We Tried the Best Meal Delivery Services & Here’s What We Discovered
Meal delivery services are a parent’s best friend, especially this time of year. 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 services 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 two to four recipes per week to feed two to four 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 almost completely 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: HelloFresh
Why we love it: HelloFresh’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 delivery services, and dishes like Cherry Balsamic Pork Chops or Eggplant and 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 back-to-school snack and meal bundles are here to save you from your school lunch rut. The snacks and bundles start as low as $3.99 and are available in HelloFresh’s recently launched HelloFresh Market.
What’s the deal? Get 16 free meals and three surprise gifts (over your first seven orders) when you subscribe.
Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon
Why we love it: This cook-at-home food delivery service partnered with Martha Stewart is here 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: A total of $120 off your first four boxes.
For Families Short on Time: Gobble
Why We Love It: Parents rave that Gobble is the fastest and tastiest meal delivery services 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. It's 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.
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 six premium wines with their recipes for $11 a bottle. Bottles are sized for two people (500ml), and you receive three bottles of white and three bottles of red, all exclusive to Blue Apron.
What’s the deal? $80 off, spread out over your first 4 orders
Pre-Cooked Meals Designed Just for Kids: 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).
What Makes It Unique: Choose from four categories when placing your order: kid's meals, finger foods, snacks and smoothies. The kid's meals include tried-and-true favorites like chicken and mac, as well as ones they know are winners with picky eaters like penne bolognese. Finger foods are ideal for little ones who have just progressed beyond purees as they are soft enough to mash, small enough to prevent choking and easy to pick up. Get your kids hooked on their snack offering of "mighty bites" as they look like cookies but are full of good-for-you ingredients.
Read Tinybeans's review of Nurture Life here.
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, Vegetarian, Vegan, Fast & Fit, Mediterranean and Gluten Free. 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 $135 off for your first five boxes.
For Parents who Love to Plan Ahead: Home Chef
Why we love it: With lots of tasty meal choices and customization options, Home Chef meal delivery service appeals to busy moms and picky eaters alike. Choose from meal kits like Japanese-Style Steak Tacos, Sweet Chili Ginger Pork and Broccoli Stir Fry 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.
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 one, two or four weeks/ $5.66 per meal; 24 meals every one, two or four weeks/ $4.66 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 Caprese Salad, Pineapple Coconut Chia Pudding, 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.
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 and 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 Homestyle Turkey Breast, Lobster Mac and Cheese, and Grandma's beef meatballs.
What Makes It Unique: Meals are vacuum-sealed to lock in freshness. All you need to do is prepare a pot of boiling water or warm in 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 REAL20 to save $20 plus free delivery.
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 ages 1 to 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. And, of course, they still offer 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.
Cooking That's Approachable & Delicious: One Potato
Why we love it: One Potato combines what we love about several other meal delivery services. 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 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!) are 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 delivery services offer the ability to cook on their 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 more than 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 tastes 100 percent 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 cold 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.