As the effects of coronavirus ripple through the world, nations, communities and families are scrambling to make sense of how to adapt to this new way of life. While our social and work habits are being reassessed, food remains a constant, giving our bodies nourishment and fuel and our minds some much needed comfort.
Meal delivery services are one great way of keeping our fridges stocked without having to think of recipes or make the now arduous journey to the grocery store. By signing up to a meal delivery service, you can enjoy the convenience of receiving regularly scheduled meals while still juggling whatever else life is throwing at you.
Prepared meals, a subset of the meal delivery movement, offer an even more convenient option than meal kits. While most of the meal kits require some light cooking on your part, prepared meals are ready to heat and eat, making them great for when you lack the energy to break out the pots and pans but still want a wholesome and healthy dinner. This list is different from our main rundown of the best meal delivery services because it focuses soley 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.
Best for: People who follow gluten-free diets
- Fresh, healthy meals delivered to your door
- Rotating menu of 30 meals per week
- All meals are gluten-free and peanut free
- Free shipping
- No desserts or snacks available
- Doesn’t offer paleo, keto, or other special meal plans
Freshly delivers protein-rich, gluten-free meals to your doorstep, with the option of ordering up to 3 meals per day and 12 meals per week. 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). Freshly also offers a rotating menu of 30 meals per week, so there’s little chance of you getting bored with your food, unlike with other frozen prepared meal delivery services.
What’s in Freshly Food?
Freshly is one of the best gluten-free meal delivery services 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.
As for cost, Freshly is in the middle of the meal delivery spectrum, with pricing that is adequate and fair. When you order the 12 meals per week subscription, each individual meal works out to $7.99. Bearing in mind that you’re getting fresh, chef-prepared, nutritiously balanced meals delivered straight to your doorstep, you really can’t complain about the price point.
Plus, shipping is free, and you can choose your day of delivery and cancel your subscription at any time.
Favorite Meal: Korean-Style Veggie Bibimbap with Brown Rice
It’s gorgeous, it’s colorful, it’s packed with interesting flavors, and it’s plain delicious. And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that it is vitamin-rich, loaded with protein from edamame and egg, and includes heart-healthy fats.
Best for: Vegans, vegetarians, and paleo dieters
- 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
Veestro is the ultimate meal delivery service 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.
Veestro offers 3 meal plans: A La Carte, which allows you to handpick every meal in your basket, Chef’s Choice, in which the chef chooses the meals to send based on your food preferences, and Weight Loss, which includes 3 meals a day totaling approximately 1200 calories. If you opt for Chef’s Choice, you can tick off special food preferences like high protein or gluten-free
What’s in Veestro Meals?
Your meals are created with fresh, organic ingredients, and then frozen using the latest technology. Your meals are packed with dry ice to keep them frozen, and they can be stored in the freezer for up to 8 weeks. When you’re ready to eat, just pop it into the microwave and enjoy!
Veestro offers competitive pricing, especially considering how specialized its meals are. A La Carte and Chef’s Choice have a similar pricing structure, while Weight Loss is set up a bit differently (and it’s also more costly).
A La Carte also offers the option of a one-time order (as opposed to recurring). Be aware though that the one-time order is significantly more expensive, and you have to pay $11 in shipping per meal. When you set up a recurring order, shipping is free, and you can pause, change your plan, or cancel at any time (before the next billing cycle).
Favorite Meal: Carrot Osso Bucco
We love this for the sheer creativity of it—osso bucco from carrots? Yes please! It may not taste like the original meat-heavy version but it’s just as delicious and hearty thanks to the crimini mushrooms and red wine sauce.
Best for: Weight-loss and medical diets
- 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
- Meal programs come with personalized weight loss plan
- Additional shipping costs
- 5-day/week minimum meal program
If you want to lose weight but don’t have time or energy to prepare nutritious meals, BistroMD might be just what you’re looking for. 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.
Since BistroMD is more of a comprehensive diet plan than plain meal delivery service, there are only 2 options for subscriptions: 5 days a week or 7 days a week, with 2 or 3 meals per day. While that might seem like a lot, losing weight takes commitment and is not really achievable with just 1 healthy meal per day.
Meal plans can be customized to suit different diets, including gluten-free plans and plans for menopausal women and diabetics. You can also request special dishes that are vegetarian, vegan, low carb, dairy free, heart healthy, and low in sodium.
The meals themselves are chef-crafted and prepared from fresh ingredients; they are, however, frozen before shipping and then shipped with dry ice to ensure that they don’t defrost. Cooking instructions (aka how long to microwave) come with each meal.
In addition to meal delivery to your doorstep, BistroMD also offers each customer a personalized weight loss plan designed by weight loss experts, along with diet analysis and support.
BistroMD is surprisingly affordable, especially when you consider that you get a personalized diet plan and prepared meals delivered right to your door.
Meals are shipped via FedEx ground and shipping costs $19.95.
Best for: People who miss the flavors of home
- 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
There is something rather magical 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.
MagicKitchen is one of the rare food delivery services that offers both food programs and the option of purchasing one order at at time.
There are 2 meal plans to choose from: A La Carte and Complete Meals. A La Carte allows you to choose your meals and mix and match entrees, sides, soups, and desserts, whereas Complete Meals offers prepackaged meals of 1 entree and 1-2 sides.
You can also order special meals that cater to your needs. Options include: Senior diet, portion control, diabetic-friendly, low sodium, low carb, low fat, renal diet, dialysis-friendly, gluten-free, and vegetarian.
The cost of MagicKitchen meals depends on what you order. You can order complete meals, single items (entree, soup, etc.) which are the best meal kits for singles, meal bundles, which typically include 7 portions of the same meal, or you can sign up to an auto-ship meal program, which is the standard option that most other food delivery services offer.
There are no set prices for the auto-ship program; once you set your food preferences and how many meals you want, you’ll be shown the total cost. Meals ordered in bulk are typically discounted, and shipping is calculated based on the weight of the box and distance it needs to be shipped.
Here’s sample pricing for low sodium, diabetic, and senior meal programs:
Favorite Meal: Eggplant Parmigiana and Polenta with Spinach & Roasted Peppers
One of MagicKitchen’s best sellers, and it’s easy to see why. Okay, it’s not that easy to see, since MagicKitchen’s food photography leaves something to be desired—so just imagine rich and saucy eggplant and cheese paired with hearty, Italian-style polenta. And don’t be surprised when your mouth starts to water.
5. Fresh & Easy
Best for: People too busy for dirty dishes
- Oven- and grill-ready dishes
- No cutting or prep work necessary
- New service from Home Chef
- Limited menu options
Fresh & Easy delivers all of the ingredients you need washed, cut, and portioned as well as the pots and pans you need to cook them in. 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. Meals are delivered complete with oven- and grill-ready dishes so that you can enjoy the fruits of your own stove without having to deal with the aftermath of a dirty sink.
Fresh & Easy lets you choose between 2, 4, or 6 servings per meal and from anywhere between 2-6 meals per week. Though there’s no a la carte option, customers can skip deliveries, change the amount of servings they wish to have delivered in a box, or cancel their subscription altogether.
Home Chef just rolled out the new service, and the menu is still being developed. But a sample menu shows a promising selection of poultry and fish entrees as well as a variety of salads.
Fresh & Easy Pricing
For 2 people:
For 4 people:
For 6 people:
Favorite Meal: Chicken Parmesan Penne
Boneless, skinless chicken breast with a panko breadcrumb coating is the centerpiece of this hearty Italian dish, which is served with a side of penne pasta with rosee sauce, sliced yellow onion and mozzarella. The before-and-after photos below show how the ingredients arrive with an oven-ready pan as well as the finished dish.
Place all the ingredients in the included oven pan, heat for 50 minutes, and enjoy.
Best for: Meals created by nutritionists
- Healthy, chef-prepared entrees
- 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
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.
Unique to Freshology is its supplementary wellness services. Customers can consult with in-house registered dieticians, nutritionists, and certified health coaches with questions about their diets or for advice and motivation. With its nutrition-based entrees and expert team of dieticians, Freshology offers an easy and supportive path to losing weight and eating healthy.
Freshology offers a number of meal plans, each with their own pricing that varies depending on the number of meals you select and other preferences. Below is a table for the Balance plan with seafood (a non-seafood option is available and costs slightly less).
Best for: Meat lovers
- No commitments necessary
- Meals made with premium meats
- Paleo, heart-healthy, and Mediterranean bundles available
- Ready to eat in 10 minutes or less
- Geared towards meat eaters
- Single meals are expensive
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.
Unlike other meal delivery services, HomeBistro allows you to order a la carte meals as well as combo packs. There’s no subscription or commitment needed, simply place an order whenever the need arises and you’ll receive meals shipped directly to your door ready to eat.
With HomeBistro, you can order individual meals or bundles. The bundles, which come with 10 or 20 meals, can be tailored to dietary preferences. Here are the prices for some of the most popular 10-meal bundles:
Best for: Parents and families
- Meals ready in 15 minutes
- Veggie and gluten-free options
- Globally inspired entrees
- Add on sides, salads, breakfasts, and pastries
- Shipping costs extra
- Limited number of plans offered
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 themselves rotate every week and feature a slate of globally inspired dishes. These may include Tuscan-style meatballs, Thai stir fry with chicken, or miso-glazed salmon, all of which include tasty sides and can be prepared easily in under 15 minutes.
While Gobble’s menus are relatively meat-heavy, the company offers at least 3 all-veggie meal options per week. Additionally, customers can add additional items to their orders including soups and sides, salads, breakfast items, and pastries.
The 2-person plan includes a total of 6 meals each week, 3 for each person. The 4-person plan includes a total of 12 meals per week, 3 for each person. Gobble does offer some flexibility with its meal plans, however: you can order as little as 2 kits (or 4 meals) per week or add on as many as you like. All orders have a shipping fee of $6.99.
Best for: Those interested in plant-based eating
- 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
If a plant-based diet sounds unsatisfying to you, you may want to look into MamaSezz. The meals are all 100% vegetarian and plant-based, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you’ll be getting nothing but lettuce.
MamaSezz’s 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.
With MamaSezz, you can order meals individually or by bundles. The bundles are offered for weight loss, heart health, general eating, and more, which each including a collection of meals, sides, and snacks that combine to encourage nutritious whole-food eating.
MamaSezz offers its meals a la carte or in bundles that include a variety of heart entrees and healthy snacks. All bundles cost $169, though the contents differ depending on which bundle you choose. Here’s a look at one of the more popular bundles:
The Get Me Started Bundle ($169):
- 3 servings of Miliie’s Chili
- 4 servings of Mama’s burgers
- 3 servings of Lazy Lasagna
- 3 servings of Moroccan Stew
- 3 servings of Quinoa Stack
- 3 servings of Gardener’s Pie
- 3 servings of Breakfast sausage
- 5 servings of granola
Best for: Health-conscious meals
- Flexible meal plans
- Meals ready in 2-3 minutes
- Vegetarian, diabetic, and Keto menus available
- High shipping costs
- No desserts
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.
Unique to Diet-to-Go is its supplementary wellness services. Customers can consult with in-house registered dieticians, nutritionists, and certified health coaches with questions about their diets or for advice and motivation. With its nutrition-based entrees and expert team of dieticians, Diet-to-Go offers an easy and supportive path to losing weight and eating healthy.
Diet-to-Go offers a number of meal plans, each with their own pricing that varies depending on the number of meals you select and other preferences. Below is a table for the Balance plan with seafood (a non-seafood option is available and costs slightly less).
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.