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Best Online Meal Delivery Kits
Best of Award Badge on Aging.com for premium featured companies and awards.

Most Popular

Hello Fresh Logo
HelloFresh
  • Multiple meal plan options
  • Prepared meal options
  • Can swap or upgrade each week
Best of Award Badge on Aging.com for premium featured companies and awards.

Best for Heat and Eat

Factor Meal Delivery
Factor
  • Multiple meal plan options
  • Free consultation with a dietician
  • Pre-cooked meals
Best of Award Badge on Aging.com for premium featured companies and awards.

Best Basic Meal Kit Service

EveryPlate Logo
EveryPlate
  • No contract required
  • Multiple meal plan options
  • Six-step recipes

What Are Meal Kits?

What’s for dinner? It’s a question that gets asked in most homes every night. And more and more often, Americans are answering it with a meal kit delivery. The services have become popular over the last few years. They offer a wide variety of recipes with all the ingredients included – delivered right to your door.

When you sign up for the service, you’ll be asked to choose how many people you need to feed and how many servings you need. You’ll then be directed to pick your meals – there are generally between 20 and 50 different ones to choose from each week depending on the service you use. Many meal delivery services also have specialized meal plans that include everything from low-calorie to keto to vegan.

The meals will be sent to your home every week. In the box you’ll find everything you need to make your meal – the protein and the sides and all the pre-measured ingredients. The kit comes with a recipe to follow and the meals generally take around 30 minutes to fix start to finish. Some companies offer fully-prepared meal options, where all you have to do is heat them up.

Best Meal Delivery Kits for 2023

Company: Per Meal Cost Starting At: Multiple Plan Options: Specialty Diets* Available: Prepared Meal Option: Shipping Cost Starting At:
HelloFresh $7.49 $9.99
Home Chef $8.99 $7.99 for orders under $45
Blue Apron $9.49 $9.99
Factor $10.00 Free
Green Chef $11.99 $9.99
Purple Carrot $11 Free
Dinnerly $4.99 $9.99
EveryPlate $4.99 $9.99
Sunbasket $9.99 $7.99
Freshly $9.58 $9.99

*such as Keto, Low Carb, Diabetic Friendly, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

What Should I Consider When Picking a Meal Delivery Service?

There are several things to consider when choosing a meal kit delivery service, but they all come down to personal needs. But here are a few things to consider before you sign up:

Type of Service You Want

There are two basic types of meal delivery services – meal kits you assemble and cook or pre-made meals you warm up. So, consider how convenient you want it to be. If you enjoy, or at least don’t mind, following a recipe, combining ingredients and spending some time in the kitchen, then a kit is what you’re looking for. But if using the microwave is your idea of cooking, you may want to consider pre-made meals that are heat and eat.

Type of Diet You Follow or Food You Eat

Not every service offers every type of diet. So, if you’re a keto fan or a vegetarian – you’ll need to find a meal delivery service that offers those types of meals. You’ll need to look for food you’ll eat or like, or your orders and your money will end up going to waste.

If you have a food allergy, pay special attention to how the food is processed. While you may be able to get meals that are nut or dairy free, many of these companies use one central processing center, so there may be cross-contamination with foods that contain things you’re allergic to.

The Cost

The cost may easily be the most important factor in determining if meal kits are right for you. There are a wide range of prices and plans, so you’ll have to find the one that fits your budget best. You’ll also need to consider the shipping charge, and your weekly grocery bill before you opt for any plan.

Quality of Ingredients

If sustainability is important to you, look for a company that practices that. Not all of them do. Some meal kit companies pride themselves on using organic ingredients, meats from animals that haven’t been given antibiotics and vegetables that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides. Companies that do these things will tell you on their websites in their FAQs.

Recipe Variety

No one wants to eat the same thing every night or even every week. So, be sure and find a service that offers plenty of recipes that interest you. If you only see a few you might like, then check out another company. You can always pause or cancel your subscription and enroll with another meal kit service. Most of them offer discounts for new customers, so you can try several of them and potentially pay less than you would if you stayed with one service over time.

Delivery Area

Most companies ship nationwide, or at least within the continental United States. But some have limited-service areas within those states. Before you go too far with any one company, type in your zip code and make sure it delivers to your house.

Best Meal Kit Delivery Services for 2023

There are so many meal kit delivery companies available, it’s hard to know what’s worth trying. So, we’ve done the hard work for you – narrowing down the list to the ten best based on meal offerings, ingredients, ease of use, and quality.

Most Popular

HelloFresh

Hello Fresh Logo
  • Multiple meal plan options
  • Customized plans for two or four people
  • No contract required
  • Can change, swap or upgrade sides and proteins each week
  • Coupons and deals offered regularly

HelloFresh is the largest meal delivery kit provider in the United States. Each week it offers more than 30 recipes for its customers to choose from. Its meal plans include Meat and Veggies, Veggies Only, Family Friendly, Fit and Wholesome, Quick and Easy, and Pescatarian. You can choose plans for two or four people and can pick up to six recipes a week. They come with all the ingredients you need to prepare and cook the meal. HelloFresh also offers its customers the ability to change, swap or upgrade sides and proteins to the pre-existing recipes. The meal kit company does not require a contract and you cancel your subscription, pause it or skip a week at any time.

Cost

  • Per Meal Starting At:  $7.49
  • Shipping Starting At:  $9.99
Best for Families

Home Chef

Home Chef Meal Delivery Logo
  • Multiple meal plan options
  • No contract required
  • Can be purchased in certain grocery stores
  • Coupons and deals offered regularly
  • Limited vegan and plant-based meal offerings

Home Chef offers both meal kits and prepared meal options that include low calorie, low carb or vegetarian options. The Home Chef plan lets you choose from a variety of recipes delivered with fresh, pre-portioned ingredients ready to combine, make and cook. The other plan is called Home Chef Fresh and Easy and offers little to no-prep food that is oven-ready. The Home Chef Fresh and Easy meals can also be bought individually at Kroger. That can be a good way to try the meal kit company before signing up for a meal plan.  

Delivered to front door.
Cold packed.
Portions for two people.

Every week, you can choose from more than 20 meal options or let the company make recommendations for you based on your preferences. You can choose between two and six meals a week with either two, four or six servings each. Home Chef does not require a contract and allows you to skip a week or cancel your subscription at any time.

Cost

  • Per Meal Starting At:  $8.99
  • Shipping Starting At:  $7.99 for orders under $45
Best Recipe Variety

Blue Apron

Blue Apron Meal Delivery Kit logo
  • Multiple meal plan options
  • No contract required
  • Coupons and deals offered regularly
  • Offers a wine program
  • Can purchase cooking utensils from the company
  • Doesn’t offer diet-specific plans

Blue Apron is based in New York City and offers Chef’s Favorites, Wellness, Family Friendly, Fast and Easy, or Veggies Only meal plans. You can order two, three or four servings each for either two or four people and can choose from more than 50 recipes each week. Blue Apron prides itself on sourcing its ingredients from farmers who practice sustainable farming. All of the ingredients are non-GMO, but the recipes are not certified as organic. In addition to its meal kit delivery, Blue Apron also has a wine program which offers high-quality wines at discounted prices, but it’s not available in all 50 states. Blue Apron does not require a contract and allows you to skip a week or cancel your subscription at any time.

Cost

  • Per Meal Starting At:  $9.49
  • Shipping Starting At:  $9.99
Best for Heat and Eat

Factor

Factor Meal Delivery
  • Multiple plan options
  • Free consultation with a Factor dietitian
  • Pre-cooked meals that have to be reheated
  • Does not offer family portions
  • No contract required

Factor, which was known as Factor 75 until 2019, is an Illinois-based company that operates under the Hello Fresh umbrella. It offers Chef’s Choice, Calorie Smart, Keto, Vegan and Veggie, and Protein Plus meal options. You can choose from four, six, eight, ten, 12, or 18 meals a week. More than 30 meals are offered each week for you to choose from. All meals are pre-cooked, so all you have to do is heat them up. Factor does not offer family portions and each one of your meal choices is created to be enough food for one person. You can pause, skip or cancel your subscription at any time.

Cost

  • Per Meal Starting At:  $10.00
  • Shipping Starting At:  Free
Best Organic Option

Green Chef

Green Chef logo
  • Multiple plan options
  • No contract required
  • Doesn’t deliver to Alaska and Hawaii
  • Offers discounts to military members and veterans, teachers, first responders, nurses, and medical providers
  • Uses organic ingredients

Green Chef offers Keto + Paleo, Vegetarian, Fast and Fit, Vegan, Gluten Free, and Mediterranean meal kits. You can select two, four or six meals a week for two, four or six people. Green Chef has more than 30 recipes each week to pick from. Green Chef is a certified USDA organic company and all of the ingredients it uses are free of GMOs, pesticides and antibiotics. You can pause, skip or cancel your subscription at any time.

Cost

  • Per Meal Starting At:  $11.99
  • Shipping Starting At:  $9.99 
Best Service for Vegans

Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot Logo
  • 100% Plant-based meals
  • No contracts required
  • Offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options
  • Company says meal plans promote weight loss
  • Frozen meals can be purchased in-store

Purple Carrot offers both meal kits and prepared meals that you heat up. Its frozen meals can be found in Target stores across the country. You can choose two or four meals for two or four people and they’re all plant-based. The recipes are labeled as high protein, low calorie, gluten-free, and nut-free. You can also choose from breakfast, lunch and snack options. The company claims its meals have been clinically proven to help customers lose weight and lower cholesterol in as little as four weeks. Purple Carrot doesn’t require a contract and you can cancel your subscription at any time.

Cost

  • Per Meal Starting At:  $11
  • Shipping Starting At:  Free 
Most Budget-Friendly

Dinnerly

Dinnerly Logo
  • No contracts required
  • Uses digital recipe cards
  • Vegetarian option

Dinnerly calls itself ‘the most affordable meal delivery service,’ and with good reason. Meals start at just $4.99. Dinnerly says it uses digital recipe cards instead of paper ones, fewer ingredients in its meals and doesn’t invest in fancy marketing campaigns to help keep costs low. You can choose three, four, five, or six meals from more than 45 recipes for two or four people. You can also choose to make your meal kits vegetarian. In addition, Dinnerly offers ready-to-heat meals, desserts and breakfast items. The company doesn’t require a contract and you can skip, cancel or pause your subscription at any time.

Cost

  • Per Meal Starting At:  $4.99
  • Shipping Starting At:  $9.99
Best Basic Meal Kit Service

EveryPlate

EveryPlate Logo
  • No contract required
  • Multiple meal plan options
  • Does not cater to specialty diets
  • Sides, desserts and salad add-ons available
  • Six-step recipes

EveryPlate offers more than 20 recipes to choose from each week and all of them can be prepared in six steps. You can also choose add-ons like desserts, sides or salads as part of your order. Customers can pick between three and six meals each week for two or four people. EveryPlate offers four plans – Meat and Veggie, Veggie Only, Family Friendly, or Quick and Easy, but in an effort to keep costs low it doesn’t cater to specialty diets. EveryPlate lets you skip or cancel your subscription any time.

Cost

  • Per Meal Starting At:  $4.99
  • Shipping Starting At:  $9.99
Best Variety for Specialty Diets

Sunbasket

Sun Basket Logo
  • Multiple meal plan options
  • Offers breakfast, lunch and snack options
  • Money-back guarantee
  • No contract required

Sunbasket is based in San Francisco and offers fresh, organic and sustainable ingredients inside its meal kits. The company also offers what it calls ‘fresh and ready meals,’ which are prepared food that you warm up. Meal kits can be paleo, vegetarian, gluten-free, carb-conscious, keto-friendly, mediterranean, diabetes-friendly, pescatarian, and Fresh and Ready and there are generally more than 30 recipes to choose from each week. You can also choose breakfast, grab and go lunch and snack options. There’s no contract required and you can cancel, pause or skip a week of your subscription any time.

Cost

  • Per Meal Starting At:  $9.99
  • Shipping Starting At:  $7.99
Best for Singles

Freshly

Freshly Logo
  • Breakfast items available
  • Offers bulk ordering for proteins
  • Offers fully-prepared meals
  • Multiple meal options

Freshly is based in New York and delivers its prepared meals throughout the United States. You can choose to get between four and 12 meals delivered each week from more than 35 different recipes. All meals are fully-prepared and can be ready to eat within three minutes. Each meal is enough for one adult, but Freshly does offer bulk ordering options for some of its proteins. So, you can order items like chicken or meatballs and fix your own sides to go with them. Freshly offers calorie-conscious, carb-smart, dairy-free, gluten-free, and plant-based meals. The company doesn’t require a contract and you can skip, pause or cancel your subscription at any time.

Cost

  • Per Meal Starting At:  $9.58
  • Shipping Starting At:  $9.99

What Are the Benefits of Meal Kit Delivery?

There are several benefits to using a meal kit delivery service. At the top of the list is the convenience of it all. Planning and shopping for meals can be time-consuming and depending on what you need, going to the grocery can also be expensive. Having a full meal ready to prepare and cook and then delivered to your door can be very appealing in its convenience. 

Meal kits are also fairly easy to fix. Each meal comes in its own container with the recipe and all the ingredients, pre-measured, labeled and ready to assemble. You just take out the packages, follow the directions on the enclosed recipe and dinner is served. Most meals – no matter the brand – are generally ready to eat within 30 minutes, so the actual prep work doesn’t take long either.

Since you select how many people you need to feed with each meal, you will end up with less food waste. You won’t have much, if any, leftovers and you won’t have any ingredients leftovers since you get the exact amount you need.

What Are the Drawbacks of Meal Kits?

The Cost

One of the biggest drawbacks of meal kits is the cost. There are several companies that offer affordable products, but it will be more expensive than getting the ingredients and making it from scratch yourself. You are paying for convenience, after all. Meal kits will still be cheaper though than going out to eat every night at a restaurant or ordering takeout.

Use It or Lose It

You may be discouraged by the length of time you have to use everything you’ve ordered. The ingredients will be delivered fresh, not frozen and since most of them are perishable, you’ll need to fix and eat the meals in a certain timeframe or be forced to throw them out. So, meal kits may not be a good option if you regularly make spur of the moment dinner changes or plans. If you’re considering trying a meal kit delivery service, you may want to start with the lowest number of meals possible so you can determine if it fits your schedule and your lifestyle.

Grocery Store Still Required

If you think ordering meal kits will help you avoid the grocery store, you’d be wrong. You’ll still need to go to the grocery regularly for your other meals and essentials you’ll need throughout the week. You’ll have to look at meal kits as a supplement and not as a replacement to grocery shopping.

Planning Required

Meal kits require some planning. Most companies have a cut-off day each week for you to choose what you want in your next order. If you don’t log on to the site and pause, skip or cancel your subscription, the company will choose for you and ship your next week’s meals leaving you with food you may not want. Be sure to know the day you need to order by and take care of that each week.

Package Waste

Since each ingredient in your meal kit is measured to be the amount you need, everything is packaged individually. It also comes together in one box equipped with an ice pack or cooling source to help keep your meal ingredients fresh during shipping. So, there’s quite a bit of waste when you’re finished. Many companies try to package as much as they can in recyclable containers, but not everything can be recycled and you may end up with more trash than you wish.

Shipping Cost

Depending on the company you use and how much you spend, you may receive free shipping. But some companies will charge you shipping no matter what. Many have a flat shipping fee of at least $10, so you’ll want to factor that into your overall cost.

Ingredients Needed

Even with all the ingredients in the box, meal services will still expect you to have a few things on hand to complete the meal. Oil, butter, salt, and pepper are the most common ingredients although some services will require you to have things like eggs or flour on hand.

Are Meal Kits Healthy?

Many meal kit delivery services offer low-calorie or low-carb or vegetarian choices, so you probably assume they’re healthy. And overall, it will be better and healthier for you than eating fast food every night. When choosing your meals, check the nutritional breakdowns. Most companies will provide it for each of the recipes. Some will have more detailed information than others, but you should at least look – especially if you have dietary restrictions or concerns.

Pay particular attention to the sodium content. Salt is a contributor to high blood pressure, among other health issues and many of the kits have a significant amount of salt in them before you add any extra. You’ll also want to check the saturated fat content which can contribute to the risk of heart disease. Some meals may have more than you need in a day.

One positive of meal kits is the ingredients are mostly whole or minimally processed, so they’re healthier for you. But while you can choose from a wide variety of vegetables, the portion may not be big enough to help you get your recommended daily allowance.

Are Meal Kits Safe?

When it comes to food, safety is of the utmost importance. So, it’s not unusual to be concerned or have questions about food that is being mailed to your home. Every service is different, so you’ll want to make sure you know how everything is packaged, and kept fresh and cold before you order. Most companies use some sort of insulation in the packaging they ship the meal kits in. You’ll also find ice packs or dry ice to help keep them cold during transit– which can also add to the weight of the package that lands on your doorstep! If you have mobility issues or restrictions on how much you can lift, these deliveries could pose a challenge.

Since you’ll be receiving perishable items, make sure someone is home around the time the delivery is scheduled. That way the food can be refrigerated and stored quickly instead of leaving it outside for a period of time. When you’re unpacking the items, make sure everything looks like it’s supposed to. You don’t want any fresh fruits or vegetables to be damaged because they will either be bad or go bad quickly. And you don’t want an open meat bag that can cross-contaminate the other food with its juices. On the rare occasion that something like this does happen, be sure to contact the company immediately to find out how they can rectify the situation.

Summary

If trying to decide what to fix or eat for dinner every night is a hassle, meal kit delivery services are a great option. You can choose your meals for the week and be sent everything you need to make them. While these services will be more expensive than going to the grocery and making things from scratch, they are a cheaper alternative to eating out or grabbing takeout every night. They’re also a great way to sample different foods and expand your eating options and taste palette.

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