After three years and counting of fending for ourselves in the kitchen during the pandemic, it’s about time to start thinking outside of the box — and into the meal kit box.
Meal kit boxes of recipes and their ingredients can offer the combined powers of mixing things up in the kitchen and crossing off some of those New Year’s resolutions, from wanting to eat healthier to spending less time at the grocery store.
For me, a mid-20-something who has graduated from the microwave and into the culinary world of two or more pots on the stove at a time, I wanted to try out as many meal kits and delivery companies as possible. I started this journey in the last week of December 2020 and since then my meal kit adventure has taken off.
For this 2023 refresh, I tested, re-tested, tasted and built box-forts with 20 meal delivery services and counting, ranging from plant-based to protein-packed, fresh to flash-frozen.
My conclusion? There’s truly a meal kit for everyone, many with exclusive New York Post deals running all the time for new users and specials for true meal kit masters. They range in skill level just as much as they range in dietary preferences, price and serving size to fit every household.
The hard part is just deciding which to try, which is why I tried them all for you first.
Here’s everything you need to know about all the meal kits you’ve been hungry to try.
Use these handy links to jump to a specific meal kit, or scroll down and peruse them all while waiting for your first boxes to ship.
Need help choosing a meal kit? Jump down to the bottom of this article for an FAQ:
Home Chef brings the elements of comfort food and home cooking to your doorstep, with recipes tailored to fit your schedule.
When curating my own box, I imagined all the types of meals I cook in order to go about my day well-fed and on-time. I ended up choosing a classic cooking meal with a 35-minute cook time, a faster 15-minute option and an oven-ready dish for those nights when you can’t bring yourself to do much more than turn on the oven and set the table.
For a taste-test, I went with the happy medium of the three, opting for the 15-minute hoisin pulled pork with jasmine rice. The first note to make is on the notes themselves. The recipe cards were super well-organized, making my type A personality very happy.
After unzipping the correct package for my meal, the cooking process was as easy as promised, clocking in at about 20 minutes due to my slower chopping skills.
The four-part directions were a breeze to read, and also featured photos for those who need a photographic confidence boost to compare their cooking to. The meal itself was flavorful, easy and didn’t taste like a time constrained cook at all.
With new meals offered weekly, choose between regular meal kits, 15-minute meals, easy-prep and oven-ready and extras like a protein pack of meats and fish to supplement a kit or make your own recipes with. Many meals can also be customized with Impossible Foods products, for those who go meat-free without sacrificing taste.
Not only for Thanksgiving, Gobble is the meal kit that serves up generous turkey-day-sized portions no matter the season.
The first thing I noticed about Gobble was just how much fresh produce I received in my order. For the beautiful Italian flat iron steak meal, which is supposedly two servings, I got a huge bag of ripe cherry tomatoes and an entire bundle of green onions. Even though this meal’s side was a creamy polenta, I could have just as well made a side salad of marinated tomatoes with the leftovers. For my miso-baked salmon, I got a giant bag of fresh broccoli and a ton of jasmine rice. During the unboxing alone, it was evident that Gobble values quantity and quality. One last thing that didn’t go unnoticed? The four balls of cookie dough that came with my meal, not that I had any room left in my stomach after the meal to come. A second dessert stomach is a thing, right?
Another thing to note was the smaller, more compact recipe cards. While they are so much easier to save and store in a kitchen drawer than full-sized pieces of paper, they are also a bit more cramped in terms of directions and information. I couldn’t find an estimated cook or prep time like on other company’s cards, and the cooking directions were a bit complicated looking as they follow a more crowded paragraph format.
After gathering salt, pepper and oil, not included in the box, I decided to pick the steak as my meal, as I was making this for a filling dinner after a long day at work (well, work is cooking meal kits, so I can’t complain). While cooking red meat has always been a subject of some fear for me, the steaks were already cut into the two portions, so my hand-to-raw-meat interaction was a breeze, and isn’t bad even for the more squeamish.
Since there wasn’t an estimated time on the recipe card, I set my own timer. The total time for my medium-rare meal came out to 29 minutes and 33 seconds, prep work included. For a full steak dinner that yielded enough for two portions and leftovers of the polenta and veggies, this is the kit for hungry families who want to spend some quality time together in the kitchen.
Commuters, school-lunchers and healthy eaters better listen up.
As someone who spends far too much money at Sweetgreen only to find myself hungry again, finding filling and yummy salads and bowls that I can bring into the office can be a challenge. This is where I think Territory Foods fits in nicely.
The pre-made meals come refrigerated to your doorstep, each made with health in mind, even if you don’t choose the paleo, keto, vegetarian, vegan Whole30, plant-based or low-fat options. They are also all made without gluten or dairy, which is super great for those with allergies in the house.
The coolest part for me, though, was when I took a peek at the packaging and the menu, to find out that my options were actually tailored to my region, partnering with local chefs and restaurants to create the weekly menu of over 35 rotating options. My Ginger Garlic Chicken Salad was not only ready-to-eat and delicious, but was also made by Chef Rachelle Slotnick of Chantilly, VA. While this isn’t as local as running out to my local Brooklyn bodega for produce, I really liked the traceability of the meals.
Also a nod to the packaging, the removable slip contains the calories, protein, fat and carbs of each meal, should you be tracking yours, as well as the eat-by date and the warming instructions (if needed) on the back. The meals themselves do look a bit like cafeteria plates with little Solo-brand dressing containers and all, but for me, I didn’t mind, as they really do remind me of pricey salad fast-casual restaurant meals without the hassle and price.
The last thing that really sets Territory Foods apart is the pricing plan structure. Like many meal delivery companies, they are priced out per meal, starting at $13.95 per meal for the standard plan. However, for those that eat smaller meals or are planning to use this as a fridge-stocking mechanism for snaking, they also offer a Boost Size meal with about 250 to 450 calories, starting at $10.95 per meal.
Sunbasket is truly a ray of sunshine for those who value organic ingredients and getting a healthy and delicious meal on the table.
The meal kit service offers two different types of meals; the traditional cook-it-yourself type with the organic ingredients and recipe cards in the box, and the ready-made kind called Fresh & Ready, where all you need is an oven or a microwave and you’re good to go.
They also cater to almost any type of diet under the sun, offering kits for paleo, vegetarian, pescatarian, clean-eaters, gluten-free, diabetes-friendly and a chef’s choice option for those wanting to expand their culinary horizons. For my box, I decided to do a mix of everything, getting one oven-ready meal that was gluten-free, dairy-free and pescatarian and one regular meal kit to be cooked up.
For the instant option, I was sent a shrimp paella with fire-roasted tomatoes and bell peppers, instantly taking me back to Spain where I tried the dish for the first time. Instead of a bulky pan to cook my paella, I was given a microwave safe container, cutting my cook time to just six minutes total. I was wary of overcooked and rubbery fish with dry rice, but the dish came out moist and delicious, so either I have a magic microwave or the people at Sunbasket knew what they were doing when it comes to microwavable meals.
They have a full breakfast menu with options for different types of eggs, oatmeals, breads and spreads, and even juice, smoothies and a coffee-in-a-can that looks awesome. Moving on to lunch and dinner, they have both the ready-made meals as well as cooking options, a whole section for pastas and sauces, extra protein packs, and of course, snacks. This site had some of the most variety I had seen so far in my meal kit quest, and can 100% be eaten for every meal of the day without getting bored of the selections.
For the traditional meal, I went for their Italian sausage and vegetable skillet with spicy green harissa. This meal was also gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free, and also paleo, and labeled as spicy for those who can’t take the heat. The veggies included all had organic stickers on them, and were fresh and crisp as I was chopping them up. I also noticed that they were full sized, ultimately serving a bit more than the two promised portions.
EveryPlate is another affordable option, this time from the Hello Fresh family. The kit includes recipe cards, fresh produce, meat and fish coming packaged on ice, and a brightly colored box that arrives on your doorstep for no supermarket stops along the way. For less cash than any fast food meal, the options are also healthier, and the produce that came in my box was all fresh and full-sized, overflowing out of the box.
As I was cooking up my chicken sausage tomato soup, I noticed the recipe cards had some other helpful tips to save food waste. There were also plenty of helpful notes to reassure a home chef who is just starting out.
After devouring the soup — a great meal for any winter’s day — I checked out the site to see what other offerings they had. Each week, they lay out 16 different meals to choose from, ranging from chicken, pork, beef to fish and veggie-based. The plans are customizable for your household’s needs, allowing you to order for two or four people, three to five meals per week. The best part is that no matter the combination, each standard meal is still $4.99 per serving.
Martha Stewart can do no wrong — well, at least when it comes to food.
For those that don’t know, you can get pretty close to having Martha as a live-in chef with her meal kit company, Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon. The kit is a traditional one, with 40 recipes loaded onto the site weekly to choose from and fresh ingredients shipped out according to your plan. You can opt for the two-person or the four-person plan and then select the amount of meals you need per week, from just two to six.
I wanted to go all out comfort food, as I knew Martha would be proud of that decision, choosing the Pastrami Spice-Rubbed Steak and the Cheesy Sausage Brunch Bake for something a bit easier. When unboxing the ingredients, I liked how the included recipe cards listed out exactly what I would need, making for easier sorting in my fridge and also to make a mental note of the extras I would need, like butter, oil, vinegar and some household spices. The cards also lists the cooking tools you need, as well as allergens and nutrition per serving.
Because these recipes are from the Martha Stewart, I wasn’t surprised that my cook time of about 35 minutes was slower than her listed time of 25 on the steaks, so if you need to sharpen your knife skills that is more than okay, it just may take a bit longer.
However, I was rewarded for my time and effort, as the steaks were perfectly seasoned with her spice blend and the recipe yielded lovely mashed potatoes and green beans for a very all-American dinner.
If your resolution this year is to cook less but eat healthier, Factor is for you.
A new sister-site to the HelloFresh family, Factor is unlike the rest of its siblings in that no cooking is required — unless you consider using a microwave cooking.
I decided to cook my pumpkin pancakes in the microwave, to see if they really stand up to the chewy-making effect a micro can have on some frozen foods.
The pros: the pancakes certainly weren’t rubbery, and they provided ample butter and syrup, which instantly makes for a great breakfast — or, in my case, a perfectly fine dinner. The cons: even though it was a microwave meal, there are a few sticky steps, such as flipping each (hot) pancake and then making sure the butter is melted all the way through the stack of three cakes. As for the taste, neither a pro nor a con. They definitely tasted like healthier pancakes — butter and syrup helped — and the addition of the nuts on top was a satisfying touch.
To wash it all down, I also grabbed one of the cold-pressed juices — Factor also offers wellness shots in addition to their four juice flavors. The pineapple turmeric basil juice sounded super interesting, and sure enough it was as tasty as it was vitamin-packed. The option to go to my fridge instead of a 9-dollar-a-pop juice shop with a hipster barista is worth it in of itself for me.
In terms of variety, if you’re planning to factor in Factor into breakfast, lunch and dinner, too, you certainly can and not get bored of your options. There’s even dessert options too — the dark chocolate peppermint keto-friendly cheesecake was my personal favorite.
The very best part of this kit for me was the ability to feel like I was having a fancy meal without any of the work. For those truly don’t want to, or don’t have time to cook, the grab, micro, and go method is a definite perk.
Strap on your aprons, it’s time to get cooking with a kit that will make you feel like a master chef in no-time.
Blue Apron was one of the first meal kit companies to hit the market, and it has continued to be ultra popular — for good reason. Their ingredients are full-sized and appeared insanely fresh. I chose the harissa chickpea shakshuka with pita and the pesto chicken pasta as my meals, and received full cans of tomatoes, chickpeas, a whole bag of Brussels sprouts, a full bulb of garlic and the most beautiful large green pepper I’ve seen.
What’s a meal without wine? For those who know little about pairings, and for a home sommelier who wants to try something new, the meal kit service also doubles as a wine guru, offering a wine pairing subscription on their site.
For a healthy and hearty meal, I went with the shakshuka with za’tar pita. As promised on the recipe card, the meal took roughly 30 minutes to prepare, and only used two pans — one for the meal and one to toast the bread, although I’m sure you could use a toaster oven if you have a lack of pans or burners. The shakshuka was a different recipe than I was used to, but thanks to the packet of za’tar seasoning and the fresh mint and feta cheese that came with, it tasted pretty darn close to needing a passport.
The rest of the Blue Apron offerings look to be just as filling and have full-sized ingredients. It’s ideal for feeding a hungry family, or for the culinarily-inclined who like to know exactly what ingredients they are using and from where they came.
Dinner is served, and fast!
We reviewed this kit back in 2020, but sadly since they didn’t yet deliver to Minneapolis, I had a colleague test the meals. This year, it was my new home in Brooklyn that allowed me to try the delicious meals, as they do ship to New York as well as most of the contiguous US states (you can check by entering your area code on the site) from three warehouses in New Jersey, Texas and California.
The thing that sets this meal kit apart is the affordability, as I was shocked to see that portions start at just $4.69, with options for a two-person box or a family-sized box of four portions. You can choose between three and six meals per week, and pick if you want the box to be vegetarian.
As a carnivore myself, I left the box unchecked and ordered three meals, trying to see the full range of options when it came time to cooking, prep and clean-up. I loved to see that many meals only required one pot or pan, while others on the weekly menu are listed as 30-minute meals or meals with no knife required — perfect for cooking with the kids and those with no knife skills.
A few other things I noticed while cooking up my Buffalo Fried Chicken Sandwich was just how fresh the ingredients were, admiring the tiny head of butter lettuce and the soft dinner rolls. This was a 30-minute meal, and it truly was, as I was able to toss the green beans in the oven and work on the chicken at the same time, without feeling stressed or getting too messy.
One thing to note is that the Dinnerly recipe cards are digital, so don’t be alarmed when opening your box and they aren’t there. I personally like this for recycling sake, but it was a bit tricky to not touch my computer with oily hands when trying to scroll to the next step. The plus side is that the recipes live online, so no need to store sticky cards in your bookshelf or try and photocopy for later.
100% plant-based, 100% stands up to the taste-test, too.
Purple Carrot is one of the vegan and vegetarian-friendly meal kit boxes that friends had been telling me to try for a while now, and I’m so glad I did. Though I am a carnivore through and through, I found that Purple Carrot is a great introduction to vegan eating.
When choosing a meal to cook, I knew I wanted something that I loved already in its original meaty form, made vegan, to really put the box to the test. I picked the vegan chick’n and dumplings with oyster mushrooms and green beans, which had a hefty cook time of 40 to 50 minutes, according to the recipe booklet.
After I had chopped everything down to size and foraged for my mushroom heads (well, picked them apart from the woody stems, but it sure felt like foraging) 15 minutes had already ticked by. The rest of the cook was pretty straight forward, used minimal dishes, and came out almost exactly like the photo, albeit a bit more soupy of a sauce.
Did this vegan dupe stand up to comforting chicken and dumplings? Absolutely. And I didn’t feel like taking a food-coma nap afterward since all the ingredients were so light and nutritious. Another pro; everything was included in the box expect salt, pepper and oil, as they made sure to package vegan butter, flour, baking soda and thyme into pre-measured baggies.
For those who do want to eat plant-based for all three meals of the day and then some, the site does offer a lot of different options, changed up every week. On the site now, curate your box with eight different dinner options, two breakfasts, two lunches and six different snacks from an array of vegan companies.
Freshly is the way to go when looking for ready-made meals that heat up in a snap and are substantial enough to satisfy for a lunch or dinner for one.
The pre-made meals come refrigerated on ice, making it easy to store right from the box to your fridge for safekeeping. The meals are single servings, making portion control a breeze as well as prep (there isn’t any) and cleanup (also none).
The site offers a weekly menu of options, ranging from comfort food such as the BBQ and mac and cheese I was about to inhale, to asian-style chicken, turkey meatballs and even a carb-swapping cauliflower bowl. They are sorted into different categories as well, such as Crafted Classics, their Signature Collection and Takeout Twists.
My meal fell under the Crafted Classics umbrella — what is more classic and comforting than a plate of barbecue and creamy mac and cheese? After microwaving for about three minutes, my meal was ready to go and I was transported to the south for some of the most tender barbecued beef. It was hard to believe that this meal was microwaved, as the meat retained all of its moisture and the mac and cheese was delicious, too.
Freshly is the meal service for those who either don’t love to cook or simply don’t have the time, but still love to eat great meals without heading out to a restaurant or grocery store take-out bar.
HelloFresh and hello, easy directions for gourmet-looking meals.
Once you’re ready to cook, each meal is laid out in six easy steps. How they can make both one-pot pasta and a full steak meal into just six steps in beyond me, but it works and makes meals manageable for all skill levels.
I decided to go big or go home with my test cook, choosing a steak with mushroom cream sauce and roasted potatoes and carrots for a Monday night dinner. HelloFresh packages each set of ingredients conveniently into individual brown paper bags. Once unpackaged, I did a quick wash and dry for the produce, and the rest of the meal was pretty straight forward.
I timed the cook, and sure enough it was pretty close to the estimation on the cards — 47 minutes for me for a slightly more well-done steak and an older oven for the crispy potatoes.
Daily Harvest truly means daily, as I happily ate a breakfast, lunch and a dessert in one sitting when diving into my box of frozen meals and snacks.
They keep it simple; everything comes frozen on dry ice (careful with kids if they help with the unboxing process!) and ready to either reheat, blend, or in the case of ice cream, thaw and enjoy. Since there wasn’t much to actually cook, I took a look at their site while my sweet potato and wild rice harvest bowl was heating up in the microwave and my ice cream tempering on the counter. The site has loads of options, ranging from smoothies and lattes for a quick drink or start to the day, followed by oat and chia bowls for breakfast, harvest bowls, flatbreads and soups for lunch or dinner, bites for, well a quick bite, and scoops for dessert, which is Daily Harvest’s name for their non-dairy ice cream.
Their plans range by items, not by servings or meals per week like other companies, which is great for those who don’t abide by traditional meal times, are busy and need quick bites during the day or simply love pre-made but super nutritious meals in a snap.
My sweet potato bowl took about four minutes in the microwave, and I was surprised by how well it turned out. I’d never microwaved avocados or white beans before and was expecting a less-than-savory texture, but was instead given a well-cooked but still fresh tasting meal in under five minuets flat.
All in all, Daily Harvest is a great kit to have on-hand and in-freezer at all times, whether it be as part of your daily routine or a great fall back when waking up late and needing a quick smoothie or bowl or a dinner for the family on busy nights.
Splendid Spoon is a top pick for those who can’t be bothered with pots and pans but value healthy and tasty plant-based meals and drinks.
The company is less meal kit and more delivery option for nutrient-packed soups, bowls, smoothies and wellness juice shots. When setting up my account, the first thing to make note of was just how many options for breakfast, lunch and dinner there are. There are currently 31 different bowls and soups, six varieties of noodles, five lighter “reset” soups for diet days, three wellness shots, and 16 flavors of smoothies. I’d say a combination for every day of the week, but there are so many more than that.
In unboxing, one quick thing to remember is that there is dry ice that comes on top of your order, so make sure to have an adult unpack and dispose of the ice.
As for the meals, the smoothies and wellness shots can be thawed in the fridge or enjoyed as an icy treat. I chose the latter for my mango guava smoothie due to my impatience, and it was a refreshing option that I sipped on during this whole review, and eventually melted into a drinkable smoothie. The wellness shots are more like a few sips, but great as an ice cube or a liquid — up to you. The soups, however, should be reheated in my opinion and can be warmed in the microwave, as the bowls they come in are micro-safe and BPA-free. Can I hear it for no dishes?
Clean eating has never been easier with Sakara Life calling the shots for every meal of the day.
The plant-based and nutrition-focused meal delivery service is one that can really revamp the way you eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. The meals each come in a take-out style container, with a sticker indicating when I should eat the meal right down to the time and day of the week. Don’t tell, but for this test, I pulled out a Saturday breakfast and a Friday dinner, just to see the range of offerings… and because I needed to know what a pink poppy seed muffin looked like, even though it was 6 p.m.
The best part for me was the portability and ease of the whole thing, especially as someone who skips breakfast or opts for a muffin when running late.
While heating my dinner bowl, a Sakara burger with chili cashew creme, I decided to browse the site to see what sort of plans they offered. For those that want to try out a weekly meal plan but are a bit timid, they do have a one-week trial to test the waters. If you like it, you can set up a reoccurring subscription and have Sakara Life meals all week long, your choice as to which meals of the day and for how many days. Bonus points for being super customizable, as some may want just a few days a week and others an entire fridge of pre-planned meals for their three squares.
With my burger bowl, after incorporating the cashew creme and the other garlicy dressing, I do have to say that while not a burger in my meat-eating eyes, this was one of the best salads I have had — ever. I’m always wary of salads that come pre-made, as it is always a game of dodging wilted lettuce and mushy greens. Even though this bowl was shipped to my door, everything was crunchy and fresh, no wilted leaves in sight.
If you find yourself rooting around your kitchen all day for meals and snacks, Hungryroot may be the best choice for you.
When I first signed up to make my profile, I was taken through a fun, almost Buzzfeed-style quiz that had me pick and choose my favorite types of foods and think about my eating habits. Being honest with myself, I was sure to check the boxes for liking sweets and snacking, skipping breakfasts and adding snacks to my dinners. At the end of the quiz, you are presented with a customized plan of meals and servings, as well as the option to add on breakfasts, snacks and sweets.
While some of the food is Hungryroot brand, such as the veggies, pasta, meat and rice, some of the other items, including snacks, deserts and even the buns for my burgers, were from other unique brands. This was actually really cool to see, as by ordering one box, I was exposed to new products that I can now go out and but on their own when I run out — looking at you, Pipcorn cheese balls!
I chose to cook a Hungryroot brand spinach feta turkey burger on an Ozery OneBun multigrain bun with Hungryroot avocado crema. The burgers came in pre-formed, pre-cooked patties, and were super easy to pan sear while the buns toasted, all in all totaling about 10 minutes total for a healthy and hearty lunch. The burger itself was delicious, and something I would seek out in a grocery store to buy again.
While this particular meal was on the easy side, while browsing the site I was happy to see a whole range of options, including groceries to have in the fridge, which I found to be super unique and well-needed in the traditional meal kit space.
This company is great for those who have a culinary mind and like cooking their own recipes but also like trying new ones, especially with healthy ingredients and fun new products. Plus, it saves a trip to the grocery store and scrambling to plan a weekly menu on the spot.
The green cousin of Hello Fresh, Green Chef stands out as a traditional meal kit with better-for-you options. When researching all the kits on the market, I noticed that Green Chef offered the first Keto options for those on the fad diet trend. Now, they offer an array of other options too, from vegetarian to plant-based to good old fashioned carnivore.
Another highlight is the allergen-friendly notes on the cards, as there are indications on each ingredient that say if it could trigger an allergy, for example an “SH” next to the shrimp and an “S” next to the sesame sauce for those with a soy allergy.
I went with the sesame shrimp noodle bowls from their gluten-free menu, which claimed to take 25 minutes to cook. The cooking itself stood up to the pretty picture on the recipe card, and so did the cook time; a great sign for those who only have a half-hour lunch break or don’t want to cook for hours only to eat in minutes. The kit came with everything I needed, sans salt, pepper and cooking oil, so make sure you have those on hand.
You don’t need to puzzle over this one, as we’ve put it all together for you. Mosaic is another frozen meal delivery service that sends breakfast, lunch and dinner to your door and can be reheated in the microwave in five minutes or less for a quick and healthy meal.
To build your plan, Mosaic operates on an à la carte basis, with a minimum order of $70 and free shipping on orders over $100. I personally love this style, as it helps to eliminate food waste and saves room in the freezer for exactly what you want.
When filling your cart, choose from Veggie Bowls for lunches and dinners, Oat Bowls for breakfasts, Soups for a great snack or meal and Mosaic+ meals for something a bit more gourmet to spice things up. Each category is priced out differently, but you can mix and match to reach your minimum box order. Furthermore, deliveries are super easy to customize, as you can get a recurring box every week, every two weeks or every four weeks, with the option to pause or cancel should you be out of town.
For my trial box, I ordered a few things from each category but decided on soup and some noodles for lunch. The directions were pretty straightforward, as all you need is a microwave and about five minutes of patience before food is served. The soup took an initial five minutes and then an additional two, as per the instructions, so be sure to read the packaging for the exact cooking time.
After the glorious sound of my microwave’s ding, I enjoyed the Spicy Dan Dan Noodles and a cup of Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup. I actually had leftovers because it was so filling — always a pro when it comes to plant-based foods.
If you’re in the market for a “new year, new you” style of healthy eating but don’t know where to start, Fresh Meal Plan is it.
Especially with diets like keto and paleo becoming all the rage, this meal plan is one of the best to cater to those diets while also being surprisingly filling. I am always a skeptic when it comes to pre-packaged salads and fresh greens, but when my order arrived I was pleasantly presented with a super fresh and crunchy Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad that I ate a few days after receiving my box.
The flexibility of this meal delivery system is also something to note, as you can order meals a la carte for $12.99 per meal or you can subscribe to the service and save up to 23% depending on your package. They offer six, 10 or 14 meals per week, with prices between $9.99/meal and $11.99/meal, still a dollar less than the a la carte option. They last up to 10 days in the refrigerator, so stocking up is definitely an option.
I wanted to try a full day’s worth of meals, so I also tried the All American Keto Breakfast, which had eggs, bacon, sausage and a berry compote — no toast though, hence the keto diet. I opted for the microwave and while the bacon was perfectly crispy and sausage heated all the way through, I should have reheated the eggs differently. Also note to remove the dressing and sauce containers under the plastic film before microwaving, as I narrowly avoided a very melty and messy situation.
As stated above, I fell in love with the filling and fresh Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, which also happened to be keto, including the creamy dressing included on the side. I loved how this was a true ready-made meal, with no heating or even re-plating required. If you spend too much time and money on take-out health food or the Whole Foods salad bar, this is the kit for you.
RealEats provides real, fresh food and a really fresh new way to heat and eat, too.
This service is another ready-made one, but with a cool sous vide style of cooking. When I got my box of meals, I was immediately intrigued by the packaging, as each meal was vacuum sealed into individual plastic baggies, separating the main course with any sides or sauces that come with the meal in their own bag. This was super cool and also great for storage space in the fridge and freezer, since they don’t come in a bulky box, but a bit heavy on plastic waste if that is something that bugs you.
I started with breakfast and set a pan of water to boil for my Hearty Roasted Breakfast Hash. I have never boiled my breakfast before, but after six minutes in the water, I removed with tongs as instructed on the label and carefully cut the baggy to reveal my meal. It was cooked all the way through and seasoned well, the only challenge being not burning my fingers when plating right from the water.
While my next meal of Dijon Mustard Steak was busy boiling (still so cool and so weird!) I took a look at the menu and saw they offer a wide variety of weekly meals, mostly for meat-eaters but with some choices for keto-dieters and a few vegetarian options, too. They also offer soups, chili, sides, greens, drinks, smoothies and a la carte snacks in addition to their meals and even options to add individually packaged cuts of meat like chicken, steak, fish and more to enhance your box.
There is also flexibility in the type of plan you choose, with options for four meals per week, six, eight or 12. You can also toggle the “add breakfasts” option to add the same amount of breakfast meals to your plan, which also affects the price per meal. Keep in mind, these are all single serve, which is perfect for single-person households or as a great way to bring meals on the go, so long as you have a microwave or a pot of boiling water handy.
|Home Chef||$8.99+||Free over $45||Most all diets, vegetarian, carb-conscious, calorie-conscious|
|Gobble||$11.99+||Free on first box, then $8.99||Most all diets, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free|
|Territory Foods||$13.95+||$7.95+||Most all diets, paleo, Keto, plant-based, vegetarian, vegan, Whole 30, low fat, low carb|
|Sunbasket||$9.99+||Free on first box, then $7.99||Most all diets, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, added sugar free|
|EveryPlate||$4.99+||$9.99||Most all diets, vegetarian.|
|Martha & Marley Spoon||$8.69+||$11.99||Most all diets, low calories, dairy-free, low carb, vegan, vegetarian|
|Factor||$10.99+||$9.99||Most all diets, Keto, low calorie, vegetarian, vegan|
|Blue Apron||$7.99+||$9.99||Most all diets (and wine!), vegetarian, WW friendly, diabetes friendly|
|Dinnerly||$4.99+||$11.99||Most all diets, low calorie, low carb, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free|
|Purple Carrot||$11.99+||Free on first box, then $10||Plant-based/vegan|
|Freshly||$9.58+||$9.99+||Most all diets, gluten-free, dairy-free, plant-based, carb-smart, calorie-conscious|
|HelloFresh||$8.99+||$9.99||Most all diets, vegetarian, vegan, carb-smart, calorie-smart|
|Daily Harvest||$5.99+||Free||Plant-based, organic|
|Splendid Spoon||a la carte pricing||Free on orders over 10 meals||Plant-based, gluten-free, non GMO|
|Sakara Life||$25/day+||Price varies||Plant-based|
|Hungryroot||$65+ per delivery||Free on orders over $70, $6.99 otherwise||Groceries; most all diets|
|Green Chef||$11.99+||$9.99||Most all diets, Keto, paleo, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian.|
|Mosaic Foods||$8.99+||Free on subscriptions of 12 items or more||Vegan and vegetarian|
|Fresh Meal Plan||$10.49+||Price varies||Most all diets, Keto, paleo, vegan, lean|
|RealEats||$9.44+||$9.99||Most all diets, plant-based, vegetarian, vegan, Keto, low-calorie, wheat-free, dairy-free|
What is the difference between a meal kit and a meal delivery service? Well, this one is a bit tricky, as both are included in this roundup and there is some overlap. A meal kit is usually a subscription-based program that sends ingredients and recipes to your home. A meal delivery service may be the above, or be pre-cooked meals or grocery items in addition or instead of ingredients for a specific meal.
Do you need to subscribe to the meal kit? Most of the time, yes! Usually a subscription is needed to try the meals, however, some companies also have a marketplace that sells items a la carte.
How often do offerings and menus change? Typically, sites will switch up their meal offerings on a weekly basis
Do I have to be a good cook to use a meal kit? No! Meal kits come in many different skill levels, from simply microwaving to more intensive chopping and cooking. They can also be a great way to learn how to cook and teach children.
Diet: Pay attention to the dietary options each service caters to, from vegetarian and vegan to Keto and paleo.
Household Size: Count the number of people in your family and then account for how much they eat to best calculate how many servings you need to feed everyone. Some kits detailed above have larger portions, while others are single serve only.
Budget: Meal kits and services have a wide range of prices. Some offer free shipping while others have a minimum spend, and other specialty or health-related plans may cost more.
Time: Think about how long you want to be cooking for each night. Some meals require 30 or more minutes to cook, not including cleaning up. Others are microwavable and thus don’t require clean up time, either.
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