You can easily switch to a meal kit delivery service like Emeals or Home Chef to upgrade your cooking skills. Such services cater to vegetarians, vegans, meat lovers, and anyone looking to heartily invest in their health goals without wasting too much time.
Meal kits like these introduce you to new foods on a weekly basis. Plus, they elevate your home-cooking experience by taking care of meal planning and prepping! It’s like comfort food at your doorstep for a cost that’s way less than what you would ideally pay for takeout!
To find the better pick between these two very popular meal kits, let’s first find out why meal kits have become so beneficial and productive these days. Next, we’ll move on to pitting one against the other to figure out your ideal meal companion.
Definitive Guide to Choosing Meal Kits for the First Time (And Why They Work!)
You may be hearing a lot of chatter about meal kits and meal subscription services like Emeals and Home Chef. Based on research and comparison, subscribing to a meal kit service is a good thing, but it can be a big step for anyone who doesn’t know the hows and whys of such services.
You probably have a lot of questions:
- How do they work?
- Is it too expensive?
- Most importantly, are they healthy?
Depending on who you’re talking to, healthy eating can mean different things to different people. For someone who works and lives a hectic lifestyle, subscribing to a meal kit service can be the healthiest decision compared to eating takeout food all the time!
Contrary to that opinion, if you love cooking and prioritize meal planning every week, subscribing to a meal kit may be too restrictive for you!
How you approach healthy eating and meal kits depends entirely on your diet expectations and goals. Meal kits make things easier by offering some help in your weekly meal prep and cooking. This allows you to focus on eating a variety of meals without spending a lot of time in the kitchen or going grocery shopping once every 2-3 days.
What Are Meal Kits Like?
Meal kits are impressively easy to prepare and don’t require many cooking skills. When you subscribe to a meal kit service, you have a whole menu at your disposal that typically changes week to week. Select the meals that seem most delicious to you, and you’ll receive a meal kit containing pre-portioned ingredients and a recipe card for each recipe.
Even if it’s a dish as complicated and classic as lasagna or burger, it can be cooked with ease by yourself with the help of a meal kit. All that’s required from your end is a cooking stove, proper cooking utensils, and the basics such as cooking oil, salt, and pepper.
You can pick anywhere from 3 to 6 or more meals each week with different servings. The meal kits are modified in terms of size based on the number of servings you choose for each meal.
Meal kit services design a very user-friendly website to make the meal selection process go faster. Plus, you can track all the meals you’ve ordered since signing up.
How Long Do These Meals Take to Cook?
Different meals come with different cooking times. You can select your meal according to the cooking time. A popular meal kit service like Home Chef helps you filter out meals that take less than 30 minutes to prep and serve. That way, if your goal is to spend less time in the kitchen, you can add quick meals or oven-ready meals without wasting any time.
The average prep and cook time for a meal kit to become a delicious homemade dish is anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes. Premium ingredients like meat take longer to cook, while vegetarian and seafood are quicker.
In addition, meal kits provide you with cooking instructions tailored specifically to the serving size you select for each meal, which simplifies the cooking process better.
Can You Follow Different Diets with the Help of Meal Kits?
One of the great things about opting for meal kits is that you can order diet-specific meals that you previously wouldn’t have been able to make yourself.
Let’s take a service like Emeals, for example. They help you tailor your meals according to diet restrictions. You can pick only paleo meals, keto meals, gluten-free meals, low-calorie or low-carb meals, and 100% plant-based meals. The ingredients you receive in your weekly meal kit are selected and filtered by these labels.
For instance, if you’re following a low-carb diet, sticking to the low-carb meal plan will help you follow through each week and meet your health goals faster. Meal kits prioritize healthy and nutritious foods, completely eliminating the use of GMOs, sulfites, colorants, preservatives, and other processed ingredients!
You can also track or monitor the macronutrients of each meal, which is helpful if you’re a picky eater. Eating a variety of foods, including seasonal ingredients, is one of the most tempting things about meal kits.
You are introduced to new foods every week, which is a bonus if you don’t like cooking yourself and are not used to eating different veggies made in refreshing new ways!
Emeals vs Home Chef – What Do These Meal Services Offer?
Emeals is more of a meal planner’s meal kit service with a slightly different approach to meal kits than other services including Home Chef.
It is a mobile app with a friendly and accessible user interface. With the help of this app, you can pick out different recipes to layout your weekly meal plan.
Based on your selections, Emeals offers you a shopping list that you can easily use to order the groceries you want for the coming week.
Emeals is a meal planning service, not a meal kit delivery service, so they do not deliver the meals you pick. They do, however, deliver the groceries that you need to make delicious homemade recipes quickly and effectively.
How is this better? Well, you don’t have to figure out what you need to make different recipes at home. Emeals gives you a quick and extensive menu to pick from!
You also don’t have to set out with a grocery list to a supermarket to buy any ingredient. Emeals offers an automatic pickup and delivery of all the proper ingredients from other retailers around you.
All you have to do in cook the meals according to the recipe instructions once the meal kit arrives in your weekly box.
Home Chef is a simple and beginner-friendly meal kit delivery service. It does a lot more than Emeals for someone who is new to the world of meal kits.
Home Chef packs all the ingredients according to the recipe you select. You don’t have to bother about separating or organizing the recipes. Each meal kit contains everything you need to make a particular recipe in under 20 minutes.
Emeals, in comparison, takes longer to unpack since all the ingredients are packed together as they are grocery items.
Home Chef packs just the appropriate portions of ingredients based on the serving size of each meal you select. There are no chances of leftovers because you’re getting exactly what you ordered and what you paid for.
Select any number of meals you like, and Home Chef delivers their meal kits straight to your doorstep every week. You can pick from Home Chef’s pre-portioned ingredient kits or their Fresh and Easy no-prep, heat-and-serve meals.
Home Chef has a website that is the primary location from where you can order all your meals. They also feature a mobile app for easy-to-follow recipes, managing your orders, and tons of other interesting features to check out on the go.
Emeals vs Home Chef – How Many People Do They Serve?
Emeals offers different meals based on a variety of factors such as nutritional needs, dietary restrictions, and serving size.
As of now, you get to pick a meal plan between two and six servings, which means it’s suited for two to six people every week.
On Emeals, you have to order for more than 2 weeks since they are a monthly subscription service. We’ll get into the costs in just a bit. Meanwhile, you can select from different meal varieties such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes.
Emeals does offer a 14-day trial for newcomers to figure out why and how it is such a good fit for people who don’t like to plan their meals without any help.
With Home Chef, you can order meals every week with 2, 4, or 6 servings each meal. Unlike Emeals, Home Chef is a week-to-week meal kit subscription service. In comparison, it offers intricate customizations of each and every meal you select weekly.
As a consequence, you will also end up paying less with Home Chef because you get to order new meals every week. Home Chef does let you skip a week or two in case you go out of town. Plus, you get to add or remove meals from your delivery before the cutoff time and date.
I found that Home Chef is more appropriate as a weekly meal kit delivery service than Emeals. The former allows you to order for two, four, or six people every week by selecting different dietary needs, ingredients, cooking time, and spice levels.
Plus, Home Chef’s menu has two different types of meals to offer: the pre-portioned meal kit and prepared meals that take less than 5 minutes to heat and serve.
Emeals vs Home Chef – Which Meal Kit Is More Affordable?
Emeals will definitely cost more than Home Chef considering that Emeals is a monthly subscription service, while Home Chef is weekly.
The company does offer a free 14-day trial period after which you go back to paying the standard amount for either a 3-month or a 12-month subscription period.
If you select the minimum 3-month subscription, you pay $9.99 per month. For a 12-month subscription plan, you pay almost half, and that is $4.99 per month. If you include more meals such as breakfast, dessert, and lunch, the cost increases since this is the minimum membership for a weekly dinner meal plan.
A service like Emeals is neither too expensive nor too affordable for the entire family. Considering how much time and money it saves you in grocery shopping and meal planning, it’s a huge steal for the entire family.
Home Chef is an affordable and budget-minded meal delivery service. The cost for each meal is around $6.99, but you can find more premium meals for a higher cost between $11 and $18 per serving.
The meal plans differ greatly in relation to meal selection and weekly planning. Home Chef is more straightforward and structured. The cost per serving varies depending on the ingredients such as fish, poultry, vegetarian, beef, or meat.
The weekly menu has over 20 different recipes you can select and it changes every week.
The pre-portioned meal kits are relatively cheaper than the prepared meals, and you can select between 2, 4, and 6 servings for the former and between 2 and 6 servings for the latter.
The shipping cost varies based on the number of meals you select, but again, it’s not too costly.
The minimum order on Home Chef is 3 meals with 2 servings each, which costs around $53.94 with a $9.99 shipping fee. The more servings you add to your cost, the lower the per-serving cost gets on the final bill amount, including a discounted shipping fee.
Emeals vs Home Chef -What’s the Menu Like?
For a meal planning service, Emeals is quite extensive and customized. They offer different menus for miscellaneous diets with separate nutritional needs.
Each recipe caters to a new diet plan, and Emeals allows you to mix and match and customize your recipes after reading about their nutritional value. The menu, as I said, varies by dietary restrictions, but you will also be happy to know that even though Emeals is a monthly subscription service, its menus change every week.
Here’s what you’ll find on the full menu of Emeals and their separate dietary categories:
“Clean Eating” is one of the most popular meal plans on Emeals. The meals in this diet category are nutritionally balanced, but the main focus is on whole foods, BPA-free groceries, and non-GMO ingredients.
The meals are vegetarian and nonvegetarian so you have plenty of recipes to select. The priority is to encourage clean eating with minimally processed ingredients and more whole fruits and veggies in your weekly diet.
Another popular meal plan on Emeals, Keto offers a high-fat and low-carb meal plan. The target macros on a keto diet plan are 70% fat, 25% protein, and only 5% carbs.
The recipes you see in the Keto meal plan are approved by dieticians and come with 100% transparent nutritional info on each and every ingredient or recipe.
Both vegetarian and nonvegetarian options are included in the Keto diet.
Quick and Healthy
The maximum number of ingredients to cook a recipe from this diet plan is eight. Plus, quick and healthy meals are nutritionally balanced, so you don’t have to worry about compromising on nutrition just to save time.
Salads, skillet chicken, shrimp rice bowls, etc. are the type of recipes you’ll find the easiest and quickest to make and also the healthiest!
Marketed as a “Family Friendly” diet plan, the prep time and cooking time of the 30 Minute meals are convenient for the whole family. Plus, the recipes are not very experimental. They are traditional recipes that the whole family can enjoy, including kids.
Salads, tacos, bowls, and rice recipes are a specialty in the 30 Minute diet plan. You’ll also find shorter ingredient lists with easy-to-follow recipes, ideal for cooking dinner for more than three people at a time.
Ingredients for some special recipes may cost more than anticipated, especially when you want to cook up a special dinner for the entire family! If factoring in the cost of each meal is a priority for you, this should solve most of your problems.
The meals in this diet plan are affordable, easy to make, and still include delicious veg and nonveg recipes. Even on a budget, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on appetizing and crafty recipes.
These meals come with an easier prep but longer cooking time. You can let it stew and cook evenly for longer, plus the recipes are perfect for feeding whole families.Even kids love it!
If you have a slow cooker at home and haven’t yet figured out which recipe to make, this diet plan gives you plenty of new and exciting recipes to try every week.
Some of the Slow Cooker meals are labeled as Paleo and include a few Clean Eating meals as well.
If weight management and nutrition tracking are your intentions, Emeals have several weight loss-friendly diet plans. Low-calorie meals are a popular category with meals that have limited saturated fats. The calories per serving are less than 500 calories including some nonveg options such as chicken, steak, and seafood.
Similarly, containing less than 20 grams of carbs per serving, the Low Carb meals are designed for people who want to lose weight or control their blood sugar levels.
You can track all the macros, including net carbs, of each recipe before selecting the meals.
Emeals prioritizes extra low carbs and gives you plenty of options so you won’t feel limited in your weight loss-friendly diet plan.
These are two separate diet categories on Emeals. Heart Healthy features meals with less sodium and balanced carbs, and Diabetic meals offer meals that follow ADA guidelines along with carb-sensitive meals.
Lean whole foods including whole grains, seasonal veggies, and low-glycemic recipes are included in the diet – delicious but nutritionally specific to people with high blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
The net carb for both diet plans is between 30 and 55 carbs per serving, while the average caloric value is not more than 500 calories per serving.
Paleo features protein-dense meals without gluten and dairy products. Similar to the Clean Eating diet plan, these meals use non-processed ingredients, whole foods, and an abundance of veggies and fruits, including some lean proteins such as chicken and seafood.
I know from experience that eating a completely plant-based diet is not easy. It leads to higher consumption of carbs and limited proteins.
Emeals solves this problem right away with the help of dietician-approved meals. You can see the macros of each plant-based meal on this menu, with protein-rich substitutions like chickpeas, peas, green beans, lentils, and beans.
Soup, chickpea patties, tofu, healthy bowls, etc. are a part of this diet. All are plant-based and 100% non-processed with any animal by-product. Vegans will also be happy to know that the plant-based diet plan is 100% vegan!
Not a lot of people follow a strict Mediterranean diet, which can make things difficult for someone who does. If you’re a Mediterranean diet enthusiast, Emeals has a special diet plan for you.
Lean meats, moderate red meat, and lots of healthy fats – that’s the way all Mediterranean meals are designed. There’s even the use of fresh herbs and spices to make each dish flavorful and bold. Most of the recipes on the Mediterranean diet plan are seafood-focused with some lean proteins like chicken.
The Gluten-Free meals are ideal for those with a gluten allergy or sensitivity. Though the meals are not processed in a 100% gluten-free kitchen, they are packed with extra care, and some of the ingredients are gluten-free.
Home Chef’s meal kits and prepared meals menu offer several customizations including dietary options and swappable proteins.
On their current week’s menu, you can clearly see what those menu categories are:
- Under 30 minutes
One of the great things about Home Chef is that you can also swap proteins by replacing seafood with chicken, beef, or plant-based protein if that option is available to you.
Home Chef lets you in on 6 weeks of menus, all of them upcoming so you know exactly what you get and how Home Chef does not repeat recipes.
For example, you can swap the proteins in the Chicken Enchilada Butter Sauce with fillet mignon, sirloin steak, salmon fillets, skinless chicken breasts, or antibiotic-free skinless chicken breasts.
Home Chef adapts to the most common, everyday dietary needs. Their menu is varied in that they have meal kits, family-friendly meals, easy-prep meals, and plant-based meal options made with plant patties.
After investigating their menu for a bit, these are the labels I found across the weeks:
Several recipes have the Fresh Start badge, which means they are both carb and calorie-conscious. With a balanced and refined palate, the meals with this badge aren’t overpowering and include lots of veggies.
Proteins, carbs, calories, fiber, and other essential nutrients are given priority in the most balanced manner. If you’re looking for meals that aren’t too heavy on the stomach and have lean proteins and healthy veggies instead of starchy carbs, Fresh Start is your pick.
The Impossible badge on some of the meals means that the meat is made entirely from plants, but it tastes like a beef patty. You can easily customize the main source of protein by selecting the Impossible burger patty substitution.
The Impossible burger patty has 19 grams of proteins per serving. It can be used instead of meat or chicken in a variety of recipes such as meatloaf, burgers, tacos, and other grilled recipes.
Moving on, Home Chef’s menu is divided into the following submenus:
Lots of delicious meals that are part of the Culinary Collection and Family Meal plan are part of meal kits – chicken, beef, seafood, and plant-based recipes, most of which you can customize based on your protein needs.
The average range of cooking time is between 20 and 45 minutes. Meals with heavy ingredients like beef take longer to cook than seafood, chicken, or turkey. I did not find as many vegetarian options on Home Chef’s menu as nonvegetarian.
Easy Prep Meal Kits
These are meal kits with prepared food, which means the cooking/prepping time is cut in half -in fact, more than half. These include ready-to-heat pasta dishes, wraps, tacos, sandwiches, grilled recipes, and a few more options.
Just like the meal kits, you can easily customize these meals by swapping proteins.
Home Chef has different labels that read out to you what the meal is ideal for. So, for example, there are some Fast & Fresh Family meals that are great for the whole family.
Their Oven-Ready Meals are perfect for heating in the microwave oven, which means you do not have to spend time getting dinner ready in the kitchen.
Other labels like 15 Minute Meal Kit, Express Plus, and Fast & Fresh Plus are easy and quick meals that take less than 30 minutes to serve.
Bundle and Save
You can order more without paying too large a sum on dishes like Caesar Chopped Salad, a Margherita Pizza, or Blueberry Lemon Cake or Soup!
The Bundles work great as side dishes for when you want to serve a whole spread for dinner. They also work as light lunches, especially the salad and pizza combo!
The salad options are already chopped and packed. But don’t worry, the salad tastes just as firm and crunchy. You can select different variations such as sourdough bread with salad, soup with salad, pizza with salad, chicken breasts with salad, and so on.
There is even one breakfast and dessert item on Home Chef’s current week’s menu with Blueberry Lemon Cake and Cookies or Egg Bites with a Mocha Latte.
Different food items make up the Extras and cost a little more on top of what you pay per serving for Home Chef’s meal kits. Oatmeal bites, egg bites, coffee, protein smoothies, bread, snack tray, soup, salads, desserts, and a la carte proteins make up the menu.
Emeals vs Home Chef – How Long Do the Meals Take to Cook?
With Emeals, you cannot know for sure what the cooking and prepping time is going to be. Emeals offers a blend of different dietary restrictions and cooking times.
They have a separate 30-minute meal plan, which includes delicious recipes with a shorter ingredients list and a less-than-30-minute cooking time. Salads, avocado salsa, and nacho bowls are some of the meals that are exclusive in this category.
Based on the meals you like and select from their weekly rotating menus, you can clearly see the average cooking time on the recipe card.
You can opt out of recipes that take as long as 45 minutes and select your meals according to cooking time and preparation requirements. Meals that require minimal or last-minute prep and are heatandserve (meaning they can be popped in an instant oven or pot for a quick weeknight dinner) are also included.
The meals you’ll find on Home Chef are quite straightforward and simple. One of Home Chef’s submenus is the Under 30 Minute filter, which displays quick, 30-minute friendly meals only.
Some of the meals take as little as 15 minutes to prep and cook and no more than 15 minutes per serving. The longest that you are likely to spend on a meal from Home Chef is 45 minutes.
Home Chef features oven-ready meals that require zero chopping, marinating, or prepping. You simply have to assemble all of the ingredients in a baking pan and pop them in the oven. Each meal kit has a recipe card with the proper heating/prepping instructions you can follow.
Home Chef offers more variety when it comes to different cooking times. You can opt out of meals that have a slightly complicated prep time and choose easy-to-follow recipes, even the ones with chicken or seafood!
Emeals vs Home Chef – Are the Meals Customizable?
The only feature of Emeals that comes close to the “Customize It” feature on Home Chef is that they have multiple diet-specific meal plans, which Home Chef doesn’t.
Emeals gains an advantage here over Home Chef because you can select meals that cater to a specific diet plan such as Keto, Paleo, Diabetic, Plant-Based, and Gluten-Free, to name a few. With Home Chef, you need to read the ingredients list for each meal to find out which diet it’s actually good for.
With Home Chef, meal customization means swapping proteins if you want to try other meat options besides what is being offered in a particular meal.
It might also help to know that Home Chef features a separate a la carte section for proteins like turkey, beef, chicken, shrimp, and protein bundles.
You can easily customize your meals by switching from chicken to antibiotic-free chicken or roasted chicken to filet mignon, steaks, and turkey.
The variety of protein substitutions for each recipe depends on the meal you select, but overall, you have plenty of options to pick from. For a meat lover, this is such great news because you don’t have to eat the same kind of protein in a meaty dish. You can try wraps, tacos, pasta, burgers, and other delicious recipes with different meats.
Home Chef also lets you upgrade your proteins by doubling up the portion size of the meat for $3 per portion. You can easily double the protein without it affecting the rest of your meal subscription plan for the week. It’s easy and quick to do.
Emeals vs Home Chef – Are the Meals Organic or Gluten-Free?
Emeals has several meal plans that are free of common food allergens such as gluten, dairy, meat, and egg. However, there is no mention of the ingredients being organic, though there are plant-based and vegan options on their menu.
Emeals features a gluten-free diet plan. Similarly, you can opt for a vegan or vegetarian diet plan where all the ingredients, including the sauces and cheeses, are made from plants, not animal by-products including eggs and dairy.
To sum up, Emeals have plenty of plant-based and gluten-free options. Vegan meals come with some organic ingredients, but there is no conclusive data backing up this claim.
Having said that, you can only view Emeals’ menu after subscribing to their 3- or 12-month plan, so you won’t be able to read up on the nutritional info of their recipes beforehand.
Home Chef, on the other hand, guarantees that most of their meals are made with organic ingredients, including organic produce such as veggies and fruits.
Some seasonal ingredients are 100% organic, while there are a few exceptions. Some ingredients in their weekly menu may not be organic, and there is no notable certificate label or food-handling information on their website about sustainable farming.
On their menu, however, there are a few “organic” options such as the antibiotic-free boneless chicken, which is also GMO- and hormone-free. Home Chef’s meal kits are USDA-certified for safe food handling. Preservative and GMO-free ingredients including sauces, dressings, seasonings, and other such ingredients are free from artificial colorants and sulfites.
The organic meat options are a great feature that not a lot of meal kit delivery services provide.
Home Chef’s meals are not certified gluten-free. However, there are a few gluten-free options each week if you want to avoid gluten due to personal reasons.
For allergy purposes, since the ingredients are individually packed, I don’t see a risk of cross-contamination even though Home Chef is not an exclusive gluten-free service.
The recipe cards on Home Chef’s meals tell you everything you need to know about each recipe. Does the recipe contain wheat, eggs, tree nuts, or milk? There are plenty of meal options where the recipe does not contain wheat, which means it’s gluten-free.
Emeals vs Home Chef – How Is the Customer Service?
They have an outstanding mobile app and website for easier navigation and assistance. However, I do recommend using the mobile app as Emeals lets you make a solid grocery list and compare all your options easily without looking at any other app.
In case you’re confused or stuck somewhere, you can contact Emeals by text, phone, email, or their responsive online help center. For every customer, there is a separate FAQs section with common questions and solutions. Thus, most of your user-experience issues may be solved by a quick peek into the FAQs on their website.
You can reach Home Chef by email or phone. There is an FAQs section on their website with quick solutions to common user problems.
The response time is consistent and prompt. If you want to contact Home Chef regarding their delivery, you can simply provide them with a ZIP code, and an agent will let you know if Home Chef delivers to your area or not.
Unless you live in Alaska or Hawaii, Home Chef delivers everywhere! You don’t need to contact them just to make sure as it is already mentioned in their FAQs.
Emeals vs Home Chef – How Do They Deliver?
Emeals will deliver ingredients to your home via different courier and grocery services such as Walmart, Amazon Fresh, Shipt, etc.
You can also opt for a pick-up provider in your area to receive every order. Since Emeals is a unique meal subscription service, think of them as your meal planners and grocery deliverers. You have a shopping list, and Emeals fixes up the most effective way of getting those groceries delivered. It’s instant and takes the meal planning tension away from you.
The pickup and delivery time for your weekly groceries with Emeals depends on your location. You can opt for pickup at your nearest supermarket such as Walmart in case you don’t want the groceries delivered. You can easily modify or change your order preferences via the mobile app or website.
Since Emeals bridges the gap between customers and food/supermarket brands, it’s easier to keep track of all your groceries from week to week.
Excluding Alaska and Hawaii, Home Chef delivers everywhere in the continental United States. You can select your delivery dates before placing an order or even modify those dates after placing the order through their mobile or website.
Making changes, canceling, skipping a week or two, or modifying the order is easy to do. The cutoff time to make any changes to your order is 12pm every Friday before the scheduled delivery day.
In case of an emergency, you can contact their customer service to modify an order after the deadline. If it’s possible, Home Chef lets you adjust a few things without making a fuss.
The delivery process is quite straightforward with Home Chef. You receive an entire week’s worth of meal kits with recipe cards and cooking instructions, following safe food handling guidelines. Home Chef is relatively easier in terms of delivery and modifications.
Emeals vs Home Chef – Is the Packaging Sustainable?
Because Emeals make use of local grocery stores for delivery and pickup, the quality of the packaging is different. It varies based on what other services like Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, Instacart, etc. offer.
However, based on this article, Emeals encourages the use of sustainable and minimal packaging materials, unlike conventional grocery boxes and food containers. Cooling packets, shipping containers, and unnecessary plastic wastage are eliminated to reduce packaging waste for weekly meal kits.
Home Chef has a dedicated webpage guiding customers to get rid of packing materials more responsibly and sustainably. Packaging wastage is a real problem with conventional meal kit delivery services, even more so when every individual ingredient is packed separately to preserve freshness and flavor.
You will find the following packaging materials in a typical Home Chef meal kit:
- Boxes and Dividers: These keep the ingredients away from each other and packed individually to avoid leaks and spills. They are made from recyclable plastics and partially recyclable cardboard.
- Produce Bags: Fresh produce like fruits and vegetables are stored in numbered bags that you can recycle based on your local recycling procedures. You can either drop off the bags at your nearest recycling station or opt for curbside pickup.
- Insulated Liners: PET liners are repurposed with recycled cotton and denim to ensure that the packed ingredients do not get too warm. If the insulated liners in your weekly meal kit box are made up of denim, you can recycle it effectively. The PET liners are fully recyclable too.
- Ice Packs: Ice packs and insulated liners go hand in hand to preserve the freshness, texture, and flavor of all the ingredients inside a meal kit. Thankfully, Home Chef packs recyclable ice packs that are made up of 99% of water and only 1% of sodium salt. You can rinse and reuse these ice packs if you like or dispose of them along with the plastic packaging for curbside pickup.
- Plastic Containers and Recipe Cards: Other small packaging items such as small containers and recipe cards are eligible for curbside recycling. You can also reuse the containers if they are not too stained. The recipe cards can also be stored and reused for future cooking adventures of your favorite recipes.
Emeals vs Home Chef – Which Is the Better Option for Vegetarians/Vegans?
Emeals is better equipped at handling vegetarian and vegan dietary needs on a weekly basis. Meal planning as a vegetarian is a lot easier with Emeals since they have a special plant-based meal plan with 100% vegetarian ingredients.
Their meal subscription is tailored to suit the needs of people with different lifestyles, and a vegetarian and vegan diet is included. All the meals you select in this diet plan is plant-based, protein-rich, and nutritionally balanced.
The meals are made with protein-dense substitutions like chickpeas, lentils, beans, and legumes. Other ingredients like whole grains, nuts, fruits, and seeds are abundant. There are even nondairy plant-based ingredients for different types of cheese, sauces, and creams!
Home Chef, on the other hand, is not very vegetarian- or vegan-friendly. Though they do include some vegetarian options with non-GMO ingredients, their vegetarian meals are very limited.
The meals are not very plant-focused, nor are there many options for someone looking for a completely vegetarian or vegan diet plan.
On the flip side, if your priority is to eat not more than one to two veg meals per week, Home Chef does offer a few plant-based protein options such as the Impossible Burger.
For a 100% plant-forward diet plan, Home Chef lacks variety and may not be suitable for someone with a similar dietary restriction.
Emeals vs Home Chef – Nutritional Recipes for Protein
Between Emeals and Home Chef, the former only displays a sample menu for all the diet plans, which is a huge bummer if you’re a picky eater. Home Chef displays the entire menu plus all the nutritional info of each recipe for the public eye. You don’t even have to sign up to view their current week’s menu plus the menus for four consecutive weeks!
For the sake of comparison, I have displayed the different kinds of meals that Emeals offers based on their multifarious diet plans.
Clean Eating Meal Plan
Nutritional info: Unprocessed ingredients are made with seasonal ingredients such as fruits and veggies:
- Crunchy Asian Salad
- Grilled Chicken with Corn Relish & Green Beans
- Cheesy Baked Pasta with Kale & Mushrooms
Quick and Healthy Meal Plan
Nutritional info: 30-minute meals with eight or fewer ingredients:
- Skillet Chicken with Brussel Sprouts
- Beef-Chorizo Street Tacos with Radish Salsa
- Lemongrass Shrimp Rice Bowl
Family Inspired Meal Plan
Nutritional info: Kid-friendly, quick, minimal prep recipes designed to suit the needs of an entire family or a large group of people:
- French Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons
- Slow Cooker Chicken-Tamale Chili
- Apple-Cider Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans
Keto Meal Plan
Nutritional info: Dietician-strategized meals with 70% fat, 25% proteins, and 5% carbs:
- Blue Cheese Sauce Burgers
- Hunter-Style Chicken Drumsticks
- Smoky Sausage Vegetable Egg Bake
Paleo Meal Plan
Nutritional info: High in proteins and dairy- and gluten-free meals.
- Grilled Chicken Breast with Spinach-Tomato Sauté
- Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Asparagus & Tomato Toss
- Spicy New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp with Seasoned Broccoli
Heart Healthy&Diabetic Meal Plans
Nutritional info: Recipes with fewer carbs, <500 calories, and low sodium in each serving.
- Grilled Chicken, Corn & Potato Salad
- Green Quinoa Salad with French Bread Toasts
- Seared Ahi Tuna with Chimichurri with Cauli-Rice
Low-Calorie&Low-Carb Meal Plans
Nutritional info: Meals with nutritional tracking, less than 20g carbs, less than 500 calories, and loads of protein-rich veggies and lean proteins are included.
- Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli with Hot Cooked Rice
- Tuna Cakes with Lemony Artichoke Hearts & Asparagus
- Chicken with Creamy Basil Corn Sauce & Steamed Rice and Green Beans
Plant-Based Meal Plan
Nutritional info: High in proteins, vegan, and vegetarian meals with zero processed or nonvegetarian ingredients.
- Vegetable Pesto Soup
- Apple Sage Chickpea Patties
- Sticky Korean Tofu
Mediterranean Meal Plan
Nutritional info: Lean proteins, lots of fatty fish, seasonable fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds.
- Shrimp Pasta Toss with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette
- Chicken Parmigiana with Roasted Tomato Sauce and Broccoli
- Sheet Pan-Salmon with Roasted Veggies & Potatoes
Gluten Free Meal Plan
Nutritional info: Unprocessed and whole ingredients with no gluten for allergies.
- Tuscan Pork Chops with Parmesan Pepper Pasta
- Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Tomato and Cheddar Cheese Toast
- Grilled Steak with Tomato-Watermelon Salad
The entire menu of Home Chef is accessible with nutritional info, ingredients, and other important details about the recipes. The menu has multiple filters through which you can go through their recipes such as Calorie-conscious, <30 min, and Carb-conscious.
These are their most protein-rich meals.
From Meal Kits:
|Margherita Pizza & Caesar Chopped Salad||Chicken and Enchilada Butter Sauce||Hot Honey Salmon with Zucchini & Tomatoes||Cheesy Tex-Mex-Style Steak Flautas|
|550 calories||450 calories||550 calories||730 calories|
|57 grams of carbs||23 grams of carbs||16 grams of carbs||59 grams of carbs|
|27 grams of fat||22 grams of fat||37 grams of fat||38 grams of fat|
|19 grams of protein||41 grams of protein||38 grams of protein||41 grams of protein|
From Prepared Meals:
|Herb Crust Chicken with Lemon-Chive Crema & Harvest Rice||Shrimp Florentine Orzo with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Pesto||Citrus BBQ Pork Tacos with Pineapple|
|670 calories||520 calories||740 calories|
|69 grams of carbs||29 grams of carbs||62 grams of carbs|
|58 grams of fat||29 grams of fat||41 grams of fat|
|46 grams of protein||26 grams of protein||32 grams of protein|
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you make changes to an order on Emeals and Home Chef?
You can add or remove dietary restrictions to your weekly menus on Emeals. After signing up, you can compare and modify your plans without paying extra. One of the great things about Emeals is that they offer a wide range of recipes to pick from, catering to different dietary lifestyles such as paleo, keto, clean eating, plant-based, diabetic, gluten-free, and budget-friendly meals.
Finding meals and adding them to your weekly cart are easy to do. Emeals also allows you to save your favorite meals and add them to your weekly menus easily without wasting time looking for them.
Based on the meals you select, Emeals compiles a whole grocery list for you that you can then have delivered to your doorstep at the end of each week. You can add or remove items from the list as you tick off the items that you already have at home.
With Home Chef, you can setup personal preferences just as easily. Once you sign up, you can select your ideal meals and view the entire menu for 5 consecutive weeks.
About modifying your orders, you can do so even after placing an order right up until the deadline that is at 12pm every Friday. If your scheduled delivery day is on Wednesday, let’s assume, you can make changes to your order until the Friday before Wednesday.
What are these changes?
You can add or remove meals, upgrade the proteins of any meal, and add extras like snacks, coffee, dessert, or bundles to your cart. All this you can easily view and edit on your Order page. Also, the Customize It options are always available and apply instantly to your upcoming order.
You can even skip a week with a click of a button. They have that option right next to the Edit Meals button on your Order page.
2. Are Emeals and Home Chef ideal for weight loss?
While both are great choices for adding diversity to your weekly diet plan, Emeals is more diet- and weight loss-friendly. It has specialty meal plans for this very reason which helps you meet your weight loss goals faster without any extra effort with regard to meal planning.
Emeals organizes the macros of each diet plan that is dietician-approved, and you can read about the nutritional info of all their meal plans. For example, their weight management meal plans include Paleo, Heart-Healthy, and ADA-certified diabetic meal plans. Plus, they offer a separate Low Calorie and Low Carb plan with ingredients that are protein-rich, GMO-free, and have less than average calories or carbs in every ingredient you use.
Home Chef, in comparison, does include a wide range of recipes with protein customizations, but they are not particularly weight loss-friendly. The carb-conscious and low-calorie meal filters are helpful, making it easier for someone to look for their ideal meal plan.For restrictive diets, however, Home Chef is not an effective meal delivery service.
If you have a severe food allergy or are following a restrictive diet plan, Home Chef may not be the ideal choice for you. Emeals lets you pick out from several diet plans such as keto, paleo, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, etc., which eliminates the consumption of specific ingredients based on your diet plan.
3. How can Emeals and Home Chef meals be stored?
Keep in mind that both Emeals and Home Chef are meal kits, not prepared meals.However, Home Chef does feature some prepared meals that you can store in the fridge or freezer.
Emeals lets you order all your grocery items based on the meals you select from your nearest grocery stores and supermarkets. Once the grocery items arrive, you can store them as per their labels, just the way you store your standard pantry items.
With Home Chef, certain meals can be stored in the freezer if the ingredients are labeled as freezer-friendly. Some Home Chef meals are designed to be stored in either the freezer or the refrigerator to prolong shelf life. It’s important to read the labels of the meal kit once it arrives to find out the best, most effective storage strategy.
The difference between Emeals and Home Chef is that the latter organizes each meal kit according to meal and serving size. To minimize prep time and eliminate food waste, I found that Home Chef’s meals are a better choice for most people.
Summing Up – Pros & Cons
- Effortless and user-friendly interface.
- Personalized menu for different dietary restrictions.
- Impressive variety of menus for specialty diets such as paleo, keto, diabetic, and gluten-free.
- A 14-day free trial for first-time customers.
- It helps you streamline and simplify weekly meal planning.
- You can easily experiment with new recipes every week.
- You have to cook everything from scratch.
- Not a meal kit subscription like Home Chef.
- It only creates grocery lists based on your favorite meals.
- You have to choose from a 3-month or 12-month subscription.
- You cannot exclude specific ingredients from the menu.
- Some recipes may not have nutritional info.
- The ingredients are not delivered to you pre-portioned.
Home Chef Pros:
- Each meal kit has pre-portioned and some prepped ingredients.
- You can swap proteins in most of the recipes.
- One of the best affordable meal kits out there.
- Includes freshly prepared meals to save time.
- You can add smaller items such as snacks, dessert, breakfast, and drinks.
- Nutritional information for every recipe on the menu.
- Low-calorie and low-carb meals are included.
- Meal customization of upcoming orders is possible.
Home Chef Cons:
- Very limited vegetarian and plant-forward recipes.
- Not very diet-specific for keto, paleo, gluten-free, and vegan diets.
- No organic labels or information about food handling practices.
- The use of single-use plastic is high.
Both Emeals and Home Chef make an effort to accommodate people with specific diet expectations such as low-calorie, low-carb, and protein-rich meals. Even price-wise, the winner between Emeals and Home Chef is difficult to choose as it depends mostly on your personal preferences.
However, I strongly think that Emeals caters to meal planners who don’t mind making grocery lists every week. How you order your weekly meal kit with Emeals is different because all the ingredients are delivered to you from different supermarkets. It’s more effortful because you have to prep the ingredients based on what you’d like to make.
Home Chef, on the other hand, takes full control of your meal planning and prepping. You receive meal kits with recipe cards and pre-portioned ingredients for every meal you select. All you have to do is unpack and cook the ingredients. It takes less time and requires less effort!
How you would like to cook your meals on a weekly basis should determine your preferred meal subscription service between Emeals vs Home Chef. After considering everything, what’s it going to be?