A meal delivery service like Magic Kitchen might not satisfy the needs of all people considering that it is a meal kit service ideal for those who require single-serve meals and have dietary restrictions.
Magic Kitchen also offers frozen meals that are chef-prepared, which is ideal for any type of diet. Freshly prepared meal delivery services like these allow you to lessen your cooking time and easily follow specialized diets without the added stress.
Magic Kitchen goes so far as to include diet plans specifically for senior citizens, vegans, and people suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, indigestion, or kidney illness.
You may choose an alternative for a variety of reasons. Maybe you don’t like the idea of receiving frozen meals every week, you’re not on any restrictive diet, or you prefer organic, plant-based meals only. Some people personally prefer to cook at home, so a meal kit delivery service is exactly what they need.
The list of reasons why you would opt for an alternative to Magic Kitchen is endless. Before we provide you with more information, let’s first talk about Magic Kitchen.
Magic Kitchen – An Overview
Magic Kitchen serves an extensive menu, with different meal choices for different diet programs. It is one of the very few companies with such a diet-restrictive program. Its meals, though frozen, are suitable for singles, couples, and families, especially those who have specific dietary requirements.
Behind every menu, there is an expert who plans and prepares each meal based on the diet plan you select. Speaking of which, here’s the list of diet plans on Magic Kitchen’s website:
- Senior Meals
- Portion Controlled
- Dairy Free
- General Wellness
- Low Sodium
- Low Carbohydrate
- Low Fat
- Renal Diet
Magic Kitchen serves breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, entrees, and a la carte proteins. You can pick meals, meal bundles, family-sized portions of recipes, and lots more.
The number of items you can add to your cart is unlimited. But for some meals, you have to order a 2- or 4-serving meal. However, customization is possible for select meals.
What sets Magic Kitchen apart is that they offer “15-Meal Trial Packs” that allow you to select any 15 single-serve meals, in addition to some entrees, across a wide variety of diets.
Apart from this, they also offer the Flex Subscription program, which supports all your dietary needs for the long term. So, you can pick meals and build your personalized meal plan for 3–9 months at a time.
Lastly, their Bulk orders offer long-term care meals for senior citizens and people with preexisting health conditions or those who have recently been discharged from the hospital and require a consistent supply of healthy and nutritious meals.
In this manner, Magic Kitchen fine-tunes all your dietary requirements with the help of flexible and nourishing diet programs.
Their meals are freshly prepared and frozen and that’s how you receive every order – in a sizable and reusable Styrofoam packaging, stored with dry ice that keeps the food at optimal freezing temperature during delivery.
Magic Kitchen – Cost
Magic Kitchen’s prices depend on the meal options you choose. But the majority of their Complete Meals, which consist of an entrée and 1–2 side dishes, cost between $10 and $15 per serving.
The menu items in the A La Carte menu normally range from $5 to $28 per serving and usually come with a minimum of 2 servings or portions. The A La Carte menu also features some side dishes that are priced between $2 and $15 each.
You can subscribe to meal bundles if you want to order a higher number of meals at a time. Such a meal plan offers pre-selected meals for a discounted price.
Delivery is consistent and accessible to everyone in the continental United States. There is a shipping cost that depends on the delivery location and order amount. However, the average shipping price starts at about $18.95 per order, which may be steep for some people.
Magic Kitchen – Menu
After sifting through all their meal plans and dietary programs, Magic Kitchen’s meals can be divided into two essential categories:
- Custom-made meal plans
- Complete meals
Custom-made meal plans make up the A La Carte Menu where you can select your choice of mains, soups, sides, and desserts. This also includes selecting proteins, special diet packages, or meal bundles.
It can be quite challenging to decide on a meal program that you like but keep in mind that Magic Kitchen offers diet-restrictive meal plans for people in need of more or less of some macros in their diet, such as low sodium, low fat, low carbohydrate, dairy-free, gluten-free, etc. Specialized diets for kidney health, diabetes, vegetarianism, portion control, and senior citizens are also included.
All meals are covered in the abovementioned diet categories, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and snacks.
A word on their menus is that, unlike other meal delivery services, Magic Kitchen does not feature a weekly rotating menu, so most of the recipes you see on their website might not change regularly. But considering the sheer variety of meal recipes, it’s no bother at all.
The nutritional value for each meal recipe is available along with an ingredients list, allergy information, and heating instructions. Though it is a diet-focused meal service, it does not accommodate diets like keto, paleo, or Mediterranean, but there are similar diet plans on their menu.
Magic Kitchen Alternative #1 – BistroMD
Yet another diet-focused meal delivery service, BistroMD comes closest to Magic Kitchen for nutritious meals. BistroMD caters to people who want to eat healthily but don’t have a lot of time to cook.
BistroMD’s fuss-free diet programs are all weight loss-friendly, but you have the option to select from a wide variety of plans, starting with the most fundamental – the Men’s and Women’s Programs. Tailored specifically to their needs, it all boils down to calorie intake, which is different for men and women.
Next, BistroMD offers intricate meal plans specifically for heart health, diabetes, and menopause. Specialized diets like gluten-free, keto, and vegan are also included. All meals are nutritionist-approved with emphasis on macros and portion control for weight loss and other health benefits.
BistroMD works simply and efficiently. Their meal selection process is unique in that you can choose either the Full Program or the Lunch & Dinner program, both for 5 or 7 days. And even though they ask you to choose your meal program, that’s just a preference. As such, you can always go back and modify your preferences at any time.
The difference between the Full Program and Lunch & Dinner is that the former also includes breakfasts that are made with whole foods instead of processed ingredients. The meal plans also include healthy snacks. Everything on BistroMD’s menu is pre-prepared and heat-ready.
BistroMD also delivers freshly prepared and frozen meals. Because of this, the flavor and texture of the meal are preserved, and their shelf life after delivery increases. This means you can store the meals in the freezer for up to a year. They do, however, recommend you either keep a meal in the refrigerator for thawing overnight before heating.
Finally, BistroMD packs and delivers meals using versatile materials other than conventional plastic and cardboard. Cotton and fiber are also used to wrap and provide proper insulation. Not only are the meals easy to unpack, but recycling the packaging is fast as well.
Though BistroMD offers a large variety of meal plans, understanding their pricing is simple and beginner-friendly.
Full Programs that include breakfast, lunch, and dinner cost between $11 and $13 per serving for 5 or 7 days per week/per order. Lunch & Dinner meals that come without breakfast cost $13 to $15 per meal for 5 or 7 days.
As a first-time customer, you receive an additional 40% discount and free shipping on the first order you place. After which, the shipping charges are up to $20 per order. Snack items cost extra and will be calculated during checkout depending on the number of snack items you choose.
- Low carb and no trans-fat diet for effective weight loss.
- Adequate amount of food per serving.
- Remove and swap meals easily.
- Rich in proteins and other essential nutrients.
- The menu boasts over 100 different recipes.
- Meals are cooked fresh and frozen.
- Separate diet plans for men and women.
- It keeps in check heart health, diabetes, and more.
- Skip meals or pause your subscription easily.
- Not certified gluten-free.
- The price per serving is relatively high.
- No organic ingredients.
- Some meals are very calorie-restrictive.
There is plenty of information regarding the health benefits of each meal program on BistroMD’s menu. So, it’s easier to choose which one works best for you. All meals are cooked and packed without additives, preservatives, fillers, and GMOs. None of them contain exorbitant amounts of sodium or are high in calories.
- Women’s Weight Loss: This contains optimal nutrients for weight loss and portion control specifically for women. It does not only meet the dietary requirements of women, but it’s also an effective program to get more proteins, balanced calories, good fats, and lean carbs.
- Men’s Weight Loss: It’s scientifically proven that men’s weight loss diets differ slightly from those of women. This diet program focuses on higher proteins, lower calories, and sufficient carbs required for not only weight loss but muscle gain, stamina, and metabolic reset.
- Heart Healthy: Only those meals that are US Dietary Guideline- and AHA-approved are included in this program – no trans-fats, no MSG, and no preservatives. The meals also contain less sodium and saturated fat per serving.
- Gluten-Free: This one is for people with a gluten allergy and/or intolerance. The meals contain no wheat, rye, or barley. Despite being part of a restrictive diet, BistroMD provides plenty of gluten-free recipes to choose from.
- Keto Flex: A low-carb and high-fat diet is good for weight loss and boosting metabolism. It just means that with a low-carb diet, your body burns fat for fuel. These meals are also low in sodium and contain high amounts of protein.
- Diabetic: Another low-carb diet program, the meals contain higher amounts of fiber and proteins.
- Menopause: Diet is more than important for women going through menopause. Foods served are those that have fewer calories, more fiber, no trans-fats, higher proteins, and sufficient complex carbs.
Magic Kitchen Alternative #2 – CookUnity
CookUnity is more local in that they deliver meals that vary depending on the delivery location. So, for example, people living on the East Coast will have a completely different menu than those from the West Coast. Other areas where CookUnity delivers are Texas and the Midwest.
You can also filter the menu by their main ingredient, restrictions, diets, nutritional information, reviews, ingredients list, allergen information, and more.
The meal selection process of CookUnity is slightly different but straightforward. It’s subscription-based, so you can add as many meals as you want each week. Their menu also features other food items like sweets, healthy breakfasts, and plant- and fruit-powered drinks and juices.
Even though CookUnity changes its menu depending on location and availability, its packaging is foolproof and durable throughout. The meals are delivered in microwave-safe, single-serve containers. The cardboard box the meals arrive in, the plastic seal that keeps the meal fresh, and the paper-based sleeves to ensure that every meal is properly labeled and stacked inside the box are recyclable. You can recycle all the materials together along with the plastic, so it’s very eco-friendly and sustainable.
CookUnity provides a unique and interesting way to eat healthy meals regularly. Their prices, similarly, compare well against the meal kits or buying groceries yourself. Even though you end up paying slightly more, the convenience of having healthy premade meals made by chefs makes the price worth it.
CookUnity lets you choose from 4, 6, 8, 12, to 16 meals per order. You can order as many times as you want per month – on a weekly or bi-weekly basis even. Their meal selection process is intricate, yet flexible, and full of customizations.
|Meals||Cost Per Serving|
|4||$13.49 per serving|
|6||$11.99 per serving|
|8||$11.49 per serving|
|12||$10.99 per serving|
|16||$10.49 per serving|
- Chef-crafted meals with fresh and seasonal ingredients.
- Balanced nutrition for a healthy diet.
- Healthy add-ons like dessert, breakfast, and drinks.
- Dietary and protein-based filters for meal selection.
- Packaging is minimal and clearly labeled.
- You can adjust the delivery days based on location.
- It does not accommodate allergies or intolerances.
- Limited delivery locations.
- Not the ideal choice for families or larger servings.
Unlike Magic Kitchen, CookUnity offers different recipes not by diet plan but by location. However, their menu does feature several filters that you can use to narrow down your options.
You can filter meals by the main ingredient, which includes seafood, vegetarian, meat, poultry, and vegan. Furthermore, you can opt for dietary restrictions from low calorie, low carbs, gluten-free, dairy-free, and low sodium. They also cater to people on a specialized diet like paleo and keto.
The special thing about CookUnity is that all their meals come with customer reviews and ratings. This means you can quickly view which recipe has the highest number of reviews and strongest ratings.
To view the meals in your menu, enter your zip code, and find a complete list of meals that can be delivered to your area fresh and ready to eat. This also includes sweet treats, breakfast, and drinks.
Storage instructions and cooking instructions are mentioned for each recipe. You can sign up and take a look at all the information they provide any time you want.
Magic Kitchen Alternative #3 – Factor
Factor offers a wide range of meals including keto, low-calorie, vegan, vegetarian, and high-protein. It’s a premade meal delivery service, just like Magic Kitchen, which delivers freshly cooked meals every week.
All the meals on their weekly menu are available to you once you sign up. First-timers can view the entire menu beforehand as well before signing up. If you have specific preferences, you can choose those first, and Factor will prioritize those for you.
Factor is a fantastic option for vegetarians and anyone trying to lose weight by eating more proteins in the day and fewer calories per meal. The meals are designed to be low in carbs and high in other nutrients like fiber without sacrificing flavor.
Pick anywhere from 6 to 18 meals per order. You can place as many orders as you want based on your requirements. Factor does enable some meal modifications, such as increasing the amount of protein per serving or swapping ingredients from a recipe.
Factor packs its meals in single-serve containers that are microwave-friendly and BPA-free CPET-recyclable. All the meals are tucked inside a cardboard sleeve and stacked one on top of the other neatly in a large cardboard box. The sleeve and box are recyclable too.
All the meal plans on Factor’s menu cost the same. What changes is how much you pay depending on the number of meals you order each time.
Additionally, Factor charges a shipping fee of $9.99 on every order. Making it slightly expensive for people who want to stay on budget for the long run.
|Number of meals||Price per serving||Cost per week|
- Premade meals with fresh and high-quality ingredients.
- Some of the ingredients are organic.
- No preservatives, GMOs, fillers, or excess sodium.
- Weekly rotating menu with special dietary plans.
- Vegan and vegetarian-friendly meals.
- It offers healthy add-ons with vegan juices and smoothies.
- Keto-friendly and high-protein meals are delicious.
- Packaging is minimal with eco-friendly materials.
- Not the most allergy-friendly meal service.
- No weight loss-friendly meals.
- Not the ideal choice for families.
To start with, the Factor menu features around 35 different recipes that accommodate several diet plans like vegetarian, vegan, low calorie, keto, and high protein. Aside from premade meals, they also serve healthy add-ons like breakfast, snacks, juices, and smoothies.
The vegan and keto menu is abundant with many interesting and flavorful recipes. Meat-based recipes include premium proteins like chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, salmon, and turkey.
Factor, being a convenient choice for people who want well-rounded and delicious meal recipes every week, is also fuss-free with its meal selection process. The ingredients used are fresh, not frozen, preservative-free, filler-free, and non-GMO.
Extra meat options for proteins are also included, which means you can choose extra portions of chicken, beef, seafood, and plant-based alternatives for every meal. These don’t cost as much as an entire meal.
Lastly, their portion size is satisfying, boasting sufficient calories per meal to meet your daily nutrition requirements. Most of the meals contain at least 600 calories per serving, which may not be entirely weight loss-friendly but is good enough for people who want to avoid snacking in between meals due to hunger.
Magic Kitchen Alternative #4 – Home Chef
For a change of appetite and meal preparation, Home Chef is the right way to go. It has fewer dietary meal plans than Magic Kitchen, but it covers the basic health considerations like low calorie, low carb, and vegetarian.
It offers a combination of meal kits, oven-ready meals, and express meal kits. All cater to different meal preparation times starting from 15 minutes up to 45 minutes per meal kit recipe. Not only that, but Home Chef also features a “<30 minutes” filter for quick recipes.
Home Chef sends pre-portioned ingredients along with recipe instructions that are easy to follow. To get started, register your email address and delivery location details. After selecting your meal kits, you can select the day of the week you want them to be delivered.
Think of Home Chef’s meals as wholesome and family-friendly, just the way home-cooked meals ought to be. Additionally, Home Chef lets you view and pick meal kits 6 weeks in advance because they have a new menu every week.
Complementing this is their entirely separate menu for add-ons like breakfast, snacks, entrees, salads, desserts, and a la carte proteins. A la carte proteins can be added per portion or in bulk if you plan to order more meals per week.
Considering that Home Chef is a meal kit delivery service, it does use a lot more packaging than premade meals. The need for plastic packaging is higher, including insulation and ice packs. Wet ingredients are stored in recyclable vacuum-sealed plastic bags, which makes unpacking mess-free and fast.
Home Chef Pricing
Home Chef’s prices are pretty standard starting from $6.99 to $8.99 per serving. More premium ingredients cost a bit more depending on the meal kit recipe you choose. Some meals can be as expensive as $11–$18 per serving.
There are cheaper alternatives that are more family-friendly and home-inspired. Vegetarian recipes cost less than nonvegetarian meals. And add-ons like entrees, salads, pizza, bread, soup, etc. cost $5–$7 per portion.
Shipping-wise, if you order more meals that your bill amount crosses $45, then shipping is free for you. If not, then a $9.99 shipping charge gets added on orders below $45.
The average weekly expenditure with Home Chef, if you’re ordering for the first time, should be between $55 and $95 per week for a minimum value of 8 total servings. Out of these 8 servings, you can order 4 different meal kit recipes with 2 servings each.
Home Chef Pros
- Meal kits that are easy to prepare.
- Different cooking times are available for larger servings.
- Customizable menu for swapping proteins.
- You can filter the menu by dietary plans like low-calorie and low-carb.
- Vegetarian meal options are included.
- Preportioned and pre-mixed ingredients.
- Add-ons like breakfast, snacks, entrees, desserts, and proteins.
Home Chef Cons
- Tons of packaging, mostly recyclable plastic.
- Some of the premium meals are expensive.
- No vegan or purely plant-based meal options.
- Not allergy-friendly.
- Some of the meals have low fiber and high sodium.
Home Chef Menu
Though Home Chef is a meal kit delivery service, the meal kits are the easiest to prepare and are especially beginner-friendly. You don’t need to acquire advanced technical skills to be able to cook their meals. They vary by meal preparation time, with some meals taking as short as 15 minutes to prepare.
You can select from a wide range of meal kits with 2 or 4 servings that take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to prepare. Home Chef’s menu comprises lots of comfort recipes and home-inspired and wholesome flavors. This includes classic flavor combinations that you may already be familiar with like meatloaf, rice bowls, parmesan chicken pasta, tacos, alfredo pasta, etc.
There are 4 filters you can use to narrow down your options:
- <30 minutes
On the plus side, Home Chef also shows the current week’s and 5 upcoming weeks’ menus, so you can plan your meal weeks without repeating the same meal kit recipe twice in a row.
Each recipe belongs to a special category like the Culinary Collection, Family Meal, Express Plus, Fast & Fresh, and more. You can even customize select recipes by swapping the protein option from nonvegetarian to vegetarian or vice versa.
Home Chef also provides you with allergen information for each recipe along with nutrition facts, cooking instructions, and tips.
Bundles include entrees paired with side dishes like a salad with chicken, pizza with a salad, soup with a salad, and bread with soup. Breakfast and desserts are part of the add-ons as well. The best part, though, is the protein pack, which features extra portions of chicken, steak, salmon, or a combination of all.
How Do Other Meal Delivery Services Compare to Magic Kitchen?
- For weight loss and portion control: BistroMD provides carefully crafted and dietician-recommended meal plans with fewer calories per serving than usual. While serving a complete weight loss-friendly diet plan, it also caters to varying needs like keto, gluten-free, vegan, diabetes-friendly, heart-healthy, and more.
- For unfrozen meals: CookUnity cooks and packs fresh meals without freezing them right before delivery. So, if you’re still on the fence about eating meals that have been flash-frozen, this is the right choice for you.
- For high-quality meal kits: Want to do the cooking yourself? Home Chef offers user-friendly meals with several quick meal kits available. Some of their meal kits take less than 30 minutes to prepare, even for a serving size of 2 to 4 people.
- For satisfying portions: Factor serves meals that have a slightly higher caloric value than other diet-focused meal delivery services. Their premade meals have more high-protein meal options. If you don’t have any specific calorie restriction, this would suit your daily nutrition requirements.
Why Are Such Diet Meal Delivery Services So Popular?
If you’re looking for a weight loss strategy or are following a restrictive diet plan, maybe services like Magic Kitchen can help you plan your meals more effectively. Such services provide plenty of benefits to help you achieve your dietary goals. Here are some reasons why you should consider subscribing to one:
1. Reduced Caloric Intake
One of the primary benefits of a meal delivery service like Magic Kitchen is that it helps you cut back on calories without it causing hunger, lethargy, and loss of energy. The meals are nutritionally fortified so that you consume fewer calories per meal, which translates to burning fat faster.
The meals have plenty of other essential nutrients to support an active lifestyle so you won’t be starving yourself to lose weight. Magic Kitchen also offers meals that are portion-controlled. Thus, they keep you full for longer without exceeding your daily caloric intake.
2. Increased Protein Intake
The majority of calories in a typical Magic Kitchen meal comes from lean proteins such as chicken, beef, or fish. For vegans and vegetarians, protein-rich veggies and legumes are incorporated to avoid a carb-heavy diet plan. Protein helps regulate your appetite while also preventing overeating.
3. Increased Fiber Intake
There’s a possibility that even though you cook meals by yourself, your daily fiber intake is not met. With services like Magic Kitchen that provide nutrition tracking of each meal they serve, you can increase your fiber intake effectively.
Fiber improves digestion, reduces calorie intake, and curbs unhealthy food cravings. Meal delivery services include as many fiber-rich foods as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to support not only your weight loss goals but better digestion as well.
4. No Processed Ingredients
Processed sugar, artificial sugar, preservatives, and additives spoil health and fitness goals. Foods with more processed ingredients have higher calories and trans-fats. Magic Kitchen and other similar services prepare meals without such ingredients and include only whole foods. No unhealthy calories, no trans fats, and no excess sodium mean a healthy lifestyle.
5. Regular Eating Schedule
Subscribing to meal kit delivery services like Magic Kitchen is a healthy way to ensure that you never skip a meal. A healthy eating schedule is the number one priority when considering improving your overall diet lifestyle. This includes having a hearty breakfast, light lunch, snacks, and dinner.
Rather than resorting to eating unhealthy takeout food at the last minute, once you subscribe to a meal delivery service, you can plan your meals weeks in advance.
These alternatives make healthy eating less of a chore, and they also include a wide range of dietary plans such as gluten-free, low-carb, low-calorie, high-protein, and more. The reason why they’re so popular now is that they complement an active lifestyle and ensure that you never run out of meal options every time you order.
So, if you’re looking for diverse meal plans, dietary customizations, and nutrient-packed meals, a service like Magic Kitchen is the right fit for you. But if you find yourself still running out of options, there are plenty of similar services that you can choose to replace Magic Kitchen.