0

Healthy food meal delivery

Lately I feel like there have been an abundance of commercials for home meal delivery services. Services that deliver a box of fresh, pre-portioned food and recipes right to your doorstep. I wanted to try them out, so…I tried 6 home meal delivery services, and I’m sharing what I thought and a comparison of the different services. Since posting this meal delivery services comparison review, I’ve added several services I tried and loved, I think up to date I’ve tried 10 services. I’ll keep updating this article as I try more.

With life being so busy – between work, being a new mom and just life in general, I was starting to really feel like I was in a cooking rut. I didn’t even want to think about what to make for dinner, I had zero inspiration, zero time to go to the grocery store, and zero motivation. When I kept hearing all the commercials for meal delivery services, I thought I’d look into them and give them a try. There are so many different companies out there! I made a list of all the different ones I wanted to try out, and each week tried a different service.

Here are some of the pros and cons, and at the bottom of the post I share a comparison chart to give an overview.

Sun Basket

I was a little late to the game trying Sun Basket, but they have easily become my favorite (I should have listened to friends who had tried it sooner!) If you want to read a review of the best healthy meal delivery service I wrote about them, click here.

Pros:

  • Healthy meals (that don’t taste ‘healthy’). I like that I don’t have to look at the calories per meal, because they’re generally all under 600-700 calories per meals (other meal delivery services per serving sometimes are 1200+ calories!)
  • Lots of options
  • They let you preview the meals before you become a member
  • Lots of options for different diet-friendly meals (like vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.)
  • Organic ingredients
  • They include eggs! A lot of meal delivery services don’t include eggs for recipes that call for eggs, so I was very pleasantly surprised that they did.
  • Their weekly box comes with a magazine which includes the recipes and also other helpful articles and recipes, it read like a magazine!

Cons:

  • The meals are very healthy and delicious, but if you’re looking for something a little more on the indulgent side, this service is probably not for you. They have a lot of unique healthy recipes, so you don’t miss any of the unhealthy stuff. But if you’re a ‘steak & potatoes’ type of person, I’d try one of the other services.
  • The magazine (which was listed in the pro section) is nice, but it’s a little hard to find the recipes that are in your meal kit – I wish they would list the page numbers on the ingredients to make it easier to put the ingredients together with the recipe.

Home Chef (use code 40SWEETPHI to get $40 off your first two boxes if you’re a new customer!!)

Pros:

  • Loved that there were lots of meals to choose from
  • Lots of delivery day options which is always nice
  • Absolutely LOVE that besides the designated meal plans you can add additional meals (so if the plan is 3 meals for a family of 4, if that week you want 4 or 5 of the meals, you can add them on and not change your plan!)
  • One can add on breakfast/fruit/smoothie/premium meals which is nice
  • Food is really tasty – their flatbreads or meatball options, whenever I see them on the menu I order them because they’re so good. Honestly, their food tastes SO GOOD!
  • A binder came with the first order so that one could put all the recipes in the binder
  • Definitely most flexibility if you’re a family of 2, 4 or 6 or if there are vegetarians, you don’t have to completely change plans, you can choose vegetarian options. This is great for families
  • All the ingredients for a recipe were in a bag, meat was in a separate, sealed bag!
  • The food is so good, I got my sister hooked on this service after she tried two other services. They have the most ‘family-friendly’ meals too (meaning menu items that I think the whole family would enjoy!)
  • I wrote another post about Home Chef and meal delivery for special occasions (like for example for Valentines Day!) and I wrote a Home Chef meal kit delivery review post!
  • I worked with Home Chef to get SweetPhi readers an exclusive discount! Use code 40SWEETPHI to get $40 off!!

Cons:

  • Their website was a little difficult to figure out at first (I had to email them to ask about how to ‘skip/pause’ weeks)

Fresh n’ Lean

Pros:

  • Fresh n’ Lean offers already cooked healthy meals where all you need to do is heat the food up!
  • Loved that they offer breakfast/lunch/dinner and snacks
  • Especially loved their Protein + plan, the meals really filled me up!
  • The food was really good, and again, really filling and it made me feel good if that makes sense (like my body loved how it felt after eating the food)
  • The meals had a pretty long fridge shelf life – these are not frozen meals, so I liked that I didn’t have to eat it within a day or so of receiving it
  • Major pro was not having to ‘prep’ or cook anything
  • Really enjoyed that the food could be microwaved or cooked via stovetop or oven
  • Loved that you could order a la carte meals or a whole plan/weeks worth

Cons

  • If you order breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks for a weeks worth, the box is really big and the meals take up a lot of fridge space (but it’s not so much a con because you then have meals for the whole week)
  • They are single serving meals so if you’re feeding a family you would need to order multiples.

Martha & Marley Spoon

I tried Martha & Marley Spoon after writing this review but had to add it in. It is Martha Stewart’s meal delivery program. The food is good, very family friendly. I liked that some of the recipes are from Martha’s cookbooks.

Pros:

  • Very family friendly.
  • Love that some of the recipes are from Martha’s cookbooks, and that there are adaptations and time saving tricks. For example if a recipe is made in a pressure cooker/Instant Pot, it will give directions for the pressure cooker and how to make it if you don’t have one.
  • The food is super good, recipes the whole family would love. I’ve kept several of the recipes to make again.
  • There are plenty of options.
  • I felt like the portions were perfect.

Cons:

  • I did feel like some of the recipes used a lot of dishes to make them, but I’ve come to find that a lot of meal delivery kits recipes do use quite a few dishes and kitchen utensils.

Green Chef

Pros:

  • All organic (the other organic meal service I LOVE is Sun Basket, I’ve gotten so many comments about them and they’re allergy/diet friendly!)
  • Meals came with sauces that were already made and were really tasty
  • Minimal prep, only had to chop 1 or 2 things per recipe
  • Loved the way the food/recipe cards were labeled and color coded, it made it very easy to know which items to use
  • Meals were done (start to finish including prep) in 30 minutes

Cons:

  • Didn’t like that one couldn’t swap out meals/recipes. You choose a plan and then are just sent the designated meals
  • Online system doesn’t show more than two weeks in advance upcoming meals
  • This could be a pro or con – the portion sizes were huge. Each meal for 2 we ended up having leftovers for a 3rd meal.
  • We waited 4 days to make one of the recipes – veggie burgers- the arugula and kale were rotten. Contacted customer service and they immediately apologized and gave a credit on our account.

Blue Apron

Pros:

  • The food tasted really good
  • Appropriate serving sizes, no extra portions
  • Liked that one could choose between a few meals

Cons:

  • Lots of chopping/prep work
  • Lots of dishes/utensils required
  • Lots of making sauces/different components of the dish
  • Missing key ingredients (emailed their customer service and they immediately apologized and gave me a credit on our account.)
  • Cooking instructions/times were wrong on 2 of the 3 recipes (example 6 minutes to cook an entire chicken breast – it was still raw on the inside)
  • Cooking times varied and the dishes took a lot longer than expected to make, one 30 minute expected time ended up taking close to 50 minutes from start to finish.
  • A lot of leftover ingredients (example: sent whole head of garlic when all one needs is 1 clove)

Hello Fresh

Pros:

  • Really liked that all the ingredients for a particular recipe came in a box with all the ingredients for that recipe
  • Unique flavor combinations
  • One can choose different meal options, but there’s not a lot of flexibility between plans (if you want a family plan, there are only a few options, same with the vegetarian plan, there are only three options, and one can’t get a vegetarian meal with other meat meals)
  • Liked that the meal options include a breakfast one
  • All the food was tasty
  • Easy directions to follow

Cons:

  • The website is as not as easy to use as other ones, but once one knows where everything is it gets easier
  • There are not a lot of options on some of the plans (for example, if you want a family plan and have 3 meals, there’s only 5 to choose from) versus if you’re on a 2 person plan, there’s like 6+ meals to choose from.
  • They have the same meals very frequently so it gets difficult to find options you haven’t tried

Yumble Kids

If you’re looking for healthy and delicious meals for your kids, I would definitely recommend Yumble. Their food is nutritionist approved and is food your kids will actually want to eat. I had my son Ben try it out, and he did actually eat the food. I personally loved having a fully cooked meal all ready to go in the fridge ready for him. I tried a few bites and was super impressed, all the food tasted super good! Yumble Kids is definitely made for busy moms who want good meals for their kids.

Comparison:

After writing this post, several companies went out of business (Plated & Terra’s Kitchen) I got a lot of questions about meals that are already made (cooked) or servings for one – my recommendation for that would be Fresh ‘n Lean. Also, after writing this post and reading the comments, Sun Basket is really loved by a lot of people. It’s all organic and the meals look super tasty-I have tried their meals and understand the love, they’re amazing! Use to get $35 off Sun Basket meals!

Summary:

If you’re interested in home meal delivery services, the right one is out there for you!

I was pleasantly surprised that each and every one of the services I tried offered a ‘first time customer’ discount of some kind. I do need to mention -this post is not sponsored by any of the companies I mentioned in any way. I paid for all the services myself (some have referral programs where if you order using my code or special link, you’ll get a discount and I’ll get some kind of credit for future orders or a small amount from your first order.) All opinions are mine alone and based on my experience.

Funny thing is, without even looking at the graph, my favorite service was Home Chef (use code 40SweetPhi for $40 off) they have the best options and the least amount of dishes! For healthy, organic and very dietary needs accommodating (if you’re gluten-free/etc.) my favorite was Sun Basket, a service I tried after putting together the chart, I get them frequently now because we’re always trying to eat a little healthier. If you’re looking for healthy already cooked meals, Fresh n’ Lean is the one I’d recommend! If you’re looking for meal delivery for your kids where their meals are already made, I’d recommend Yumble Kids.

Have you ever tried home meal delivery services? What did you think? Tag me on Instagram, @philiakelnhofer and ler me know!

Hungryroot
According to Hungryroot, a personalized grocery service that launched in 2015, eating healthily is not only easy but tasty, too. Delivering a box of fresh easy-to-make foods, ranging from washed and chopped vegetables to nutritious noodles made from chickpeas or red lentils, the four-year-old company gives you everything you need to whip up a home-cooked meal—without ever having to brave the supermarket.

Urban Remedy
Think of Urban Remedy’s Metta-Morphosis program as a total body reset for the year ahead. Originally created with the help of Angela Lindvall (a fan of the company’s plant-centric meals, along with Cindy Crawford and Kate Upton), this holistic program combines guided morning and evening meditation, daily movement classes led by dance and yoga teachers, and empowering videos with clean, low-glycemic juices, soups, and salads delivered right to your door.

Daily HarvestPhoto: Courtesy of Daily Harvest

Daily Harvest
When Daily Harvest first launched in 2015, it brought new innovation and health consciousness to the frozen food section with its line of ready-to-blend superfood smoothies. Last month, the superfood subscription service added more savory soups to its roster, which has also expanded to include the likes of chia puddings and nourishing harvest bowls. The preservative-free vegetarian medleys, which can be popped in the microwave for just five minutes, are available in a handful of comforting flavors, including green chickpea and kale curry, cauliflower and leek stew, and mushroom and miso.

The Culinistas
For New Yorkers and Angelenos looking to indulge (responsibly), there’s no better service to turn than The Culinistas, which will send a culinary-trained chef, with fresh ingredients in hand, to your home to prepare a selection of wholesome dishes from a menu of your choosing—making sure, of course, to leave the kitchen spotless. Best of all, the fridge will be stocked with six carefree meals to mix and match throughout the week. Sign us up.

Green ChefPhoto: Courtesy of Green Chef

Green Chef
Those looking to make a home-cooked meal but also cut down on the amount of time spent running around grocery stores and farmers’ markets should consider signing up for Green Chef, a USDA-certified organic delivery service that comes with premeasured ingredients, premade sauces, and pre-chopped vegetables. Choose from a wealth of plans—Paleo, plant-powered, keto—for fuss-free entrées at your doorstep.

Purple Carrot
Encouraging a plant-based lifestyle, Purple Carrot’s healthy meal delivery service offers two- and four-serving plans, which arrive in recyclable packaging and center around seasonal vegan recipes, like butternut ramen or kimchi mushroom fried rice. Bonus: Five-minute breakfast and lunch options (think: orange tahini overnight oats) can be added on for a stress-free week of feel-good eating.

Contents

Website:SunFare

Without a doubt, Sunfare is the most expensive service out there. Something to note however, Sunfare is geared towards those trying to lose weight, as opposed to people simply looking for convenience.

While this makes sense for some, the price point is simply too high and they really get you with the subscription model. The model is very inflexible.

However, on a positive note, the food is delivered to you whenever you like and it is well prepared and curated. The ingredients are fresh and if you are looking to lose weight and cook your food, this could be a great option.

1. How does meal delivery service work? Subscription based? One time buy?

Sunfare structures their plan on a weekly or monthly subscription basis. This is by far the most expensive subscription we have seen. For weekly users, the minimum is $24.95/day which will include up to 1 meal and 2 snacks per day. If you were to do the weekly plan for 3 meals a day, without snacks, it would run you $58.80, and if you wanted 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, it would be $79.05!
For the monthly plan, prices are cheaper, but only just. 3 meals a day would cost $54.70 bringing your total bill for the entire (28 day) month to $1531.60. Clearly, this is the highest price out there.

2. Who is making the food? Chefs? the consumer?

While the food is curated by a chef, the food is prepared by the customer. However, unlike most services, the food is delivered daily by a Sunfare rep, which is a nice touch. Most services will deliver all at once on a weekly basis, so the daily delivery is much appreciated and ensures quality.

3. What is the smallest plan size? What is the minimum order size?

The smallest order you can make would be $24.95/day for the week, bringing your weekly grand total to $174.65. Again, not exactly cheap.

4. What makes SunFare unique?

Sunfare is geared more towards weight loss and healthy eating than convenience. Also, it has by far the highest price point. If weight loss is what you are going for, it would seem that this is a great service, but you will have to fork over a lot of cash to make it happen.

On a positive note however, they do deliver everything freshly prepared over ice in the morning at whatever time is best for you. So, if weight loss is your goal, this is a very convenient way of reaching it.

5. What food variety do you offer? How many different options can I chose from?

Meals are curated by the Sunfare team. You can, however, pick from a variety of different plans; Signature, Paleo, Artisan, Vegetarian, Optimal Cleanse and Family Dinner.

Also, within each plan, customers can specify dislikes and what allergies they have so that each plan is more specifically curated towards their palette.

6. Can you reorder ones you’ve had before?

Sunfare’s menu’s are curated by their team of chefs. Due to this fact, it is not up to the customer to decide what they are ordering. So, unfortunately, customers cannot choose or reorder a favorite dish.

7. What are the serving sizes for each meal

Unless specified by the Family Dinner plan, all meals are made for one person as a single serving.

Yelp Reviews:

Why I didn’t choose this company:

I didn’t choose Sunfare because of the lack of flexibility and the focus on weight loss. I am not looking for such a high price point just to have meals sent to me on a daily basis and then have to prepare them myself.

Over $1500 for a month’s worth of food is a bit excessive when weight loss is not my primary goal. Furthermore, the subscription is too inflexible and even the cheapest route would get you very little food for close to $700/month!

The Company I Chose

I chose Chef’d because it has the best of both worlds in terms of food delivery services. The ingredients are very fresh and divvied up so you don’t waste anything, and the a la carte option allows you to be spur of the moment with your decision to order.

Chef’d doesn’t have any dumb contracts or automatic shipping/payment and the food is fantastic! Also, they have an amazing variety that is unparalleled by others in the space. With over 200 recipes to choose from, and more coming, you never run out of something new to try. Also, if you find a recipe you love, you can get it over and over!

I love the versatility they provide and the price is more than fair. With a company like this, it is a no brainer why I would choose them over the competition!

Western Music … fair food – I and J Fountain Restaurant

We haven’t been in here for 10 years and it looks just about the same. It is a bit different finding this place off El Mirage Road towards the back, located in an office building apartment complex. This place still has character. The decor is unusual, tasteful but not tacky. A dance floor is in the middle and dining tables surrounding. Country band over the weekend, lots of dancing, and Polish food specials with karaoke on Mondays and Tuesdays. Where can you go in the valley and get dining and dancing all in one place where they don’t rush you. You are there for the evening to enjoy. Lots and lots of locals.Everyone knows everyone. And yes there are retired people, over 60+ crowd. And yes they are all interesting and they are all enjoying themselves.They serve lunch and dinner and brunch on Sundays that I hear fills up fast and must make reservations. You also should make reservations on Country night. We went to try their Polish specialty because being Polish from Chicago we have missed it very much. The polish sampler comes in half and full size. A previous review mentioned they did not fry them, Pierogies are fried, and they mention in their menu with onions however no onions were on our plates. We are used to boiled with some butter on them, but these were tasty, 3 types; cheese/potato, sauerkraut, mushroom sauerkraut, along with kielbasa that is grilled very tasty,the sauerkraut with the kielbasa I think had carrots and some kind of red flavoring that had a spice in it. Not what I am used to but interesting. The golumpki-stuffed cabbage roll with tomato sauce was good and potato pancakes, not sure about these. They were very flat looked like a frisbee very processed, could not sense a real homemade taste, no lumps of potatoes or onions. Came with apple sauce and sour cream. Also came with salad or soup. The pea soup was just right. The salad very fresh. For $13.99 you get a full meal and take some home. We wished they had some homemade kolachky’s that would top off the meal but they don;t have them, they did have other desserts that we did not try. Not sure if they make any of them. In a newspaper write up posted outside their door it mentioned homemade crepes for dessert but did not see that offered.The polish sampler filled our need and want for Polish food, not all the Polish food way of cooking we are used to, but close. The full menu has lots of items,steaks, seafood, chicken, pasta all very good prices. The other special was BBQ ribs.Can understand why this place has been in this valley so long. They have a following and keep their usuals very happy to keep them coming back in.The usuals make sure to get their same tables so make sure to call for a reservation. If you want a one stop shop, dining, bar, live entertainment, dancing and lots of locals that will also entertain you with great conversation and can really dance, this is the place. Not fancy,very laid back and just comfortable. Wait staff is short so be patient they truly work the room to accommodate all and are very friendly with all.

15 Meal Delivery Services that Make Eating Healthy Easy

What’s for dinner? It’s a question that can cause a fair bit of anxiety and stress. While each week might start with good intentions and a pre-prepped lunch and dinner, by Wednesday our creativity and motivation is dwindling. Stir fries and eggs in various guises become regular fixtures, and come Friday it’s either a takeaway or beans on toast – undoing a lot of the good you did by fitting a few gym sessions into your busy schedule.

Even those with the skills and interest to prepare home-cooked meals have zero time to plan and shop, let alone execute interesting and healthy dishes.

Thankfully, companies are offering a solution for our modern dilemma: meal subscription services that offer everything from sending you every single ingredient that you need to make a week’s worth of delicious home-cooked interesting meals, to providing a fridge full of nutrient-packed dishes, all prepared and ready to eat.

Whether you’re vegetarian or Paleo, looking to slim down or bulk up, or just want to make life a little bit easier, with the help of the 15 meal delivery services below, healthy meals are just a click away.

1. DropChef

The Big Idea:

Billed as ‘the smartest way to cook a healthy dinner’, DropChef delivers nutritionally balanced meals pre-measured, so you just follow an easy step-by-step recipe and then cook.

Need to Know:

Founded by Roman Grogan and Ryan Scott and Sam O’Byrne while the trio were still students at DCU, DropChef promises you’ll have dinner on the table in 30 minutes. First, decide on which plan you’d like to go with, choosing from One Person, Two Person Plan or Family Plans. Then, each week choose three dishes from a menu that changes weekly. It’s based on a flexible subscription, so you are free to put your account on hold at any time, and to skip any week that doesn’t suit you.

Your healthy home cooked meal will no doubt be served with an intangible sense of accomplishment, and what’s more DropChef’s Cook-One-Feed-One™ program means that for every meal you cook with DropChef, they’ll donate one meal to a child in need.

Healthy Factor:

The nutrient-packed dishes are made with seasonal, local produce and 100% Irish meat, and come in just the right amounts for the number of people you are cooking for, so there is no wastage.

Delivery Details:

Deliveries to all areas of Dublin are made on Sundays, and they do office deliveries on Mondays. Deliveries outside of Dublin arrive with customers on Tuesdays.

Cost:

Starting at €6.95 per person per meal with weekly plans varying from €29.85 for the One Person Plan to €83.40 for the Family Plan.

2. The Pure Kitchen

The Big Idea:

Healthy, tasty meals that are free from dairy, gluten, wheat and added sugars.

Need to Know:

After a stint in Ballymaloe Cookery School and 2 years’ experience in top Dublin restaurant Pichet, former accountant John Mac Govern set up the The Pure Kitchen as an outlet for his gluten and dairy free recipe experimentation. Gaining marks for its distinctively designed website, The Pure Kitchen allows you to pick meals as you wish, or alternatively select a pre-set package of meals. There’s even a ‘new parents pack’, to welcome home new parents with a bundle of meals, soups and salads.

Healthy Factor:

The tagline ‘nothing Added, nothing processed…just pure food’ says it all. The Pure Kitchen meals are made up of fresh ingredients, that are local ingredients where possible.

Delivery Details:

Based in Donnybrook, both a pickup and Dublin-only delivery service is provided. Made fresh to order, place orders by 9am for same day delivery on Monday and Thursday to Dublin City Centre and South County Dublin, and North and West Dublin on Tuesdays.

Cost:

There are daily or weekly plans ranging from €20 to €80, or sample their individual dishes, starting from €3.50 for snacks, starters and soups, €6.50 for salads, €5.50 for breakfasts, and €8.00 for main dishes. A €5 fee applies to orders less than €80.

3. GourmetFuel

The Big Idea:

A one-stop solution of assessment, advice, food and training to facilitate people achieving their goal, be it weight loss, muscle gain, training for an event, rehabilitation, or just overall general well-being.

Need to Know:

Bringing together an expert in nutrition, a fitness guru, and a former Avoca head chef, GourmetFuel makes healthy eating easy. Opt for individual meals from a menu including everything from 200 kCal snacks to 900 kCal XL meals; buy multi pack meals; or subscribe to a 1, 4 or 8 week meal plan, each based on a specific need, from weight loss to building muscle. Meals and snacks are also available in selected SuperValu stores.

Healthy Factor:

Any visitor to their site can take advantage of the free online diet tool; just by entering some basic physical information, it will calculate your Total Daily Energy Requirement (TDER), which helps to recommend a meal plan for you based on a total number of calories per day to achieve your goal.

Go one step further and arrange a private consultation, allowing you to design fitness and meal plans to suit your exact requirements. All meals are healthy, wholesome food, and complete with a breakdown of calories, macronutrients and micronutrients.

Delivery Details:

GourmetFuel delivers up to twice a week to homes and offices nationwide.

Cost:

Prices start from €1.95 for snacks, and dinners cost between €7.95 and €10.95. Multi pack meals range from €75 to €220.

4. Paleo Meal Deliveries

The Big Idea:

Eat like your ancestors with this service that offers macro split Paleo meal plans.

Need to Know:

Meals plans are based around a weekly Paleo menu, that doesn’t scrimp on flavour. Based on your subscription choice you could be starting your day with truffle infused scrambled egg, chestnut mushroom and smoked bacon; enjoying Malaysian laksa with turkey and chicken for lunch; and looking forward to slow cooked beef with roast sweet potato, braised fennel, broccoli and a red wine jus for dinner. There’s even a McGregor Get Ripped Meal Plan option. They also offer a range of meal bundles, sides, juices, snacks and supplements, ideal for building your own portion controlled meal plan.

Healthy Factor:

All meals comply with a Paleo diet, and the set menu which changes weekly, is macro split, and the caloric intake is adjusted for whichever plan you choose. Meals can also can be customised for ‘fussy eaters’ or low FODMAP diets. They also sell Green Beard Juices, and variety snack packs that include 3 Irish, nutritious snack brands; Fulfil protein bars, Irish Biltong and Paleo Muffins.

Delivery Details:

Delivers nationwide across Ireland and the UK, in a cooler box designed with a 24-hour shelf life once delivered. Delivery days for Dublin are Tuesday and Thursday, and Friday for all other addresses.

Cost:

One of the cheapest, meals cost €6 on average. Plans start from €84.50, for a 5 day lunch and dinner plan, and peak at €677 for a month long bulk up plan.

5. Paleo Ireland

The Big Idea:

Similar to, Paleo Meal Deliveries, Paleo Ireland is a meal delivery service that takes inspiration from the Paleolithic diet.

Need to Know:

All meals are 100% Paleo and delivered fresh, think Primal Protein Pancakes, Mojito Chicken Salad, Paleo Chicken Korma and Primal Beef and Red Wine Stew – it seems that red wine was just as popular in the Stone Age as it is now. Select from set menus, or chose ‘a la carte’ to build your own choice of 5 breakfast, lunches and/or dinners. Available for sale in an increasing number of gyms, cafes and artisan butchers like Mortons of Ranelagh.

Healthy Factor:

Strictly Paleo, all meals are high in fat, moderate in animal protein and low to moderate in carbohydrates. There is minimal information on the source of ingredients, aside from a scrolling banner that intermittently asserts “100% Irish food”.

Delivery Details:

Deliveries made within Dublin on Sundays and Mondays, and to all other addresses on Tuesdays. There are also a number of gyms nationwide where you can pickup your order.

Cost:

Set menus are €55 for a week or €200 for a months supply. ‘A la carte’ options range from €15 for a Paleo Breakfast Menu Pack to €55 for 10 dinners. Individual meals are €4.50 for breakfasts and juices, to just €6 for all soups, salads and dinners.

6. Life Kitchen

The Big Idea:

Meals delivered to your door that are developed by a scientist with a passion for healthy eating.

Need to Know:

With a PhD in Science and over 15 years of experience in technology and biotechnology, John Collier set up Life Kitchen to pursue another interest, healthy nutrition. All you need to do is pick your meal plan, choose your meals and Life Kitchen does the rest for you. Not ready for a subscription? Try one of their one-off a la carte one options.

Healthy Factor:

Life Kitchen promises to use only with the best produce available, which ensures the nutritious value of their products is not compromised. You can also be assured that the meat is 100% Irish and fully traceable from farm to fork, and the vegetables, wherever possible, are Irish too. Taking a scientific approach, each meal is nutritionally balanced.

Delivery Details:

Life Kitchen use DPD to make their deliveries – the only An Bord Bia approved food delivery service in Ireland. One of the most flexible delivery options, you choose the date that suits you, and they’ll deliver the meals to your doorstep.

Cost:

Get three meals delivered per week for a month for €120, 5 meals for €160, or 7 for €199. Individual meals are €10 and healthy desserts are €5.50.

7. Low-Cal Meals Delivered

The Big Idea:

Freshly cooked healthy calorie controlled and high protein meals delivered.

Need to Know:

Based on a weekly set menu, diet meal plans take into account the average calorie requirements for a man or woman, and allows the leeway to add in snacks to bring you up to your daily calorie requirements. If you’re looking to bulk up rather than slim down try their Muscle Gain High Protein Meals. There is no option to buy separate meals.

Healthy Factor:

All meals are calorie controlled, and body building meals pay close attention to macros too. Already have a meal plan? LowCal Meals Delivered offer a bespoke meal services where you can submit your own meal plan, and they will send you a quotation for cooking and delivering your meals based on your specifications. You can also chose a Juice Detox plan, which consists of 3 Juices and 2 soups per day for 3 Days … if you’re brave enough.

Delivery Details:

Deliveries to Dublin, Wicklow, Meath, Louth, or Kildare only are made twice weekly, on Saturday and Wednesdays . Get your order in 48 hours in advance to avoid going hungry!

Cost:

Meal plans prices range from €60 to around €220. A free week of meals on your 11th order is a nice touch.

8. The Wholefood Revolution

The Big Idea:

Recipe boxes complete with pre-portioned ingredients and step by step recipe cards designed by a nutritional therapist.

Need to Know:

Founded by nutritional therapist David Wallace and his wife Michelle, subscribe to The Wholefood Revolution to get two wholesome, healthy recipes per week that are designed to take 30 – 45 minutes to cook. Each week, subscribers choose their two favourite dishes, from a menu that changes weekly.

In the box you will get perfectly portioned ingredients for 2 portions of each of your chosen meals, or 4 portions if you choose the family size box. Subscriptions are flexible, so you can skip, pause or cancel anytime.

Healthy Factor:

The Wholefood Revolution boxes are filled with only the freshest seasonal ingredients that are sourced straight from the market. Anybody can also sign up to their ‘Making Healthy Easy’ programme, and receive a weekly ‘tweaks’ email that encourages you to make just one small tweak to your daily habits for long-term health benefits.

Delivery Details:

A relatively new service, delivery is currently limited to East Meath, Dublin 15, Lucan, Malahide, Portmarnock, Sutton and Howth. But their site promises they soon will be expanding. All of the packaging can be returned or composted.

Cost:

Sign up for a weekly cost of €29.95 for a couples box, or €49.95 to feed a family of four for two nights. Meals can work out as little as €6.24 per portion.

9. FighterFood

The Big Idea:

FighterFood is a ready-meal delivery service brought to you by chef Simon Higgins, who boasts considerable Michelin star kitchen and fitness experience.

Need to Know:

Simon originally started making meals in return for training from pro fighters like Conor McGregor, as well as footballer Robbie Keane. Before that he worked in Michelin starred restaurants in London, Dublin and Lyon including: Shanahans on the Green, Patrick Guilbaud, the Osborne restaurant and Le Gavroche.

At FighterFood Simon and his team of chefs prepared all the meals to order, so unlike some of the others you choose the meals, rather than being stuck to a set menu. Customers can order a la carte, or as part of a meal plan that can be lunch or dinner only, or three full meals a day.

Healthy Factor:

Fitness goals are the result of “80% nutrition, 20% exercise,” says FighterFood. Their meal plans provide you with enough fresh nutritionally balanced meals to support your training all week. So, that just leaves the last 20% up to you. Easy, right? All dinners come with sweet potato as standard, and you can opt to swap this out for more vegetables

Delivery Details:

Place your order before 5pm on Thursday for a Saturday delivery anywhere in Dublin.

Cost:

Meal plans cost from €100 to €150, and a la carte options range from €3 for soup to €9 for dinners.

10. FitFood

The Big Idea:

FitFood bills itself as “the affordable healthy meal delivery service”.

Need to Know:

Looking for a way to increase his own performance, Dublin footballer Philly McMahon turned to a private chef to make the meals he didn’t have time to. Spotting a gap in market to create an ‘affordable’ healthy food delivery service FitFood was born.

The service provides 5 or 7 breakfast, lunches or dinners, and you can add some sweet treats to help overcome the dreaded sugar cravings; all at prices to suit your budget. All FitFood meals are cooked on the day of initial order, packaged, and freshly frozen before being delivered. No option to buy individual meals here.

Healthy Factor:

FitFood Meals and treats are all dairy, sugar and gluten-free. The on site Diet Calculator allows customers to enter details such as height, weight and goals and get a tailored diet plan.

Delivery Details:

Nationwide delivery, with charge €5 applying to all areas. Meals ordered Monday to Thursday will be delivered on Saturday, and orders after noon on Thursday will delivered the following Wednesday.

Cost:

Meal plan prices range from €30 to €130. Take note that a box of dairy free, gluten-free and sugar-free Pro Nut Donuts costs just a fiver. With white chocolate, and peanut butter and chocolate flavours, it’s pretty much a given these will find their way to your (online) shopping cart.

11. Gasta Good ‘n’Healthy

The Big Idea:
Another Paleo meal delivery service this time from Limerick’s Gasta Good ‘n’ Healthy’ fast food restaurant.

Need to Know:

Spotting a gap in the market, and inspired by the healthy fast food chains of London, Gasta Food set up shop in Limerick City in 2014. The business has grown to now offering delivered meal plans and juice detoxes to any address in Ireland. Gasta caters to different schedules and tastes, giving you the option to mix and match meals as you like, from a menu including Malabar Prawn Curry, Clonakilty Full Irish 4 egg omelette, and Coconut Cream and Apple Compote Protein Waffles.

You can also subscribe to a meal plan, which are based on a set menu. Get a week of breakfasts, lunches or dinners delivered; or go one step further with a month long Slim Down for Summer, or Wedding Body Blitz plan. They also offer 3 or 6 day juice detoxes.

Healthy Factor:

Gasta are firm believers that nutrition will get you 70% of the way to your health goals, and that you cant out work a poor diet. So, whether you are looking to lose body fat, increase energy, improve performance or build muscle, their Paleo meals, prepared without additives, preservatives, gluten, or grains are a good place to start. Gasta’s raw juice detoxes promise to improve digestive health, banish bloating and make your skin glow – where do I sign up?

Delivery Details:
Gasta deliver to any address in Ireland every Tuesday.

Cost:
They have plans starting from as little as €32.50 per week, all the way up to €550 for the brides and grooms who are truly committed to the cause. Had a particularly indulgent weekend? Collect a 3 day detox on Monday or Tuesday for €50, saving €15.

12. Good to Go

The Big Idea:

Good to Go is a health orientated fast food delivery business that aims to “take the chore away” from preparing meals in this busy time and provides people with fast food that does you good.

Need to Know:

With four different plans depending on your dietary preferences, you can choose to order vegetarian, vegan, carnivore or pescatarian meals.

Simply choose the meal plan you want, select the amount of days or weeks you desire and add in any food likes, dislikes and goals you may have.

Healthy Factor:

With Good to Go, you can have easy access to deliciously tasty and healthy meals, packed full of nutrition. The variety of nutritious flavours are made with local ingredients by a dedicated team of food lovers.

Delivery Details:

Good to Go delivers to all of Dublin, with expansion across Leinster coming in early 2018.

Cost:

The cost for meals (lunch and dinner) for one day is €17. You can choose how many days or weeks you want to order for and the delivery date too.

14. Fit Meal

The Big Idea:

Billed as “we cook and you relax”, Fit Meal delivers fresh and nutritious food right to your door. All food is produced with high quality Irish ingredients that helps make you feel great.

Need to Know:

Fit Meal was born to help Irish people be healthier, happier and fitter. With 15 years’ experience, their qualified chef has all the tools to create delicious and perfectly balanced meals.

There are four different meal plans available and all at an affordable price. You can choose between plans that offer five breakfasts, lunches, dinners or a combination, with meals starting from as little as €5.90.

Healthy Factor:

All meals are made with high quality Irish products, from the meat to the fruit and vegetables. There’s no preservatives, artificial ingredients or added sugar and the products are gluten free.

Delivery Details:

Meals are delivered to your work or home between 11am – 1pm on Mondays and Thursdays. Fit Meal delivers to South Dublin only; however you may inquire about deliveries outside of the area on Fit Meal’s website.

Cost:

Starting at €5.90 per meal with weekly plans varying from €39.00 per week to €69.00 per week depending on the number of meals required as part of your plan.

15. Hapi Food Co

The Big Idea:

Taking the stress and time out of cooking, the Hapi Food Co provides healthy and delicious meals with a varied menu to help you live a healthier life.

Need to Know:

Order up to a week’s worth of delicious healthy food from the Hapi Food Co and ensure your week is bursting with nutritious flavour. Variety is the spice of life so their head chef has designed a different menu for each day of the week.

Healthy Factor:

Hapi Food Co believe that nutrition is key, not only for weight loss and muscle gain, but also for your own happiness. But equally as important is taste because you should be able to look forward to each meal.

Delivery Details:

Hapi Food Co offers free delivery every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. At the moment, they deliver to South Meath, North Kildare and Dublin.

Cost:

You can enjoy one main meal from €45 based on the number of days and two main meals from €85.

FEATURE BY ERICA BRACKEN

Erica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father, and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after a brief dalliance with law, she completed a Masters degree in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world meeting its characters and influencers along the way.

Erica Bracken Erica Bracken

The UK’s Best Healthy Meal Delivery Services

There are many ways to cut down the time it takes to cook a healthy meal, from signing up for a recipe box service to using one of Joe Wicks’s 15-minute recipes. However, sometimes you don’t even have 15 minutes to spare, or even if you do, you really don’t want to spend that precious 15 minutes cooking.

In those situations it’s all too easy to turn to the takeaway menu or a supermarket ready meal, both of which often contain high levels of sugar, fat, and salt, and very few servings of vegetables, meaning you’re missing out on the vitamins, minerals, fibre and all the other stuff your body would benefit from eating more of.

Fortunately, there is another way – the healthy meal delivery service. These generally send over a whole bunch of microwaveable meals for the week (though some do daily deliveries) that you can store in your fridge, close to hand whenever you’re caught short.

Here is our pick of the best of these.

Well Meals

It’s refreshing simple to place an order with Well Meals – just load up your cart online with whatever looks tasty and you’ll get them delivered the next day. The meals come in recyclable packaging that you can stick straight in the microwave, and there are options to suit vegetarians, vegans and pescatarians as well as omnivores.

We found all the meals we tried tasty, and with lots of curries and other saucy numbers on the menu the food didn’t become dry and lifeless in the microwave. However, we were certainly surprised that a company that prides itself on providing nutritionally-balanced meals included so few vegetables in the meals we tried. Generally, we were getting about one of our five a day at most from the dinners, where normally we’d aim for at least three portions of veg. If you have time it’s worth whipping up some greens on the side.

On the packaging and website, Well Meals also draws attention to the use of things like cold pressed rapeseed oil and Himalayan pink salt to make the meals healthier, when adding more vegetables would do a lot more on that front than using trendy salt (which doesn’t offer much in the way of benefits compared with normal table salt).

The portion sizes were just about enough to satisfy on a day when we’d not done too much activity beyond commuting to and from the office, but if you’re hitting the gym or running most days, you may find you need a big pudding to fill your stomach. The meals were quite low in calories though, coming in under 600, so they’d be a good, flavour-filled option for someone aiming to lose weight.

Buy from Well Meals | Dinners from £5.50 (minimum order £40)

Balance Box

This delivery service is all about weight loss, with two different low-calorie meal plans available – 1,200 and 1,800 calories. Both involve three meals and two snacks, which are delivered to your door in a large box, organised in the order in which you should eat them.

Balance Box doesn’t provide detail on the macros of the meals – you just have to trust that the nutritionists have created a healthy balance for you within the calorie limits. It’s not hard to trust them, with the meals packed full of fresh veg and other whole foods.

The meals are pretty tasty as well and surprisingly filling given the calorie restrictions in place – high amounts of protein and fibre no doubt help on that front. If you’re training hard to pack on muscle or set PBs in running events, you might want to look at something like Fresh Fitness Food instead, but if you’re trying to lose weight, Balance Box will take care of your diet for you.

Buy from Balance Box | From £19.99 per day (1,200 calories), £24.99 per day (1,800 calories) | Balance Box review

Prep Kitchen

Prep Kitchen has a pleasingly straightforward approach to matching meals to your fitness goals. It gives you simple choices: fat loss (lower calories) or muscle gain (higher calories); and balanced or performance, the latter cramming in more protein and vegetables and fewer carbs. The concept of a performance package low in energy-rich carbs seems counter-intuitive to us, especially if you’re a keen runner or cyclist looking to support your performance, but we’ll let that slide. Why? Because the meals are absolutely delicious.

We tried a range of meals in all the combination of categories and were never disappointed. The dishes tended to involve rich sauces, avoiding the relentless portions of dry poultry that is common with healthy meal delivery services, and the amount of food was always enough to satisfy.

The hefty portions on the muscle gain plan do cost a little extra, as is only fair, with fat loss meals costing £5.75 (or £6.50 if you opt for the protein-heavy performance option) and muscle gain meals costing £7 (performance £7.75).

We’d like to see more nutritional info on the Prep Kitchen website, which currently just shows the calories, protein, fat and carbs for each meal. Where’s the fibre count, for one thing? We could also have done with more veg in some of the meals, and often opted to cook some extra green veg on the side when we had the time. Despite these niggles, Prep Kitchen is an excellent option, well priced and flexible – you can start from an order as small as four meals.

Buy from Prep Kitchen | Meals from £5.75

Fresh Fitness Food

Whatever your fitness goal is, Fresh Fitness Food (FFF) will go all out to help get you there by providing every meal and snack you need. All your food arrives pre-made between midnight and 6am, so all you need to do is heat it up between crushing it at work and the gym.

Even if you opt for the fat loss package, there is a lot of food each day so you can be sure you won’t go hungry, which can be a problem with meal delivery services. Other meal packages FFF offers are designed to help you get lean or gain muscle, and there is a plant-based menu with vegetarian and vegan options.

The newest addition to the FFF line-up is the Training Plan package, which is designed to help you build lean muscle and tailors your daily meals around when you train most – so you’ll find extra carbs in your morning meals if you like an early workout.

It’s an incredibly convenient service, which makes it easy to eat healthily and puts you in the best possible place to achieve your fitness goals. The meals are impressively tasty, though if you stick with FFF for a few weeks you’ll notice some staple ingredients which can make it a little repetitive. Those who aren’t gym rats might find the eye-popping amount of protein in the meals takes some getting used to, but all that protein does have the benefit of ensuring you are never left hungry.

FFF’s packages start at £23 a day but that’s if you order 100 days’ worth, which would be a real display of commitment from the get-go. The minimum order is five days’ worth, which costs £28 a day for three meals a day rising to £43 for six meals. Discounts are available for making larger orders, even if you don’t go the whole hog and opt for 100 days.

Buy from Fresh Fitness Food | From £23 a day | Fresh Fitness Food review

Mindful Chef

One of the biggest names in recipe boxes has branched out into selling healthy frozen meals as well. After a soft launch when the frozen meals were restricted to people ordering a recipe box, they’re now a standalone product so people who only know how to use a microwave can enjoy convenient, healthy ready meals too.

The meals are all gluten-free, dairy-free and under 500 calories, and they take less than eight minutes to reheat. Currently there are four different meals on the menu: Italian-style beef and squash lasagne, spicy Panang chicken curry and black rice, creamy coconut fish pie with sweet potato mash and a vegan option – pulled barbecue jackfruit with charred corn. Each meal costs £7.

Buy from Mindful Chef | £7 per meal

No1 Food Prep

The company behind No1 Bootcamp, which puts on European fitness and weight loss holidays, is now delivering healthy meals across the UK. The packages available come in three portion sizes – lite, balanced or max – and you can choose between meat and fish or plant-based meals.

However, what sets No1 Food Prep apart is that you’re not stuck to a limited list: you can also make your own meal combinations, picking the protein, veg side and carb from the extensive list of options. You can choose the portion size of each part of the meal, and also eschew carbs entirely in favour of a double helping of veg if you like.

The meals are delivered on Wednesdays and Sundays and come in microwaveable containers that have the basic nutritional info of the meal on the lid along with cooking instructions. We tried out a variety of fish- and plant-based meals, and were consistently impressed by the flavours and also by how satisfying the portions were. We opted for the balanced portion size, rather than lite, which are 20% smaller for those looking to lose weight, or max, where the portions are ramped up for those looking to build mass or support a particularly intense training regime.

Buy from No1 Food Prep | Meals from £5.20

The Transformation Chef

These microwave meals provide balanced, delicious meals rather than cutting calories – frankly it’s nothing short of ready meals at their finest.

We were impressed by the flavour of the meals, with even the recipes containing large chunks of meat or fish being tasty. For our money chicken breast is normally a microwave meal no-no because it ends up being too dry, but the chipotle recipe from The Transformation Chef was on point.

Slightly larger portions and a few more vegetables in each meal would have been welcome, and we did come unstuck when we mistook lemons for potatoes in one meal, which is our fault for diving in while looking at our phone, but these meals are great to have on standby in your fridge in a pinch.

You can try The Transformation Chef’s service with six-meal starter box, or go all in on a complete plan which contains 12 meals and a couple of snacks. Both have vegan options too. The meals arrive on a Tuesday morning and stay fresh in the fridge for seven days.

Buy from The Transformation Chef | Six-meal starter box £34.95, complete plan £74.95-£79.95

Allplants

The concept is simple – microwavable vegan meals – but the execution is exquisite. We have no hesitation about labelling the meals as some of the finest vegan food we’ve ever tasted. The cashew mac (a vegan take on mac and cheese) was gloriously creamy despite there being no cream involved, and the fiery jerk jackfruit would convince even the most committed carnivore that plants can be just as satisfying as meat. The portion sizes are healthy too, although those doing a lot of exercise might want to whip up a side dish.

Buy from Allplants | From £4.99 per serving

The Pure Package

Another ready-meal delivery service that picks your menu based on your fitness goals, including weight loss, training support and, intriguingly, longevity. There are also veggie and vegan options, ante- and post-natal menus, and a Paleo-inspired package. And if you’re feeling especially flush you can even discuss your nutritional needs with one of Pure Package’s advisors and get a personalised meal plan.

You can also choose how many meals to get on the plan, right up to two snacks, three meals, and even pudding. The meals are delivered each day, so you don’t have to own an American-style double-door fridge-freezer to store a week’s worth of food.

Buy from The Pure Package | From £39.95 a day

5 Food Delivery Apps That are Worth Your Time and Money

Let’s be real. As much as we, as a society, talk about the importance of eating clean, fresh food, we don’t always have time. I work in the produce industry, and after a long day of thinking about fruits and vegetables, I’d rather spend some quality time with my wife and daughters than think about food prep.

The good news for people who care about both their health and their time is that food delivery apps are a thing, and have been for a while. Although not all apps are created equal, there are a few that promise fresh meals from local vendors in a short amount of time — which is the perfect way to get the best of both worlds.

Postmates

On-Demand Delivery from Anywhere

(Delivery fee between $4.99 and $7.99)

One of the largest, oldest, and most famous food delivery apps, Postmates is still going strong. Despite higher delivery rates, Postmates is worth downloading because it offers the widest variety for whatever your palette craves. Unlike other apps, PM is not affiliated with specific restaurants, so if there’s a local joint you love, chances are it will be on the app. Postmates has dominated its game and expanded to deliver more than restaurant meals. It now offers clothes, alcohol, and my personal favorite, groceries. (I love anything that boosts the produce industry, and Postmates’ inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables is a win.)

Delivery.com

Food Delivery, Alcohol, Laundry, Restaurants

(Delivery fee is built into price)

Delivery.com, much like Postmates, is more than just a meal delivery service. They also deliver groceries and produce, which is a golden ticket for my support. An almost perfect blend of Grubhub and Postmates, Delivery.com partners with restaurants, again resulting in lower delivery prices and no price surge during busy times. The only thing holding Delivery.com from taking first place is its size; it’s currently a smaller service provider, meaning fewer options. I have my money on its growth though, as it has blended perks from the two industry monopolies. Even if my opinion may be biased toward apps that get fresh produce to its users, this is definitely one worth using.

Uber Eats

Food Delivery

(Delivery fee is $4.99)

This is an app for all you purists who are looking for ways to streamline the brands you use. Although the Uber Eats app is seperate from the Uber app, its interface is similar, which makes it easy to use for those familiar with its parent service. It has taken off quickly in a number of cities, thanks to Uber’s success, and offers comparable service to its competitors. I always say this about the produce industry: more competition is never a bad thing. It pushes the industry forward and inspires innovation. Hopefully Uber Eats does the same to the food delivery industry.

DoorDash

Delivering Good Flavors

(Delivery fee between $0.99 and $7.99)

Similar to UberEats, DoorDash has acted as a catalyst for competition in the food delivery market. The one feature I turn to is the ability to order food as far as four days in advance. A modern, time-conscious take on meal prep, this forever solves the “where should we eat?” argument by allowing you to decide days in advance. As a small business owner, I also feel a sense of camaraderie with DoorDash. Although they are a larger company, they are small in comparison to their competition, and it’s important to me to offer a fellow food-industry underdog my patronage.

Eat Purely

Healthy, Delicious, Chef-Made Meals Delivered in about 30 minutes

(No delivery fee, but a $3.00 tip is automatically charged)

Eat Purely is my favorite food delivery service. Based in Chicago, they deliver freshly prepared food throughout the city and into the north suburbs. They offer a rotational weekly menu, often featuring dishes created by Michelin Star chefs. What truly sets Eat Purely apart is their dedication to showcasing in-season produce for lunch and dinner. They are always honest with their customers about exactly what goes into each dish (always healthy, natural ingredients) making for truly nourishing meals. Their delivery is quick, so when time is an issue (which it always is), I know I can count on them to get my food to me when I need it.

Even us produce industry folks get how hard it can be to find the time to prepare a wholesome meal, and in a market flooded with food delivery apps, you can lose even more time deciding which one is the best for you. While I personally use a blend of different apps (depending on what I’m looking for) my favorites boast more options, lower costs, and of course the option to have a crisp, sweet apple delivered right to my front door.

Are Food Delivery Apps Making Us Slimmer?

Christopher Griffith

Candice Pennefather, a busy real estate broker in New York City, has enough to do without dinner being a hassle. Scouring the supermarket for ingredients, hauling grocery bags for blocks, and planning meals? That doesn’t happen. Most evenings, Candice, 33, and her husband, Nicholas, whip up dinner from Blue Apron, an online company that provides premeasured fixings for meals that are created by chefs and delivered to their door in a refrigerated box. On nights when she heads home from work, starving, at 9:30, Candice uses Seamless, a restaurant delivery service, and sushi arrives at her place as she does. To keep her kitchen stocked with basics, she clicks on items on Instacart, a grocery delivery app, so someone else can shop the aisles and carry them to her apartment building.

“When I was a kid, you could order pizza and Chinese and that was it,” Candice says. “You had to have a copy of the menu, call the restaurant, and hope it got your order right. Now it’s all there on your phone or tablet-you just choose what you want, plug in your credit card info, and everything is paid for before the delivery arrives. “

Welcome to Takeout Nation. At a time when supermarkets offer more choices than ever, entire TV networks are devoted to food, and we can get recipes, how-to videos, and cooking classes online, people are cooking less and ordering takeout more. And we’re talking not about burgers and fries but about gourmet restaurant meals, like coffee-rubbed kurobuta pork loin and vegetarian red coconut curry. GrubHub, an online food-ordering and delivery service that’s in 900-plus cities across the country, delivered more than 21 million orders from 35,000 restaurants to 5.6 million diners in the first three months of 2015-30 percent more than the same period the year before. “The industry as a whole does $70 billion in takeout a year,” says Abby Hunt, a GrubHub spokeswoman. “Web and mobile technology are just making it so simple. There’s huge demand for delivery.” (Learn how America’s Absurd Delivery Food Habits Are Adding Up Fast.)

Convenience is fueling the trend. “The importance of getting what you want to eat when you want it is growing,” says Mary Chapman, the senior director of project innovation for Technomic Inc., a food-service research and consulting firm. “People are busier than ever and value anything that makes it easier to eat.”

Today, food delivery has many different forms. Some services, like Seamless and GrubHub, deliver dishes made at restaurants. Others, like Freshly and Munchery, use their own chefs to prepare meals. The newest trend: virtual restaurants that are designed for takeout. “They don’t need an expensive location and a sexy dining room,” Hunt says. “They just need a kitchen where they can make great meals, and delivery people to get the food to customers.”

Other services are putting a whole new spin on takeout. Blue Apron, Chef’d, and Plated combine delivery and home cooking. They send you all the ingredients you need, plus step-by-step instructions, so that you can make fresh, chef-designed gourmet meals at home in less time than it would take to do it on your own. Munchery follows the same model but lets you skip the prep: Chilled food arrives at your door ready to pop into the microwave or oven. (Check out The Best Cooking Apps and Food Services to Make Healthy Meals a Breeze.)

People who work late, harried parents, and on-the-go city dwellers are key takeout customers. For some, the convenience of delivery means more than saving time. Lynsey Tracy, 36, a preschool teacher in Philadelphia, gets groceries delivered to avoid parking problems. “Finding street parking in the city is difficult,” Lynsey explains. “If you get a space, you don’t want to give it up to go for groceries.” Instead, she used to walk six blocks to the nearest market and trudge home hauling a couple of bags, which was all she could carry. “With Instacart, I can buy more,” she says. “That’s a huge benefit.” On GrubHub, Lynsey often orders from a favorite pizza place a block away. “It’s just around the corner, but they accept cash only,” she says. “GrubHub takes a credit card for the same place and includes the tip.”

A better way of eating

But can all that restaurant food possibly be good for us? Researchers are just beginning to look into the health and nutrition ramifications of this brave new world of dining, but the evidence so far suggests that takeout may have real benefits. For one thing, our food choices have expanded exponentially. “Now you can get so many different options delivered to your door,” Hunt points out. “You can search for Ethiopian, kosher, vegetarian, vegan, and more than 100 other cuisines.” And diners in general are becoming more adventurous. “We want to try more foods,” Chapman says. “We want new flavors.”

Culinary curiosity is a major appeal of chef-curated recipes from ingredients-in-a-box services like Blue Apron. “Sometimes I look at the recipe card and think, ‘Eh, I’m not sure I’m going to like that,’ ” Candice Pennefather says. “But I paid for it, so I make it, and it ends up being really good. It gets you out of your comfort zone. I didn’t know what farro was until a delivered recipe showed me how to use it.”

Ready-to-assemble meals and restaurant takeout may even be better for us than cooking from scratch. Recent research found no link between takeout and weight gain as long as it’s not fast-food takeout. And a study published in Preventive Medicine in February showed that women who spent more time fixing their own meals were actually more likely to develop markers of metabolic syndrome, such as higher blood pressure and increased levels of blood sugar and triglycerides. “We assumed cooking at home would be healthier,” says lead study author Brad Appelhans, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “That’s not necessarily the case, however. When you’re making fabulous gourmet dishes from scratch, you may be tempted to eat more.” Plus, a recipe that gives you enough food for six people makes it way too easy to serve yourself large portions or have a second helping.

Ordering your groceries online may be one way to make cooking healthier. The reason: The food is physically out of reach when you buy it. “When we’re exposed to food, reward circuits light up in the brain, putting us in a state that makes it hard to resist,” Appelhans explains. And the further in advance you make your eating decisions, the healthier your choices tend to be. “Looking at food online is less tempting,” Lynsey Tracy says. “On Instacart, I’m searching for what I want or shopping from a list and not seeing everything else in the store.”

Food delivery can even help you slim down. A recent study at the University of Connecticut found that women who ordered online groceries through the supermarket delivery service Peapod for eight weeks and also went for behavioral weight-loss therapy had healthier diet patterns than women who just did the therapy. “Those getting grocery delivery had greater reductions in the amount of food in their homes, and what they did have was lower in fat,” says study leader Amy Gorin, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Connecticut. The women who most frequently ordered online groceries also had the greatest weight-loss success. “Delivery can really help people stay away from impulse purchases, stick with dietary goals, and make better decisions,” Gorin says.

Not only that, the time you save can also free you up to exercise. A study from Ohio State University shows that when people make their own food, they’re less likely to work out because they can’t squeeze fitness into their schedules. “We have approximately 45 minutes a day for these healthy behaviors, which means we don’t have time to exercise and cook. We can do one or the other, but not both,” says study author Rachel Tumin, a doctoral student at the university’s College of Public Health.

Lynsey Tracy was pleasantly surprised to find that delivery allows her to be more active. “I had a fear that it would make me lazy, but the opposite is true,” she says. “It actually gives me the time and opportunity to exercise or do something physical, like yard work.”

Reality bites

As convenient as it is, takeout does have a downside. For one thing, delivery fees and minimum order amounts can make food more expensive. Restaurant services that provide healthier options tend to be found only in major cities and not in suburban or rural areas. In places where delivery apps are popular, services are often logjammed, which means that you may have to pay a premium to get your food quickly, or delivery may not even be available until the next day. Virtual grocery shopping doesn’t let you pick the exact apple or avocado you want.

And meal-ingredient delivery services aren’t always the great time-savers that users think they’ll be. “We’re pretty good in the kitchen, but it takes forever to chop all the ingredients and keep referring to the recipe card,” says Blue Apron subscriber Alison Boyle, 31, of Boston. Some people also complain about the huge amount of paper and plastic waste that comes along with their orders.

Healthy to go

Despite those few hassles, most of us aren’t about to stop ordering takeout anytime soon. That’s fine, experts say, as long as we’re smart about how we order. Here’s how to best take advantage of what’s available.

Get only what you need. “Delivery apps are adept at what’s called suggestive selling,” Chapman says. “When you place your order, they’ll ask you if you want an extra side dish or if you want bacon on your salad. You end up spending more money and consuming extra calories because you keep adding on.” Decide exactly what you want before ordering and stick to it throughout the checkout process.

Try new foods. Use recipe services like Blue Apron, Plated, and Chef’d to learn about unfamiliar ingredients. “People are often afraid they’ll waste time and money on a recipe that doesn’t turn out well,” says nutritionist Ayla Withee, R.D.N., the founder of the Eat Simply blog. “Recipe services help build confidence.” (See: 4 Ways to Make Dinner Easier.)

Be specific. Don’t rely on grocery apps to show you everything that’s available. “I used to look only at what the app offered,” Lynsey says. “But you can get anything in the store if you type in exactly what you want.”

Review before you buy. “Grocery shoppers in stores almost never put items back or know how much they’re spending before they check out,” Gorin says. “Online, you can reflect on whether you really want what’s in your cart.” (This tip is just one of the genius 6 Ways to Save Money On (and Stop Wasting!) Groceries.)

Use the time you gain to exercise. Ordering dinner automatically frees up your schedule. Freshly, which delivers readymade meals, claims it can save you 14 hours a week. Make those hours active.

  • By Richard Laliberte

Food Delivery Apps – The Smarter Option for Healthy Meals

Whether you choose to opt for takeaway or place orders using food delivery apps, the basic factor is convenience. By ordering pre-cooked meals, you’re saving the time and botheration of shopping and cooking. And, let’s not overlook the possibility that the dishes you slave over don’t really turn out the way you expect them to taste.

Most Americans are opting for the convenience of ordering meals. Like Forbes reports, millennials spend close to 44% or $2,921 of their food allowance each year on eating out. Further, results of research conducted by Quartz reveal that in the five years from May 2010 to May 2015, the number of online orders rose from 403 million to 904 million. These figures indicate the rising popularity of food delivery apps.

But, what is a better option? Ordering meals at a restaurant or diner? Or, choosing to place orders at a prepared meal delivery service.

Restaurants Now Tie-Up with Delivery Services

Earlier, restaurants did not offer you the facility of delivering food to homes and workplaces. But, now things are changing to cater to growing demand. Most of your favorite restaurants now partner with food delivery services. These companies pick up the food from restaurant kitchens and deliver the meals to your home.

You’ll no longer have to spend time on a sit-down, formal dinner (unless you want to!). Nor, will you have to wait in queues to pick up your order when you’re headed home after an exhausting day at work. All the cuisines and dishes you like are available at the touch of a button with the food delivery app.

You Can Rest Assured About Health and Food Quality

Given that all restaurants conform with strict health and safety regulations, you need not worry about maintenance of hygiene in their kitchens. It is understandable that you’re concerned about eating healthy with low fat and high nutrition. Most takeaways and diners have that issue covered too.

Well-known chains like McDonald’s, Panera, Subway, Quizno’s, and many others offer you healthy sandwiches and other offerings. They assure you that their food is cooked with organic ingredients, grass-fed beef, and open range poultry. Should you check the food delivery app, you’ll find detailed listings of the calorie count and fat content of each dish so you can choose responsibly. You’ll also find a range of options that are clearly low-fat. And, by making a few switches (take-outs allow you to do that), you can put together the perfect order that is nutritious and yummy.

Check Customer Reviews for Information

Chance are that you aren’t quite convinced about factors like say, the freshness of the food, accuracy of the order, or efficient delivery. The solution is simple. Check the reviews and testimonials from customers on the food delivery app and make your choice. You could also check with family, friends, and neighbors for the prepared meal services they have tried in the past with great results. Or, check for the restaurant’s ratings with the Better Business Bureau for authoritative opinions. You’ll also receive information about any complaints that have been raised in the past.

Regular Orders Can Get You Discounts and Deals

Once you order regularly using a particular food delivery app, you might be able to avail of deals and discounts. These benefits can make your meals all the more economical. Most delivery companies also have special deals for holidays like, say, for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Repeat orders can earn you points that you can redeem. And, you’ll also have the flexibility of changing your order to suits changing plans.

Your Other Option? Using the Food Delivery Apps Provided by Meal Services

In place of ordering from well-known restaurants, you can choose convenient meal delivery from special food places that deliver. These meal providers cater solely to homes and workplaces. They offer you all the positives you get with restaurant delivery. But, with an added advantage. The meals they provide are just like you would cook them at home. Think about these food delivery services as a neighbor cooking and sending you meals each day.

Ordering Meals from Food Delivery Services is More Beneficial

Here’s why:

  • You have the option of receiving frozen meals and stocking up your fridge over the weekend. When you’re ready to eat, you only need to reheat the food and serve.
  • Using the food delivery app developed by the food services, you can place orders for an entire week.
  • The services serve you food in containers that are microwaveable. Thanks to this facility, you can bring the food to work and eat healthy all through the day.
  • Are you concerned about the waste you’re generating? Some delivery services carry away the waste and recycle it for you.
  • Would you like to try your hand at cooking? Order the gourmet meal prep menus that bring you all the ingredients, carefully measured and separately packed. You’ll also receive complete recipe cards with detailed instructions that you can save for later use.
  • Home delivered food services offer you meals according to specific preferences. Like for instance, you can order paleo meals, vegan or vegetarian dishes, and bodybuilding meal preps. Diners with health issues can opt for the sugar-free, gluten-free, and low-sodium dishes among others.
  • Most food delivery services cater to locations only within a particular radius from their kitchens. In this way, they ensure that the food reaches you while it’s still fresh with no possibility of spoilage. On your request, they’ll even assist you by placing the meals indoors to protect the food from accidental weather damage.
  • You’ll find that ordering meals from these meal providers works out a lot more economical as compared to take-out. That’s because these providers don’t incur overheads expenses like restaurants.

Food delivery apps have added to the convenience of ordering meals at home in a big way. And, if you can choose the right provider, you can source healthy, delicious meals at very affordable prices. For information about one such delivery service, contact us. Our consultants are on standby to provide you with all the details you need.

Have you tried ordering meals at a food delivery service before? How were your experiences? How about sharing them with other users looking to try food delivery apps? Please use the comment box below.

Online food delivery ordering is about to overtake phone ordering in the US

The Healthiest Order At Every Major Fast-food Chain

Do You Know What’s in Those Prepared Meals Delivered to Your Door?

The best and worst meal-prep delivery services in 2019

I cooked up a delicious plot in 2018. In an effort to clean up my eating habits, I ordered one-week trials from 15 different meal-kit companies. By the end of the year, I had sliced, diced and sometimes microwaved my way to more than 50 different meals.

There were several reasons I wanted to try prepped dishes rather than old-fashioned cooking. Although I was sick of shelling out money on small plates at trendy restaurants — and about $15 per day on mediocre Midtown lunches — I also knew that those habits were driven by convenience. (Many $45 Seamless orders of Sichuan food is a case in point.) Having kits mailed to my apartment, on days I could choose, seemed less daunting than recipe research and grocery shopping.

Another reason is that I had gained weight. Selecting recipes from the various companies, I reasoned, was a way to both control spending and know exactly what was in my meals (from butter, salt, oil and carbs to veggies).

Plus, for a New Yorker with limited fridge and pantry space, the appeal of having exotic spices and ingredients delivered in the exact (small) amounts needed is incredibly appealing. Normally, if I wanted to try a new recipe, I would need to buy entire spice jars. Groceries inevitably go bad, and jars of seasoning and special oils take up precious cabinet room.

I started with the major players — Blue Apron and HelloFresh — and then ventured off into lesser knowns: Plated, Sun Basket, Home Chef and Green Chef. Then came plant-based Hungryroot and Purple Carrot, Martha Stewart-backed Martha & Marley Spoon, southern-inflected PeachDish and rivals in the fewer-ingredients-and-less-prep arena Gobble, Dinnerly and EveryPlate. I even ventured into prepared foods — meals that just needed to be heated up — with GoReadyMade and Epicured.

Hungryroot; Martha & Marley Spoon; Kate Blohm; Sun Basket

I emerged on the other side of my great meal-kit experiment with better dicing skills and several takeaways.

One was that the most popular options aren’t always the best. Standbys Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, for example, can be needlessly complex, with their dozen-plus ingredients and at least that many steps. If the point is to make cooking more accessible, easier and faster, there are other companies that do it better — Gobble, Hungryroot and EveryPlate, to name a few.

Another is that these kits can be incredibly affordable if you order them right. I took advantage of the discounts and deals offered for first-time customers. Each company has a different cancellation policy — and they can be difficult to find or buried on the website — so mark down in your calendar when the deadline for week two is so that you’re not charged full price for an additional box. An additional perk: Many services will try to buy back your patronage with coupons and discounts.

As for the excessive packaging that many criticize the meal-kit industry for: Most services make almost everything recyclable or reusable, including ice packs. Prior to this experiment, I was probably creating more waste with spoiled groceries and Seamless containers.

My biggest takeaway, though, was that food always tastes better when cooked from scratch. No matter how many professional chefs collaborated on ready-made meals, the dishes came out sad and disappointing, like airplane food. What you lose in speed when cooking at home, you get back in flavor and satisfaction.

It feels good to have control over my food without toiling for hours in front of a hot stove. And with all the “Hana, we miss you!” deals sitting in my inbox, I’m looking forward to riding this meal-kit carousel into 2019.

THE BEST

The best takeout substitute

Gobble | from $11.99 per serving (plus $6.99 shipping)

Korean Soft Tofu Hot Pot by GobbleBrandy Yowell

The kit: This 2013-founded company specializes in 15-minute dinners you can cook using just one pan, with many of the ingredients pre-prepped. (Translation: much less time chopping.)
Typical dish: Pan-roasted salmon with leek patties, sauteed greens and salsa verde
Why it’s a winner: The meals are easy and fast while still feeling complex and special. The two meals I ordered from Gobble happened to be Mexican — tofu tacos and pork tamales — and turned out great; Gobble has more elevated and ethnic options than EveryPlate. They also threw in a lump of free dough for two chocolate chip cookies. Although it’s a little pricier than its competitors, they wave the shipping fee for first-time customers.

The best healthy pick

Purple Carrot | from $12 per serving

Vegan Butternut Pasta from Purple CarrotJayna Cowal

The kit: This 5-year-old company delivers plant-based recipes as well as gluten-free, high-protein “TB12 Performance Meals” in collaboration with Patriots quarterback and clean-eating vigilante Tom Brady.
Typical dish: Cauliflower shawarma with harissa-beet slaw and garlic aioli
Why it’s a winner: As a carnivore, I feared a vegan diet would leave me hungry. But the meals I made — especially the eggplant flatbreads with celery tabbouleh and mango tahini-amba — were filling. Some of that satisfaction probably stemmed from how smug I felt about being healthy.

The best timesaver

Hungryroot | from $11.50 per serving

Crispy Sprouts Brussels Bake by HungryrootHungryroot

The kit: These “plant-centric” packages include healthy precut, premixed ingredients that can be combined to make entrees, snacks, breakfast or dessert.
Typical dish: Butternut squash and tofu curry
Why it’s a winner: Hungryroot meals were the fastest to prepare, hands down. Each lunch or dinner recipe includes two to four prepackaged items. Proteins like tofu nuggets, veggie blends like cucumber, corn and black bean salad, and veggie carb substitutes like kohlrabi noodles or cauliflower rice are mixed together with a sauce (say, avocado crema or cashew cheddar) and ready in less than 15 minutes.

THE WORST

The planet-friendly mess

Dinnerly | from $4.99 per serving (plus $8.99 shipping)

Gingery Chicken Stir Fry by DinnerlyDinnerly

Dinnerly’s crispy egg roll with cabbage and sweet Thai chili sauce that I made in September was rubbery — the worst of the year, I’d reckon. Also, the company’s recipe cards are only available online. I’m all for protecting the environment, but it was frustrating to keep pressing on my smartphone or tablet with chili-sauce-covered fingers to unlock the screen.

The saddest portions

Epicured | from $11.99 per prepared meal

Sesame Crusted Salmon by EpicuredEpicured

Some people have a hard time digesting FODMAP foods (which include, among many other things, broccoli, beans and asparagus). So while it’s great that Epicured offers a prepared-meal service geared to those food sensitivities, it’s not for those with healthy appetites. I was still hungry after gobbling down soba noodles with sesame ponzu and veggies. And it cost $13.99! For that price, I could go to a Midtown bowl or salad joint — and not end the day famished.

The bland letdown

GoReadyMade | from $11.99 per serving (plus $3.99 shipping)

Orzo and tomatoes from GoReadyMadeGoReadyMade

Positioning itself as a healthier alternative to traditional takeout, GoReadyMade’s claim to fame is that there’s no chopping or mixing required. And while the offerings — cauliflower mac ’n’ cheese with pancetta, and poblano chili with sour cream and cheese — were satisfactory, I found the flavors pretty lackluster overall, and not so different from what I’d get from my local diner.

WORTH A TRY

Worth the hype, but fiddly

Blue Apron | from $9.99 per serving

Blue Apron

The kit: The only one of these companies to go public, Blue Apron is a market leader in this industry of culinary convenience. As such, it’s able to offer extra flourishes like wine pairings, custom kitchenware and a new collaboration with Weight Watchers.
Typical dish: Seared steak and soy-miso pan sauce with sweet potatoes and kale
Pros: Blue Apron offers high quality for a relatively low per-serving price. Months later, I can still remember how delicious the za’atar-spiced beef pitas I made were.
Cons: Recipes tended to include too many ingredients and took longer than the stated time to make.

The new-mom-approved pick

HelloFresh | from $7.99 per serving (plus $5.99 shipping)

Hello Fresh

The kit: Another titan of the industry that’s been around since 2011, HelloFresh draws from a broad swath of culinary influences each week. Currently on offer are options from Korean beef bibimbap to black bean enchiladas.
Typical dish: Shrimp and zucchini ribbons with basil oil over jasmine rice
Pros: This is the meal-kit service I sent as a gift to a friend having a baby. The new mom, an occupational therapist, liked it so much that she, her nurse husband and her now-17-month-old still order Hello Fresh regularly to streamline their home-cooking efforts, given their busy work schedules.
Cons: For a two-serving steak dish with roasted potatoes, HelloFresh sent me some nine Yukon Gold potatoes. Nine! That’s a lot of potatoes, guys.

The next Blue Apron

Sun Basket | from $10.99 per serving

Shrimp Watermelon Salad with Corn by Sun BasketSun Basket

The kit: A rival to mightier titans Blue Apron and HelloFresh, Sun Basket also offers wide-ranging and frequently rotating slates of recipes, with options to sort the week’s options by cook time (under 20 minutes), calories (under 600) and cuisine (paleo, soy-free, diabetes-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan).
Typical dish: Flaked cod and chicory salad over white bean puree
Pros: The meals available are a great mix between meat-and-potatoes classics and more exotic options, and the portions are generous. (I had more than enough to take to work for lunch the next day.)
Cons: Some recipes didn’t hit the spot the way others did. I tended to enjoy the seafood, vegetarian, pork and turkey dishes more than the ones with beef and chicken.

Heartiest helpings

PeachDish | from $12.50 per serving

Lentil Soup by Peach DishKate Blohm

The kit: A Southern-style service that supports farmers, 80 percent of whom are based within 40 miles of PeachDish’s Atlanta distribution center.
Typical dish: Cajun-style chicken and sausage gumbo
Pros: As a native New Yorker, I had never before dared to make, say, shrimp and grits at home. But these recipes were easy and the end products delicious.
Cons: While there are lighter options, some of the meals — e.g., mozzarella-stuffed meatloaf — are on the heavy side.

Cheapest option

EveryPlate | from $4.99 per serving (plus $8.99 shipping)

Burger dish by EveryplateEveryplate

The kit: Last year, the folks behind HelloFresh launched EveryPlate, which offers just five weekly options with fewer ingredients per meal.
Typical dish: Smoky-sweet pork chops with roasted potatoes and carrots
Pros: The meals are simple and tasty, ideal for busy New Yorkers. I had never attempted risotto before, but EveryPlate’s easy-to-follow recipe resulted in a creamy dish with roasted bell pepper, sausage, lemon and Parmesan — in about 45 minutes. And that was the longest prep time of any meal.
Cons: Although the five choices change weekly, they tend to be formulaic: a protein with one carb-y side and one veggie side.

Martha, Martha, Martha!

Martha & Marley Spoon | from $10.25 per serving

Spoon Vegetable EnchiladasMartha & Marley Spoon

The kit: Unflappable domestic goddess Martha Stewart endorses this service — and provided 18,000 recipes to boot. Each week, about a dozen, with six steps each, are up for the choosing.
Typical dish: Brown butter cheese ravioli with spinach and pine nut dressing
Pros: The variety was impressive: My week of feasts with this service included everything from asparagus-and-noodle stir-fry with leeks and red chili sauce to pork banh mi tacos with spicy chili mayo and mint.
Cons: Get used to advance planning: You have to pick your recipes 10 days before the delivery date. If not, you’ll get the grab bag they pick for you.

Tasty, but not timely

Green Chef | from $10.99 per serving (plus $6.99 shipping)

Ginger meatballs from Green ChefTamara Beckwith/NY Post

The kit: While other companies provide some organic ingredients, this outfit prides itself on being fully USDA-certified organic.
Typical dish: Maple-mustard pork with feta in walnut sauce, with a side of black lentils with orange and turnips
Pros: Meatless meals sometimes leave me wanting, but Green Chef’s vegetarian farro salad with sweet potato, endive, apple, chard and candied pecans ended up being one of my favorites. Making a meatless dish filling enough for dinner and the next day’s lunch is an admirable feat!
Cons: Because they’re veggie-heavy, chopping and prepping can take longer than the estimated time.

Save it for date night

Plated | from $9.95 per serving

Garlic Basil Shrimp and Grits with Cherry Tomato Sauce from PlatedPlated

The kit: Plated, which makes an effort to source ingredients from small farms and small-batch producers, lets you sort its 20 weekly offerings by a roster of filters, including stovetop-only and spicy. It also has a way to search for recipes according to the type of person you are: “world traveler,” “over-scheduler,” “food blogger,” “farm-stand regular” and more.
Typical dish: Feta-stuffed meatballs with herbed bulgur and tzatziki
Pros: “World traveler” over here! Last January, I enjoyed coconut-crusted flounder with curried rice and sweet chili-lime sauce as well as peanut Thai chili-chicken with crunchy slaw and brown rice. Comfort food reigns: I recall the turkey shepherd’s pie with sweet potato and peas as especially fulfilling.
Cons: The recipes often include a dozen or more ingredients, which leads to a more sophisticated end result but takes extra time to prepare.

A bargain, with lots of chopping

Home Chef | from $7.99 per serving

Home Chef

The kit: With 15 straightforward-yet-inventive recipes a week, Home Chef is a solid option. In addition to traditional entrees, the company sells five-minute lunches, like a blackened chicken grain bowl.
Typical dish: Pork tenderloin with roasted pears, green beans and garlic-thyme sauce
Pros: It’s on the affordable end of the spectrum while still producing quality grub; the turkey-and-avocado tostadas were my favorite.
Cons: Maybe I’m just a slow dicer, but my total cooking times exceeded Home Chef’s estimations.

14 Meal Delivery Companies So You Never Have to Go to the Grocery Store

There’s nothing like coming home from a hectic, jam-packed day of work and errands only to start cooking for hours on end, right? Absolutely not. Guys, who has the time or energy for that? Not us! Which is why we’re beyond grateful that these awesome meal delivery services have our backs and are making healthy eating much less of a time suck. Thoughtful meal plans, recipe cards, and perfectly portioned ingredients minimize both prep time and prep work. We bet you can’t wait to get started.

1. Blue Apron

Price: Starting at $8.74 per meal Delivery: Nationwide (except Hawaii and Alaska)Blue Apron is all about providing a great cooking experience to its users. (And now they’re giving you $32 off your first order if you click here.) Sign up for a two-person or family plan and receive a weekly delivery, including all the ingredients you need to make between six and 16 meals. Ingredients are pre-portioned (yay for less food waste) and the company makes it easy to skip a week if the recipes don’t appeal to you. Blue Apron features entrees like chicken chilaquiles, steak salad with chicory and curried chickpeas, and salmon cakes with beet salad. Meals can be personalized to accommodate food allergies or preferences.

2. Sun Basket

Price: Starting at $10.99 per servingDelivery: Nationwide Think healthy cooking entails trekking out to Whole Foods and searching for obscure ingredients for hours? Think again. Sun Basket is all about making healthy cooking way easier. Not only do you know you’re getting organic, non-GMO ingredients delivered to your door—but with Sun Basket’s promise to use sustainably sourced protein, the only fish you’ll fry will be wild-caught and the only meat you’ll be eating will be antibiotic- and hormone-free. The best part? Sun Basket offers specialized menus for folks on Paleo, gluten-free, and vegan diets, making it easy to take on a new eating plan. That way, you don’t have to put in hours of heavy research on what you can and can’t eat just to make a snack.

3. Home Chef

Price: $9.95 per serving, plus $10 shipping on weekly orders under $45 Delivery: Nationwide (except Hawaii and Alaska)Eating for two? Or… ten? While other meal-kit delivery services don’t cater to the number of people at the table, Home Chef creates perfectly portioned meals so that you won’t have to worry about wasting food. With this service, it’s all about quality and simplicity, so you can be sure that your meals will be delicious, healthy, and extremely easy to make. You’ll have affordable, high-quality ingredients (organized by recipe), simple recipe cards, and a night of quick cooking so you can look forward to more table time with the fam.

4. HelloFresh

Price: Starting at $8.75 per mealDelivery: Nationwide (except Hawaii and Alaska)HelloFresh is all about healthier options and cleaner versions of classic comfort foods. Every week you’ll receive a box with ingredients for two to four meals (depending on what plan you choose) delivered to your door and packed with fresh produce and protein. Boxes hold enough to serve two or four people, and recipes (like cheesy pork enchiladas with avocado) take no more than 30 minutes to prepare. Choose from 15 recipes on the Classic Plan, or receive three handpicked recipes on the Veggie or Family Plan. Outside the U.S.? HelloFresh has quite the international presence. The company started in Germany in 2011, and quickly expanded to several other European countries and Canada.

5. Freshly

Price: Starting at $8.99 per mealDelivery: 21 states across the country, with new areas of service added often The first bite of food from Freshly will put to shame anything you’ve ever purchased in the freezer aisle. The company offers a flexible subscription service—opt for four, six, nine, or 12 meals per week—that delivers all-natural, gluten-free breakfasts, lunches, and dinners shipped fresh, not frozen. When you can have coconut-lime salmon with kale and bok choy on your table in two minutes, it’s hard to go back to making it from scratch.

6. Daily Harvest

Price: Starting at $6.99 per smoothie or soup.Delivery: Nationwide (except Hawaii and Alaska)For the I-have-no-time-for-literally-anything kind of person, meet the 30-second (healthy) meal. This service ships cups full of pre-chopped, frozen smoothie ingredients, and pre-portioned, ready-to-eat soups. Add a liquid base to either and pop in the blender or microwave, and you’re good to go. A team of nutritionists and chefs develop the recipes, which are always made from organic ingredients and superfoods. Recent options we’re into include carrot and coconut soup and a cacao and avocado smoothie. Daily Harvest offers lots of flexibility in its subscription plans—choose six, 12, or 18 smoothies and soups per week, and pick as many of each as you’d like. At between $6.99 and $7.99 per serving, the smoothies and soups are on the pricier side, but you’re paying for the ultimate form of convenience. Want to try it for yourself? Get three free cups with code GREATIST3 (new customers only).

7. Munchery

Price: Starting at $9 per mealDelivery: East and West Coasts It’s not a Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s Munchery. (OK, that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as the DiGiorno jingle.) This company works with top-notch chefs to develop delicious dinners delivered the day you order them. So it’s one part Seamless/GrubHub, one part fancy restaurant (minus the hour-long wait to get seated). Just take the biodegradable box, pop it in the microwave, and presto chango, you’ve got an unbelievably delicious meal made from all-natural, seasonal ingredients. Interested in actually cooking? Munchery delivers cooking kits too, with meals that can be made in about 15 minutes. Munchery is currently available in more than 1,000 cities along the East and West coasts, with plans to expand further in the future.

8. Green Chef

Price: Starting at $10.49 per mealBonus: ​Green Chef is giving new customers $50 off their first box.Delivery: Nationwide (except Hawaii, Alaska, and most of Wisconsin and Minnesota)All of the ingredients delivered in this meal kit are USDA certified organic, and Green Chef has gone to great lengths to offer subscriptions that meet your exact dietary needs. They recently launched Pescatarian, Mediterranean, Lean & Clean, and Heart Smart and launched the first Keto meal kit option. They also have plans for Paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets as well as options for meat and seafood lovers. Green Chef is all about flexibility: Try different plans week to week, and skip a week whenever you need. Meals are always colorful, healthy, and quick—no meal takes more than 30 minutes to make.

9. Martha & Marley Spoon

Price: Starting at $8.90 per portionDelivery: Nationwide (except Hawaii and Alaska)Marley Spoon is Martha Stewart’s meal-delivery service, so already you know the recipes are going to be good. New recipes are added weekly, and you can sort by gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, kid-friendly, and more. And, hey, the super fresh ingredients, flexible delivery schedule, and 100 percent recyclable packaging don’t exactly hurt either.

10. BistroMD

Price: Starting at $6.75 per mealDelivery: Nationwide While BistroMD is geared toward people who specifically want to lose weight, the meals included are not insanely tiny portions or glorified cardboard, and the plan emphasizes a healthy lifestyle over a quick fix, which we love. Choose from standard, gluten-free, or diabetic-geared plans and receive five or seven days of healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners delivered to your door each week. Meals are designed by Dr. Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D., and never include MSG, trans fat, or aspartame. Heat up meals like turkey with cranberry chutney, broccoli, and wild rice for dinner, or an artichoke, spinach, and red pepper frittata for breakfast.

11. Plated

Price: $12 per mealDelivery: Nationwide (except Hawaii, Alaska, and certain cities in Texas)Who wouldn’t want a chef-designed meal on the dinner table a few times per week? With Plated, you get just that, but in your own home (and, well, you get to prepare it yourself). It’s pretty simple: You choose the meals you want in a given week, order, and the ingredients for those meals show up at your doorstep the next week. Quality ingredients are guaranteed: Pork and poultry are raised without antibiotics, fish is sustainably caught, and produce is fresh and seasonal. With 20 dinner options (and two desserts!) every week, including entrees like Greek stuffed spaghetti squash and Cuban chicken rice bowls with pineapple salsa, Plated’s menu features a variety of tastes, ingredients, and cuisines created by an expert culinary team led by Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Elana Karp. Plus, you might be able to find Plated at your local grocery store soon because they teamed up with Albertsons Companies (think Acme, Albertsons, Shaws, and Safeway) to be the first meal-kit service available in stores. How’s that for convenience?

12. Green Blender

Price: $4.90 per servingBonus: Get $10 off your order with this link. Delivery: East and West CoastsSmoothies are delish, but chopping up all those ingredients can get tedious. Green Blender ships perfectly portioned, locally sourced ingredients, so all you have to do is blend. The subscription service sends ingredients for five new recipes every week, and each comes with a quick write-up on its nutritional benefits. Cranberry kumquat tart, for example, is packed with vitamin C, fiber, and calcium. Each recipe yields two 12-ounce servings. The box of smoothie supplies won’t replace meal prep for the week, but the price definitely beats your local juice bar.

13. Luke’s Local

Price: Starting at $7.99 per meal; $3.99 delivery fee for orders under $50Delivery: San Francisco, East Bay, and South BaySan Franciscans, we are officially jealous. Luke’s Local is reinventing ready-to-eat meals. Every week, it delivers boxes that are a blend of a CSA (community-supported agriculture) program, personal catering, and an artisan food shop. All the meals are prepared by local chefs, produce comes from local farms, and artisan items (such as bread or granola) are locally sourced. The best part? You get to pick which items go in the box for every order—choose from pre-made meals, dairy products, meats, seafood, pantry items, and more. Bay area residents outside the three areas listed above can order online and pick up boxes at the Luke’s Local warehouse in the city.

14. Purple Carrot

Price: Starting at $9.25 per mealDelivery: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and West Coast regionsRegardless of whether you follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, incorporating more veggies into your day is always a good thing. Purple Carrot makes that goal easy to accomplish with healthy, plant-based meals that change weekly. Choose the 1-2 person plan to receive three meals a week, with two servings each, or the 3-4 person plan to receive two meals a week with four servings each. Recent meals we’re drooling over include Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas and Vegetable Pot Pie.

Want More?
Coffee Subscription Boxes for Instantly Better Mornings
Vegan Snacks: 10 Healthy Snacks You Can Get on Amazon
Healthy Breakfast Smoothies With 5 Ingredients or Less

admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *