As the simple act of shopping and preparing food for dinner becomes harder to squeeze in, a way to help meet consumer needs and change the way we shop and eat has grown: meal-delivery plans.
Meal-delivery services can provide all of the components of a complete meal with step-by-step instructions — delivered right to your doorstep.
Available in a variety of types — from traditional meat and potatoes to vegetarian, gluten free, vegan and even regional specialties — these plans can provide as few as two to three meals up to the full week, with no need to shop. All are shipped with ice packs to keep food safe and cold for many hours.
They’re a fun way to have the whole family (including children) prepare a meal together — and a great introduction to new fruits and vegetables, along with unusual seasonings and spices, to make you and your family adventurous eaters — without leaving home.
Here's a quick review of some popular options:
HelloFresh provides high-quality ingredients and generous portions, with recipes that are generally easy to prepare. The clear, step-by-step instructions get even the newest home chefs up to speed, and the recipe cards are sturdy, so you can refer to your favorite recipes again and again. There are meals for almost any lifestyle, including vegetarian options, low-calorie meals and "quick" recipes that get dinner on the table fast.
Cost: $8.75 to $9.99 per serving, with up to 16 servings per week.
Get fresh, home-cooked food without the hassle of actually cooking. This subscription service delivers comfort foods to your doorstep, and the meals are prepared right before delivery. Never frozen and only requiring minimal reheating, they're nutritious and cost less than many standard takeout options.
3. Blue Apron
Blue Apron is full of fresh ingredients, with traditional or vegetarian options. Like many of the plans, the food is delivered in one big box and the recipe card is separate from the meal ingredients. The variety is good and the recipes are generally easy to prepare.
Cost: $7.49 to $9.99 per serving, with up to 16 servings per week.
EveryPlate offers simpler meals for a lower cost. Users can choose between eight recipes each week, so there isn't a lot of flexibility for different dietary needs, but the recipes are full of flavor and give subscribers generous portions. If you're looking for an affordable way to get into meal kits, EveryPlate is a good option.
Cost: $4.99 per serving, with up to 12 servings per week.
Daily Harvest specializes in delicious smoothies, but the subscription service also offers harvest bowls full of vegetables, oat bowls packed with grains and lattes, among some other options. The meals are packed with fruits and vegetables, making nutrition easy and tasty. Smoothies just require the addition of liquid, so feel free to add your favorite type of milk or water to the blend and get your day started.
Cost: $6.99 per serving, with between nine and 26 servings available. Deliveries can be weekly or monthly.
6. Home Chef
Home Chef is a good choice for those looking for a wide range of options. The service boasts more than 38 options to choose from each week, and includes things like grill packs, one-pan dinners, and oven-ready meals. For those who really want control over their meals, the Home Chef recipes allow you to select the protein in your meal choice. Some options even let you double the protein without having to order double portions, and other selections let you choose between antibiotic-free proteins instead of standard options.
Cost: Starts at $6.99 per serving.