Professional Reviews
DeliveryRank contains reviews that were written by our experts, who examine the products in accordance with their professional standards.
Affiliate Commissions
While DeliveryRank may receive commissions when a purchase is made using our links, this has no influence on the reviews' content or on the reviewed products.
Reviews Guidelines
All reviews published on DeliveryRank follow our strict reviewing standards, including ethical standards, that we adopted. Such standards require that each review will be based on an independent, honest and professional examination of the reviewer.
Written by: Jessica Bain on May 20th, 2021

12 Best Meal Delivery Services 2021: Easy, Healthy, Affordable

Finding the best meal delivery services that work for you can feel overwhelming. There are so many options, geared towards a different type of diet, lifestyle, and of course, budget. Each one claims to be the most delicious, but there are so many types it can be hard to know which is the right one for you. 

Our culinary experts have done extensive testing and put the top meal delivery services through their paces. We’ve chopped, mixed, and cooked our way through a wide range of food types and diets to compile a list of the top 12 options out there. 

Our detailed and honest reviews will help you choose the right meal delivery service. Whether you pride yourself on eating everything, you follow a more specific diet regime, or you’re just looking to drop a few pounds while continuing to eat well, there are plenty to choose from. 

Short on Time? Here Are the Best Meal Delivery Services of 2021

What to Look For in the Best Meal Delivery Services

Meal delivery services come in a wide variety of tastes, menus, and price points. So, where’s the best place to start in finding the best meal delivery service for your needs? Decide whether you want to get a meal kit that lets you prepare your own meals, or get pre-cooked meals that you simply heat and eat. 

Here’s what to look out for in both types of services:

The Best Meal Prep Services

It’s never been easier to create tasty and healthy meals from the comfort of your own home. Using a meal prep service takes all the hassle out of cooking – including thinking about what to cook, navigating the grocery store, wasted food, and leftovers. All of Home Chef’s meal plans do just that and more. If you opt for a meal kit, be sure it offers everything on this checklist: 

  • Fresh, quality ingredients – Forget wilted veggies or meat that’s seen its best, meal prep services pride themselves on sending you great quality ingredients that arrive at their best. 

  • Neatly packaged and labeled ingredients – There’s nothing worse than not being sure what a particular ingredient is, and what it’s for. Make sure your meal prep service keeps things simple and easy for you to use in each recipe, rather than throwing everything together and leaving you to sort it out.

  • Food prep that meets your preference and schedule – If you’re a dab hand in the kitchen, you’ll probably want to chop your own ingredients. If you’re more of a beginner, you’ll likely be glad for someone else to do the cutting, chopping, and measuring for you. 

  • Easy-to-follow recipes that make cooking fun and stress-free, AND help you improve your culinary skills – Using a meal prep service should take the pressure off having to prepare multiple meals. Every. Single. Day. Make sure the service you choose sends recipes that match your taste and skill levels.  

The Best Prepared Meal Delivery Services

Prepared meal delivery services provide meals that are pre-cooked and ready to heat up and enjoy. This is ideal if you want to take a completely hands-off approach to your meals, without compromising on quality. Freshly is a great example that delivers entirely gluten-free, chef-prepared, dietitian-approved meals that you can heat and eat, wherever you are. When you’re choosing a pre-cooked meal delivery service, here’s what you want to consider:

  • Heating method – Many pre-cooked meals can be eaten at room temperature (especially in the case of grain bowls) or heated up in the microwave. If you’re among the growing trend of customers who are phasing microwaves out of their kitchens, you’ll want to make sure that meals can be heated up in the oven or stovetop as well.

  • Convenient containers Meals that are shipped in oven-safe pans or microwavable containers make your meal prep that much faster and easier. 

  • Meal freshness – When it comes to pre-cooked meals, you usually have the choice of freshly cooked or frozen. This is something to pay attention to if you do have a preference with regard to meal freshness. 

  • Method of meal preparation – From chef-prepared meals to shelf-stable, just-add-water meal replacements, there are many different types of ready-to-eat meals out there. No matter what your health or diet goals are, you can find a meal plan that provides meals prepared the way you like them.

  • Fridge or freezer shelf-life – Meal delivery services usually indicate how long your meals will last in the fridge or freezer. While you might be planning on eating your meals that same week, something might come up that’ll make you skip a meal – or you might be ordering extra meals to save for a rainy day. In that case, you’ll want to know how long your meals will last. 

What to Look For in Both Prepared Home Delivery Meals and Meal Kits

  • Flexible plans with no commitment – You can do all the research you want, but until you actually taste the food, it’s hard to know how much you’ll love what arrives on your doorstep each week or each month. The best plans are those that are the most flexible. They make it easy to sign up, pause, skip, or cancel your orders. 

  • Lots of variety on the menu – No one wants to eat the same food over and over again. Make sure you look for meal delivery services that offer a large number of recipe options each week (or month depending on the particular company). Some services have a rotating menu that means you won’t see the same dishes appearing time and time again.  

  • Option for snacks or breakfast It’s great to have lunch or dinner taken care of, but there’s still breakfast to eat – not to mention some in-between-meal treats! The best options offer more than just one or two meals a day, something that’s extra important to consider if you’re relying on a meal delivery service to develop healthier eating habits. 

  • Inexpensive or free shipping – When considering which meal delivery service is best, don’t forget to take the shipping fees into account because they can soon add up. Look for a company that either offers free or low-cost shipping fees.  

With all that in mind, let’s dive into our list of the best meal kits and prepared meal plans today:

Our Best Meal Delivery Services Reviewed

1. Home Chef Best Meal Kit Overall

Home Chef’s Best Features

  • A Mix of Fresh and Prepared Options No need to commit to one or the other

  • User-Friendly Instructions The “before you cook” and “while you cook” sections are perfect for newer chefs

  • Highly Customizable Meals and Menu – Built-in “Customize It” feature to swap or upgrade ingredients

  • Free Shipping – Order $45 worth of meals of more and shipping is free

Home Chef in a Nutshell 

Home Chef has a great variety of customizable meals and delivery day options, making it one of the most flexible services available. The recipes rotate weekly and every meal comes with easy-to-follow instructions and extra advice for less experienced cooks (we tested this out ourselves and wrote about it in this Home Chef review ). As for specialty diets, Home Chef offers Calorie Conscious (<625 calories per serving) and Carb Conscious (<35 grams per serving) menus. 

While most meals take half an hour or less to prepare, you can find grill- and oven-ready options for even easier meal prep. The food arrives pre-assembled and all you need to do is grill or bake it. 

Home Chef ships its fresh produce in a recyclable, eco-friendly refrigerated box and currently delivers to 98% of the United States. Deliveries are scheduled Monday-Friday. 

2. Blue Apron Diverse, Delicious Meal Kits

Blue Apron’s Best Features

  • Recipes for any cooking style – Choose from “Easy Prep & Cleanup” dishes and more involved recipes

  • Diverse menu – Weekly new recipes inspired by international flavors

  • Options for healthier eating – WW-sponsored Wellness Plan is great for carb- and calorie-conscious diets

Blue Apron in a Nutshell 

One look at Blue Apron’s expansive menu—packed with an ever-changing array of delicious, creative recipes like Sesame-Sambal Turkey Lettuce Cups—and it’s easy to see why the company is one of the leading meal delivery services. 

This meal kit service provides a variety of menu options, including recipes optimized for quick, easy prep and premium menu options for when you want to splurge. You can get the full picture of how Blue Apron works in this expert Blue Apron review .

Blue Apron’s one weak point is a lack of specific diet options. The only menus besides the all-encompassing Signature plan are a Vegetarian menu and, new for 2021, a holistic Wellness menu sponsored by WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers). If you don’t have more specific dietary needs, however, Blue Apron’s delicious meal kits are hard to beat. 

Most plans are $9.99 per serving and include free shipping if you get at least three recipes per week. The Signature for 4 plan provides recipes that serve up to four people, and always include free shipping with menus as low as $7.49 per serving.

3. HelloFresh Meal Kits with Farm-Fresh Ingredients

HelloFresh Best Features

  • Quality Produce Get in-season fruits and vegetables, fresh from the farm

  • Variety of Meal Kits Choose from recipes like 20-minute meals, craft burgers, and one-pot wonders

  • Affordable Meals – Cheaper than many other alternatives

  • Family Friendly – Includes kid-friendly recipes

HelloFresh in a Nutshell 

HelloFresh offers up to 20 recipes each week on all of its diet plans, which include Meat & Veggies, Veggie, Family Friendly, and Calorie Smart. There’s also the ability to choose recipes based on the amount of prep time and total cook time. We discuss this more in our HelloFresh review .

The company provides a few options for filtering out food you can’t (or won’t) eat, but be aware it’s not the best choice for anyone following a vegan or paleo diet. HelloFresh currently delivers to all states in the continental U.S. Deliveries are available to everyone from Wednesday-Friday, with certain locations eligible for delivery from Saturday-Tuesday. Edit your order anytime before 11.59 pm PST five days before your next scheduled delivery. 

4. Ketogenic Diet-to-Go Weight Loss Meals for Keto

Ketogenic Diet-to-Go’s Best Features

  • Keto Plus Weight Loss – All meals have been designed and prepared to keep you in ketosis AND get maximum nutrients with minimum calories

  • Detailed Nutritional Information – Nutritional information is printed on each meal so you know exactly what you’re eating

  • Local Pickup Service – Meals arrive fresh and with no packaging to worry about (limited areas)

  • Free Diet Analysis – Expert advice about which meals would be best for your needs and weight-loss goals

Ketogenic Diet-to-Go in a Nutshell 

Powered by parent company Diet-to-Go, Ketogenic Diet-to-Go is a brand new service that combines the keto diet with the proprietary dietitian-designed, and health-organization-approved Diet-to-Go weight-loss system. 

Each portion-controlled meal contains an average of only 30 net carbs and in total, 1,300 calories a day. There are plenty of choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you can have your entire day taken care of without having to give what you’re eating a second thought. Meal examples include western omelet, spinach quiche, chicken fontina, veal parmesan, chipotle flat iron steak, and pork BBQ ribs. We go into more detail about the menu options and services in this dedicated Diet-to-Go review

Diet-to-Go delivers to the continental U.S. (via FedEx) and weekly shipping to all locations is $19.98, or if you live in one of its local delivery areas, you can pick up your meals for free.

5. Freshly Best Healthy Prepared Meals

Freshly’s Best Features

  • Precooked – Meals are ready in just three minutes

  • Certified Gluten-Free – Order anything you want on the menu, and rest assured that it’s safe for a gluten-free diet

  • Order 4, 6, 10, or 12 Meals a Week – Your weekly lunches and dinners are set

  • Ideal for Singles – Every meal is prepackaged and designed to feed one adult 

Freshly in a Nutshell 

Freshly offers 30+ fresh, prepared meals to choose from on a weekly basis. Receive 4-12 meals (you can change the number of meals each week) and then just heat for 3 minutes and eat. Keep in mind that the more meals you order, the less you pay per meal. 

Unlike many other meal delivery services, each Freshly meal is designed to be served up to one (hungry) individual. It even offers a few diet-specific menu options: there are 20+ meals under 500 calories, 8-10 meals with under 35 grams of carbs, and 8-10 dairy-free meals in each rotation. 

Freshly currently delivers to the continental U.S. only. Shipping and delivery are calculated at checkout and depend on your location and choice of meal plan. 

6. Veestro All-Vegan Pre-Cooked Meals

Veestro’s Best Features

  • Vegan Diet Made Easy – Delicious vegan meals are shipped to your door

  • Organic Ingredients – Over 96% of the ingredients used are organic

  • Kid-Friendly – Selection of meals aimed specifically at children 

  • Free Shipping – Available with auto-deliveries 

Veestro in a Nutshell 

Veestro is the perfect combination of healthy food with minimum effort. The meals are preservative-free and made from 96% organic ingredients. You can filter Veestro’s menu for gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, high-protein, low-calorie, and unusually for a meal delivery service even kosher meals. More on that in our dedicated Veestro review .

The pre-cooked meals arrive frozen and packed in dry ice and the packaging is fully recyclable. Once they arrive, Veestro recommends that meals are kept in the freezer to maintain freshness (keep meals for up to 8 weeks in the freezer or 3-5 days in the refrigerator). Meals can be heated up using the oven, stove, or microwave.

As for shipping, it’s free with auto-deliveries. Just note that, currently, Veestro does not deliver to Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico. It does, however, deliver to any address in the continental U.S.

7. Sunbasket Organic & Allergy-Friendly Meal Kits

Sunbasket’s Best Features

  • Meal Kit Options – Easy-to-follow recipes with tips, techniques, and how-to videos

  • Choice of Special Meals – Including vegan, paleo, and gluten-free 

  • Generous Portions – Among the largest servings on the market

  • Family Menu – Kid-friendly food for fussy eaters

Sunbasket in a Nutshell 

Sunbasket offers a ton of healthy choices with a range of plans including Paleo, Vegetarian, Lean & Clean, and Gluten-Free. If you require something a bit more specific, there are also plenty of Mediterranean, pescatarian, and carb-conscious choices (among others – we go through them all in our expert Sunbasket review ).

Sunbasket may offer low-calorie options (standard meals are typically 500-800 calories), but it doesn’t give up much in portion-size, taste, and creativity. Most of the meals take about 30 minutes to prepare and each one comes with an easy-to-follow, step-by-step recipe. Sunbasket delivers weekly 8am-9pm, Monday to Thursday, but doesn’t deliver across the whole country (i.e. if you live in some parts of New Mexico, Montana, or North Dakota, you might be out of luck).

8. Diet-to-Go Chef-Prepared Meals for Weight Loss & Managing Diabetes

Diet-to-Go’s Best Features

  • Ideal for Weight Loss – Dietitian-designed meals are packed with macronutrients and are low on calories 

  • 500+ Meal Options – Ensuring you’ll always find something to eat

  • Easy to Customize – The menu management feature allows you to swap out meals

Diet-to-Go in a Nutshell 

Diet-to-Go is perfect for anyone who wants to lose weight or manage diabetes but doesn’t have the time or energy to spend on all the meal prep. In fact, there’s no cooking at all! The hardest thing you have to do is choose between 500 meal options across four different plans (which we describe in our dedicated Diet-to-Go review ). There are breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices that include classic American, Mexican and Italian food, plus many more cuisines. 

Despite the wide variety of menu choices, you might not be able to find enough meals to make this service worthwhile if you follow a strict vegan diet. The meals arrive fully cooked and can be eaten either hot or cold. Each meal can be heated in a microwave, oven, or even in a bamboo steamer! The food is flash frozen and shipped in styrofoam coolers with delivery available to the entire continental U.S.

9. Fresh n' Lean Organic Prepared Meals for an Active Lifestyle

Fresh n’ Lean’s Best Features

  • Pre-cooked Meals – Refrigerated meals that heat up in minutes

  • Healthy Ingredients – Everything is organic, locally grown, plus gluten- and GMO-free

  • A La Carte Option – If you don’t want to commit to a particular plan, choose the A La Carte menu for one-time, standalone orders

  • Free Shipping – Delivery across the U.S.

Fresh n’ Lean in a Nutshell 

Fresh n' Lean is for anyone who wants to eat healthy and organic meals that are low-calorie, but doesn’t want to actually cook! There are five plans to choose from that cover pretty much every lifestyle choice: Keto, Protein+, Paleo, Plant-Based, and Low-Carb Plant-Based. 

After you select your plan, your menu is curated for you, so unless you’re ordering from the A La Carte menu, you won’t be able to pick your own meals. 

Each meal can be heated up in just 2-3 minutes. Fresh n ' Lean offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and “protein-pack” options. 

Orders are shipped each Friday to all 50 states in the U.S. and come in vacuum-sealed, insulated, and refrigerated boxes – packaging is entirely recyclable. The food is designed to be kept refrigerated, however, you can freeze meals for up to 8 weeks. 

10. Purple Carrot All-Vegan Meal Kit

Purple Carrot’s Best Features

  • 100% Plant-Based – No tweaking meals or swapping ingredients out for delicious vegan dishes

  • More Than Just Dinner – Breakfast, lunch, and snacks also available 

  • Four Plans – Mix and match meals from every plan 

  • Free Shipping – Shipping is included on every plan

Purple Carrot in a Nutshell 

Purple Carrot is one of the few completely vegan meal kit options available on the market. Choose either a two-serving plan with either three or four meals a week or a four-serving plan that includes two or three meals each week (which is the cheaper option). 

The choice of meals is limited to eight each week, though you can look ahead and pause your plan if you don’t see enough recipes to inspire you. You can also add on extras like breakfast and lunch, as described in our expert Purple Carrot review .

Meal prep takes about 30 minutes per meal (though some can take a bit longer) and Purple Carrot sends you a booklet for each of the recipes it offers that week. In terms of delivery, Purple Carrot is a little less flexible than some other companies, and delivery is determined by your closeness to its distribution center.

11. Green Chef Most Sustainable Meal Kit

Green Chef’s Best Features

  • Top-Quality Ingredients – All produce and ingredients you receive are fresh, organic (unless labeled otherwise) and responsibly-sourced

  • Eco-Friendly Packaging – All ingredients arrive in recyclable packaging

  • Ingredients Arrive Prepared – All you have to do is put them together and cook or bake

  • Specialized Plans Available – Includes keto and paleo meal plans

Green Chef in a Nutshell 

Green Chef is the first meal delivery service on the market to be certified organic. Its meal plans are heavily geared towards people who have specific dietary preferences including Keto, Paleo, Plant-Powered, and Flexible Choice. Learn more about plans and prices in our Green Chef review .

While you can’t mix plans, you can change things up as long as you edit your plan at least seven days before delivery. Most recipes are ready within about 30 minutes and come with detailed instructions, including timing and visual clues included in the recipe cards. 

Delivery is offered Monday-Saturday (location dependent) with boxes arriving between 8am-9pm. The insulated boxes keep the ingredients fresh until the end of the day and tracking is available as soon as the box ships. Currently, Green Chef cannot deliver to Hawaii, Alaska, and certain parts of Louisiana. Shipping costs $8.99 each week. 

12. EveryPlate Most Budget-Friendly Meal Kit

EveryPlate’s Best Features

  • Low-Cost Meal Kit – Meals cost just $4.99 a serving

  • Meals Change Weekly – Choose from 13 fresh weekly recipes

  • Easy-to-Follow Recipes – Meals are prepared and cooked in just six steps, and are ready in 30 minutes

  • Shipping Costs Extra – But it still works out cheaper than other meal kit services

EveryPlate in a Nutshell 

EveryPlate offers classic, homemade-style recipes at a price lower than most other meal delivery services. However, EveryPlate also has far fewer diet options than many other companies. You won’t find specialized menus for vegetarian, low-carb, vegan, keto, or paleo diets. 

Instead, what you get is the choice of 11 meals that change each week and are perfect for people who don’t have too many food requirements. We go into the meal options and prices more in our EveryPlate review .

Each box includes all the ingredients needed to create your chosen meals, along with recipe cards that give step-by-step instructions, so you can’t go too far wrong. The ingredients are all insulated to maintain freshness and the boxes and separators are completely recyclable. Depending on the area, EveryPlate delivers from Tuesday-Saturday, with delivery trackable as soon as each order is shipped out.

Best Meal Delivery Services: Comparison Table


Additional Menu Options

Starting Price Per Serving

Meal Type

Order Frequency


Shipping Cost

Home Chef


Low-carb, vegetarian


Meal kits, including oven- and grill-ready


2-6 meals with 2-6 servings

From $6.99

Blue Apron


Vegetarian, “Wellness”


Meal kits


2-4 meals with 2 or 4 servings

$7.99 or free with larger orders



Vegetarian, low-calorie, family-friendly


Meal kits


2-4 meals with 2 or 4 servings


Ketogenic Diet-to-Go

Keto, weight loss



Prepared meals


2-3 single-serving meals per day for 5 or 7 days

From $9.99 


Healthy, gluten-free

Soy-free, dairy-free


Prepared meals


4-12 single-serving meals

From $3.99


Organic, vegan

Weight loss, allergen-free, kosher


Prepared meals

Weekly, biweekly, monthly

10-30 single-serving meals

Free with auto-deliveries



Paleo, keto, vegan, & more


Prepared meals & meal kits 


2-4 meals with 2 or 4 servings

From $7.99


Weight loss, diabetic


Prepared meals


2-3 single-serving meals per 5 or 7 days

From $9.99

Fresh n’Lean

Organic, gluten-free

Vegan, keto, paleo, low-carb vegan 


Prepared meals


1-3 single serving meals per 5 or 7 days


Purple Carrot


Gluten-free, high protein


Meal kits


3-4 meals with 2 servings; 2-3 meals with 4 servings 


Green Chef


Keto, vegan, paleo


Meal kits

Weekly, biweekly, monthly

3-4 meals with 2 or 4 servings






Meal kits


3-5 meals with 2 or 4 servings


How to Choose the Best Meal Delivery Service for Your Needs

There’s no such thing as a “one-size fits all” meal delivery service. The best meal delivery service for your needs depends on a whole range of factors, like budget or diet. Thanks to the many choices available on the market, though, you’re likely to find a meal delivery service that suits your needs. 

Best Healthy Meal Delivery Service

Fact: Eating healthily can be easy and affordable, you just have to know where to look. With companies like Home Chef , you get access to fun recipes, clear cooking instructions, and all the ingredients you’ll need to make your meals. Who knows, you might even dabble in some healthy meals that you’ve never had the courage to prepare on your own before. 

Best Ready-to-Eat Meal Delivery Service

Everyone has those days when they just don’t feel like cooking, but you still want to eat something delicious, wholesome, and nutritious. For days like that, Freshly is a great option. Ready-to-eat in just three minutes, the meals are packed with good-for-you ingredients. They’re also gluten- and peanut-free and don’t contain any refined sugars.

Best Fresh Meal Delivery Service

We all want to eat better, but then life often gets in the way. Fresh meal delivery services such as HelloFresh make it easy to cook straightforward, delicious meals you can be proud of. They take the hassle out of the meal prep and leave you with a really fun experience – you can create everything from kid-approved dishes to gourmet masterpieces.

Best Keto Meal Delivery Service

No one said that following a keto diet was easy. Balancing your diet so you stay in a state of ketosis can take serious thinking and planning. Thankfully, there are companies such as Ketogenic Diet-to-Go that take the hard work out of the equation, and help you reach your health and weight-loss goals. All you need to do is heat, eat, and enjoy. 

Best Vegan Meal Delivery Service

Fact: It used to be pretty hard to find vegan-friendly meal delivery services. These days, though, there are plenty of options available with companies like Veestro . So, throw your perceptions of pre-cooked food out and enjoy organic, customizable meals that can be heated up in just five minutes. And want to know the best part? Absolutely no meal prep, no cooking, and no cleanup!

Best Gluten-Free Meal Delivery Service

Cutting out gluten can seem pretty restrictive and it can be hard to know how to replace it in your cooking. With a service like Fresh n’Lean that’s not a problem. Every chef-prepared meal is gluten-free and can help you manage symptoms sometimes caused by allergies or intolerances. Meals arrive prepared, pre-cooked, and are ready-to-eat in just five minutes.

Best Meal Delivery Service For One Person

If you’re a single person living alone and you want to use a meal kit service, you’re going to have to choose a two-person plan and handle two-portion meals. Since that’s the case, EveryPlate is a great place to start given how affordable it is. But don’t think you’re giving anything up for value – there’s a great selection of meals, easy-to-follow recipes, and high-quality ingredients. It just won’t break the bank.

Best Gourmet Meal Delivery Service

One of the best reasons to use a meal delivery service is so that you can feel like a kitchen pro (even if you’re not). At the fancier end of things, Sunbasket lets you create seasonal, gourmet meals that wouldn’t sound out of place on a restaurant menu. And Sunbasket is also known for its generous portion sizes too, so you really can’t go far wrong.

Best Home Meal Delivery For Weight Loss  

If you’ve tried diets before but failed to stick with them because you always feel hungry, that’s definitely not the case with Nutrisystem . In fact, given the fact you get five to six prepared meals and snacks a day, you’ll probably be wondering how on earth you'll lose weight. With healthier versions of your favorite foods, you’ll be able to eat and still keep off the pounds.

Best Organic Meal Delivery Service

Fun fact: Organic eating has gone from hippie to mainstream and the number of organic meal delivery services, including Green Chef , shows just how popular they are. All of Green Chef’s ingredients and produce are organic and responsibly sourced and there’s a range of specialized plans available because eating organic shouldn’t come at the expense of everything else.

Best Diabetic Meal Delivery Service

Whether you have type 2 diabetes or are pre-diabetic, the best thing you can do is keep your diet in check. With services like the Balance-Diabetes meal plan from Diet-to-Go , it’s easier than ever. Each meal is ready in minutes and contains under 45g of carbs and more than 15g of protein so you can keep your blood sugar levels under control with ease.

How Meal Delivery Services Work

Despite all the differences between them (recipe types, plans, fresh, frozen, or meal kits) pretty much all meal delivery services work the same way. Every week, two weeks, or month, you’ll get a large box delivered to your home with the meal kits or meals you’ve ordered. That means all the meal planning and grocery shopping is done for you – and often the cleanup is easily taken care of, as well. While that’s the basic premise of meal delivery services, let’s be clear on one thing: food delivery vs meal delivery.

The Difference Between Food & Meal Delivery Services

Food delivery services make ordering from your favorite takeout place or restaurant a cinch. However, they’re not necessarily geared towards developing healthier habits. That’s where meal delivery services come in. It’s not just about answering that all-too-stressful question, “what’s for dinner tonight?” It’s about getting your meals covered on a regular basis, and being proactive about sticking to your diet or health goals.  

Meal delivery services provide you with a clear list of the contents of your meals, including nutritional facts and information. So, while you might not want to know what’s in your takeout food, you’ll be proud to see everything from the ingredients lists, to where those ingredients were sourced from, with your meals. Meal delivery services offer you the convenience of getting food shipped to your door, with a subscription-based model to keep you on track throughout your week, with different diet plans to suit your needs. 

Meal Kits vs Prepared Meals: Which is Right For You?

This dilemma boils down to a single question – how much time do you want to spend on your meals? 

If you have time to cook (even as little as 15 minutes in some cases), and getting a box of recipe cards and little packages of ingredients excites you, then meal kits are the way to go. Companies like Home Chef even provide meal kits for grill-ready meals and salads, to really take the guesswork out of meal prep, while letting you switch up your weekly routine as much as you like.

On the other hand, if you’re short on time, or you’re looking for grab-and-go solutions that you can take with you to work or anywhere else that you go, prepared meals are the best choice. After all, having a hectic schedule doesn’t mean eating badly. Ketogenic Diet-to-Go is a great example of healthy, diet food for a busy lifestyle. 

Meal Plans Explained

Whether you’re looking for generally healthy meals, or you follow a specific diet, you can find meal plans that are dedicated to your dietary needs. 

Common diet-oriented plans include vegetarian, low calorie, and low carbohydrate. Plans geared specifically towards health and weight loss include paleo, keto, vegan, and there are even diets designed to get blood sugar levels under control. Many of the health-oriented companies send enough food so that you’re only eating its meals all day every day, including snacks. 

Some companies allow you to choose a diet option simply as a menu filter and base their plans on the number of meals you want to actually receive. Freshly , for example, lets you order up to 12, single-serving meals a week from its different dedicated menus.

Meal Plan Prices

It’s hard to give definitive information about the price of meal delivery services, but individual meals can be as low as $4.99, like over at EveryPlate , and as much as a dish at your favorite restaurant. An example of a typical order from Home Chef would be $53.94 plus shipping for three meals a week for two people. HelloFresh charges a similar rate for your first couple of orders, then the cost is around $71.94 for three meals a week with two servings each.

As a general rule of thumb, though, the more specialized the meals, the more costly they will be. 

There is also a lot of variation in how companies charge their customers. Some have a cost per meal, others get cheaper the more you order. Remember, though, that you are saving a huge amount of time in thinking, planning, and shopping for ingredients. You’re also saving money by only cooking exactly what you need, without finding leftovers in your fridge days or weeks later that just get tossed in the trash.  

Meal Plan Delivery

In the same way that no two meal delivery services offer the same meals, there are also huge variations in how the food gets to you. Part of choosing the right meal delivery service is making sure the delivery schedule fits in with your particular needs. 

Some services let you pick your delivery day, so if you’re someone who likes to cook for the week ahead on the weekend, look for one that will deliver on the weekend or on a Friday. Others have pre-set days depending on your location and don’t give you the option of choosing a particular day. Some of this is also dependent on where you’re located, with far-flung locations having less choice about delivery. 

Companies also take a different approach to charging for shipping and delivery. Some offer free delivery as standard, others give free delivery with orders over a certain value, and others add on delivery charges to every order, no matter how much of a dedicated customer you may be. 

When it comes to tracking your delivery, some companies maintain radio silence, and the parcel arrives when it arrives. Others allow you to track delivery through an app.

No matter how and when the parcel is shipped, the most important thing is that the food arrives, it’s as fresh as possible. This means you’ll probably find a lot of plastic when you open up your delivery. Each element of the meal is packaged in a separate bag or tub with food kept cool during shipping with ice packs or insulating material. While some companies work hard to ensure their packaging is recyclable, not every service prioritizes the environment. If this is an important factor to you, check out the environmental approach of each company before you sign up.

How to Pause, Skip, or Cancel Your Orders

Signing up for a meal delivery service is easy and if you decide a particular company isn’t for you or you need to take a break, then pausing, skipping, or canceling your orders is pretty simple as well. Most companies allow you to make changes from their website. Others require you to send an email or call the customer service team. 

While it’s easy to edit your order, generally speaking, you can’t wait until the last minute to do so. Most companies require that you update your account at least five days in advance so that you are not charged for an order you don’t want to receive. Just pay attention to the fine print and all will be well.

When Is a Meal Plan Not Right for You?

Although meal delivery services seem like they’re a great solution for everyone (especially busy people), the truth is not every plan will suit everyone – and there are some people who need to think a bit harder before they sign up for anything.

Unless you find a company that explicitly says they avoid all and any cross-contamination, if you suffer from allergies, especially something like severe celiac disease, you should steer clear. The same is true for medical conditions such as Crohn's disease or diabetes. Diabetic Diet-to-Go , for example, is one of the few services out there that is completely safe for prediabetics and type 2 diabetics. 

If you suffer from any medical conditions, you should always consult with your healthcare professional before signing up, just to make sure you aren’t unintentionally putting yourself in harm’s way. 

Setting medical issues aside, there are other elements that might not meet your needs. A particular menu may lack the variety you are after or the delivery days may not align with your schedule (for example, you might love to cook and prepare food on the weekend, but a company can only deliver to your location on a Tuesday).


Which meal delivery services provide the best value for money?

Although meal delivery services are definitely not cheap, there are still plenty of ways they provide great value for money. Top of the list is Home Chef , which is not only affordable but it also allows you to customize your meals and menus based on your personal preferences – and far more so than most other companies. Plus, there’s a really great selection of weekly choices that keep things fresh and tempting. You also get a choice of meals you can prep yourself or oven-ready food for when you just don’t want to cook. 

What’s the cheapest meal delivery service?

EveryPlate calls itself “America’s best value meal kit”, and it really is one of the cheapest options on the market. Given the price, EveryPlate does not offer as many choices as some of the more expensive options and is less suitable for anyone with a restricted or specialized diet. 

If you’re looking for greater customization and choices, try Home Chef . It’s more expensive than EveryPlate but offers a great deal more in terms of choice and alternatives while still being at the affordable end of the meal delivery spectrum.

What’s the healthiest meal delivery service?

One of the things that a meal delivery service sells itself on is the healthiness of its food. Using one of these services – whether you opt for a meal kit or a prepared meal – makes it easy to keep portion size under control. 

Home Chef is a great option for anyone who wants to eat healthily without following a strict diet. The company uses unprocessed and organic ingredients wherever possible for an added health boost. Green Chef has an all-organic approach and is geared towards people who are following a stricter or more specialized diet plan. Finally, Diet-to-Go is the healthiest option for anyone looking to lose weight without compromising on delicious food. 

What’s the best vegan meal delivery service?

It can be hard for vegans to find a meal delivery service that offers meat- and dairy-free dishes. Luckily, more and more companies are offering vegan plans, and more all-vegan meal delivery services are cropping up, as well.

Green Chef is not an all-vegan service, but it does have an organic plant-powered menu that anyone wanting to eat a purely plant-based diet should check out. For anyone who likes to cook, but doesn’t want their food to be prepared in the same kitchen as meat, poultry, or cheese, there’s Purple Carrot , which is an all-vegan meal kit delivery service. 

Finally, Veestro’s all-vegan prepared meals are the perfect option for anyone who loves to eat vegan food but doesn’t want to spend any time in the kitchen.

What’s the best meal delivery service for weight loss?

People use meal delivery services for all sorts of reasons (they don’t have time to worry about food, they don’t like to cook or they’re just no good in the kitchen). One of the best reasons to check out one of these services is if you’re looking to lose weight. They offer delicious food and controlled portion sizes that make it easier to manage your diet and lose weight than if you cook for yourself. 

Some companies are experts in helping people lose weight, like Diet-to-Go (the clue’s in the name!). It even offers dedicated plans for diabetes and keto diets. All Diet-to-Go meals arrive ready to heat and eat leaving you to enjoy good, healthy food without the effort. 

Which meal delivery service is best for vegetarians?

It’s pretty easy to make substitutions and alterations to many of the meal delivery services (that’s the beauty of them). However, if you’re looking for a dedicated vegetarian menu and don’t want to be bothered with changing things up, Home Chef has a vegetarian menu that is perfect for anyone who doesn’t eat meat or wants to introduce more meat-free meals into their diet.

Which meal delivery service is best for low carb?

Following a low-carb diet can be hard to do on your own, that’s why so many people turn to meal delivery services to take the hassle out of eating healthier. Home Chef has a really good carb-conscious menu that keeps the carbs low without compromising on the taste. 

For anyone who is going all out on a low-carb diet and has turned to a keto lifestyle (low-carb, moderate protein, higher-fat diet), Green Chef has a dedicated keto plan that takes the hard work out of following this particular diet. There’s also the Ketogenic Diet-to-Go plan , which is strictly keto and designed for weight loss. 

Finally, if you just want to cut back on carbs but aren’t exploring an all-out keto diet, Purple Carrot has a really good selection of delicious low-carb meal kits that are specifically designed for vegans. 

How many Americans use meal kit delivery services?

Given the convenience and variety of meal kit delivery services, it’s no surprise that they are becoming increasingly popular. Home Chef , which has been in operation since 2013, has over 3 million monthly subscribers. HelloFresh , which was founded in Germany in 2011, claims to be “the largest meal kit in America”. As of 2020, it has over 4 million active subscribers.

About The Author

Jessica Bain

Staff Writer & Meal Kit Expert, Delivery Rank

Jessica is an avid foodie and literature junkie. Having written hundreds - if not thousands - of blog posts, she’s been focusing on writing in the food industry for years now. It’s thanks to her work that Jessica has sampled the top meal and food delivery services in the country. In her spare time, Jessica can be found doing yoga or cozying up to her pug, Timmy. Check out Delivery Rank’s other blogs and reviews to see more of Jessica’s work!

Jessica is an avid foodie and literature junkie. Having written hundreds - if not thousands - of blog posts, she’s been focusing on writing in the food industry for years now. It’s thanks to her work that Jessica has sampled the top meal and food delivery services in the country. In her spare time, Jessica can be found doing yoga or cozying up to her pug, Timmy. Check out Delivery Rank’s other blogs and reviews to see more of Jessica’s work!
We bring you the facts about the top meal delivery services today based on your diet, city, and lifestyle. From ordering meals, to canceling subscriptions, we’ve got you covered.
Follow Us
Ⓒ 2020
All Rights Reserved