Yay, its summertime!
If you want more time on your hands to do all the summer activities and still have healthy meals, healthy meal delivery services are a great option.
Who wants to spend all summer doing meal prep?
Well, I definitely don’t. Meal preparation has its shares of struggle, hassle, and time commitment, especially for time-strapped people with a super busy schedule.
We consciously explore options to avoid doing rounds of our neighborhood grocery stores. Meal delivery services have become our saving grace to this pressing issue. They are a bit pricey, considering you are getting doorstep delivery of your favorite meals.
Apart from offering healthy entrees, these companies save you a lot of time on grocery shopping and help you develop or sharpen your culinary skills. Their menu items are chef-approved and customizable as per your dietary needs. You can enjoy hassle-free cooking with their detailed recipes.
If you are planning to turn vegetarian or vegan in the time of home quarantine or social distancing, healthy meal kits can be the right tools to start with. While signing up, you need to type in your dietary preference or needs to make sure you get the right stuff.
Most of the meal delivery companies will provide you a balanced diet full of protein and vital nutrients, and you don’t have to remember the long list of vegetables to be bought from the grocery store.
You will get detailed recipe cards with the majority of meal kit delivery companies. Get better at your cooking skill and learn new dishes in a jiffy. If you are cooking-averse, the simple-to-cook recipes from companies like Freshly, Home Chef, Sun Basket, Blue Apron, and Purple Carrot. They promise to make your life easy by sending precooked meals or ready to cook meal kit delivery. You just have to heat them and serve.
Below, we included all the important info about navigating the best healthy meal delivery services on the market, including pricing and special dietary options for each. Since delivery times and availability of ingredients may be in flux due to the coronavirus, we’ve updated this story with COVID-19 statements from each brand, along with other service changes you should know.
1. Home Chef
Great for: People looking for plenty of food options, Home Chef is the brand to consider.
What You Should know: Home Chef has been out there for many years and gained its reputation based on its wide array of delicious and healthy entrees. Their meal kits are 100% customizable as per your dietary preferences and needs and never limit you with the number of fresh ingredients you can add. It’s way beyond cooking single-pan-reheatable meals. You can put your thinking cap on and choose meal options based on your needs. You can further narrow down your meal options as per your dietary preferences or requirements. For example, you may want to introduce soy milk or get rid of gluten-packed items. You also have the flexibility to select meals that can be prepared under 15 minutes and be a real time-saver for you. If you are foodie, Home Chef’s global cuisine collection will entice you even more. You can choose the food items you like and savor each one of them. If you are a salad fan, Home Chef’s wide range of entrée-size salads are sure to make you crave for more.
They have simple yet satisfying recipes such as potatoes and hearty steak, salmon bagels, sesame chicken with global culinary delights like Cuban steak burritos, and Vietnamese pork kebabs. You can enjoy enough flexibility with Home Chef’s memberships, which lets you cancel or pause an order anytime you want. All their dishes typically have 30-minutes of prepping time. You can enjoy a hassle-free cooking experience with their simple-to-follow recipes, which shows you a detailed step-by-step guide. You can be worry-free about waste management with Home Chef’s recyclable weekly meal kits. All the meal ingredients are delivered at your doorstep in recyclable boxes with a clear written instruction on their site that tells you how you can dispose of them.
Special dietary options: You can mix it up nicely with Home Chef’s wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, plus you may choose to avoid dairy, wheat, red meats, soy, nuts, and more such items in your daily meals.
Availability: Home Chef delivery network is spread across the US except for Hawaii and Alaska.
Pricing: Affordability makes Home Chef even more famous. You pay $8 for every lunch serving and $10 per dinner serving. You will pay zero shipping cost if your order value is over $40, which is otherwise $10.
COVID Update: Home Chef stands by its commitment to serving nationwide customers even in the time of COVID-19 Pandemic. All the meals are shipped and delivered right on their pre-COVID schedule.
Check it out here homechef.com
2. Sun Basket
Great for: People on the Paleo diet, loving it and seeing wonderful results of following it.
What You Should Know: If you are thinking of exploring the Paleo diet, having any type of food intolerance, Sun Basket is the right choice for you. All Sun Basket recipes are approved by registered and expert dieticians, which includes a wide array of vegetarian, Paleo, vegan, and gluten-free meal options. Sun Basket procures meat from sustainable sources, and these are hormone and antibiotic-free. Seafood items are wild-caught, and fresh produces are organically grown with a core focus on seasonal stuff. All Sun Basket recipes are conceptualized and developed by a famous James Beard Award-winning chef. All these recipes usually take under 30 minutes to prepare and lip-smacking options like chipotle turkey chili and lemongrass shrimp.
Special dietary options: Sun Basket recipes are designed to meet your specific nutritional needs. They are vegan, paleo, gluten-free, Mediterranean, and pescatarian options.
Availability: They have a nationwide delivery network excluding Montana, Alaska, New Mexico, and Hawaii.
Pricing: Sun Basket weekly meal plans are priced between $66 to $176, with $6 extra for delivery.
COVID Update: Sun Basket remains true to their commitment by delivering meal kits to their old customer. However, they are temporarily unable to take new orders due to their inability to meet new demands. If you have already placed orders, you may see changes in delivery rates and menu options, depending on the limitation on production and supplies.
Check it out – sunbasket.com
Great for: Someone who wants to stay away from serious cooking.
What You Should Know: If you want precooked meals to be delivered at your doorstep, Freshly is the service you should consider. The brand works with expert chefs to refine its menus time and gain and offer you the best meals you deserve. They offer over 30 healthy meals every week, which can be heated and served in 3 minutes. Freshly crews do all the hard work for you by cooking, packaging, and delivering it at your doorstep. All you have to do is microwave the box and serve on the plate. None of the Freshly recipes have gluten and refined sugar. You get loads of options that work well with someone on Whole30 or Paleo diet, such as meatballs and slow-cooked pork with sautéed kale or spaghetti squash. It’s a lot like ordering takeout from your favorite restaurants; only the recipes are sure to be more satiating to your taste bud. Freshly lets you plan your meals up to 3 weeks in advance, so you can complete your “meal prep” at the month beginning and completely forget about it.
Special dietary options: All Freshly recipes are entirely gluten-free, and a lot of them are Whole30 and Paleo approved.
Availability: Across the United States, excluding Hawaii and Alaska.
Pricing: Ranges between $50 and $108 for weekly meal options, which includes shipping.
COVID Update: Freshly is still going strong despite the Pandemic, and all the meal boxes are shipped on schedule. Freshly cares for its people and has teamed up with Nestle to donate a generous amount of $500,000 to Meals on Wheels America.
Check it out here – freshly.com
4. Blue Apron
Great for: Someone who wishes to enjoy an all-inclusive and diverse meal-kit experience.
What You Should Know: Blue Apron paved the way for the success of meal-kit delivery services across the US. They were the first company to launch this concept, and many followed suits. Since they had the first-mover advantage, they knew the drill and came up with easy to follow recipes. Their recipes can be followed by people with zero cooking experience and intention. All Blue Apron dishes take less than 45 minutes to prepare. Blue Apron works closely with local fisheries and farmers and procures fish, meat, and fresh produce from them. All their meats are free of antibiotics and hormones. Blue Apron uses 100% recyclable packaging materials. If you want to test them out, sign up for two recipes per week instead of committing to weekly plans. If you wish to experiment less on recipes – stick to tried and tested ones like Indian-style crispy cauliflower and gnocchi in creamy tomato sauce. If you want to make your dinner special with a glass of vino, Blue Apron fulfills your wishes with monthly wine subscription services that pairs a decently-sized wine bottle with meals.
Special dietary options: You get plenty of vegetarian options in Blue Apron’s weekly recipes. They even offer Beyond Meat Boxes to help you prepare your favourite Beyond Burger at home.
Availability: Spread across the US, except for Hawaii and Alaska.
Pricing: Between $48 to $120 for meal plans, including shipping.
COVID Update: Blue Apron is committed to being at your service even in the Pandemic. However, if there is a sudden surge in demand, some orders may get canceled if they are beyond Blue Apron’s fulfillment capacity. You may see some tweaks in the recipes and the delivery dates as Blue Apron fulfills customer demands with fluctuating supplies.
Check out Blue Apron here.
5. Purple Carrot
Great for: Vegetarians and vegans.
What You Should know: If you aspire to live a plant-based life, sign up with Purple Carrot today. All their recipes are 100% vegan and plant-based, with zero artificial ingredients and preservatives. All Purple Carrot ingredients are delivered in recyclable packaging, with a full recipe card to make cooking a hassle-free experience. Purple Carrot recipes are brilliant fusions of plant-based and protein-packed ingredients like nuts, quinoa, and tofu. Select from a wide range of delicious and healthy breakfast, snack, lunch, and dinner options from crispy butter bean bowls to avocado quinoa burgers and tofu scrambles.
Special dietary options: Apart from being vegetarian and vegan-friendly, Purple Carrot offers you gluten-free menu items as well.
Availability: Delivers everywhere in the United States, except Hawaii and Alaska.
COVID Update: Purple Carrot stands by its commitment to serve its customers even in the pandemics. Unpredictable timelines and increased demand pushed them to make changes in some meals and substitute ingredients. They sometimes choose not to include some ingredients or a recipe booklet due to disrupted demand-supply chain. It has informed the customers to expect a delay in delivery time. Purple Carrot extended a special privilege to all health care professionals of 30% discounts until May end. They are donating a significant percentage of sales from all the meal boxes to feed the nation.
Explore Purple Carrot here.