The abundance of meal delivery services can be overwhelming. In today's fast-paced world, there's a dizzying array of options to pick from. Choosing 1 that perfectly matches your budget, cooking skill level, and dietary needs is vital. Not only does it affect your health, but the right service can also make your busy student life more manageable.
I’ve reviewed dozens of meal delivery services to help you decide. My in-depth analysis includes features like price point, flexibility of subscriptions, variety in meal offerings, user-friendly services, and inclusivity of dietary preferences. I've confidently shortlisted the 10 best meal delivery services tailored for students.
Factor stands out as the top recommendation for students. Factor's meals are designed to be microwave-ready, ensuring minimal effort on your part. They always arrive fresh and are crafted to cater to a diverse array of dietary requirements. Keep reading to find a meal delivery service that aligns seamlessly with your needs and lifestyle.
Factor – Best overall meal delivery for students
Green Chef – Best for eco-conscious student meals
HelloFresh – Best for varied weekly menu options
Home Chef – Best for customization of dishes
Fresh and Easy – Best for time-saving options
Focuses on organic, nutrient-rich ingredients
35+ recipes on the menu each week
Dietary options include vegan, keto, and high-protein
Current deal: Get 50% OFF your 1st box + 20% OFF the next 4 boxes!
Factor offers fully-prepared microwavable meals that are ready to enjoy in minutes. For students rushing between classes or settling down for a late-night study session, this convenience is invaluable. Instead of turning to unhealthy fast food or skipping meals, you can have a balanced meal without the usual prep or cleanup.
Its meals arrive fresh, requiring storage in the fridge. That means no fussing about with freezer space, a precious commodity in shared student housing or dorms. Plus, the fresh ingredients make meals taste homemade, offering comfort away from home. I like the look of the Top Rated Grilled Chicken Parmesan and the Baja Salmon.
High-quality ingredients without preservatives are a staple at Factor. It understands that students need nourishment for their brain and body. Consuming clean and healthy meals not only fuels those long study hours but also supports overall well-being during the stressful college years.
For those who work out or are active, Factor offers a high-protein plan tailored for muscle repair and growth. Whether you're hitting the campus gym or part of a sports team, the right protein intake aids recovery and performance.
Factor also boasts a wide range of dietary options. At least 3 veggie meals are available every week. Whether you're a dedicated vegetarian or someone looking to reduce meat intake for health or environmental reasons, it provides diverse choices like the Peanut Buddha Bowl (pictured). Read more about the menu offerings in our full review.
Beyond the main meals, it has a range of add-ons. These include juices, smoothies, and breakfast options. Morning lectures can be a drag, but starting the day with a nutritious breakfast from Factor can set you on the right path.
Every Factor customer can benefit from a free 20-minute nutrition consultation. This feature is a boon for students, whether you're trying to manage weight, bulk up, or simply adopt healthier eating habits. Gaining insights from a professional can be a game-changer in your nutritional journey.
Affordability is crucial for students. Factor’s prices start at just $6.19 per serving, but you do need to order the maximum number of meals to get that price. Sharing meals with roommates or friends makes this a more cost-effective solution for student life. You can order between 6 and 18 meals per week.
Offers organic, GMO-free ingredients
45+ recipes on the menu each week
Dietary options include keto, plant-based, and gluten-free
Current deal: Get $250 off + free shipping
Green Chef delivers eco-conscious meals that are certified organic. With the rising awareness and concern for our planet among students, choosing a meal delivery service that aligns with these values is empowering. It lets you eat well while knowing you're supporting sustainable practices.
Its meals range in prep time from as little as 10 minutes to a more involved 50 minutes. For students, this flexibility is a gem. Try the 10 minute Thai-Spiced Chicken Salad if you're looking for a quick bite between lectures or the Southwest Pork Tenderloin for a therapeutic cooking session on a relaxed evening.
It offers 8 distinct plans, including Quick & Easy, Protein Packed, and Delicious Discoveries, so there's bound to be a fit for every student's preference. If you're someone who's always on the go or a food explorer wanting to try new flavors, it accommodates your needs.
Every dish is chef-curated, ensuring that the recipes are both delicious and easy to follow. It's like having a culinary mentor guide you, making the cooking process seamless. This is really helpful if you've never ventured into the world of cooking before college.
Pre-prepped and pre-measured ingredients come in every Green Chef box. It takes out the guesswork and reduces waste – definitely a bonus for students who might not have a full spice rack or want to buy large quantities of an ingredient for just 1 recipe. Check out the full review for more about the cooking experience with Green Chef.
It offers a 20-minute nutrition coaching session. While college life can be a whirlwind of activities and academics, prioritizing health is paramount. This session can guide you on how to make balanced meal choices amidst the college chaos.
You can choose between 3 and 4 meals each week for either 2, 4, or 6 people. Whether you're dining solo, with a roommate, or hosting a small study group, Green Chef can cater to your needs without any hassle.
Finally, prices start at $9.99 per serving, and the freedom to mix and match recipes between plans offers lots of variety. Being on a student budget doesn't mean compromising on quality, taste, or your eco-principles with Green Chef.
Delivers globally-inspired gourmet dishes
30+ recipes on the menu each week
Dietary options include vegetarian, pescatarian, low-calorie
Current discount: 18 free meals + first box ships free + 3 surprise gifts
There’s lots of variety in HelloFresh's offerings. For students looking to explore different cuisines without leaving their dorm room or apartment, it delivers. From Thai stir-fries to classic American comfort food, it provides a global culinary tour.
Each box comes with straightforward recipe cards. As someone who has tried cooking from online recipes, I can't emphasize enough the convenience of having physical cards to refer to. Paired with step-by-step images, even the most novice student chef can whip up impressive meals. You’ll find that most recipes are rated as easy or medium.
It offers 6 distinct menu plans, but you’re free to choose from the entire menu. Instead of being bound by a particular plan, you can mix and match. This flexibility ensures you never feel boxed into a meal routine.
The Market section is brimming with variety. From quick snacks to pantry essentials, the Market caters to a student's every culinary need. It's like having a mini grocery store at your fingertips, and that saves on trips to the store, too.
When it came to customer service, our expert reviewer gave it high marks. In the chaotic world of a student, mishaps can happen – maybe you forgot to customize your order or need to pause for a week. During such times, this responsive customer service can be a lifesaver.
Their "Better than takeout" dishes truly stand out. Options here include the Coconut Curry Chicken, Beef and Zucchini Bibimbap. There are even Ready to Heat options like the Spicy Creole Stew and the Grilled Pork Chops. When study sessions make you crave comfort food, these dishes are a healthier, tastier alternative to typical fast food.
One thing to note is that you can’t order single servings. While it's great to have leftovers for the next day, some students might prefer a one-and-done meal. If you're in that group, Factor might be a better fit with its single-serving options.
Pricing is competitive, starting at $3.32 per serving. Given the quality and diversity of meals, I find the price reasonable. You can order 2 to 6 meals per week with 2 or 4 servings per dish. By sharing meals or storing leftovers, students can stretch their budgets and still enjoy gourmet dishes.
Allows for protein swaps and upgrades
30+ recipes on the menu each week
Dietary options include: vegetarian, carb-conscious, low-calorie
Customizing proteins is a standout feature of Home Chef. Many students, including vegetarians, pescatarians, or those simply looking for varied meals, will find this feature invaluable. With it, you're in control, ensuring each meal fits your preferences.
There are plenty of low-prep options on the Home Chef menu. Given how busy a student's schedule can be, having dishes that require minimal preparation is a godsend. On nights when studying runs late, quick-fix meals like the Red Pepper-Crusted Chicken Cutlet come to the rescue.
I like that you can view the menu 6 weeks ahead. This feature lets you plan. If you know you have a particularly busy week or an upcoming exam, you can tailor your orders accordingly, ensuring stress-free meals.
Check out our full review to find out what my colleague thought of the meals. Recipe cards are clear and detailed so that even a beginner in the kitchen can follow them and produce tasty results. My colleague found the instructions clear and the final dishes satisfying.
Home Chef has now introduced prepared lunch options. These are perfect for between classes or a quick lunch break during a study session. These meals aren’t just quick, but also hearty, ensuring you're reenergized for the day's challenges. Try the Garlic Sesame Chicken Stir Fry or the Penne Bolognese with Roasted Zucchini and Onions.
The additional items expand the meal's horizon. Beyond dinners, Home Chef offers breakfasts, snacks, soups, and even desserts. It's a comprehensive service that ensures you're catered for from morning until night. You can also take advantage of some money-saving bundles like the Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup and Garlic Bread for an affordable lunch.
It caters to chefs of varying skill levels. Whether you're a novice looking to learn or an intermediate chef aiming to refine your skills, Home Chef's recipes cater to all. Over time, you'll see a notable improvement in your culinary abilities.
The cost is quite competitive, starting at $7.99 per serving. For the customization, quality, and variety offered, I believe the pricing provides good value. Students can enjoy gourmet-like meals without breaking the bank. You can order up to 6 meals per week with meals serving 2 to 6 people, so you could feed your entire dorm from a Home Chef order.
Prepped ingredients reduce cook time
30+ recipes on the menu each week
Dietary options include keto, low-calorie, soy-free
Quick cook meals are Fresh and Easy's forte. As a student, time is often in short supply. Balancing academic tasks, social life, and self-care can be challenging. It steps in to relieve some of that pressure, ensuring you get nutritious, quick meals.
Fresh and Easy is Home Chef's quick-cook branch. For those already familiar with Home Chef, this means accessing those favorite, easy-to-cook recipes you love. Essentially, Fresh and Easy champions the most convenient selections from Home Chef's vast menu.
Customization remains a strong point with Fresh and Easy. Just as with the main Home Chef offerings, you can easily modify dishes. Whether you’re keen on changing the protein or making other tweaks, it's set up to accommodate your preferences seamlessly. Try the Japanese-Style Steak Tacos with chicken, shrimp, or Impossible burger instead.
Express meal kits are ready in a mere 15 minutes. Thanks to pre-chopped and prepped ingredients, the cooking process is streamlined. Imagine whipping up a gourmet meal like Turkey Tetrazzini Marsala between study sessions or before a class.
The menu is neatly categorized by meal kit type. Whether you're in the mood for a Fast & Fresh prepared meal or something grill-ready, navigating the options is straightforward. You pick based on what you’re in the mood for or how much time you have.
My colleague highlights several standout recipes in our full Fresh and Easy review. They were praised for their taste and how easy they were to prepare. Dive into our comprehensive review to get a figurative taste of what’s on offer.
For niche diet options, it does fall a bit short. If you have specific dietary needs or preferences, you might find the offerings limited. In such cases, I'd suggest giving Factor a try, as it caters to a broader dietary spectrum.
The pricing is competitive, starting at $7.99 per serving. The minimum order is 2 meals for 2 people per week. For the quality and convenience, I believe it offers solid value for students, especially if you aren’t confident in the kitchen.
Prioritizes filling, energy-boosting meals
25+ recipes on the menu each week
Dietary options include meat, veggie, calorie-smart
EveryPlate operates as the affordable arm of the HelloFresh family. When you're on a tight budget, this meal delivery service makes it possible to enjoy nutritious and tasty meals without breaking the bank.
The menu options may be more limited than Dinnerly's, but they won't overwhelm you with choices. As a student with limited time and resources, it's great to have a straightforward selection of meals that fit your budget and taste preferences. You could try the Creamy Dijon Chicken, or the BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes.
The recipes are geared toward beginner chefs, with clear instructions. Our reviewer found the recipes quite clear to follow, although they pointed out that the steps are more involved than other services. This may mean more time in the kitchen, but the results are worth it.
There are 5 plans available, including Veggie, Quick & Easy, and “Nutrish & Delish”. The last option features meals under 650 calories per serving, which is perfect for students looking to eat healthier without sacrificing taste.
Keep an eye out for updated offers for students, as discounts can be significant. Currently, you can get 75% off your first box and enjoy further savings on future orders. As a student, any opportunity to save is welcome.
Please note that ingredients aren't separated by recipe, so this requires some organization. This minor inconvenience shouldn't deter you from enjoying the value that EveryPlate offers.
EveryPlate may not be the best for specialist diets, and I would recommend Green Chef if budget isn't a primary concern. If you're seeking a wider range of diet-specific options and your budget can stretch, Green Chef offers a diverse menu tailored to different dietary preferences.
Prices start at $1.49 per serving, and the minimum order is 3 meals for 2 people per week. This is an incredible deal for students who want cost-effective, hearty meals delivered straight to their doorsteps.
Incorporates gourmet twists in traditional recipes
19+ recipes on the menu each week
Dietary options include vegetarian, diabetes-friendly, Mediterranean
Blue Apron provides a broad range of cuisines to expand your palate. As you navigate through college life, trying different cuisines can be an exciting break from routine. Whether you're in the mood for Asian flavors, Mediterranean delights, or classic American dishes, Blue Apron has it all, ensuring you never run out of culinary adventures.
There's a special offer for new subscribers, perfect for budget-conscious students. If you’re enrolling for the first time, you can benefit from the special student discounts and promotional prices. With textbooks, tuition, and other college expenses, saving on meals can be a welcome relief.
Meals come in options of 2 or 4 servings, making sharing easy. If you're in a dorm or shared apartment, these servings are ideal. Prepare a meal, share it with a roommate, or save some for later. It's a flexible way to dine.
Quality is paramount with seasonally sourced ingredients. Every dish you prepare isn’t just a meal but an experience. The ingredients are fresh, ensuring every bite you take is filled with flavor and nutrients. I like the look of the Crispy Skin Salmon and Caper Mayo and the Three Cheese Lasagna.
On average, meals take 25 to 30 minutes, though some might require more time. My colleague tried cooking with Blue Apron and found that while most recipes are quick, a few demand more time – perfect for when you want to indulge in a cooking session.
It's more than just food; Blue Apron is carbon neutral and eco-friendly. For students concerned about sustainability, this is a significant aspect. It’s not only working on delivering quality meals but also ensuring the packaging is moving toward being fully recyclable.
While there are some extras available, the add-ons are a bit limited compared to others. If you're looking to supplement your order, there are some prepared meals available. However, if a plethora of extras is what you're after, services like HelloFresh might be more up your alley.
Pricing begins at $5.74 per serving for larger orders, but smaller ones won't break the bank. Opting for 5 meals for 4 people per week gives you the best value, but even if you scale down, it remains affordable. Budgeting is a part of student life, and Blue Apron respects that.
Crafted by nutritionists for weight management
150+ recipes on rotation
Dietary options include diabetic, heart-healthy, and vegan
BistroMD is a solid choice to align with your health goals. As college life gets busier, it's essential to maintain a balanced diet. With it, you're equipped with meals that prioritize nutrition and support your weight loss, so you don’t turn to unhealthy takeout options.
It offers a worthy investment against weight-gain worries. College cafeterias and instant noodles might be tempting, but they often lead to unwanted weight gain. With BistroMD, you receive nutrient-packed meals that support a fit lifestyle. In fact, my colleague was amazed how filling the meals were.
Meals arrive frozen, minimizing kitchen chaos. For those of you who dread the cleanup after cooking, this is a lifesaver. Simply heat, eat, and enjoy without the usual mess. Some tasty-looking dishes include the Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf with Yuca Fries (pictured), the Jerk Spiced Chicken with Mango Chutney, and the fancy Grilled Salmon with Champagne Sauce.
There's flexibility with the 5- or 7-day meal plans. Depending on your weekly schedule, you can opt for meals that leave the weekends free or choose a single free night with the 7-day option. This provides a perfect balance between structured eating and culinary adventures.
Diverse dietary needs are covered. It has diabetic, vegan, and keto plans. College is diverse, and so are dietary needs. Whether you're managing a health condition or following a specific diet, BistroMD has options to suit you.
Dietitians curate the meals, ensuring your college weight-loss objectives aren’t sidelined. You won’t be left guessing if a meal aligns with your health goals. Knowing that professionals design each dish gives you peace of mind as you navigate academic challenges.
You'll find ample support to remain committed to your weight loss journey. It's not just about the meals. If you need advice or motivation, BistroMD's support system is there to assist, ensuring you remain on the path to a healthier you.
Prices begin at $8.24 per serving. For those watching their pennies, consider Factor for affordable, nutritious options. If you choose to order from BistroMD, you can order a minimum of 10 meals (2 meals a day for 5 days) and a maximum of 21 meals (3 meals a day for 7 days).
100% plant-based, high-protein dishes
16+ recipes on the menu each week
Dietary options include high-protein, gluten-free, soy-free
Purple Carrot boasts a wholly vegan menu, celebrating plant-based delights. As you navigate through the hustle of college, it’s important to make sure that your meals remain environmentally conscious and animal-friendly.
It offers prepared meals, meal kits, Less-Prep options, and you can mix-and-match between them. This variety ensures that even in the midst of hectic study sessions or late-night cramming, you have meal solutions that fit your timeframe.
Every recipe clearly lists allergens, and prepared meals detail every ingredient. This transparency is invaluable for those of you with allergies or particular dietary preferences. This way you always know what you're consuming.
With dinner, lunch, and breakfast options, it covers every mealtime. You can grab a quick breakfast like Golden Chia Pudding before class or settle down for dinner with your dorm mates. Meal kit options include Crispy Cauliflower and BBQ Corn Flatbreads. If you’re pushed for time, prepared options include a classic Mac N’ Cheese and Indian Butter Tofu.
The Plantry options are a treat. They cost extra but help expand your choices. You can find vegan cheeses, snacks, proteins, and desserts like the Vanilla Glazed Donuts. For those moments when you're craving a snack while studying or want to treat yourself after a test, the Plantry additions are perfect.
Our reviewer highlighted its easy-to-prepare and flavorsome recipes. The included booklet not only guides you step-by-step but also serves as a handy reference for future cooking endeavors.
For those seeking more flexibility, Green Chef might be a suitable alternative. While Purple Carrot caters impeccably to the vegan palate, if you ever fancy a non-vegan day or crave more diverse options, Green Chef lets you choose dishes from any of its 8 menu plans.
Prices commence at $8.50 per serving; it's a premium choice on a par with Green Chef. College budgets vary, and while Purple Carrot offers high-quality, nutritious vegan meals, it's essential to consider if its premium status aligns with your finances.
Most affordable gourmet meal kits
100+ recipes on the menu each week
Dietary options include vegetarian, pescatarian, and low-carb
Dinnerly stands out as a supremely affordable option on this list. As college students, managing finances becomes an essential skill, and it’s reassuring when a service understands that meals shouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket.
With over 100 recipes, it boasts an expansive culinary range. Whether you’re craving classic comfort food or feeling adventurous, there’s likely a recipe to match your mood. You can find a range of cuisines, including classic Italian pasta dishes like Beef Ravioli, Cuban Mojo Pork Tenderloin, and Chicken Lo Mein.
Every dish involves a simple 5-step process but lacks accompanying images. If you're a beginner in the kitchen, this might be a bit challenging. HelloFresh, with its visual guides, might be a better fit for the uninitiated.
It’s important to eat seafood recipes within 2 days, meats in 3, and veggies within 5 for optimal freshness. These guidelines ensure that you enjoy each meal at its peak flavor and nutritional value.
Offering 2-person and 4-person plans, it's great for solitary dinners or shared meals with friends. Whether you’re having a quiet evening or hosting a study group, there's a plan to suit your needs. For more details on the ordering process, check out our expert Dinnerly review.
Every recipe comes tagged with attributes like No Added Gluten or Under 30 Minutes. While these tags help in selection, I find the color-coded tags of Green Chef to be more intuitive.
Recipe customization is a highlight, considering the value of this service. It allows swaps of sides, proteins, and pasta for gluten-free alternatives. This flexibility ensures that if you have specific dietary preferences or restrictions, you can still enjoy a varied menu. The customized recipes are listed as separate dishes, so it can be tricky to find them on such a big menu.
Starting at $2.12 per serving, it’s an unmatched choice for students watching their finances. Budget-friendly doesn’t mean sacrificing quality, and Dinnerly strikes that balance well. All chicken is antibiotic-free, and you can even find organic ingredients from time to time. You can order up to 6 meals per week.
$6.19 Per Serving
$9.99 Per Serving
$3.32 Per Serving
$7.99 Per Serving
$7.99 Per Serving
$1.49 Per Serving
$5.74 Per Serving
$8.24 Per Serving
$8.50 Per Serving
$2.12 Per Serving
6 prepared meals
3 meals for 2 people
2 meals for 2 people
2 meals for 2 people
2 meals for 2 people
3 meals for 2 people
2 meals for 2 people
10 prepared meals
3 meal kits for 2 people/6 prepared meals
3 meals for 2 people
30-minute meal kits
Meal kits, speedy kits, prepared meals
Kits, speedy kits, oven-ready
Oven- & grill-ready, kits, prepared
30-minute meal kits
5 - 60 min. meal kits
Meal kits, prepared meals
30-minute meal kits
When evaluating the options, I used the following essential tips to pinpoint the best meal delivery services tailored for students.
Consider your budget: As a student, finances often run tight. Allocating funds wisely for meals without compromising quality is crucial. In my research, I found Fresh and Easy offers a balance between cost-effectiveness and quality meals.
Dietary preferences and restrictions: Meeting dietary needs is paramount, especially when maintaining health during busy semesters. During testing, Green Chef stood out with its diverse, eco-conscious meal plans catering to various dietary needs.
Cooking skill level: Not every student is a kitchen maestro. Choosing a service that aligns with your culinary proficiency ensures you enjoy the cooking process. Home Chef provides clear, beginner-friendly instructions, for learning the culinary ropes and Factor provides fresh, ready-to-heat meals.
Recipe variety: Repetitive meals can quickly become monotonous. It's vital to have a rotating menu to keep things exciting and nutritious. HelloFresh offers an impressive range of dishes and different cuisines, so you never tire of your mealtime choices.
Fresh and Easy offers cost-effective options tailored for students. Recognizing the tight budgets that students often have, this service provides affordable meals without sacrificing quality or taste. Its diverse menu ensures you won't have to break the bank for good food.
Factor delivers top-notch prepared meals ideal for busy students. With a focus on nutrition and taste, it ensures students get wholesome meals that require minimal effort – just heat and eat. It's a lifesaver when study sessions run late.
Yes, some services like Home Chef offer student discounts. It's always a good idea to check the websites of meal delivery services or student discount platforms for any ongoing promotions tailored for students, ensuring you get the best value for your money.
HelloFresh is indeed popular among college students. Known for its easy-to-follow recipes and quality ingredients, HelloFresh takes the guesswork out of cooking. The diverse menu and flexible plans cater to the varying tastes and schedules of college students.