Remember shopping? Slicing? Sautéing? Thanks to modern technology, those those silly time sucks are no longer necessary in order to set a fresh, healthy meal on the table for your family. Sure, cooking is sweet, but if you’re short on time (or the kids simply can’t stand another night of your signature chicken surprise) then just whip out your phone and decide what’s for dinner (or breakfast or lunch!). There are no shortage of services vying to bring food to your doorstep, so we’ve rounded up the best and broken down all the delicious details for you. Scroll down to see them all.
Let 'Em Eat Luke's: Luke’s Local Mealbox
Their mantra is: It's all about helping busy people eat well. Let's face it, in a perfect world, dinner would be pre-planned and pre-prepped, and cooking and eating it would cure the day's stress, not cause it! The Luke's Mealbox is a sort of hybrid mashup between a CSA (community supported agriculture) program, personal catering, and an artisan food shop. The website is easy to use and has a handy sidebar menu so you can easily select your dietary preferences: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, even a category for certified organic as well as Sugar Free. All Luke's meals are prepared by local chefs, all the produce comes from local farms, and the artisan items are all locally sourced (like bread or granola for snacking!). The best part? You get to choose which items go in that box for every order: pick both farmers’ market produce and enough pre-prepped meals made by local chefs to last your family a week. Dinners arrive ready for oven or microwave: Braised Short Ribs with Smoked Potato Puree and peppery Swiss Chard, coupled with a fragrant and flavorful Quinoa and Beet Salad for your gang to munch on. Nowadays, you can also take a stroll over to their shiny new brick and mortar San Francisco shop on Cole Street, too, if you feel like getting down with their goodies.
Cost: Prepared foods range from $5 (breakfast burrito) to $80 (family meal bundle). Delivery available in San Francisco, East Bay, and South Bay for $3.99; orders over $50 receive free delivery.
For Instant Gratification: Munchery
Munchery has been in the meal delivery game the longest and it shows. It was started in 2010 by parents with a solution to that stressful query that really satisfies—a slick website and mobile app that makes it easy to browse for delicious and healthy anytime meals. Talented chefs whip up a variety of dishes from scratch seven days a week with kid faves like crispy salmon cake with steamed veggies or a gooey kid-sized chicken parm sandwich. Order the same day while supplies last, or place your order days in advance. Select a delivery time when you check out (an Uber-style map lets you know exactly how close your dinner actually is), and your delivery driver will text you when they’re close. Meals are delivered chilled, with simple instructions to heat and prepare in minutes using your microwave or oven. You can even order wine, beer, soft drinks and desserts. These guys have a pop up app for an actual in-person shopping experience in downtown Ess Eff, too, if you're feeling so inclined!
Cost: $3.95-13.95 per serving, plus a $4.50 flat delivery fee
Positively, Absolutely: Postmates
Having expanded from the city to the suburbs, these mates will pretty much bring you anything you want. Were you up all night with a sick baby and there’s a rainstorm? They’ll deliver Starbucks and grab some meds from Walgreens on the way. Rates vary per items & stops, but these guys will do you right!
What we like: REALLY wide variety of what they can deliver (salads and sushi from all over town).
Try Kit, You'll Like Kit: Terra's Kitchen
Here's a concept so close to homemade you'll feel like a Top Chef champ. Head online to choose from 40 recipes created by their culinary team every week, they chop and deliver complete with recipe cards, and you're enjoying your delivery in 30 minutes (or less!) in a space-age-y cube vessel. If you're not particularly inspired fret not: they'll choose the ones they think you’ll enjoy from their virtual mystery basket. Terra's team focuses on delivering ingredients that are organic and non-GMO, when possible, and as soon as the farmers harvest: they're dicing and chopping and sending the items straight on to you. These are pre-portioned meal kits, prepped ingredients with meals ranging from $9.99 per serving to $17.99 each. They've got the hookup with Paleo, Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free, too.
Cost: $9.99 - $17.99 per serving; weekly meal subscriptions, only.
For Meals All Week: TableRunner
TableRunner has stood the test of time in the dinner delivery game with their family and kids menus with tasty options like goat cheese polenta, chicken fried rice and mac n’ cheese. Its aim is to make dinner worries a thing of the past by offering a low-commitment subscription of fresh, chef-prepared meals. When you sign up, choose either 4, 6 or 8 meals per week, and they will be delivered each Monday by dinnertime. Select which dishes you want from their changing weekly menu—they are fresh and refrigerated, not frozen, and are delivered in a well-designed insulated box, so you don’t need to be home to receive your order. The box can be shipped back at no charge so those dozens of cold packs don’t go to waste. Menu items range from the light and healthy (Thai Chicken Red Curry) to the indulgent (Stout Beer Braised Short Ribs). Just reheat and enjoy!
Cost: $15 per meal, for all membership plans. Delivery is free.
Vegetarian = Veestro
How about 100% plant-based, organic, non-GMO, chef-prepared entrees, soups, and juices that just show up at your front door whenever you want them to? Then look no further than this healthy bunch (bonus: they deliver nationally, too). There are no, zero, zilch animal products of any kind, here, ever! Chick'n Nuggets with chipotle dipping sauce complete with veganaise will do the trick every time for your kiddos and no one will miss the meat. This concept also works if one spouse is vegetarian, because it's tasty enough you don't miss the meat. Veestro food is available a la carte, in full-on Meal Packs, and they also carry a surprisingly delicious Weight Loss menu plan. As with most vegetarian cuisine: the meals all seem to have have nuts in them so be careful with a nut allergy, but all meals are completely dairy-free and don't contain other allergens. If Gluten is your family offender, they carry a special pack called The Gluten-Free Feast which comes swiftly to your home via a chilled FedEx box and includes an assortment of gluten-free breakfasts, lunches, dinners and two desserts: gluten-free chocolate chip cookies...and cheezcake!
Cost: $35 minimum food order, packages start at $99; free shipping for orders totaling $199
Goodbye, Hunger: HelloFresh!
Another meal kit making waves is HelloFresh. Choose from HelloFresh's weekly offering of meat/seafood or vegetarian meals, and receive all the ingredients and recipe card with step-by-step cooking instructions. Weekly subscriptions include three meals for either two or four people. These meals are really delicious, and the recipes, which are created with HelloFresh's in-house dietician, are always very easy to follow. Options abound: Smoky Adobo Chicken Tacos, Seared Provencal Steak, or try Charred Scallion and Corn Flatbread to list just a few. Each meal arrives with all the necessary ingredients (minus salt, pepper, and cooking oil), as well as a detailed recipe card that included color photos and easy-to-follow step-by-step cooking instructions. There was also an additional card with tips on cooking steak, and description of how (and why) to slice the meat against the grain. Super helpful.
Cost: Meals range in price from $9.00 per person per meal for vegetarian subscriptions, and $10.75 per person per meal for omnivore subscriptions. Delivery is free for all orders.
Fast as Greased Lightning: Gobble
These are weekly dinner kits designed for ten minutes with just one pan so say goodbye to grocery shopping, meal planning & prep, and all that cleanup! Gobble shops, chops, and delivers gourmet 3-step recipes for 1-pan cooking with zero prep required. How about picky eaters? Try Pan-Roasted Chicken & Fennel over Butternut Squash Risotto, it comes 'Certified' Gobble Kid Friendly. Take a walk on the wilder side with: BBQ Tempeh Sandwich with Sweet Potato & Candied Pecan Salad. What have you got to lose when it's just a one-pan cleanup?
Cost: All-inclusive price of $11.95 per meal if you order 6 or more meals and $13.95 per meal if you order 4 meals. If you are ordering 6 meals, you'll pay $71.70 total. Shipping is free for all orders.
Do you have a favorite meal delivery service? Tell us in the comments below!
—Erin Feher & Mireille Schwartz