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The Best Meal Delivery Services and Kits for Busy Households

Best Meal Delivery Services and Kits
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Updated September 18, 2023

If the thought of planning for, purchasing, and preparing healthy, home-cooked meals every day feels overwhelming, a meal delivery service might be just the life assist you need. From in-depth specialty meals for the adventurous at-home cook to quick, simple heat-up meals, and even meals that cater to weight-loss goals and ultra-restrictive diets, there’s a service for you. Plus, since the ingredients are pre-measured, meal delivery services can help reduce food waste. Read on for some of the best meal delivery services and kits. 

How to choose the best meal delivery service 

“By making pre-portioned ingredients or fully prepared meals, these services can save time that would otherwise be spent on shopping, meal prep, and cooking,” says Julia Chebotar, chef and founder of Health Chefs. If you’re looking to save time, be sure you pick a service that offers quick-and-easy heat-up meals or quickly prepared meals. Most services list how long each recipe should take to prepare.

Even if time is on your side, “Meal delivery services provide a convenient solution for those with limited cooking skills,” Chebotar adds. Most services today offer a wide range of heat-at-home meals to more involved recipes, so just be sure you know what you’re looking for and pick accordingly.

“Many meal delivery services offer a wide range of menu options, catering to various dietary preferences and restrictions,” says Chebotar. Search for information on the company’s website about how they source ingredients and specifics of their facilities to avoid allergens. 

Also, consider packaging and sustainability. “Meal delivery services often involve excessive packaging, which can contribute to environmental issues,” says Chebotar. “Although some companies are making efforts to reduce packaging waste, it remains a concern.” Most services list their sustainability practices on their website under Frequently Asked Questions.  

Our top picks for the best meal delivery services and kits

Best vegetarian meal delivery service: Mosaic Foods 

With a goal of serving over 200 billion meatless meals by 2035, Mosaic is a plant-based delivery service fueled by a mission. Hundreds of chef-created and nutritionist-vetted vegetarian meals won’t leave you bored with simple salads, rather offering favorites like veggie pot pie, spinach artichoke pizza, enchilada verde bake, and more. Mosaic+ offers specialty meals prepared by well-known chefs like Greg Baxtrom. 

What to know:

  • Delivery area: Most major metro areas on the east or west coast, or through Thrive Market
  • Servings: Each meal is an individual serving, number of meals vary by subscription plan chosen
  • Number of meals: Initially an 8-meal box, with subscription deliveries every 2 or 4 weeks
  • Menu options: Veggie bowls, family meals, pizza, smoothies, soups, oat bowls,Mosaic+ 
  • Price: Roughly $6-$25 per meal 

Pros:

  • Mission-based company with a do-good component
  • Chef-created meals 
  • Nutritionist-vetted meals

Cons:

  • Unavailable in many parts of the country
  • On the pricier side
  • Large orders from the start 
Best vegetarian meal delivery service
Mosaic Foods

Mosaic Foods

Hundreds of chef-created and nutritionist-vetted vegetarian meals won’t leave you bored with simple salads, rather offering favorites like veggie pot pie, spinach artichoke pizza, enchilada verde bake, and more

Best meal delivery service for at-home chefs: Blue Apron

From sesame-topped vegetarian stir fry to garlic-herbed steak with a nectarine panzanella, Blue Apron offers a wide variety of menu options for more adventurous home chefs. Fast, pre-packaged meals take an estimated 25 minutes to prepare, while some of the more involved recipes can take up to an hour. Be sure you look through the whole box before disposing of it—some customers have reported that the recipe cards come packaged between the box and a liner.

What to know:

  • Delivery area: Continental U.S.
  • Servings: 2-4 servings
  • Number of meals: 2-5 meals per week
  • Menu options: Chef-inspired, wellness (with Weight Watchers recommendations), family-friendly, vegetarian, and fast “Heat and Eat” meals
  • Price: Varies depending on meals per week and type of meals

Pros:

  • Fun for date nights or at-home cooks
  • Chef-forward recipes
  • Fast “Heat and Eat” meals available for those with limited time

Cons:

  • More complex recipes for those with limited skills or time
Best meal delivery service for at-home chefs
Blue Apron

Blue Apron

From sesame-topped vegetarian stir fry to garlic-herbed steak with a nectarine panzanella, Blue Apron offers a wide variety of menu options for more adventurous home chefs

Best meal delivery service for weight loss: BistroMD

“Check how the private chef or meal delivery service handles allergen management,” advises Chebotar. “Ensure they can accommodate your specific allergens and have procedures to minimize the risk of exposure.” She recommends asking questions like: “Are they knowledgeable about common allergens and cross-contamination risks?” and “Do they have protocols in place to prevent cross-contact between ingredients?”

Starting with a quiz about your specific food goals, BistroMD offers diabetes-friendly, gluten-free, and even menopause-friendly plans that follow metabolism-correction science to encourage weight loss and healthy eating. In addition, BistroMD’s essential and tasty snacks, or EATS, are available to help keep you on track between meals. Another perk? Access to personalized support from a registered dietitian and weekly wellness content. 

What to know:

  • Delivery area: Continental U.S.
  • Servings: 2 or 4
  • Number of meals: Ranges from 3 meals per day, 5 days per week (total 15), to 3 meals per day, 7 days per week (total 21). 
  • Menu options: Diabetes-friendly, gluten-free, menopause-friendly, heart healthy, vegan, keto, signature. Men- or women-focused meals are also available.
  • Price: $169.85-$239.75 plus shipping per week, excluding introductory first-week 40 percent discount 

Pros:

  • Vetted recipes for those on strict diets
  • Helpful for weight loss 
  • Access to experts and content

Cons:

  • On the pricier side
  • Large number of meals is less attractive for those looking for a la carte options 
Best meal delivery service for weight loss
BistroMD

BistroMD

Starting with a quiz about your specific food goals, BistroMD offers diabetes-friendly, gluten-free, and even menopause-friendly plans that follow metabolism-correction science to encourage weight loss and healthy eating

Best meal delivery service for kids: Nurture Life

Parents of picky eaters, Nurture Life has you covered. With menus made just for your choosy child—catering to their palates, but made with nutritious and non-frozen ingredients—meals like cheesy ravioli, chicken and mac, and Swedish meatballs are ready in just one minute. Bonus: The service allows for delivery pauses and schedule changes without penalty to suit your busy life. Special “Finger Foods” are prepared specifically for children who are graduating from purées to self-feeding. Facilities are also completely nut-free.

What to know: 

  • Delivery area: Continental U.S. 
  • Servings: 1
  • Number of meals: Mix and match 6 to 15 items per week
  • Menu options: Kids meals, finger foods, smoothies, snacks
  • Price: Meals range from $6.49-7.49 per meal, snacks are $7.49, smoothies are $3.49

Pros:

  • Options include everything from meals to snacks
  • Balances kid-friendly dishes with nutritious ingredients
  • Can pause or change deliveries to accommodate your schedule

Cons:

  • Some dishes have an extra cost due to premium ingredients (for example, salmon)
  • Very limited selection for snacks and smoothies
Best meal delivery service for kids
Nurture Life

Nurture Life

With menus made just for your choosy child—catering to their palates, but made with nutritious and non-frozen ingredients—meals like cheesy ravioli, chicken and mac, and Swedish meatballs are ready in just one minute

Best value meal delivery service: EveryPlate

Compared with other specialty menus or chef-created meal services, EveryPlate offers simplicity and bang for your buck. Still, vegetarian options, quick-and-easy meals, family-friendly go-tos, and more mean the menus still cater to a variety of tastes. Stretch the savings even farther: Medical providers, nurses, hospital employees, active military, and veterans can also receive deep discounts for the first year through the Hero Discount Program.

What to know:

  • Delivery area: Most of the continental U.S. 
  • Servings: 2 or 4 
  • Number of meals: 3-6 weekly
  • Menu options: Categories include meat & veggie, veggie only, family faves, quick & easy, nutrish & delish 
  • Price: As low as $1.50 per serving with regular box shipments and entry-level discounts. Cost is reduced based on increased servings and frequency. Fixed $9.99 weekly delivery fee.

Pros:

  • Lower cost
  • Discounts available for military and healthcare workers

Cons:

  • Serving size made for 2 or more isn't as ideal for singles
Best value meal delivery service
EveryPlate

EveryPlate

Compared with other specialty menus or chef-created meal services, EveryPlate offers simplicity and bang for your buck

Best gluten-free meal delivery service: ModifyHealth

Catering to those looking for low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diets, free of certain hard-to-digest carbohydrates, ModifyHealth’s doctor- and dietitian-created meals focus on gluten-free ingredients without skimping on fulfilling meals. All food is prepared in a fully gluten-free facility. In addition to low FODMAP and Gluten-Free menus, you can also enjoy Mediterranean, Carb-Conscious, Heart-Friendly, and Diabetes-Friendly menus. 

What to know:

  • Delivery area: Continental U.S.
  • Serving size: 1
  • Number of meals: 6 minimum 
  • Menu options: Low FODMAP, Mediterranean, gluten-free, carb-conscious, heart-friendly, diabetes-friendly
  • Price: $9.95-$12.95 per meal, with a minimum of 6 per order; Full 6-week programs start at $399. 

Pros:

  • The meals are specifically designed for low FODMAP diets 
  • Meals are prepped in a gluten-free facility
  • Interesting flavor combinations (like blueberry rice porridge with almonds)
  • Dieticians are available for consultations
  • You can pause, cancel, or change your plan any time

Cons:  

  • Meals can be on the pricier side
  • Dietician consults are an extra cost
Best gluten-free meal delivery service
ModifyHealth

ModifyHealth

All food is prepared in a fully gluten-free facility. In addition to low FODMAP and Gluten-Free menus, you can also enjoy Mediterranean, Carb-Conscious, Heart-Friendly, and Diabetes-Friendly menus

Best meal kit and meal delivery service for restrictive diets: Sunbasket

From keto-friendly to gluten-free, pescatarian, paleo offerings, and more, Sunbasket is a meal kit and meal delivery service in one that caters to the needs of those on more restrictive diets. Fresh & Ready meals come easy to prepare quickly, while Meal Kits come with pre-portioned ingredients and simple recipes. Meals come with nearly 100% certified organic produce, and in the event that an item is not, they’ll let you know. Themed boxes, like the BBQ ribs and sides kit for Fourth of July, make for fun and simple entertaining, too.

What to know:

  • Serving size: 2 or 4
  • Number of meals: 2 or more per week
  • Menu options: Meal kits or fresh & ready options come in paleo, carb-conscious, gluten-free, diabetes-friendly, vegetarian, pescatarian, Mediterranean, keto-friendly
  • Price: $9.99 per serving

Pros: 

  • Fresh, healthy options for those on strict diets
  • Certified-organic offerings
  • Fun themed boxes make entertaining simpler

Cons:

  • On the pricier side 
Best meal kit and meal delivery service for restrictive diets
Sunbasket

Sunbasket

From keto-friendly to gluten-free, pescatarian, paleo offerings, and more, Sunbasket is a meal kit and meal delivery service in one that caters to the needs of those on more restrictive diets

Best meal kits for beginners: Home Chef

With Culinary Collection meals like balsamic spicy onion jam burger and rosemary chicken and gnocchi alfredo, Home Chef meals assume a certain level of interest and know-how in the kitchen. Some kits can take up to an hour to prepare, so how will you know the difference? With handy guides, Home Chef advises you on estimates for how long the recipes should take and even categorizes them by level of difficulty, so you can more easily choose which ones you think you can tackle. But even if you’re a budding at-home chef, it doesn’t mean all meals will take forever—handy Express options take just 10-15 minutes. Also, Home Chef also offers a more traditional meal delivery service option with pre-made meals that are heat and eat. 

What to know:

  • Delivery area: Most of the U.S., enter zip code to find out if they deliver to your home
  • Serving size: Varies between 2-6 servings depending on the plan (Standard vs. Family)
  • Number of meals: Varies based on your plan, you can choose between 2-6 meals from 30 meal options and 18 extras
  • Menu options: Meal kits, express meals, culinary collection, grill-ready, over-ready, fast & fresh, family meals, carb-conscious
  • Price: Standard meals start at $8.99 per serving. Minimum weekly order is $49.95. Military, first responders, health care professionals, and teachers get 50 percent off first box and 10 percent on future orders. Students and government officials get 50 percent of your first 4 boxes, up to $47.50 per box

Pros: 

  • Express kits for busy homes
  • Miliary, healthcare professional, and teacher discounts 
  • Can customize some recipes to suit your preferences
  • Good range of menu options from burgers to banh mi bowls
  • Home Chef offers kits in certain grocery stores so you can try out a recipe before committing to a plan

Cons:

  • On the pricier side
  • While there are vegetarian options, there are no vegan options
Best meal kits for beginners
Home Chef

Home Chef

With Culinary Collection meals like balsamic spicy onion jam burger and rosemary chicken and gnocchi alfredo, Home Chef meals assume a certain level of interest and know-how in the kitchen

Best keto meal delivery service: 518 Kitchen 

Hailing from the Adirondack region of upstate New York, 518 Kitchen is all about making the keto lifestyle quick and easy to sustain. The company, founded by a trio of trained chefs, sends flash-frozen meals like bacon quiche and chicken pot pie that honor the keto lifestyle right to your door. Even though the minimum order and entrees are on the pricier side, meals will last up to 6 months in the freezer, so you can eat them over time. Nut-free, vegetarian, and dairy free options are all available, too. 

What to know:

  • Delivery area: U.S. 
  • Serving size: 1 
  • Number of meals: A la carte 
  • Menu options: Keto, keto-friendly, low-carb
  • Price: Meals are priced individually. Snacks and desserts range from $7.49-10.49, while breakfast items range from $7.99-10.49. Lunch and dinner entrees range from $11.49-15.99. Minimum order is $75. Additional shipping fee is calculated based on delivery zip code. 

Pros: 

  • Chef-created and inspired meals 
  • Caters to keto diets
  • Frozen meals last a long time

Cons:

  • Frozen options only 
  • More expensive based on where you live
  • On the pricier side
Best keto meal delivery service
518 Kitchen

518 Kitchen

Hailing from the Adirondack region of upstate New York, 518 Kitchen is all about making the keto lifestyle quick and easy to sustain

How we selected the best meal delivery services and kits

Our research is based on expert advice and testimonials, market research, and customer ratings and reviews. 

Who are meal kits good for?

Meal delivery services and kits are good for people with limited time or cooking experience. Meal kits come in the form of frozen prepared foods that are quick and easy to heat up or in pre-measured fresh ingredients with relatively simple-to-follow recipes.

Are meal delivery services worth it?

Though confident home cooks who budget regularly for groceries might think meal delivery services or kits are high-priced, others who dine out multiple times a week or don’t feel confident cooking might see huge savings by going the meal kit route. In addition, time savings of meal delivery services and meal kits can make the cost worth it, because they ease the time it takes to prepare family meals and grocery shop, especially during the week. Since every household budget is different, and meal kits vary in cost, each household should price-compare and determine if a meal delivery service is worth it. 

Are meal delivery services safe?

Many meal delivery services ship meals fresh or frozen in protected padding and materials. Be sure to check the FAQs on the meal delivery service website for detailed information on how they pack and ensure safety. When in doubt, call customer service and inquire.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Which meal delivery service is best for diabetics?

Many meal delivery services cater to those with many kinds of dietary restrictions, including diabetes. Some include bistroMD and those friendly to vegetarians, like Sunbasket. Always check with your doctor first to determine if a meal service is the right fit for you, if you live with diabetes.  

Which meal delivery service is best for low-carb?

Carbohydrates are the body’s source for energy, so eating the right types of healthy carbs is important. Meal kits with low-sugar fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins are best. Check with your doctor or nutritionist if you have questions about which carbohydrates are best given your individual dietary needs.  

What is the best meal delivery program?

Consider dietary needs and restrictions, sustainability goals, budget, time, and cooking ability when determining the best meal delivery program for you and your family. 

Which meal delivery service is lowest in sodium?

Many meal delivery services allow you to select featured meals each week. Some seemingly low-sodium meals, like vegetable stir fry, might pack a hefty salt punch with added soy or teriyaki sauce. Foods that come with a variety of spices and other flavorings, like parsley, rosemary, pepper, lemon, garlic, and ginger, are all tasty non-salt ways to add flavor. Be sure to read recipe labels before you select your meals to ensure that they are low-sodium and meet your unique needs.   

What is the difference between meal delivery services and meal kits?

The difference between meal kits and meal delivery services can be a little confusing. Generally, companies offering meal kits send you pre-made, ready-to-heat meals that take minutes to prepare. Meal delivery services usually send you pre-measured ingredients along with recipe cards to follow. Some companies offer both a la carte meal kits and meal delivery services.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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