If wondering what’s for dinner has become your new nightly routine—leading to an hour of indecision at the grocery store or flipping through a stack of takeout menus—it’s time to make a change. While the lofty goal of weekend meal prepping sounds appealing, it can be hard to make it a reality with family, work, and social schedules to balance. But the best meal delivery services make it easy to count on a fresh, tasty meal any night of the week—and they might cost less than you think.
Having prepped meals, whether fresh or frozen, delivered to your doorstep is a time and sanity-saver for anyone. And with shopping for groceries now a major undertaking, involving proper PPE, social distancing and, in many cases, less robust food selections, the added convenience of a meal delivery service is doubly beneficial.
Regardless of your dietary needs and preferences, there is a meal delivery service for you. Vegan, paleo, and keto diets are well-represented, as are specialty options for weight loss, menopausal women, and athletes. Here are some of the best meal delivery services out there right now.
Best Budget Meal Delivery Service
While the concept of prepared meal deliveries might seem like a luxury, thanks to Freshly, you can take advantage of the opportunity to have high-quality, fresh meals delivered to your doorstep for less than the price of take-out lunch. Freshly offers prepared meal services for as low as $8.49 per meal when you sign up for their subscription service. You can choose from 4, 6, 10, or 12 meals per week.
The menu rotates weekly and includes more than 30 appetizing options, with new dishes added often. While the standard meal plans don’t follow specific diets, Freshly also recently introduced FreshlyFit, which offers lower-carb, higher-protein meals that lend well to keto and paleo diets. All recipes are also gluten-free (Freshly is a certified gluten-free food service according to the Gluten Intolerance Group).
One unique thing about Freshly meal delivery service is the fact that every meal arrives fresh, not frozen. Just heat and eat is the company’s motto. Of course, you can freeze the individually vacuum-sealed trays if you don’t plan to eat the meals right away.
Best Meal Delivery Service For Weight Loss
Jump start your weight loss routine by planning out every meal the easy way. BistroMD offers meals designed by a dietitian to support your weight loss goals and caters to specific needs like gluten-free, diabetic-friendly, and heart-healthy. There’s even a menu plan designed specifically for women experiencing menopause to support the unique needs of this life stage with well-balanced nutrition.
After choosing your diet preference, you select how many meals you want. The full program is the easiest way to eliminate guesswork from your meal planning and includes breakfast and lunch for 7 days, and dinner for 6 days— you get to treat yourself to a favorite meal one night a week. You can also opt to receive just lunch and dinners for five days.
There are more than 150 recipes in total available each week, making it easy to stick with the eating plan without becoming bored. BistroMD is a recurring subscription model, but you can pause or cancel at any time. Registered dietitians create a meal plan based on your needs, goals, and preferences. You’re not left out of the loop, though—you can approve or remove meals from your menu rotation at any time.
Best Plant-Based Meal Delivery Service
Veestro is the go-to option for high-quality, plant-based meals. Using only organic and non-GMO ingredients, the culinary masterminds behind these prepped meals are able to create vegetarian- and vegan-friendly versions of classic favorites. The diverse menu includes a la carte items like Pasta Bolognese, Country Fried Chick’n, and Portobello Steak Dinner—all sans meat and free of preservatives. When you choose your meals, you can filter for specific dietary needs, like gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, and/or high-protein.
Veestro offers a one-time delivery or a subscription-based service (you’ll save 10% on the cost if you opt for a recurring delivery) and three plan sizes—10, 20, or 30 meals. The cost per meal ranges from $11.70 to $9.90, depending on which plan size you choose. You can also opt for a weight loss-focused package that includes 15 to 21 calorie-controlled meals each week, or three daily meals that provide approximately 1,200 calories. The weight loss meal plan is available in a gluten-free option.
Best Gourmet Meal Delivery Service
Splurge on restaurant-quality meals with Home Bistro, a leading gourmet prepared meal delivery service. Far from a generic TV dinner, these culinary creations feature upscale selections. For a case in point, Home Bistro offers this savory dish: Lemon-Caper Piccata Steak with Roasted Garlic Marble Potatoes and Tunisian Cauliflower Gratin with a zesty artichoke-lemon butter sauce. It’s a mouthful to say but a delight to savor.
You can order meals a la carte, with prices ranging from about $13 for vegetarian selections to $27 for meat-based fare, or choose from a variety of meal combos. Many of the available meal bundles from Home Bistro will yield some savings, with the average price per meal hovering around $18. While it’s pricier than other prepared meal services, think of it as fine dining from the comfort of your home—a welcome idea in the time of uncertainty regarding restaurant dining during COVID-19.
Best Meal Delivery Service For Variety
Real Eats makes it real easy to enjoy a variety of fresh, flavorful meals with minimal effort. Each vacuum packed meal simply needs to be boiled “sous-vide” style, or can be popped out of its packaging and into the microwave for a quicker heat-and-eat option. The food pouches are 100 percent food-safe and BPA-free.
Scanning the menu, you’ll find at least a dozen options for lunch and dinner, including three bestsellers and several Chef’s Picks. You can also order protein and sides a la carte, giving you a chance to craft your own meals—while someone else does the cooking. Real Eats is also unique in that it offers a wide variety of add-ons, such as smoothies, snack bars, cheese, hummus and more.
This meal delivery service keeps its eye on quality and variety and delivers everything you need for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks—just supply your own beverage of choice (or check out these beer delivery services to put your libations on autopilot, too).
Best Fresh Meal Delivery Service
Fresh n’ Lean
While many prepared meal services ship frozen entrees, Fresh n’ Lean only sends you fresh, never frozen meals that preserve the taste and texture of the foods inside. Ingredients are organic, non-GMO and free of preservatives. Each vacuum sealed tray has a shelf life of 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator, though you can freeze the meals to stretch their shelf life to 6 to 8 weeks if necessary.
Fresh n’ Lean offers a variety of menu plans to fit your dietary preferences, such as keto, vegan (and a low carb vegan alternative), protein+, bulk, and Paleo. You can switch plans at any time or cancel your subscription altogether. One of the best things about Fresh n’ Lean’s meals is the option to exclude up to 3 ingredients from your meal plan—either because of dietary restrictions or taste preferences. A separate option lets you omit the most common allergens from your meal. The cost depends on how many meals you select for the week, but the average cost is $9.33 per meal.
Best Meal Delivery Service For Breakfasts
Breakfast is the most important of the meal day—make sure you start yours right with a breakfast delivery service, like Daily Harvest. Most well-known for their blender-ready smoothie cups, Daily Harvest also offers other options that are perfect for fueling your morning, like oatmeal with fresh fruits and superfoods, chia bowls, and harvest bowls, plus lighter lunch fare, like flatbreads and soups.
Daily Harvest stands out for its use of whole fruits and vegetables, along with its creative flavor profiles. Unique options like a Mulberry & Dragon Fruit Oat Bowl or Sweet Potato & Wild Rice Hash will give your morning routine a wake-up.
Best Meal Delivery Service For Keto
Formerly known as Factor75, Factor_ is a popular prepared meal service for anyone serious about committing to a ketogenic diet or looking to streamline their weekly meal prep routine. Factor_ offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options to make it easy to stick with your food and fitness goals. You can also order keto-friendly snacks, desserts, and shakes to introduce variety in your eating routine.
The ordering process is simple: select from 4 to 18 meals per week, then pick out any additional items you’re craving (keto truffles, anyone?). Prices range between $11 and $15 per entrée, depending on how many meals you order for the week. You can also pause or cancel your subscription any time.
Best Meal Delivery Service For Whole30
The Good Kitchen
Finding a Whole30-approved meal delivery service is no easy task, but The Good Kitchen nails it. Many meals, like Beef Shepherd’s Pie and BBQ Rubbed Salmon with Sweet Potato Hash are Whole 30 compliant, making it easy to match your dietary needs with the ready-to-go options from TGK. Meals that aren’t a fit for Whole30 are still made with wholesome ingredients and appropriate for other dietary preferences, like paleo.
With an emphasis on farm-to-table cooking and sustainability, The Good Kitchen (TGK) aims to do good for your family and the environment. If you’re on the fence, you can try The Good Kitchen’s Sample Pack, which includes five meals for $72. From there, opt for bundle packs or a subscription plan—both of which will offer additional savings. Depending on how many meals you need, expect to pay between $12 and $14 per meal. Subscription deliveries ship for free and arrive weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. You can also pause or cancel anytime.
Best Paleo Meal Delivery Service
For an easier way to eat clean, consider a paleo meal delivery service like Pete’s Paleo. The company offers a rotating menu of organic paleo meals that are big on flavor and freshness and make the most of in-season ingredients. You can also choose meals for more specialized diets, like AIP-friendly and low FODMAP. You’ll find palate pleasers like Mediterranean Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower and Spaghetti Squash and Korean Braised Pork Butt with Kohlrabi Mushroom Stir Fry and Bok Choy.
The meals are available individually for around $16 to $20 per meal, with or without a regular subscription delivery. Opting for a subscription plan lets you tweak the meals to your liking, with options for double protein, an extra side, etc. The meals are great options for lunch or dinner, but you can also access Pete’s Paleo breakfast options if you opt for the ‘New You’ bundle, which includes all 3 meals for the day.
Best Meal Delivery Service For Seniors
It can be a challenge for seniors to meet nutritional goals, and sometimes cooking for one or two is just not efficient or practical. While not exclusively a prepared meal service for seniors, Magic Kitchen does offer heat-and-eat options that are a great fit for the golden years. These options offer low-sodium meals that have been created by a dietitian with the nutritional needs of seniors in mind.
Don’t expect to see only basic and bland meals on the menu here. Options like Beef Wellington En Croûte and Chicken Ana Luisa add exciting variety. There are also breakfast meals available, along with some sweet selections for dessert. In addition to senior-specific meals, Magic Kitchen also offers diabetic-friendly options, renal diet options, portion-controlled meals, gluten-free options, and more. You can order a la carte, or choose to order complete meals with a main dish and one or two sides.
Best Meal Delivery Service For Athletes
Athletes have specific dietary and caloric needs that may not be addressed by traditional meal delivery services. If your post-workout meal leaves you looking down at an empty plate while your stomach grumbles for more dinner, then check out Trifecta.
This prepared meal service for athletes, developed by athletes, includes the following meal plans: Keto, Clean, Classic, Vegetarian, Vegan, and Paleo. All of the plans are low in calories and high in protein, averaging 350 to 500 calories and 20 to 40 grams of protein per dish. And each dish is made with organic ingredients, wild-caught fish, and grass-fed meats. Meal plans start at as little as $119 per week.
Are meal delivery services worth it?
Meal delivery services come with a lot of perks. Prepped meals offer pre-portioned servings that help you stay on track with your health and dietary goals and make it less tempting to order takeout on a whim (a decision that can benefit your health and your wallet). Having a refrigerator (or freezer) full of prepped meals can also reduce stress since you don’t have to figure out what you’re having for dinner. While the upfront cost of a meal delivery service may be more expensive than preparing the meal yourself, the time and forethought you save often proves invaluable.
Are meal delivery services cheaper than grocery shopping?
If you break down the price per meal, you may end up paying more for prepped meals delivered right to your door than you would if you cooked the same meals from scratch, but it’s important to consider all factors. Do you have a lot of food waste when you buy groceries? Do you end up eating out more often because you don’t feel like cooking? Do you eat larger portions when you make your own meals? These are all things that will affect your overall food costs.