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!). We asked the country’s savviest moms to dish on the best meal delivery kits so you can find the meal delivery service that’s right for you. Most deliver throughout the United States. Read on for amazing meal planning ideas so you can cut down on the time in the kitchen and spend more time where it counts: with your family.
Say Goodbye to Junk Food with RealEats
Why We Love It: RealEats was created by a single dad who understood the need to get dinner on the table fast, but wanted to avoid serving up pizza or chicken nuggets every night. He created RealEats that ships vacuum-packed food to your doorstep, which will stay fresh in your fridge for a whole week. Each meal features never-processed ingredients with the weekly menu including dinners, breakfasts, snacks and even beverages. A recent peek at their dinner menu included Balsamic-Glazed Steak, Herb Marinated Chicken, Local Squash and Chickpea Curry and Carrot Ginger Soup.
What It Costs: Just dinners range from $11.25-$8.25/meal depending on how many you order per week (you have the option of ordering anywhere from 4-12 dinners per week). If you opt for dinner and breakfast delivery the cost ranges from $6-$7.50/meal depending on the volume you order each week. Like the dinner-only option you choose from 4-12 dinners and breakfasts per week.
What Makes It Unique: Meals are vacuum-sealed to lock in freshness. All you need to prep/warm is a pot of boiling water or a microwave. We also admire that the brand purposefully built their kitchen in the Finger Lakes agricultural region in New York. They say that this "allows for easy access to responsibly-sourced ingredients from hard-working growers and producers."
Order online: RealEats
If You Love Little Spoon for Their Fresh Baby Food, You'll Dig Their New Plates
Why We Love It: You may know Little Spoon for their direct-to-consumer organic baby food. Good news for parents out of the baby food stage: they just released their newest line, Little Spoon Plates for little easters 1-10 years old. Plates are healthy and nutritious, heat-and-eat meals made with the quality ingredients Little Spoon is known for. Plates have launched with over 15 different recipes with a focus on seasonal, local and organic ingredients. Dishes include Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs, Chicken Teriyaki, Chicken Pot Stickers and Cauli Croquettes. Click here for the full line of baby food.
What It Costs: Plates are shipped to your door at just under $5/meal.
What Makes It Unique: Little Spoon offers what they call Boosters, which are powdered natural remedies you can add to any dish or meal. They’re clean, all-natural formulas that come in pre-portioned sticks you can easily sprinkle in their food. Remedies are targeted so you can give kiddo a boost based on what they need, whether it’s a boost to fight the sniffles or one that helps with brain development.
For Meals That Require No Cooking: Yumble
Why We Love It: Yumble has kid-friendly cuisine down to a science. The New York-based company (which now ships nationwide) specializes in sending families adorable little microwavable dinners that kids will actually like (read: these are complete no-cook meals). We're talking famously kiddified eats like chicken chili wheat wrap, pizza pockets and broccoli parm, chicken nuggets, cheese ravioli and mac and cheese.
What It Costs: 6 meals per week/ $7.99 per meal; 8 meals per week/ $6.99 per meal; 16 meals per week/ $5.99 per meal. All delivery is free!
What Makes It Unique: All of the food is nutritionally balanced (there are veggies hidden in the sauces!), locally sourced, made with quality ingredients—and ready to eat in 90 seconds or less. Each box also comes with added goodies including stickers, coloring books or conversation cards for the dinner table.
For Families Short on Time: Gobble
Why We Love It: Parents rave that Gobble is the fastest and tasty meal kits out there. They feature DIY dinner kits that cook in three steps and under 15 minutes (many of them in one pan!). Gobble takes the prep-work out by providing pre-cooked sauces, grains, and pasta, pre-chopped ingredients, and/or pre-sliced vegetables and meat. Currently available in all of the continental US except Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.
What It Costs: $11.99+/meal
What Makes It Unique: Watching your weight? There are also 15-minute lean and clean recipes that are 600 calories or less, low carb and feature lean proteins and no filler grains.
Special deal: Get 50% off your first box with code 50OFFBOX. Click here to redeem.
If You Want to Start Eating Healthier: Freshology
Why We Love It: Long for the microwave dinners of the old days—without the "Guess That Meat" flavor of your high school cafeteria? Freshology—also called Diet To Go—delivers chef-prepared meals, ready to reheat and eat. Freshology drops tasty, calorie-controlled, already-prepared dishes (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks) onto your doorstep. They’re all about helping you discover nutritious and affordable meals that’ll help you lose weight or support your healthy lifestyle.
What It Costs: Cost: $121.99 for two meals a day, five days a week (other options are available)
What Makes It Unique: There's a variety of menus, including Keto-friendly, vegetarian, and diabetes-friendly. This gives “heat and eat” a whole new meaning.
Pre-Cooked Meal You Can Shop by Age: Nurture Life
Why We Love It: If you're tired of yogurt drops and dinosaur nuggets, Nurture Life is the meal delivery service designed just for babies and toddlers (though the food's good enough for Mom and Dad, too). Just sign on and choose from baby, toddler, kid or family meals (all of which contain organic produce, antibiotic-free proteins & whole grains), then wait for that precious box to be delivered.
What It Costs: Meals are priced individually, starting at $6.89 (The minimum order amount for a box is $39.)
What Makes It Unique: Meal choices are listed by age: Baby, Toddler, Kids ages 5-10, Kids 11-18 and family meals. Little ones will appreciate the simplicity of dishes such as turkey meatloaf and mashed potatoes, while older kids will dine on things such as lamb and beef meatballs and chicken parmesan. As for the baby food, dishes include soft, bite-sized eats like tofu cubes, steamed carrots, cooked peas and bite-sized meats.
The best part? All the meals are pre-cooked, so you don't even need to do the cooking. Voila! Dinner in two minutes or less.
Read Red Tricycle's review of Nurture Life here.
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: $98.87 per week for the family plan (three meals a week for a family of four). This comes out to $7.49/meal plus a flat $8.99 shipping rate per week.
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? Get $80 off, including free shipping. Click here to redeem.
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. Choose from meal kits like Cheesy Chipotle Steak Enchiladas, Tuscan Pork Chops or Steakhouse Sirloin with Herb Butter. You pick the serving size, meal frequency and your family’s eating style (omnivore, meat eaters, pescatarian, etc.). We like that Home Chef specifies how long each meal kit will take to make and that you can specify if you are calorie- or carb-conscious.
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.
If You Want All Sustainable Ingredients: Sun Basket
Why we love it: Sun Basket focuses on organic, sustainably sourced ingredients. Their modus operandi is that it is committed to healthy, nutritious and organic food. That means all meal kit recipes are approved by in-house dietitians to comply with USDA dietary guidelines, and meals are typically between 500 and 800 calories. It's a bit pricier than its competitors, but it offers a good variety for people on specific diets including those following paleo, vegetarian, and gluten-free meal plans. All you need is salt, pepper and oil—the kit provides the rest, plus step-by-step instructions (and most meals take less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook). 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.
Cooking That's Approachable & Delicious: 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.
Founded by Catherine McCord, a mom of three and trained chef who founded the popular recipe website Weelicious, One Potato was designed to solve that perennial mealtime dilemma: How to make a dinner that's good enough for parents and their kids. There are no chicken nuggets to be found; on the contrary, meals include things like turkey bolognese, and chicken with Shanghai rice cakes (there's also the ever-present option of hamburgers, tacos or pan-roasted chicken). All ingredients are included except the salt, pepper and oil. Each box also comes with pre-made cookie dough—because you can't have dinner without dessert.
Looking for a breakfast option? The company has recently started offering smoothies as add-ons to its weekly delivery plans. With flavors including pina colada, PB&J, and blue chia, the smoothies (which all contain hidden veggies!) were concocted by One Potato/ Weelicious founder Catherine McCord, author of "Smoothie Project." "
One Potato currently delivers to Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Utah.
Read our "Tried It" full review of One Potato here.
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.
For Meals That Cook Themselves: Tovala
Why we love it: Tovala is perfect for the non-chef or new mama because it literally requires one minute of prep and no cutting or chopping. Order your meals (or even shop like normal), then use the signature Smart Oven to completely cook your meal to perfection. Meals cook in 20 minutes or less and you can choose from tons of options, with 14 new items being added every week.
What it costs: $199 for the Smart Oven, Meals are $11.99 each with free shipping on orders over $40
What makes it unique: No other meal service offers the ability to cook on its own! The Tovala Smart Oven allows you to scan meal cards or regular grocery store codes, then cooks each item accordingly. Currently, you can scan over 750+ grocery items from brands like Annie's, Pillsbury and Dr. Praeger's, and use it to steam, toast, bake and broil.
For Plant-Based Meals That Actually Taste Great: Splendid Spoon
Why we love it: Splendid Spoon’s meals and smoothies come ready to eat (absolutely no meal prep here!). Their delicious plant-based meals are a great opportunity to integrate more plants into your diet without the hassle of recipe research or multiple trips to the store. Everything on their menu is vegan, gluten-free and GMO-free, and taste 100% delicious.
What it costs: Choose from three different plans that range from $9-$13 per meal.
What makes it unique? Splendid Spoon was founded by Nicole Centeno, a mom who realized how difficult it was to attain a healthy-minded lifestyle with a 9-5 job and demands of family life. With Splendid Spoon, she’s made it her mission to make vegan plant-based meals accessible, nutritious and a daily habit that’ll power your day (no need to reach for that protein bar to get you through the mid-morning hangries). All meals come ready-to-eat, which is ideal for families on-the-go or new moms who may not have the energy to even boil water for pasta. Bonus: as of Jan. 2020 all of Splendid Spoon’s packaging is 100% recyclable.
What parents are saying: You won’t be bored with Splendid Spoon’s variety. They offer a rotating menu of 40+ ready-to-eat smoothies, soups and grain bowls. Meals are customizable and we love that they’re delivered col to your door (read: if you’re at the office or out and aren’t home to accept delivery, the package won’t spoil right away). While there’s no dedicated kids’ menu, the meals and smoothies are kid-friendly.You may even get your kids to try a new flavor combo!
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.
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!).
Special deal: Get $60 off your first order. Click here to redeem.
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
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.
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.
— Elizabeth Carr, Melissa Heckscher & Ayren Jackson-Cannady
featured photo: rawpixel via Pixabay