The value of convenience cannot be overstated in today’s society, and that’s why we want to look at the best meal delivery services of 2018 for all of you super busy but still wanting to be healthy people!
Most folks that want to eat healthy, lose weight, and stay on a budget look to meal prep first. It will definitely save you the most money, but what value do you put on your TIME?
Meal prep and bulk cooking definitely takes a LOT of time and it often feels like you end up eating the same meals every week, right?
Sometimes it feels impossible to get up the energy or time to create a menu, shop for the ingredients, then spend time preparing the meals for freezing.
It’s exhausting just thinking about it.
After standing with your head in the fridge and looking at the same food you’ve been eating for what seems like forever, the Chinese take-out place on the corner starts looking better and better (aka diet disaster).
If you’re nuts about the idea of meal prep, but have a hard time actually DOING it, then why not try a meal delivery service instead?
They deliver pre-packaged, pre-ordered, perfectly portioned, delicious meals right to your front door.
All you have to do is cook them!
When these first came on the scene, they were pretty expensive compared to your average meal at home and forget any dietary restrictions. Thankfully, there are a LOT of options now that they have grown so much in popularity!
Are Meal Delivery Services a Healthy Option?
Not only are they healthy, but according to a consumer analysis, they might be a healthier option than relying on your own meal planning, shopping, and prep. (1)
We Americans have quite a few bad habits when it comes to easy meals. When we get busy, we rely on restaurants and fast food for quick meals on-the-go.
The fast-food industry gobbles up about $200 billion of our hard-earned cash every year, so we have a problem with convenience.
While it seems like it would be easier to pack a healthy lunch before we head off to work, or prep dinner the night before, most of us don’t. Studies from around the world show that one of the reasons we don’t is because of boredom. (2)
A quality meal service will have fresh, high-quality ingredients that are often fresher than what you buy in a grocery store.
Most recipes also have a good amount of veggies per serving. The only problem that researchers have found is that they call for too much sodium, but that can be remedied by shaking a little less salt on your food.
The portions are also reasonable and more in line with what we would make for ourselves at home, as opposed to what we get in a restaurant.
Not only can they help reduce your waistline, but they also reduce food waste in general, Consumer reports show that we let about 40% of the food we buy rot in our refrigerators every year.
Meal delivery services are ultimately going to save you time, money, calories, and might even make you a better cook.
How Do They Taste?
The consensus, according to most food bloggers, is that the majority of meal delivery services taste pretty good! In general, the recipes are interesting, the directions for cooking are easy to follow, and they have an incredible variety of meal options that will delight just about every palate.
Delicious, easy access to a variety of flavors is important for those who like to watch what they eat. A study published in the APA Journal found that chronic dieters often fail in their efforts to lose weight because they get bored with their food choices. (3)
Not all meal delivery services are created equal, though. Some have more flavorful recipes but might be a bit complicated, while others have easy to follow instructions, but the recipes are a little bit meh.
Five Best Meal Delivery Services
We’ve made it even easier for you to choose a service by ranking the top five based on price, dietary options, prep time, healthy and organic alternatives, and flavor.
Green Chef is currently the only meal delivery service that is 100% USDA certified organic, including their condiments, and they are considered by many to be the best tasting service out there.
They offer plans for just about every diet style- vegetarian, vegan, Paleo, omnivore, keto, carnivore, and gluten-free- which also makes them one of the most flexible options.
Their recipes might be a little more complex than other services, but their prep, pre-made sauces, and easy directions make mealtime a fun and easy way to learn new recipes. They even chop the veggies for you.
Menus change weekly, but they also throw in a few fan favorites to mix things up. Meat lovers will adore recipes like pink peppercorn salmon, ginger tamari steak, and arroz caldo. Vegetarian offerings include Moroccan cauliflower and vegan crab cakes.
If you’re watching your calories and carbs, Green Chef lists nutritional information and ingredients for every single meal.
Price: $11.99 per person, per meal, up to four people
Prep time: under 30 minutes
Dietary options: vegetarian, vegan, omnivore, carnivore, keto, Paleo, gluten-free, low calorie
Do you ping-pong back and forth with diet preferences? While many meal delivery services will only let you order food from your plan, Hello Fresh gives you the flexibility to choose meals.
In fact, they are the most flexible service of the bunch. While they customize menus based on your dietary needs and lifestyle, they know that people like to have the option to change their mind if they feel like it.
They’ve partnered with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, so some of their dishes are fairly complex. Don’t worry about making a mess of your dinner, though. They have a difficulty scale of one to three to choose from, so if you are feeling a little lazy or incompetent one night, dinner is still going to be great!
Hello Fresh sources their ingredients directly from independent producers, but they don’t offer organic produce. They prefer to concentrate on peak freshness and seasonal ingredients.
If you have food allergies, each menu item has food allergens listed, along with the ingredients.
Price: Plans start at $10 per person, per meal, up to four people
Prep time: 30 to 60 minutes
Dietary options: vegetarian, omnivore, carnivore, gluten-free
This meal delivery service is great because it offers organic produce, reasonably sourced meats and seafood, and tons of dietary options like Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan, and more.
You can mix and match a lot with Sun Basket and choose from 18 different weekly options.
The packaging is also 100% recyclable and compostable, so you can feel good about those deliveries every week!
Price: $12 per person, per meal, for 2 or 4 people.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Dietary options: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, lean & clean
Organic: produce options
If you are vegetarian or vegan and are looking for plant-based, dairy-free options, then Purple Carrot is going to become your new favorite thing. It’s also a great service for people who are interested in becoming vegetarian, or they want to eat less meat in general.
The chefs keep things interesting by creating seasonal recipes and switching the menu every week for variety. There are no boring salads here!
Choose from creative meals like tomato faro risotto, tofu tikka masala, and truffled potato bisque with toasted baguette and sunflower pate’. Many food blogs rank it number one for its great tasting recipes and fresh, healthy ingredients.
People with nut, soy, and gluten allergies beware, though. Many of its dishes rely on these ingredients, but every recipe includes a list of allergens, so you don’t have to worry about eating something you shouldn’t. For gluten sensitive folks, their Performance Based menu is 100% gluten-free.
Price: $11 per person, per meal, up to four people.
Prep time: 50 minutes
Dietary options: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, low calorie
Organic: when possible
Blue Apron pretty much started the meal delivery service craze in 2012, and even with all the new competition, they’re still rated as one of the best meal companies. Their focus is on sustainable food sources, the environment, and a fun cooking experience for the family.
If the environment is a big deal to you, then Blue Apron is a company you want to support. They encourage and educate consumers to make better choices about where their food comes from, and they partner with sustainability experts to reduce waste and support regenerative farming practices.
Their food is great, but in comparison to other meal delivery services, meals can take a little longer to prep and cook. They also don’t have a lot in the way of vegetarian or gluten-free meals, although they let you personalize to accommodate food allergies.
Price: Plans start at $9 per person, per meal, up to four people
Prep time: 40 to 60 minutes
Dietary options: omnivore, carnivore, low calorie, some meals can be personalized
Okay, that’s it for this article on the best meal delivery services! If you enjoyed this article or have any questions for us, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below!
Lauren at Avocadu
Hey there! I’m Lauren McManus, one-half of the Avocadu team! Together, my boyfriend Alex and I run this website! We believe in quality over quantity and that diet determines 85% or more of your health and well-being. In short, we believe in being healthy from the inside out.