beginner-friendly and take no time at all to prepare.
Try EveryPlate at $1.49/meal on 1st box + 20% off next 2 boxes!
We get it – sometimes you just don’t have time to cook. Factor to the rescue! Factor claims to “take the stress out of healthy living” by delivering fully prepared, nutritious meals that you simply heat and eat. (And if you’re on a keto diet, you can get ketogenic meals, too!)
BONUS: Factor meals are fresh, never frozen.
Cost: Meals cost $11-15. The more meals in your weekly plan, the lower the individual meal cost.
Serving Size: Each meal serves one adult.
Number of Weekly Meals: Choose from 35 meals each week.
Best for: Time-challenged people who value nutrition Factor will help you eat nourishing meals without the hassle of grocery shopping or meal prep.
Get 60% Off Your First Box!