Whether your day is filled with playdates, carting kids to-and-fro or sitting through multiple office meetings, finding time to shop, let alone make healthy meals, can be tough. Thank goodness for local companies (and a few not-so-local) that make meal kits and deliver food so busy families can have their cake and eat it too. If you want to find out what you’re serving for dinner, keep reading.

photo: courtesy Dream Dinners

Meals for a Month: Dream Dinners

Dream Dinners usually provides a spot for parents to assemble meals using pre-measured, pre-cut ingredients to last them a while. Now, the company has pivoted to meet new needs and offers the same delish ready-to-make meals assembled, then frozen, delivered straight to your door. Get a whole month’s worth of meals when you try this new twist on a familiar family fave.

How it works: It all starts online with the monthly menu, where you’ll get an overview of the many meals being offered this month. Then it’s time to dig in and make your meal plan. You'll figure out how many Dream Dinners meals you’d like to serve each week and how many servings you need. Once your plan is complete, add meals to your online cart and schedule a delivery time too. Yep, it's that simple to feed the fam a month's worth of meals. Each order has a minimum purchase of either 12 medium or six large dinners. Meals are assembled by the Dream Dinners staff and frozen before they head your way.

What’s it cost? Prices vary depending on the meals you select, but plan to spend between $15-$20 per medium meal (feeds 2-3) and $35-$50 for large meals (feeds 4-6).

We think you’ll love: Put the lemon feta turkey sliders and Savannah grilled chicken with cauliflower on your May meals list. Both are palate pleasers for the whole fam.

Good to know: If home delivery isn’t a deal breaker for you, you can pick up your ready-made meals curbside at the West Seattle or Mill Creek stores.

Order & save: Use code SEATTLE to get $15 off a meal prep starter pack.

Dream Dinners
Online: dreamdinners.com
425-316-8260 (Mill Creek)
206-938-5999 (Seattle)

photo: courtesy of Yumi

Fresh, Nutritious Meals for Baby: Yumi

Developed by two moms on a mission to create optimally-balanced baby food blends, Yumi is the latest meal delivery service to hit the PNW, and we couldn’t be more excited. Parents can expect chef-prepared, locally-sourced, organic baby food shipped directly to them each week when they sign up. Who knew it was so easy to be a rock star parent?

How it works: Yumi’s baby blends come in over 70 flavors, and span three milestones—4, 7 & 9 months. Expert Chefs use seasonal ingredients to whip up your baby’s food using diverse flavors and nutrient-dense ingredients like chia seeds, spirulina and flax, so your baby is exposed to a variety of flavors and textures. Then the blends are shipped to your doorstep in fully-recyclable packaging, using ice packs to keep it fresh. It’s easy to make substitutions or cancel an order any time, and you’ll receive text messages letting you know where your food is from the moment it ships out to the moment it delivers. 

What's it cost? $5/meal for 1 meal a day; $4.64/meal for 2 meals a day; $4.29/meal for 3 meals a day.

We think you'll love: Creative flavors are the name of the game at Yumi. We think your baby will go (goo-goo) ga-ga for dragonfruit chia pudding, cubano bowl and triple berry pie.

Good to know: Finger foods are available for babies over ten months who’ve outgrown blends and are moving on to solids.

Order & save: Use code REDTRI50 to save 50% off your first week. Expires Mar. 31, 2020.

Yumi
Online: helloyumi.com

photo: courtesy ACME Farms Kitchen

Easy Access to Local Foods: ACME Farms + Kitchen

Co-founder moms, Cara Piscitello and Joy Rubey, started ACME Farms + Kitchen in 2011 with a simple mission–to make access to local food easier. As busy working moms of toddlers, the duo found themselves searching for a simple way to get clean, local food into their homes without having to haul their little ones around to farms, grocery stores and farmers markets. Now, nine years later, they're able to offer ACME boxes to families looking for the same all along the I-5 corridor, from Bellingham to Portland, OR.

How It works: Signing up for an ACME box is as easy as clicking a button and choosing a curated box that's right for your family. You can go the traditional route with a Surf or Turf Box or combo, or make things family focused with either a large or small Family Classics Box. There are also options for those who are grain- and dairy-free, low-carb, vegan or veg. Each box is fully customizable and you can set delivery to meet your needs: once only, weekly, monthly and more. Inside each box you'll find everything you need to make your meals, including pre-made sauces and portioned seasonings, as well as pantry items like chicken broth and coconut milk. There's no need to stop by the store, you're covered. Orders are submitted by Thursday at 9 a.m. and delivered the next Wednesday or Thursday, depending on where you live.

What's it cost? Between $6 to just under $8 per serving, depending on the curated box you choose.

We think you'll love: We're crushing on the ACME Kids Box, the first five of which were curated by Rubey's daughter, with additional boxes curated by kids in the community. These healthy boxes, filled with food kids love and recognize, help them make healthy food choices. And soon it's getting a make-over that will include food pics, empowering kids to create their own healthy lunches (just like those in the pics) straight from the box.

Good to know: ACME is proudly involved in local community and often finds ways to give back. Next month they'll be launching a Save the Bees program to support Western Washington University Outback Apiary. For each box purchased, they donate $20. Keep your eyes on the website if you want in on this great cause (along with great food).

Order & save: When you use the code redtriFRIEND at checkout, you can save $15 off your first meal kit or curated meal box. It means you can try this fantastic service for less than $15.

ACME Farms + Kitchen
Online: theacmebox.com

photo: @cutomplatechef

Nutrition Made Simple: The Custom Plate

A car crash in 2011 started the odyssey that brought Dean and Tamara Hobson from losing everything back to solvency and health. As the family made their way from Washington to Alabama and back again, Tamara became fascinated with and focused on rebuilding her family’s health through food. At each step in their journey, people flocked to Tamara's cooking and ever-growing knowledge base. What started as a local food delivery service for about 30 neighborhood families has grown into a citywide meal delivery and catering business focused on nourishing people. If you’re looking for a delicious meal you can feel good about feeding to your kids, this is it.

How it works: A la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner options rotate weekly and deliveries are made twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. Be sure to order by 5 p.m. on Friday for Monday delivery, and by the same time on Tuesday for a Friday delivery. Food is delivered fully cooked, and ready to eat once you reheat it, and it gets dropped in the personal cooler you set out on your front porch (don’t forget the ice packs!). You won’t find a lot of carbs or grains in these meals, just a whole lot of meats and veggies calibrated for optimal nutrition. Specialized meal programs are also available if you’re looking for help with Keto, Whole 30, cleanses and more.

What's it cost? Prices vary from individual meals to special programs, but generally speaking expect to pay between $9-$16 per meal for dinner.

We think you'll love: Word on the street is anything with salmon will send your tastebuds soaring. Also getting high praise are the Mediterranean Baked Yams and Zoodle (zuchinni noodle) dishes.

Good to know: Add $9 for delivery in Seattle and the Eastside, and $5 on Mercer.

The Custom Plate
Online: thecustomplate.com
206-486-5840

Your Neighborhood Bistro Delivered: Fresh Chef Seattle

Chef Virginia Blashill runs a "virtual restaurant," delivering restaurant-quality meals to busy families, without the hassle of a brick and mortar building. It's a great option for those of us who crave home-cooked meals, but lack the time to make them. Simply put, it's the meal you wish you'd find waiting for you in your fridge at the end of a busy day. And to think all you had to do was set out a cooler and it magically appears.

How it works: Head to the website to choose meals from the menu that rotates weekly. Orders are placed by Sunday for delivery Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on your delivery zone. Meals are delivered fresh not frozen, so this is a great heat-and-eat option, no cooking on your part. Each is made from scratch in small batches, using local suppliers whenever possible. You can choose from entrees, soups, salads and desserts that are customizable to your crew. Choose regular portion sizes for hungry adults (they're quite generous) and smaller ones for kids. Keep in mind each entree typically comes with two sides so you can customize meals in this way too. There are also low-carb, gluten- and dairy-free options available, but all foods are prepared in the same kitchen. 

What's it cost? Prices vary, but entrees generally run between $10-$15.

We think you'll love: When it comes to feeding a family, you can't go wrong with Spicy Pork Street Tacos, Oven Fried Fish & Chips or a cozy comfort food dish like Chicken & Dumplings.

Good to know: Delivery is $10 and there's a $50 minimum; delivery is free for orders over $150.

Fresh Chef Seattle
Online: freshchefseattle.com
206-214-5134

photo: courtesy Maven Meals

Complete & Ready to Eat: Maven Meals

It was a bout of chicken pox a long time ago that led Maven Meals owner, Heidi Finley, to find her passion—food. Ever since she’s been studying nutrition, sustainable business and restaurant management, to create flavorful, healthy meals for people who are too busy to cook them themselves. With a focus on sustainability, service and exceptional food, Maven Meals caters to families who are on the go.

How it works: There’s no need to subscribe or meet a minimum order requirement here. With Maven Meals you simply place your food order (they offer breakfast, lunch and dinner options) Sunday by midnight, and Maven Meals delivers it on ice in an insulated cooler sometime between Monday and Wednesday of that week (delivery day depends on your zip code). They deliver as far north as Edmonds and as far south as Lakewood, as well as to the Eastside. A new menu is posted every Monday and it always comes with suggested pairings for entrees (listed right underneath) and the ability to filter for food specificity (think: vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, etc.) so you know exactly what’s available to you. The best part? Everything is ready to eat with a quick reheat or as-is, with the exception of some fish dishes that take a minimal amount of cooking.

What's it cost? Prices vary, but expect to pay between $12-$15 for an entree and one side.

We think you'll love: Try the grilled chicken sweet potato salad and you'll be hooked on Maven's culinary creativity. Soups are another strong suit (psst... we hear the clam chowder is some of the best around).

Good to know: There's a $4.75 delivery fee, or you can stop by their brick and mortar in Burien to pick-up for free.

Order & save: Use code FIRSTORDER50 to save $50 on your first order (min. $100 order).

Maven Meals
Online: mavenmeals.com
206-557-7985

Nourshing Meals for the Whole Family: Eat Local

Owner Greg Conner’s family has had a farm near Leavenworth for over 90 years, which has heavily influenced his goal with Eat Local’s vast and delicious food options—to offer organic, grass fed, natural, sustainable and local ingredients in nearly every dish and every grocery item. Over the years this vision has proved fruitful, and now the company is moving into a new phase, including a name change. Eat Local will soon be known as Performance Kitchen Crafted, just in time for company's nationwide debut. Their focus on food as medicine, and their commitment to creating flavorful and healthy meals crafted alongside registered dieticians makes them a great choice for families looking for healthy, quick options.

How it works: Buying Eat Local’s healthy meals is as simple as ordering them through Postmates (if you’re in the city) or through FedEx (for those outside Seattle). Meals are delivered frozen with reheating instructions included so you can keep your family focused and moving while dinner’s cooking. Families can order individual meals, sides and desserts. Or you can pick up a bundle, a collection of meals to meet a specific need (dietary or otherwise). There are two family bundles (new parent and maternity) that are worth a look, and the Russell Wilson Kid’s Bundle gives 3% back to charity. It’s as simple as ordering, heating and eating.

What's it cost? You'll spend between $8.99-$10.49 for a typical single serving entree.

We think you'll love: For a family-style meal everyone will love try the beef lasagna. You can't go wrong with grass-fed beef and enough servings to go around. If you're looking for a just-for-kids option, the Kids Mac-n-Cheese is your best bet.

Good to know: The same meals that are available for delivery can also be picked up in-store any time.

Eat Local
Online: eatlocalonline.com
206-328-3663

Post-Dinner Craving Cure: Midnight Cookie Co.

Leave it to recent college grads to come up with this brilliant idea because cookies are always a good thing. And when they’re delivered straight to your door, they’re event better. Even if you don’t have late night cravings, you can still get cookies, milk and Full Tilt ice cream delivered when you need them in Seattle, Shoreline and south Everett.

How it works: When you need cookies like Cookie Monster needs cookies, access delivery options through the website or use your Grub Hub, Postmates, Door Dash or Ubereats app to make your choices. Then sit back and wait for the doorbell while dreaming of the fresh cookies like S’mores, Snickerdoodles and of course Chocolate Chip that'll be there soon. You can place order anytime between 3 p.m. & 1 a.m.

What's the cost? Expect to pay between $2-$2.50 per cookie, but prices do vary by app.

We think you'll love: The Midnight Express combo is a great substitute for popcorn on family movie night. It comes with 6 cookies so you might even have a few left over.

Midnight Cookie Co.
Online: midnightcookieco.com
206-632-1237

photo: courtesy Splendid Spoon

Quick & Healthy Breakfast or Lunch: Splendid Spoon

Bowls, soups and smoothies. Oh my! Splendid Spoon grew out of mom-preneur and French Culinary Institute-trained chef, Nicole Centeno’s desired to find quick and nutritious meals and snacks when she was pregnant with her first son. The service now delivers over 20 different soups (both hearty and light), 12 scrumptiously flavored smoothies and 4 different bowls to busy families everywhere. If you're looking for grab-able lunches, snacks and breakfasts, make Splendid Spoon your new jam.

How it works: Splendid Spoon's plant-based foods are totally fresh, gluten-free and were developed hand-in-hand by registered dieticians and chefs, so you know they taste great. To get in on the action, you need to hit the website, choose and plan and then customize it. Lunch is at the heart of each plan, and it builds from there. Add in breakfast five times a week at the second tier and a reset (think light soups for dinner) when you choose the full monty. You can skip delivery whenever you need to, and food is delivered straight to your door via FedEx, chilled, using dry ice. Bowls and soups keep for a week in the fridge or freeze them for up to a month.

What's it cost? Choose from three different meal plans. $13/meal with the Lunch plan; $9.50/meal with Lunch + Breakfast plan; $9/meal with Breakfast + Lunch + Reset plan

Good to know: Starting Feb. 26, customers can add a Wellness Shot with Lemon and Ginger to their Splendid Spoon order. New customers will get their shot free, and existing customers can add 1, 3 or 5 shots to the next week’s order.

Splendid Spoon
Online: splendidspoon.com

photo: courtesy Purple Carrot

Colorful Plant-Based Dishes: Purple Carrot

Whether you're looking to eat more greens, add color to your plate or just plain love veggies, Purple Carrot is for you. This weekly meal subscription service makes eating clean every day an afterthought, so you can focus your energies and efforts elsewhere, busy parents.

How it works: Like most subscription meal services, Purple Carrot delivers a box to your doorstep, filled with fresh ingredients and everything you need to make an amazing meal, from the good stuff to the recipe. What's different about Purple Carrot is that you can either customize your meals or choose a specific meal plan (High Protein, Gluten Free, Quick & Easy or Chef's Choice) and they'll do the choosing for you. Each box comes with ingredients and recipes for 8 dinners, 2 lunches and 2 breakfasts. And deliveries can be skipped (or your subscription cancelled) anytime.

What's the cost? $11.99/serving on the 2-serving plan; $9.99/serving on the 4-serving plan.

We think you'll love: That you can add snacks, like gluten-free chocolate chunk blondie cookies and dark chocolate covered chick peas to your order. Healthy grab and go is always good.

Order & save: Use code PURPLE20 to get $20 off your first order.

Purple Carrot
Online: purplecarrot.com

Meal Delivery Tips:

1. Once you find your favorite service, make sure you note your preferences, dislikes and allergies. Many services can accommodate these if they know ahead of time.

2. If you don’t have a cooler, buy one! The last thing you want is your delicious delivery spoiling in the sun.

3. Think about having your meals delivered to your workplace. This can give you instant lunch options, or can keep you from stressing out about your delivery waiting for you on your doorstep.

4. Order more than you need and freeze.

5. If you’re headed on vacation or need to stop getting meals, give your service a week’s notice. All services can pause or stop delivery with a reasonable heads’ up.

6. Did a friend just have a baby or is a parent recovering from surgery? Meal delivery is an awesome gift for anyone who might have more important things on their plate, or just as a time saver for a busy loved one.

—Allison Sutcliffe, Erin Cranston, Kristina Moy & Myriam Gabriel-Pollock

featured photo: courtesy Monkey Business Images via iStock

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