Meal delivery services are a parent’s best friend. You can put in as much or as little effort as you’d like and still get dinner that’s mostly homemade on your table (or your lap—let’s be honest!). Below we break down our favorites to help you find the meal delivery service that’s right for you. Most deliver throughout the United States. Read on for amazing meal planning ideas.

photo: courtesy EveryPlate

For Dinner Everyone Will Eat: EveryPlate

Why we love it: Hello Fresh’s latest meal delivery service is one of the newest and most affordable on the market and offers simple meals with wholesome ingredients that are totally appealing to families.

What it costs: Choose from a dinner-only plan for two or four people starting at just $4.99 a meal.

What makes it unique? Besides the incredible per-meal price, all the ingredients arrive fresh, with less packaging. All the meals come with detailed instructions and recipes, so if you want to make it again on your own, you’re all set! Plus, every single meal is ready in 30 minutes or less, making this a great option for busy families.

What parents are saying: While there’s no dedicated kids’ menu, each meal (chicken sausage soup with couscous, dijon butter steak, and linguine Italiano are examples) is very kid friendly.

Online: everyplate.com

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For Parents Making Specific Eating Choices: Green Chef

Why we love it: Whatever dietary choices you’re making at home, Green Chef has a plan for you. Meal plans include Keto, Paleo, Mediterranean, Heart Smart, Pescatarian, Gluten Free and more! Plus, it’s easy to whip up the meals after a busy day because each recipe and kit bag are color-coded, so you’ll know what to grab from the fridge.

What it costs: Depending on which plan you choose, prices range from $10.99 (family plan) to $12.99 (keto plan).

Why it’s unique: Besides offering such a diverse range of dietary preferences, it’s the first and only Keto-approved meal delivery service. And, the meals come with one of a kind sauces that add diverse flavors to the meals.

What parents are saying: While they do have family plans (omnivore and carnivore), specific meal plans (like the Keto or Paleo) are something adults will enjoy more than kids (some meals, like a chicken tinga, for example, can be adapted for kids though!).

Online: greenchef.com.

For Dinner That Feels Like a Meal Out: RealEats

Why we love it: With menu items like Pomegranate Chicken with Walnuts, Sweet Potatoes and Bulghur and Herbed Shrimp and Parsnip Cakes, dinner from RealEats can feel like a lavish meal out—without even having to leave your home. It's almost like having your own personal chef.

What it costs: Choose from a dinner-only plan (ranges from $12.50 to $15 per dinner) or a combo dinner/breakfast plan.

What makes it unique? All meals are fresh, never-frozen and arrive in vacuum-sealed bags. When you're ready to eat, boil each bag on your stovetop anywhere from three to six minutes, cut open the bag and your meal is served! It's that easy. All meal pouches are FDA approved-safe and most of the packaging is either recyclable or made from recycled materials. 

What parents are saying: There isn't a designated kid's menu, which is great if you want your child eating more than just mac 'n' cheese. And, as of early 2019, RealEats does not delivery nationwide so be sure to type in your zip code to see their delivery area. 

What’s the deal? $30 off your first week with code REAL30 at checkout

Online: realeats.com

 

For Families That Need Variety: Plated

Why we love it: Variety is the spice of life and Plated offers up to 20 different meal choices (and dessert) on a weekly basis. And, new for 2019, are five family-friendly meal choices each week (among other styles like vegetarian, stove-top only, low-carb and more), with delicious dinners like creamy chicken soup, baked ziti and Philly-style cheesesteaks.

What it costs: $9.95 per meal when you choose 3 or 4 meals a week, $11.95 per meal for 2 meals a week.

Why it's unique: The flexible plans and menu options mean there are over six-thousand different combos possible for your weekly meals. 

What parents are saying: Having the choice to select kid-friendly meals makes getting dinner on the table even easier.

What’s the deal? First-time subscribers can save up to 25% on their first four orders before shipping.

Online: plated.com.

For Parents who Love to Plan Ahead: Home Chef

Why we love it: With lots of tasty meal choices and customization options, Home Chef appeals to busy moms and picky eaters alike. The company was purchased by Kroger in 2018, and the meal kits are now available in a growing number of Kroger stores around the country.

What it costs: Meals start at $7.99 per serving.

What makes it unique? With meal options, delivery-day options and the ability to add on meals and treats like smoothies and fresh fruit, Home Chef is a winner for new moms. Menus are set five weeks in advance so you can plan out your meals for weeks at a time.

What’s the deal? $30 off your first order and $10 off your second.

Onlinehomechef.com

For Parents Who Are New to the Meal Plan Game: Hello Fresh

Why we love it: Hello Fresh’s meal kits help you make tasty, satisfying food that’s simple without being boring. Some home cooks find their meals among the least intimidating of all meal kits, and dishes like Cherry Balsamic Pork Chops or Eggplant & Sun-Dried Tomato Linguine are just enough out of the ordinary to be interesting without requiring a heroic effort on your part.

What it costs: $9.99/serving on the Classic Plan or Veggie Plan and $8.74/serving on the 4-person family plan.

What makes it unique? Their easy-to-navigate app helps you select meals with just one hand — even during a late-night nursing session! Plus, their Dinner 2 Lunch feature (extra ingredients for lunch) means you'll have food for work the next day.

What’s the deal? Three free meals with your first order.

Online: hellofresh.com

For Wine with Your Dinner: Blue Apron

Why we love it: Blue Apron pioneered the concept of sending a week’s worth of meals to your doorstep in an effort to get more people cooking by removing many hassles of meal prep. It's an enormous company, with more than $1 billion in sales each year, and their years of experience means they know what they’re doing. Their large size also means they’re able to take some innovative, high-tech steps to shape how food is grown, harvested and distributed.

What it costs: $9.99/serving on the 2 Person Plan and $8.99/serving on the 4-person Family Plan.

What makes it unique? Blue Apron offers wine! Their monthly wine program pairs 6 premium wines with their recipes for $10/bottle. Bottles are sized for 2 people (500ml), and you receive 3 bottles of white and 3 bottles of red, all exclusive to Blue Apron.

What’s the deal? 2 free meals with your first order.

Onlineblueapron.com

Perfect for Larger Families: One Potato

Why we love it: One Potato combines some of what we love about several other meal subscriptions. Their meals are family-friendly, organic and humanely sourced, and they're ready in 30 minutes or less. They aim to appeal to the whole family with meals like Gnocchi with Basil Pesto, Steak Fajitas, and Crunchy Chicken Nuggets. They also offer an omnivore or vegetarian option.

What it costs: $11.99/adult and $4.50/child.

What makes it unique? Pricing is customized to your family composition and based on a per adult and per child basis. This is especially helpful if you have more or fewer family members than the two adults and two kids that are fed by many other meal kits.

What’s the deal? $20 off your first order.

Online: onepotato.com

For Plant-Based Dinners: Purple Carrot

Why we love it: Purple Carrot’s recipes are entirely plant-based, and their team chooses meals for you, eliminating the need for you to log in by a certain date to make your own choices. Plus, they put an innovative spin on plant-based meals with dishes like Seitan Gyro with Shaved Artichoke Salad and Tahini Yogurt or Kale Caesar with Crispy Butter Beans and Everything Bagel Croutons.

What it costs: $11.33/serving on the 1-2 person plan, $9.25/serving on the 3-4 person plan, and $13/serving on the performance plan.

What makes it unique? Purple Carrot’s Performance Meals plan might solve a common critique we hear from fellow meal-kit moms: “It’s just not enough food for my husband!” This plan is higher in protein and aimed at helping athletes and active people (like nursing moms!) perform their best.

What’s the deal? $25 off your first order.

Online: purplecarrot.com

 

If You Want All Sustainable Ingredients: Sun Basket

Why we love it: Sun Basket focuses on organic, sustainably sourced ingredients. They offer paleo, gluten-free, and vegetarian options, and you can select 2-4 recipes per week to feed 2-4 people. You can also mix and match across meal categories, ensuring there’s something for everyone at your table, whether it’s North Carolina Pulled Pork Sliders or Korean-style Burgers with Kimchi Slaw.

What it costs: $9.99/serving on the Family Menu and $11.49/serving on the Classic Plan.

What makes it unique? Sun Basket ensures their packaging is 100% recyclable and sources only humanely raised meat. If you like to support companies who “do good always,” Sun Basket could be your jam.

What’s the deal? 3 free meals with your first delivery.

Onlinesunbasket.com

featured photo: rawpixel via Pixabay

— Elizabeth Carr

 

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