We Tried the Best Meal Delivery Services & Here’s What We Discovered
Meal delivery services are a parent’s best friend. You can put in as much or as little effort as you’d like and still get dinner that’s mostly homemade on your table (or your lap—let’s be honest!). We asked the country’s savviest moms to dish on the best meal delivery kits so you can find one that’s right for you. Most deliver throughout the United States. Read on for amazing meal planning ideas so you can cut down on the time in the kitchen and spend more time where it counts: with your family.
If You Want All Sustainable Ingredients: Sunbasket
Why we love it: Sunbasket focuses on organic, sustainably sourced ingredients. All meal kit recipes are approved by in-house dietitians to comply with USDA dietary guidelines, and meals are typically between 500 and 800 calories. It offers a good variety for people on specific diets including those following paleo, vegetarian, and gluten-free meal plans. All you need is salt, pepper and oil—the kit provides the rest, plus step-by-step instructions (and most meals take less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook). You can select 2-4 recipes per week to feed 2-4 people. You can also mix and match across meal categories, ensuring there’s something for everyone at your table, whether it’s North Carolina Pulled Pork Sliders or Korean-style Burgers with Kimchi Slaw.
What makes it unique? Sunbasket ensures their packaging is 100% recyclable and sources only humanely raised meat. If you like to support companies who “do good always,” Sunbasket could be your jam.
What’s the deal? Free shipping on your first delivery
For Parents Who Are New to the Meal Plan Game: Hello Fresh
Why we love it: Hello Fresh’s meal kits help you make tasty, satisfying food that’s simple without being boring. Some home cooks find their meals among the least intimidating of all meal kits, and dishes like Cherry Balsamic Pork Chops or Eggplant & Sun-Dried Tomato Linguine are just enough out of the ordinary to be interesting without requiring a heroic effort on your part.
What makes it unique? Their easy-to-navigate app helps you select meals with just one hand—even during a late-night nursing session! Plus, their Dinner 2 Lunch feature (extra ingredients for lunch) means you'll have food for work the next day.
What’s the deal? Get 14 free meals (over your first 5 orders) when you subscribe. Click here to redeem.
Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon
Why we love it: This cook-at-home food delivery service partnered with Martha Stewart to help harried families discover their inner Martha. The menu features 29 choices every week and the website tags meals as family-friendly, vegan, vegetarian and other categories. Favorites include: Tortelloni Florentine and Vegetable Enchiladas. The website provides big, colorful step-by-step photos for careless cooks and kids who want to help.
What's the deal: Total of $80 off your first four boxes when you click the link below
For Plant-Based Dinners: Purple Carrot
Why we love it: Purple Carrot’s recipes are entirely plant-based, and their team chooses meals for you, eliminating the need for you to log in by a certain date to make your own choices. Plus, they put an innovative spin on plant-based meals with dishes like Seitan Gyro with Shaved Artichoke Salad and Tahini Yogurt or Kale Caesar with Crispy Butter Beans and Everything Bagel Croutons.
What makes it unique? Don't want to cook? They have prepared meals as well!
What’s the deal? $20 off your first order.
For Families Short on Time: Gobble
Why We Love It: Parents rave that Gobble is the fastest and tasty meal kits out there. They feature DIY dinner kits that cook in three steps and under 15 minutes (many of them in one pan!). Gobble takes the prep-work out by providing pre-cooked sauces, grains, and pasta, pre-chopped ingredients, and/or pre-sliced vegetables and meat. Currently available in all of the continental US except Montana.
What Makes It Unique: Watching your weight? There are also 15-minute lean and clean recipes that are 600 calories or less, low carb and feature lean proteins and no filler grains.
Special deal: Get your first 6 meals for $36. Click here to redeem.
For Wine with Your Dinner: Blue Apron
Why we love it: Blue Apron pioneered the concept of sending a week’s worth of meals to your doorstep in an effort to get more people cooking by removing many hassles of meal prep. Their years of experience means they know what they’re doing and their large size also means they’re able to take some innovative, high-tech steps to shape how food is grown, harvested and distributed.
What makes it unique? Blue Apron offers wine! Their monthly wine program pairs 6 premium wines with their recipes for $10/bottle. Bottles are sized for 2 people (500ml), and you receive 3 bottles of white and 3 bottles of red, all exclusive to Blue Apron.
What’s the deal? $80 off, spread out over your first 4 orders
For Parents Making Specific Eating Choices: Green Chef
Why we love it: Whatever dietary choices you’re making at home, Green Chef has a plan for you. Meal plans include Keto + Paleo, Balanced Living and Plant-Powered. Plus, it’s easy to whip up the meals after a busy day because each recipe and kit bag are color-coded, so you’ll know what to grab from the fridge.
Why it’s unique: Besides offering such a diverse range of dietary preferences, it’s the first and only Keto-approved meal delivery service. And, the meals come with one of a kind sauces that add diverse flavors to the meals.
Special deal: Get $100 off and free shipping. Click here to redeem.
For Parents who Love to Plan Ahead: Home Chef
Why we love it: With lots of tasty meal choices and customization options, Home Chef appeals to busy moms and picky eaters alike. Choose from meal kits like Cheesy Chipotle Steak Enchiladas, Tuscan Pork Chops or Steakhouse Sirloin with Herb Butter. You pick the serving size, meal frequency and your family’s eating style (omnivore, meat eaters, pescatarian, etc.). We like that Home Chef specifies how long each meal kit will take to make and that you can specify if you are calorie- or carb-conscious.
What makes it unique? With meal options, delivery-day options and the ability to add on meals and treats like smoothies and fresh fruit, Home Chef is a winner for new moms. Menus are set five weeks in advance so you can plan out your meals for weeks at a time.
What’s the deal? $30 off your first order and $10 off your second.
Vegetarian Can Be Tasty with Veestro
Why we love it: How about 100% plant-based, organic, non-GMO, chef-prepared entrees, soups, and juices that just show up at your front door whenever you want them to? Then look no further than Veestro.
There are no, zero, zilch animal products of any kind, here, ever! Chick'n Nuggets with chipotle dipping sauce complete with veganaise will do the trick every time for your kiddos and no one will miss the meat. Veestro food is available a la carte and they also carry a surprisingly delicious weight loss menu plan. As with most vegetarian cuisine: most meals have nuts in them so be careful with a nut allergy, but all meals are completely dairy-free and don't contain other allergens.
What's the deal: $20 off your first order
For Parents Who Want to Expose Little Ones to Big Flavors: Tiny Organics
Why We Love It: We all want to raise adventurous eaters, but few of us have time to add bold or new dishes to the rotation. Tiny Organics steps in to help make it happen, with the goal of introducing your tot to their 100(!) first flavors before the age of 2. Their organic, plant-based finger-food blends are just right for littles perfecting their pincer grasp, whether they’re chomping on Coconut Curry, a Baby Burrito Bowl or a Bananas Foster Breakfast Bowl.
What It Costs: 12 meals every 1, 2 or 4 weeks/ $5.69 per meal; 24 meals every 1, 2 or 4 weeks/ $4.69 per meal.
What Makes It Unique: This stuff is serious brain food. Tiny Organics is a member of the Food and Nutrition Innovation Council at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and all meals were created with input from a team of neonatal nutritionists (as well as a chef).
School Lunches Are a Breeze with Farmer's Fridge
Why We Love It: Farmer's Fridge is committed to crafting healthy and wholesome food and even created their own automated smart Fridge to make it happen. Now the company also offers home delivery! You can order breakfast, salads, sandwiches, snacks and proteins so all your meals are covered for your busy days and you can rest easy knowing you're feeding the fam healthy options. A peek at the current menu shows you can order tasty options like Burrata Caprese Salad, Apple Cinnamon Oats, Thai Noodle Bowl and Italian Turkey Wraps.
What Makes It Unique: With Farmer Fridge, no subscription is required so families can order what they want, when they want it. Currently, the program is available in 40 states with the goal of being nationwide soon. PLUS, Farmer's Fridge just dropped a new Back to School collection to make the transition out of summer that much easier!
Order online: delivery.farmersfridge.com
Say Goodbye to Junk Food with RealEats
Why We Love It: RealEats was created by a single dad who understood the need to get dinner on the table fast, but wanted to avoid serving up pizza or chicken nuggets every night. He created RealEats that ships vacuum-packed food to your doorstep, which will stay fresh in your fridge for a whole week. Each meal features never-processed ingredients with the weekly menu including dinners, breakfasts, snacks and even beverages. A recent peek at their dinner menu included Balsamic-Glazed Steak, Herb Marinated Chicken, Local Squash and Chickpea Curry and Carrot Ginger Soup.
What Makes It Unique: Meals are vacuum-sealed to lock in freshness. All you need to prep/warm is a pot of boiling water or a microwave. We also admire that the brand purposefully built their kitchen in the Finger Lakes agricultural region in New York. They say that this "allows for easy access to responsibly-sourced ingredients from hard-working growers and producers."
What's the deal: Use code GETREAL25 to save 25% on all meals.
Order online: realeats.com
If You Love Little Spoon for Their Fresh Baby Food, You'll Dig Their New Plates
Why We Love It: You may know Little Spoon for their direct-to-consumer organic baby food. Good news for parents out of the baby food stage: they just released their newest line, Little Spoon Plates for little eaters 1-10 years old. Plates are healthy and nutritious, heat-and-eat meals made with the quality ingredients Little Spoon is known for. Plates have launched with over 15 different recipes with a focus on seasonal, local and organic ingredients. Dishes include Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs, Chicken Teriyaki, Chicken Pot Stickers and Cauli Croquettes. Click here for the full line of baby food.
What Makes It Unique: Little Spoon offers what they call Boosters, which are powdered natural remedies you can add to any dish or meal. They’re clean, all-natural formulas that come in pre-portioned sticks you can easily sprinkle in their food. Remedies are targeted so you can give kiddo a boost based on what they need, whether it’s a boost to fight the sniffles or one that helps with brain development.
For Meals That Require No Cooking: Yumble
Why We Love It: Yumble has kid-friendly cuisine down to a science. The New York-based company (which now ships nationwide) specializes in sending families adorable little microwavable dinners that kids will actually like (read: these are complete no-cook meals). We're talking famously kiddified eats like chicken chili wheat wrap, pizza pockets and broccoli parm, chicken nuggets, cheese ravioli and mac and cheese.
What Makes It Unique: All of the food is nutritionally balanced (there are veggies hidden in the sauces!), locally sourced, made with quality ingredients—and ready to eat in 90 seconds or less. Each box also comes with added goodies including stickers, coloring books or conversation cards for the dinner table.
If You Want to Start Eating Healthier: Freshology
Why We Love It: Long for the microwave dinners of the old days—without the "Guess That Meat" flavor of your high school cafeteria? Freshology—also called Diet To Go—delivers chef-prepared meals, ready to reheat and eat. Freshology drops tasty, calorie-controlled, already-prepared dishes (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks) onto your doorstep. They’re all about helping you discover nutritious and affordable meals that’ll help you lose weight or support your healthy lifestyle.
What Makes It Unique: There's a variety of menus, including Keto-friendly, vegetarian, and diabetes-friendly. This gives “heat and eat” a whole new meaning.
Pre-Cooked Meal You Can Shop by Age: Nurture Life
Why We Love It: If you're tired of yogurt drops and dinosaur nuggets, Nurture Life is the meal delivery service designed just for babies and toddlers (though the food's good enough for Mom and Dad, too). Just sign on and choose from baby, toddler, kid or family meals (all of which contain organic produce, antibiotic-free proteins & whole grains), then wait for that precious box to be delivered.
What Makes It Unique: Meal choices are listed by age: Baby, Toddler, Kids ages 5-10, Kids 11-18 and family meals. Little ones will appreciate the simplicity of dishes such as turkey meatloaf and mashed potatoes, while older kids will dine on things such as lamb and beef meatballs and chicken parmesan. As for the baby food, dishes include soft, bite-sized eats like tofu cubes, steamed carrots, cooked peas and bite-sized meats.
The best part? All the meals are pre-cooked, so you don't even need to do the cooking. Voila! Dinner in two minutes or less.
Read Red Tricycle's review of Nurture Life here.
Cooking That's Approachable & Delicious: One Potato
Why we love it: One Potato combines some of what we love about several other meal subscriptions. Their meals are family-friendly, organic and humanely sourced, and they're ready in 30 minutes or less. They aim to appeal to the whole family with meals like Gnocchi with Basil Pesto, Steak Fajitas, and Crunchy Chicken Nuggets. They also offer an omnivore or vegetarian option.
Looking for a breakfast option? The company has recently started offering smoothies as add-ons to its weekly delivery plans. With flavors including pina colada, PB&J, and blue chia, the smoothies (which all contain hidden veggies!) were concocted by One Potato/ Weelicious founder Catherine McCord, author of "Smoothie Project." "
Read our "Tried It" full review of One Potato here.
What makes it unique? Pricing is customized to your family composition and based on a per adult and per child basis. This is especially helpful if you have more or fewer family members than the two adults and two kids that are fed by many other meal kits.
What’s the deal? $20 off your first order.
For Meals That Cook Themselves: Tovala
Why we love it: Tovala is perfect for the non-chef or new mama because it literally requires one minute of prep and no cutting or chopping. Order your meals (or even shop like normal), then use the signature Smart Oven to completely cook your meal to perfection. Meals cook in 20 minutes or less and you can choose from tons of options, with 14 new items being added every week.
What makes it unique: No other meal service offers the ability to cook on its own! The Tovala Smart Oven allows you to scan meal cards or regular grocery store codes, then cooks each item accordingly. Currently, you can scan over 750+ grocery items from brands like Annie's, Pillsbury and Dr. Praeger's, and use it to steam, toast, bake and broil.
For Plant-Based Meals That Actually Taste Great: Splendid Spoon
Why we love it: Splendid Spoon’s meals and smoothies come ready to eat (absolutely no meal prep here!). Their delicious plant-based meals are a great opportunity to integrate more plants into your diet without the hassle of recipe research or multiple trips to the store. Everything on their menu is vegan, gluten-free and GMO-free, and taste 100% delicious.
What parents are saying: You won’t be bored with Splendid Spoon’s variety. They offer a rotating menu of 40+ ready-to-eat smoothies, soups and grain bowls. Meals are customizable and we love that they’re delivered col to your door (read: if you’re at the office or out and aren’t home to accept delivery, the package won’t spoil right away). While there’s no dedicated kids’ menu, the meals and smoothies are kid-friendly. You may even get your kids to try a new flavor combo!
For Dinner Everyone Will Eat: EveryPlate
Why we love it: Hello Fresh’s latest meal delivery service is one of the newest and most affordable on the market and offers simple meals with wholesome ingredients that are totally appealing to families.
What parents are saying: While there’s no dedicated kids’ menu, each meal (chicken sausage soup with couscous, dijon butter steak, and linguine Italiano are examples) is very kid friendly.
—Kate Loweth, Elizabeth Carr, Melissa Heckscher & Ayren Jackson-Cannady
featured photo: rawpixel via Pixabay