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Meal delivery services have become more and more popular over the last several years, as home cooks and families want to enjoy delicious, nutritious meals, but simply don’t have the time. 

The meal planning, the shopping, the ingredient prep, the actual cooking — it can add up to hours of your week. Meal delivery services help by eliminating some of these steps. 

But with so many meal delivery services out there, how do you find the best meal delivery service for you? Here are 13 options to consider. 

What to Consider When Picking a Meal Delivery Service

Before you start looking for the perfect meal delivery service, you want to consider a few things that might impact your decision. 

What should you consider when picking the best meal delivery service?

You’re going to want to look at… 

  • The overall price of the meal delivery service
  • How many servings/meals you get with each delivery
  • Special diets the meal delivery service provider can accommodate 
  • The amount of time you’ll need to make each meal once it arrives
  • The amount of skill you’ll need to make each meal

All of these factors will play a role in which meal delivery service you ultimately choose. 

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Best Meal Delivery Services for Weight Loss 

Screen shot of meal options

If you’re trying to lose a few pounds before summer, then you may want to look for a meal delivery service that lays off the heavy carbs and sugar. While there are plenty of healthy meal delivery services out there, some are more catered to weight loss than others. 

Bistro MD, for example, is specifically all about meals that help you lose weight. You can choose from meal delivery plans that deliver a week’s worth of food or enough food for just your workweek. Customized programs are also available, as well as programs tailored to male or female dietary needs. 

Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are all offered, and there are a few special diet meal plans that go above and beyond weight loss needs and look at dietary needs for menopause, diabetes and other factors. 

A standard, seven-day meal kit with seven breakfasts, seven lunches and six dinners starts at $142.46. Dinners include yummy options such as salmon with dill mustard sauce and beef with red wine sauce and barley. 

Best Meal Delivery Services for Families

Chicken in red sauce with a salad.

If you’re shopping and cooking for a family, then you’ll have different needs from those of a single individual or a couple. You’re not only cooking for a larger number of people, but you’re also cooking for sometimes pickier palates. 

If your kids prefer frozen pizza and chicken nuggets, but you want to introduce them to a wider array of foods (while not causing any unnecessary work for yourself), you may want to try one of these best meal delivery services for families: Martha & Marley Spoon and One Potato. 

Martha & Marley Spoon is helmed by the queen of domesticity Martha Stewart. The kid-approved meal delivery service offers you 22 recipes to pick through every week. You pick the number of dishes and which dishes you want, and then the meals are delivered to your door, with each meal separated into bags of fresh ingredients. Each recipe requires only six steps and about 30 minutes. 

You can schedule the delivery for a time that works for you each week. Plans include two, three or four dinners per week and start at $6.99 per portion, with four meals per week for four people (this is actually the most affordable option, as the more you buy, the cheaper your per-portion cost). Sample meals include cheesy ravioli and marinara sauce, and baked cheddar and veggie quesadillas. 

One Potato has a similar family focus, but they take things a step further by offering kid-sized portions, perfect if your child never quite finishes their dinner. You select a plan based on your family’s size, with options for families of up to six people. You can receive either two or three dinners per week. 

Each week, you can pick from a variety of available meals to fit your family’s tastes. Sample meals include chicken tamales, burgers and fries and veggie tacos — all guaranteed to be a hit with both kids and adults. Plans start at $77.70 per week. 

Related: Hosting a Dinner Party: 12 Cheap Meals to Cook for the Masses

Best Value Meal Delivery Services

Hello Fresh meal options.

If it’s getting the most for your money that matters to you, and you’re looking for the perfect mixture of price and quality, then you might want to consider one of these highly-rated, overall best meal delivery services. 

You probably already know Hello Fresh. The brand’s meals start at $7.49, which might be one of the reasons why Hello Fresh has become America’s most popular meal delivery service. 

Hello Fresh offers four plan preferences (meat and veggies, veggie, low cal or family-friendly), with options for up to four people and up to four meals per week. Each week, you pick out your meals for the upcoming delivery. 

Recipes vary widely in terms of time required and style, so there’s something for everyone. Options for upcoming weeks range from a slow-roasted citrus trout with a rice pilaf to a chimichurri pork tenderloin with honey-roasted carrots and lime rice. 

Home Chef is similar but offers a few more options for customization. You can upgrade ingredients, swap out ingredients or even double up the amount of protein in a recipe. Ingredients come pre-portioned, and you can pick meals that are meant for the slow cooker or even plans that are ready in 15 minutes. 

Home Chef meals start at $6.99 per person, making them incredibly affordable, especially when you look at the types of meals available. Recent meals include lamb with jalapeño jelly and parmesan chive mashed potatoes, and salmon with roasted red pepper green beans and potatoes. 

If Hello Fresh is the most popular meal delivery service in America, Blue Apron is probably the second-most popular meal delivery service in the country. Kits include perfectly portioned ingredients, pre-prepped, with servings starting at $7.49. 

However, Blue Apron not only delivers food; it also offers monthly deliveries of wine, so that you can skip both your trip to the liquor store and the grocery store. Oh, and do you need some piece of kitchen equipment for a recipe you want to make? They can deliver that, too, from frying pans to meat thermometers. 

Meals come in two or four servings each. Recent meal options include veggie-heavy meals like fried zucchini and mozzarella sandwiches with carrot fries and guacamole, as well as classic favorites like seared chicken with mashed potatoes. 

Best Meal Delivery Services for New Cooks

HungryRoot meal options.

Does all of the above sound a bit intimidating? Even if all of the ingredients do come pre-prepped and pre-portioned, there are just some cooking skills that can take a little bit of practice and when you’re hungry after a long day of work that’s not when you want to get in that practice—learning how to sear a serving of salmon perfectly? You don’t have time for that! 

Here are two of the best meal delivery services for new cooks.

Firstly, Gobble. They take the prep work to the next level. They do all the peeling, chopping and marinating, and every one of their meals comes together in 15 minutes or less. You pick your meals each week, with three meals delivered each week for either two or four people. 

Prices start at $11.99 per portion. Recent meal options have included baked salmon with asparagus and bearnaise sauce, and a citrus shrimp and broccoli stir fry. 

Hungryroot makes eating healthy easy. Instead of delivering only the ingredients you need for meals, Hungryroot can deliver all of your groceries, including individual ingredients from trusted brands that you might need for any cooking or eating you plan to do. The ingredients do come with a selection of recipes, so you’re not at a loss for what to do once you receive your food. You’re able to shop for one, two or three people and deliveries start at $59 per week. 

Recipes are pretty simple — don’t look for gourmet eats here — and come together in 10 minutes. An upcoming meal, for example, might be a plain grain bowl, with the sole four ingredients being a brown rice quinoa blend, seven veggie stir fry, seasoned chicken breast and coconut curry. 

Best Meal Delivery Services for Vegans and Vegetarians

Purple Carrot meal options.

A lot of the meal delivery services above offer vegetarian options (rarely vegan options), but they’re what you might expect from a meal delivery service that doesn’t specialize in vegetarian or vegan foods. They’re a little bit on the simple side. For a meal delivery service that truly celebrates the plant-based lifestyle, look to one of these two best meal delivery services for vegans and vegetarians.

Let’s start with Sun Basket. Sun Basket offers three different plans; one offers oven-ready meals that are cooked in as little as five minutes; one provides pre-prepped ingredients for no slicing, dicing or peeling; and the third option allows the recipient to do most of the prep, but with portioned ingredients. You choose two or more dinners from a weekly lineup, with either two or four servings, starting at $10.99 per serving. Sun Basket offers both vegetarian and pescatarian meals, and, unlike most meal delivery services, smaller portions for lunch and breakfast foods, too. 

What can you expect on the vegetarian menu? Recent options include vegan rainbow quinoa and black bean tacos with guacamole and cabbage slaw, and a vegetarian cauliflower macaroni and cheese.

While Sun Basket does offer some options with meat, Purple Carrot only offers plant-based meals. Choose from two or four servings for two or three dinners per week, with prices starting at $9.99 per serving. If needed, Purple Carrot can not only do vegan meals, but also gluten-free meals, high-protein meals and allergen-free meals. Recent dinners have included penne mushroom florentine with chickpea pasta and toasted walnuts, and Caribbean sweet potatoes with coconut rice and mango salsa. 

Best Meal Delivery Services for Special Diets

Real Plans Options

Sometimes, though, you or another diner in your family has a special diet that goes beyond vegetarianism or veganism. In those cases, you might want to look at one of these best meal delivery services for special diets. 

The low FODMAP diet is highly preferred by those with gastrointestinal issues, including IBS. Epicured offers a special meal delivery service for those following the low FODMAP diet, which restricts a lot of very popular ingredients, such as garlic, onion, gluten and some forms of dairy. You pick out your meals each week, just like a normal meal delivery service, and then you receive already prepared meals that you don’t even have to cook. 

Each serving comes out to about $15. Recent available meals have included chop suey with black bean sauce, lasagna bolognese and roasted turkey with mashed potatoes and green beans. 

Factor 75 meals are good for those with gluten or soy allergies. All meals are gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, free from refined sugars and antibiotic- and hormone-free. Just like with Epicured, meals are already prepared for you, so you just have to heat and eat. 

You can get between four and 12 meals per week, starting at $11.50 per meal. Recent menu items include a breakfast enchilada bake, grilled chicken with goat cheese polenta and a Moroccan vegetable stew. 

If you really want to cook your own meals for a special diet, versus heating and eating, there’s a meal delivery service for you, too. RealPlans offers delivery services for a variety of diets — gluten-free, dairy-free, keto, paleo, Whole30 and more. However, things are a bit different. 

You receive a weekly customized meal plan based on your diet, family size and schedule, and then you can choose to either receive an aisle-based shopping list so you can do your ingredient shopping yourself, or you can have the ingredients delivered via the plan’s integrated Instacart service. So, you’re paying for your ingredients separately from the overall membership, which is $14 per month. 

Once you receive your ingredients, you have to do all the normal prep, portioning and cooking yourself. Meals you might find on your weekly meal plan might include veggie pho or beef stroganoff. There are desserts, too, like creme brûlée and chocolate chip pumpkin bread.

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What’s the Best Meal Delivery Service for You?

Whether you enjoy cooking or just want to eat a good meal a few nights a week without breaking out the pots and pans, you can find what you’re looking for with one of the above best meal delivery services, no matter your diet restrictions, budget or free time!

The 13 Best Meal Delivery Services: 

You might also be interested in: How to Season and Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

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Posted 
Apr 8, 2020
 in 
Health & Wellness
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