Food is vital, and most persons do not mind spending money on a good meal. Despite the importance of good food, the effort spent in slicing, chopping, blending, and mixing ingredients before cooking is not always appreciated. It is one reason why restaurants are so popular; you go, sit down, and order the meal of your choice.
Yet, not everyone loves eating out, and most days, you want the cheaper option of preparing a home dish. However, it could become difficult for those who dislike cooking to go grocery shopping or restock the ingredients that are missing in their cupboards and refrigerators. This situation may make one wonder how to save the costs of eating out without having to buy the groceries and prepare the meal altogether.
Meal kits were developed to ease the challenge individuals encounter when they are too busy or sick to cook from scratch but still want to eat healthily. The service providers save you extra time, and since you are not in charge of deciding what groceries are needed and when to shop for food items, eating becomes more exciting. Also, meal delivery services expose you to new flavors, recipes, and reduce food waste.
Why a Meal Kit Delivery Service?
Meal kit services help prep the food for you by chopping the vegetables and sending them along with instructions for the cooking. The preference for meal kit deliveries rather than take-outs is that you prepare the meals yourself, ensuring a healthier outcome. However, it means the individual must have some basic cooking skills. Some service providers go the extra mile to adequately prepare and cook the dishes so that you only have to reheat or microwave it when you are hungry.
It may surprise you that not everyone chooses a meal kit delivery service for time management reasons. There are other rationales for which people consider it.
Trying out new ingredients: If you find yourself cooking and eating a similar meal often, you may decide to escape the rut by ordering a meal kit service. The varied dishes will expose you to unknown ingredients and taste buds you never knew you had.
Develop new cooking skills: Cooking enthusiasts are always at the forefront of new recipe raves. The innovative methods recommended by meal kit delivery services will attract them. With each package, a customer is encouraged to try something new.
Dieting and new eating patterns: The variety of healthy meal options from most delivery service providers means that people on weight loss programs can conveniently enjoy them without worrying about the calorie content. Those with dietary restrictions or preferences can access a broad range of meals that have exciting flavors and still meet their needs.
Most persons may wonder if the time saved on meal kits is worth the money spent. Others may be overwhelmed by all the different delivery options available and feel less enthusiastic about joining the growing demand for such services. Or maybe you cannot find a service that caters to your strict dietary needs or lifestyle. Bearing these in mind, we have outlined the highest-rated and affordable meal kit delivery services. These services deliver delicious meals right to your doorstep and help remove the drudgery of food shopping off from your hands. The top-rated services like Blue Apron, Purple Carrot, Home Chef, and Freshly are exceptional, whether you want to splurge once in a while or make these services a go-to for cooking.
Freshly is excellent for people that cannot fathom the mystery involved in cooking but still love healthy home-made meals. The service delivers well packaged, fully cooked meals to your door. These meal options are healthy, devoid of artificial preservatives, and very affordable. There are four plans you can choose from, and the lowest starts at $7.99 per meal.
If you have a peanut allergy or are avoiding gluten, then Freshly is a suitable meal delivery service. The menu, just like the name, features fresh foods with only natural ingredients used. The meals are peanut-free, gluten-free, and do not include refined sugars nor frozen foods. Although Freshly does not feature select diet options like keto, they still take cognizance of any dietary preferences and find a suitable menu for you.
Freshly meals are designed as single servings and are for one person. A 4-meal plan means the company will provide four meals (dinner or lunch) for the individual in a week. The company also offers 30 meal options per week so that the customers do not ever get bored with any food item. Customers can select dishes such as comfort meals, take-out twists, home bistro, market day meals, or one-bowl nourishers.
- Free delivery and shipping options
- No rigid commitments; subscriptions can be quickly canceled
- Meals are healthy and free of artificial preservatives
- Delivers freshly cooked meals
- Peanut-free and gluten-free meals
- No select meal plans
- No desserts and snacks
Blue Apron is one of the first meal kit delivery services, making them the yardstick for rating other providers. It is a company that focuses on healthy foods with plenty of proteins and vegetables. Their recipe options include diabetes-friendly, vegetarian, low calories, carb-conscious and Mediterranean meals. Some of these meals have WW Mark of Wellness approval.
The service aims to reduce food wastage and encourage sustainable farming by partnering and working with farmers to create their meal plans. As a result, the ingredients are often fresh, seasonal products that are sourced locally. The recipes are prepared such that the entire cooking process will not take up to 1 hour of your time.
Blue Apron is interested in helping their customers practice balanced eating and still enjoy meals with amazing flavors. Per week, they offer subscribers eight menu options with quick and easy meals, including a vegetarian selection. The company also allows you to create a personalized plan packed with meals of your preferences.
All the meal boxes come with easy instructions with all the ingredients needed in the right proportion. Blue Apron has prices that range from $7.49 to $9.99 per serving. The plans are for two to four servings per recipe and two to four recipes per week.
- Customizable options
- Cooking directions are easy to follow
- Affordable meal plans
- Fresh ingredients are used
- Some meals require up to one hour from prepping to serving
- Not much vegan options
Plant-based meals are eco-friendlier, promote wellness, and aid weight-loss. Though there are lots of meal kits with animal-free dishes, Purple Carrot comes on top. The company wholly focuses on plant nutrition and provides its customers with nutritious pre-portioned ingredients they can use to prepare snacks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
With Purple Carrot, there is more hands-on cooking, and the dishes are not pre-made. Included in the meal kit are recipes and nutritional information for each meal ordered. The weekly menu is customizable with few options like the Gluten-Free, Chef’s Choice, and High-Protein plans. It does not in any way make the meals boring nor tasteless.
There are also options for delicious vegan snacks. The lowest meal cost is $10 per serving, and the smallest weekly commitment is $72 for three meals and two servings each. The more servings ordered, the lower the cost.
- Subscription can be canceled quickly or suspended
- Features high protein and soy-free meal options
- Recipe cards with step by step directions make meals easy to prepare
- Good for learning new skills
- Focus is only on vegan dishes
- Meals are not very basic and require some cooking skills
Home Chef sends fresh apportioned ingredients and cooking instructions to customers to prepare their home-cooked meals without stress. They can cater to your needs while putting into consideration your dietary restrictions and your preferences. Even though the company relieves users of the stress in thinking up what to prepare, it grants you the freedom to choose the recipes of your choice.
The service encourages flexibility by allowing you to customize meal suggestions through either an upgrade or swap option. Together with fresh ingredients, their recipe cards guide you through creating chef-worthy meals in less than 45 minutes. Meal kits include Ready dishes, protein packs, and 15-minute dishes. A dish example is the Tomato Cream Rigatoni.
Home Chef gives you the option of selecting from up to 20 meal options in a week. The menus are available about a month ahead of when you will require it to prepare you ahead of time. You are then free to mix up the servings and even skip deliveries. They indicate Easy, Intermediate, and Advanced on the boxes for the user to know how easy or stressful preparing a meal will be.
As an eco-friendly company, Home Chef delivers their packages in recyclable boxes and bottles. Their meals start at $6.99 per serving with free deliveries for higher-priced meals.
- Less prep and cook time required
- Step-by-step cooking instructions included
- Healthy varied meals
- Flexible in number of servings and persons
- No food wastage
- No vegan option
- No leftovers
Tips for Choosing the Right Meal Kit Delivery Services
Before you decide to order from a random meal kit delivery company, it is essential to know that they do not ultimately offer the same services. Some focus on healthy meals while others provide any meal of your choice from snacks to comfort food. These differences help you determine which meal delivery service to approach. It is also good to know that though these services will provide the ingredients needed, you may need to have salt, cooking oil, pepper, and some essential kitchen tools available in your home. Here are other important considerations to check out:
Cost: Generally, meal kit deliveries are costly compared to purchasing your groceries and cooking with home recipes. On the other hand, they are cheaper than some restaurants, and the meals place value on wellness, unlike fast foods. The delivery services do not necessarily focus on saving cost, but on reducing cooking stress and time savings.
Preferences and dietary restrictions: Does the delivery service have options for vegetarian, vegan, diabetic-friendly, paleo, gluten-free, Kid-friendly, keto, or other special diets? If they do not, can you request for swaps or changes to the menu they have? Some meal kit services offer only protein-based products with organic ingredients. Others provide locally sourced ingredients. You may also want meal options that do not trigger any allergies you have.
Recipe/Meal Choice: It is good to know if the menu varies week after week and if you can choose some meals or alter the set plan. Some companies will send you an email of the food menu monthly and allow you to decide on the number of meals you want per week. The variety makes it all the more fun as you get to try something new successively.
Servings: It is crucial to consider the number of individuals in your household when deciding on a meal kit service. The standard serving for most companies is two and four per recipe. Some even offer only single servings, which means you will have to order multiple times for each person, making it costlier. The best service for you will be one that offers up to 6 servings.
Meal Prep and Cooking Time: Meal delivery services attempt to reduce food preparation time. They do this by slicing, dicing, and cutting everything necessary. However, most times, the responsibility of cooking it is on the customer. Some may even require extra preparation before the actual cooking. But you may not want to go through the challenge of cooking a meal when you are indisposed or busy. For a reduced cooking time, some services pre-cook some items and allow you to complete the cooking in less than 20 minutes. Others offer fully cooked meals
It is not often easy for some people to combine taking care of the family, developing a career, and preparing healthy food. When you are busy with work obligations, you may start developing bad eating habits that do not help your body’s wellbeing. Meal kit delivery services won the day by introducing exciting dishes to your home without compromising on nutrition.
Pre-cooked delicious meals are delivered right at your door to stock in your refrigerator and cook when convenient. Gone are the days when healthy foods have to be stressful to prepare, bland, and boring. The services listed above all deliver tasty, healthy dishes with options ranging from peanut-free to paleo diets.