There’s nothing quite like a delicious, healthy home-cooked meal, but sometimes the hassle of grocery shopping and following complicated recipes can leave you heading for the drive-thru for another fast food dinner. Luckily for you, help is on the way.
With meal kit delivery services, you receive pre-packaged meals that are broken down into their individual ingredients and come with easy to follow recipes. Even if you’re a stranger to the kitchen, you can throw together fantastic meals that’ll have you forgetting about those pizza delivery magnets on the fridge.
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 product 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 company offers more of the options that you need.
We all know that our day-to-day lives can be unpredictable at times. When looking for a meal plan, try to make sure that the plan is flexible. Find one that will let you freeze the plan certain weeks, or cancel orders or your membership at any time.
By signing up for a home meal kit delivery service you can take part in one of the most dynamic and interesting developments in home cooking. You’ll find new recipes to inspire your culinary creativity and boost your confidence in the kitchen, and also you’ll save yourself some of the hassle of having to come up with new recipes each week.
Which one is the best option? That depends mainly on you - what type of dietary needs you have and the budget and menu options that are best for you. Take some time to browse through these top meal kit companies and you’ll be whipping up some delicious home cooking in no time.
*The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan.