Sometimes meal planning can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re someone who tries to live a balanced lifestyle but works long hours. That’s where meal delivery services can help – they take all the hard work out of planning and cooking, and the food comes to you.
To make finding the right service even easier, I’ve road-tested all the options DC has to offer. Now you can spend your free time kicking back or enjoying the latest Smithsonian exhibit, not planning next week’s dinner menu!
Home Chef takes the top spot on my list – and I’ll talk about why – but each one of these services brings something different to the table. Whether you’re vegan, on a strict paleo diet, or just want something easy and nutritious, I’ve found a meal delivery service for you.
Broad selection of prepared meals and meal kits
24 recipes per week, plus snacks and protein add-ons
Dietary options include carb- and calorie-conscious
Current deal: Get 16 Free Meals!
The top spot on my list goes to Home Chef for its highly customizable menu and variety of meal types. This in-depth review goes into more detail – but suffice to say, Home Chef gives you the power to choose your own culinary destiny!
For example, take the Shrimp Taco Salad Bowl (pictured). If seafood isn’t your thing, you have the power to change it up by swapping it out for chicken or ground beef. But if you’re feeling extra hungry, you can double-up on the shrimp. It’s really up to you.
You’ll find options like this for almost every recipe on Home Chef’s weekly menu. This customizability means you have double – or triple – the possibilities when it comes to crafting your meals.
Home Chef also provides multiple recipe types to suit your schedule. The 15-Minute Meal Kits and Fast & Fresh Oven-Ready meals, for example, are perfect for anyone needing quick and easy solutions for weeknight dinners.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Culinary Collection, featuring premium ingredients and more elaborate cooking techniques – perfect for those long, lazy weekends. All in all, Home Chef gives you the power to create the dinners of your dreams.
Great choice for wine lovers, thanks to the Wine Club add-on
19 new recipes every week
Dietary options include a WW-approved Wellness plan, and more
The chefs at Blue Apron love to incorporate a ton of different cuisines into their recipes. Whether it’s the light and refreshing flavors of a Greek Farro Salad or something hearty like the Spring Pea and Pancetta Pasta, there’s always something new to try.
Not much of a cook? Not a problem! Blue Apron’s recipes are some of the most comprehensive in the game, with detailed step-by-step instructions and videos to help you master all of the techniques you may encounter.
If you’re looking to simplify your time in the kitchen, Blue Apron offers a few solutions, including Easy Prep & Cleanup meals, like the Sheet Pan Curry Salmon.
Better yet, try a dish from the Heat & Eat range. These single-serving meals, which we cover more of in this dedicated review, pack all the flavors we associate with Blue Apron’s recipes into a quick and easy microwavable meal.
Plant-based meal kits and prepared meals
20 entrees each week, plus breakfast and lunch options
Dietary options include high-protein, gluten-free, and more
Current deal: Get $30 Off with code carrot30
If you’re strictly vegan, it can be difficult to find easy but exciting meal prep solutions. There are so many meat substitutes out there – many of which are heavily processed – but what if you want to incorporate more whole foods into your diet?
Purple Carrot is a purely plant-based meal delivery service that celebrates vegetables for their flavor and health benefits. When I reviewed this service, I was blown away by the quality of the recipes – they were indicative of those in a trendy vegan restaurant!
In fact, Purple Carrot is a bit of a one-stop shop for all your plant-based food needs. You’ll also find breakfasts (like Loaded Avocado Toast) and fresh lunch options (like Mango Poke Bowls) in addition to its dinners. There’s even a Plantry with snacks and ingredients.
Whether you’re vegan, veggie, or just someone who wants to incorporate more plant-based meals into their week, Purple Carrot is a gem.
Colorful, crowd-pleasing dishes to suit all tastes
More than 25 recipes each week
Plans include Veggie, Pescatarian, Fit & Wholesome, and more
Current deal: undefined
HelloFresh is one of the most well-loved meal kit delivery services across the US, and it’s no secret why. This juggernaut delivers exciting yet accessible meals for families of all shapes and sizes.
Our dedicated review goes into greater detail about what you can expect in your box each week.
HelloFresh makes it easy to focus your food preferences. Picky eaters in the household? Try the Family Friendly plan for crowd-pleasing, home-style dishes. There are Pescatarian and Veggie plans, too, plus a number of vegan recipes on the menu.
HelloFresh has also amped up its customizability. With HelloCustom, you now have the option to swap out sides and proteins on more than 12 dishes each week. This popular meal kit service is now easier to love than ever before.
Meal kits, prepared meals, and store-cupboard essentials
Up to 36 entrees to choose from per week
Plans include Paleo, Gluten-Free, Diabetes-Friendly, and more
Current deal: $90 off Plus a Free Gift!
Sunbasket is a widely celebrated meal delivery service thanks to its ability to cater to a huge variety of dietary needs and lifestyles. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger selection of diet-friendly meals anywhere else.
Whether you prefer to roll your sleeves up and cook your own meals, or save time with Sunbasket’s Fresh & Ready prepared dishes, you’ll find lots of internationally-inspired recipes that cover everything from vegan and vegetarian diets to paleo and carb-conscious.
Make no mistake about it, though: just because Sunbasket accommodates specialized diets, it doesn’t mean the meals are basic and boring. Far from it. As my colleague reveals in this review, Sunbasket’s dishes always bring the flavor.
So even if you don’t need to stick to a gluten- or soy-free diet, you’ll find plenty to love on Sunbasket’s menu.
Recipes approved by Martha Stewart herself
Around 40 choices per week
Dietary options include vegetarian, vegan, low-calorie, and more
Current deal: Get $120 off Your First 5 Boxes
One of the biggest hurdles for many meal delivery services is managing their carbon footprint. While most services promise eco-friendly packaging and recyclable materials, Marley Spoon is ahead of the pack as the first carbon neutral meal kit delivery service.
The best part is, the meals taste great too! As my colleague reveals in this review, Marley Spoon’s foodie-approved recipes offer something for everyone.
Martha Stewart’s connection to this service may or may not be a big draw for you, but make no mistake – you’ll be able to taste her expert touch with these gourmet meals.
The combination of advanced cooking techniques, signature spice blends, and high-quality ingredients make for an unparalleled home-dining experience.
Order up to 12 single-serving meals per week
Choose from up to 52 menu options
Almost all the meals are gluten-free, with dairy-free and plant-based options, too
Current deal: Save $125, Promo Code: SAVE125AFF
Looking for healthy meals, but too busy to cook for yourself? Freshly was designed with busy lifestyles in mind. The company delivers single-serving, prepared meals for health-focused individuals across the country.
When you’re living the single life in DC, it can be hard not to let yourself indulge in such a great food scene. But for those nights when you don’t want to eat out, Freshly’s meals are in a completely different league to your typical frozen dinners.
As my colleague’s review explains, Freshly’s chef-made dishes are cooked fresh every week and shipped to your door, ready to heat and eat in a matter of minutes.
Since they’re made using fresh, seasonal ingredients, nutrient-rich superfoods, and high protein sources, you can kick back and enjoy knowing these delicious dishes are good for you, too.
Ingredients come peeled and chopped for easy cooking
Around nine to 12 recipes per week
Dietary plans include Keto + Paleo, Plant-Powered, and Balanced Living
Current deal: Get $135 Off + Free Shipping
Green Chef was the first USDA-certified organic meal kit delivery service on the market, making it a great choice for DC locals who value high-quality, sustainable ingredients.
Our reviewer definitely thought so.
Green Chef is also a convenient choice for busy households, since all the ingredients arrive peeled and prepped for easy cooking, alongside expertly blended sauces and seasonings. The recipe cards are super easy to follow, too.
You’ll have three plans to choose from – but keep in mind that you can’t mix and match across the menus. That said, all the recipes are varied and exciting, and all are developed using top-quality ingredients. It’s definitely healthy living made easy.
Affordable, home-style recipes from the minds behind HelloFresh
17 recipes to choose from per week
Some vegetarian and low-calorie options available
Current deal: Get $1.49/meal + 20% off your next 2 boxes
EveryPlate is one of the most affordable meal kit delivery services you can sign up to in the US right now, but it’s also one of the tastiest.
The recipes and ingredients may be simple, but when I reviewed EveryPlate’s plan, I was blown away by how much flavor you can pack into a budget meal kit.
The company keeps its prices down by simplifying its packaging, streamlining the delivery process, and relying on simple sides like roasted carrots (in fact, expect a lot of roasted carrots…).
Still, it doesn’t cut corners when it comes to ingredient quality and the home-style, kid-friendly recipes are perfect for families on a budget.
Get free delivery on all orders over $12 with Grubhub+
Order from more than 500 local DC restaurants
Get snacks and convenience items as well as dinner
DC’s diverse restaurant scene never fails to impress, but homebodies like me don’t always have the drive or the time to visit these eateries in person. Grubhub saves the day with its extensive network of delivery drivers.
Now, you can order delivery from all your favorite local spots and have it on your doorstep within the hour.
Getting delivery through Grubhub is as easy as downloading the app, inputting your details, and choosing from the hundreds of local restaurants currently available.
You’ll pay a delivery fee (and don’t forget to tip your driver!), but sometimes convenience is worth the cost, right?
$6.99 Per Serving
$5.74 Per Serving
$8.50 Per Serving
$3.79 Per Serving
$4.27 Per Serving
$2.99 Per Serving
$6.90 Per Serving
$5.99 Per Serving
$1.49 Per Serving
$7.16 Per Serving
2 meals for 2 people
2 meals for 2 people
3 meal kits for 2 people/6 prepared meals
2 meals for 2 people
2 meal kits for 2 people/4 prepared meals
2 meals for 2 people
4 prepared meals
3 meals for 2 people
3 meals for 2 people
10 prepared meals
Kits, oven- & grill-ready, prepared
20 - 60 min. meal kits
30-minute meal kits
20 - 30 min. meal kits
Fresh & Ready meals, 30-Min Meal Kits
30 min. meal kits
30-minute meal kits
30-minute meal kits
With so many options out there, it can be difficult to know what to look for when deciding which meal delivery service to go with for the first time. Here are my tips:
Does it cater to your dietary needs? This is probably the most important thing to consider, particularly if you have allergies, intolerances, or are trying to stick to a specific diet. Always browse the plans and menu first.
Does it work with your budget? Look out for those that offer free shipping or a reduced price per serving the more recipes you order.
Is it easy to skip weeks or cancel? The last thing you want is a box of food left on your doorstep if you’re going away for the weekend. Some services make it easier than others to skip weeks and even cancel your subscription. Consult our How to Cancel blogs before committing!
Do the delivery days work for you? Different services offer different levels of control over when you can receive your delivery. Make sure to pick a service that works for your schedule.
Simply put, meal delivery services make life easier.
Whether you need help sticking to a particular diet, are struggling to find the time to grocery shop and cook, or you just want to expand your culinary knowledge, meal kits and prepared meals are on hand to help.
Plus, if you find that you’re often throwing away out-of-date ingredients or leftovers, they could also be a great way to save money and waste, since everything is perfectly portioned to suit your needs.
Freshly is my pick for the best prepared meal delivery service in DC. While most other services on my list offer both meal kits and ready meals, Freshly specializes in offering only prepared meals using fresh, seasonal ingredients and quality protein sources.
It also has a diverse menu that’s both diet-friendly and delicious, including high-protein and plant-based options.
Sunbasket is a great meal delivery service for weight loss. The company has 10 diet plans to choose from, including Paleo, Carb-Conscious, Diabetes-Friendly, Lean & Clean, and more.
The recipes are tasty and exciting – choose from both meal kits and prepared meals to help you on your weight loss journey.
Purple Carrot is my recommendation for healthy meals in DC. While “healthy” is a relative term, Purple Carrot’s mission and credo is that food is medicine. Everything on the menu is plant-based, and packed with wholefoods and nutrient-rich ingredients to fuel healthy living – no processed meat alternatives here!