Unlike traditional meal kits, which require a modicum of prep and cooking, prepared meals arrive at your home fully made. That means none of the cutting, chopping, measuring, and straining that leaves you with lost time and a sink full of dirty dishes. Most prepared meals require just a few minutes in the oven before they’re ready to eat. And with today’s prepared meal companies offering everything from all-natural and vegetarian and vegan entrees to weight-loss friendly plans, this convenient alternative makes no sacrifices when it comes to health and flavor.
Unlike our main rundown of the best meal-kit delivery services, this list focuses solely on those that provide fully prepared meals. We’ve rounded up the top 10 prepared meal delivery services to help you narrow down your choice.
A Closer Look at Our Top 10 Prepared Meal Delivery Services
Fresh, never-frozen gluten-free delights
Freshly, as you may have guessed from the name, doesn’t include any frozen food—all meals are prepared using fresh, all natural ingredients (and thus, have a fridge shelf-life of about 4-5 days). You can choose from a rotating menu of 30 meals per week, so there’s plenty of variety and little chance of getting bored with your food. Freshly is a premier gluten-free meal delivery service and its meals are prepared in a peanut-free environment and contain no refined sugars. If there are other foods that you want to avoid, you can customize your meal plan to exclude dairy, eggs, pork, turkey, fish, soy, and more.
- Fresh, healthy meals delivered to your door
- Rotating menu of 30 meals per week
- All meals are gluten-free and peanut free
- No desserts or snacks available
- Doesn’t offer paleo, keto, or other special meal plans
Heat-and-eat vegan and vegetarian entrees
Veestro is a highly attractive meal delivery service option for vegans and vegetarians, people who want to embrace clean eating and paleo, or flexitarians who want to include more plant-based foods in their diets. Veestro’s meals are organic and non-GMO, with more than 50 breakfast, lunch, and dinner options to choose from.
- Over 50 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to choose from
- All meals are plant-based, making it a great vegan and paleo option
- Free shipping for meal plans
- One-time order option is expensive
- No poultry, meat, or dairy
MD-approved, chef-prepared weight-loss meals
If you want to lose weight but don’t have time or energy to prepare nutritious meals, BistroMD is an alternative worth considering. Developed by a physician, this meal delivery service is designed to assist weight loss and create healthy eating habits. And of course, it’s delicious as well. While the nutritional content is created by doctors, the food is prepared by professional chefs, and there are over 150 meals to choose from each week, which arrive at your door fully prepared.
- Meals are designed by a physician to enable weight loss
- Over 150 meal choices each week
- Specialty plans available, like gluten-free and diabetic-friendly
- Additional shipping costs
- 5-day/week minimum meal program
Healthy meals packed with flavor
There is something satisfying about receiving healthy food delivered to your doorstep, especially when the meals come from MagicKitchen. This food delivery service prides itself on using USA-sourced ingredients, cooking without preservatives, and creating healthy choices for different audiences. MagicKitchen meals are prepared in small batches, then flash-frozen to preserve freshness.
- Options for single servings, full meals, and full meal programs
- Healthy meals with no preservatives, made from USA-sourced ingredients
- Huge variety of food options, including specialty meal plans
- Shipping isn’t free
- No set prices; the cost is determined based on the meals you choose
5. Fresh & Easy
Oven-ready classics to save you time and money
Fresh & Easy is a little different than the other services on this list. It delivers all of the ingredients you need washed, cut, and portioned as well as the pots and pans you need to cook them in, though unlike other prepared meal services, cooking is still required. That’s a cinch, however: meals are delivered complete with oven- and grill-ready dishes so that you can just pop the ingredients inside, heat up your meal, and enjoy the fruits of your own stove without having to deal with the aftermath of a dirty sink. A new service by meal-delivery veterans Home Chef, Fresh & Easy states its goal in its name: to make it even easier for people short on time but big on health to have access to fresh, home-cooked meals.
- Oven- and grill-ready dishes included
- No cutting or prep work necessary
- New service from Home Chef
- Limited menu options
- Meals are not ready to eat
Healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner in minutes
Freshology, a part of Diet-to-Go, has been offering weight-loss meal plans for more than 25 years, though it continues to find new ways to help its customers reach their health goals. Today, it’s expanded its reach with meal plans that cater to vegetarians, diabetics, and Keto dieters. The meals themselves are designed and prepared by chefs with the help from in-house dieticians and nutritionists. Every week customers can choose from a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options that range from kale and swiss frittatas to turkey burgers and chicken pesto salads. All meals are delivered straight to your door ready to eat in 2-3 minutes.
- Meals ready to eat in 2-3 minutes
- Support from dieticians and health coaches
- Veggie, diabetic, and keto menus available
- No dessert options
- Falls on the pricier side
Globally inspired meals ready to eat
HomeBistro uses premium meats as the centerpieces for globally inspired, to-your-door meals that can be prepared in minutes. Entrees such as Mediterranean chicken with orange honey sauce, pecorino turkey kabobs, and Spanish cod with tapenade are thoughtfully sourced and flanked by Mediterranean sides such as Greek yogurt, Israeli couscous, and Tunisian cauliflower. HomeBistro offers a revolving menu that offers a wide variety of flavors and proteins from different regions.
- No commitments necessary
- Paleo, heart-healthy, and Mediterranean bundles available
- Ready to eat in 10 minutes or less
- Geared towards meat eaters
- Single meals are expensive
Homestyle entrees without the hassle
Gobble offers simple, hearty meals delivered straight to your door without much fuss. The menus are diverse enough to feed parents and children, and the flexible subscriptions make it easy to order when you need meals and skip when you don’t. The menus rotate every week and feature a slate of globally inspired dishes that may include Tuscan-style meatballs, Thai stir fry with chicken, or miso-glazed salmon, all of which include tasty sides and are ready to eat in under 15 minutes.
- Meals ready in 15 minutes
- Veggie and gluten-free options
- Add on sides, salads, breakfasts, and pastries
- Shipping costs extra
- Limited number of plans offered
Organic, plant-based comfort foods
MamaSezz’s prepared meals are all 100% vegetarian and plant-based, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you’ll be getting nothing but lettuce. The entrees are surprisingly hearty while still hewing to their mission of 100% plant-based ingredients. Dishes like the Lazy Lasagna, made from soft brown rice elbow noodles, or a vegetarian spin on meatloaf with BBQ sauce, are enough to satisfy even the heartiest eaters. These stews, pastas, and mac and cheese entrees resemble familiar comfort foods that kids and adults can enjoy.
- 100% organic plant-based meals
- Buy meals a la carte or in bundles
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees
- Menu could use more variety
- Individual meals are expensive
Weight-loss meals ready in 3 minutes
Diet-to-Go’s meals are prepared by chefs with the help from in-house dieticians and nutritionists. Every week customers can choose from a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options that range from kale and swiss frittatas to turkey burgers and chicken pesto salads. All meals are delivered straight to your door ready to eat in 2-3 minutes. As an added bonus, customers can consult with in-house registered dieticians, nutritionists, and certified health coaches with questions about their diets or for advice and motivation.
- Flexible meal plans
- Meals ready in 2-3 minutes
- Vegetarian, diabetic, and Keto menus available
- High shipping costs
- No desserts
Prepared Meal Delivery vs. Meal Kits: What's the Difference Anyway?
There are a few key differences between prepared and ready-to-cook meal kits.
While prepared meal deliveries are shipped ready-to-eat, meal kits offer ingredients that need to be chopped, mixed, cooked, or prepared in some way. These ingredients are packaged with clear recipe cards and instructions to follow. Sometimes, they even include fun facts about the dish.
Meal kits are usually cheaper than ready-made meals. If you opt for meal kits, you’ll get the chance to improve your cooking skills and try new dishes all for a fraction of the cost it would cost you at a restaurant or cooking school. On the other hand, preparing the meals requires a bit more time and effort on your part.
Choosing the Prepared Meal Delivery Service That’s Best for You
With so many similar meal delivery services to choose from, it can be hard to sit down and figure out which one is right for you. Especially since many of the top 5 offer customized options, like paleo, gluten-free, and keto, you might find yourself torn between all the good choices!
The good news is, all of these meal delivery services allow you to cancel at any time, and as long as you do so before the next billing cycle, you’ll only be charged once. Which means you have the luxury of trying one out; if you’re not a fan, just cancel and move on. If you love it, even better! The most important thing is that you get the peace of mind and body that comes from receiving healthy, nutritious meals delivered to your home.