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Written by: Kiran Kaur on Apr 22nd, 2021

10 Best Prepared Meal Delivery Services of 2021

How many times have you postponed eating healthy with: "It's been a long day," "I don't have time for this," or "I'm definitely going to start tomorrow." If you're thinking "a gazillion," you’re not alone. Life happens. 

After a long and hectic day, cooking is often the last thing you feel like doing. Your options usually become some off-the-rack junk, good-old mac and cheese, or a quick takeout from the nearest fast food joint. Or you could have a healthy meal prepared with quality ingredients delivered to your doorstep, courtesy of a heaven-sent prepared meal delivery service. 

Not sure which of the many out there is right for you? Don't worry, we've got you covered.

After several trials, we've curated a list of the 10 best prepared meal delivery services that will make it easy for you to live your resolution to eat right.

Short on Time? Here Are The 10 Best Prepared Meal Delivery Services of 2021 

What to Look For in the Best Prepared Meal Delivery Services

The right prepared meal delivery service means different things to different people based on their specific requirements. That said, there are key considerations to keep in mind when picking your meal plan. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of these, however, let's take a moment to understand that a prepared meal is not the same as a meal kit. 

A prepared meal is exactly what it sounds like – a meal that only needs to be heated but is otherwise ready to eat. A meal kit, on the other hand, is a package that contains a recipe and all the ingredients needed to cook it. For this article, we’re going to focus on prepared meal services only.

Now we’re on the same page, let's get to the things you ought to look for in a prepared meal delivery service:

1. Diet compliance. With countless delivery services, come countless options. There are diabetes-friendly meals, keto- and paleo-friendly meals, meals for weight loss, and, of course, your regular meals. You want to pick a service that best suits your needs.

2. Menu options. Some companies have limited options to choose from, while others offer a large variety. If you don't want to choose what to eat each week, a fixed menu would work well for you. If you like full control, you’ll be better off with a delivery service that lets you pick and customize your meals.

3. Meal sizes. Another factor to look out for is the portion size. This includes both the main meal as well as the size and variety of any accompanying sides.

4. Packaging. As well as the meals being packaged safely so they arrive undamaged, they should come in microwave- and/or oven-friendly containers that are durable, in case you have leftovers that you need to refrigerate.

5. Commitment. No one wants to be stuck paying for a subscription they can't use (that's what gyms are for!). It's better to opt for a service that doesn’t require long-term commitments, at the very least.

6. Budget-friendly meal plans. There's little explanation required here, except that the cost should be factored into your daily/weekly/monthly budget. If budget is your main factor, why not check out our list of the cheapest meal delivery services.

Our Best Prepared Meal Delivery Services Reviewed

1. Home Chef – Creative Meals, Minimal Effort

Home Chef Best Features

  • Lets you replace your meat in any given recipe

  • Family portions (of up to six servings) available

  • Often has ongoing offers and a hefty first-time discount

  • User-friendly mobile app

Home Chef in a Nutshell

Originally a meal kit delivery service, Home Chef has launched a Fresh and Easy plan with a range of low and no-prep meals. The Fast & Fresh and Oven-Ready categories offer exactly what their names promise – all the ingredients of your dish, ready to lay in an oven pan that comes with the meal (so no need to worry about doing the dishes). Although some assembly is required, you won’t need any culinary skills beyond turning on your oven!

You can learn more about Home Chef in our dedicated review.

Since you also have portions that serve as many as six, Home Chef's oven-ready meals prove particularly useful when you have more people to feed and no time to prepare. If you have strict dietary preferences, though, your options will be minimal.

The best thing about Home Chef is not the convenience but the fact you can substitute your protein with any option of your liking, including upgrading it to an organic, antibiotic-free variety or replacing it with another meat altogether.

Another plus is that it posts its menus on the website five weeks in advance, for all to see. So, if one week there are fewer of your favorites on the menu, you can pause your subscription with just a couple of clicks. 

2. Freshly – Fresh, Healthy, and Gluten-Free Prepared Meals

Freshly Best Features

  • Meals are fresh and refrigerated, not frozen 

  • All meals are gluten-free and peanut-free, with dairy- and soy-free options available

  • Offers popular comfort foods prepared with less sugar and processed ingredients

  • A complimentary consultation with a Wellness Expert

  • Custom meal plans available.

Freshly in a Nutshell

Freshly is a quick and healthy fix for anyone who lacks time, patience, or culinary merit. What sets it apart from some other services is the fact that the meals are fresh instead of frozen; simply store them in the fridge and heat up whenever you’re hungry. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the flavors – Freshly really does make healthy taste good. 

Across Freshly’s four subscription plans – which allow you to pick either four, six, nine, or 12 meals a week – there are 30+ dishes to choose from. If you have a specific health condition, you can connect with one of Freshly’s Wellness Experts to design a menu that works for you. 

While the menu does cater to quite a few dietary restrictions including gluten, peanut, soy, and dairy, you'll find fewer options for lacto-vegetarians, and almost none for vegans. We go into more detail about Freshly’s menu in this expert Freshly review.

Freshly’s prices are competitive, with a reduced price per meal the more you sign up for each week. The shipping cost is not a flat rate, either, and varies from plan to plan.

3. Factor – Where Nutrition Meets Flavor

Factor Best Features

  • New menu posted every week

  • Interesting selection of healthy add-ons

  • Good-sized portions, with a calorie count of 500-700 per dish.

  • Meals available on MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, Cronometer, and Carb Manager for tracking

Factor in a Nutshell

Like any prepared meal delivery service, Factor is convenient and saves you time and effort. Where Factor stands out, however, is in the taste and quality department. The meals are dietitian-designed, nutritious, and wholesome, but because they’re chef-prepared, they’re in no way lacking in taste. Get the inside scoop in our full-length Factor review.

The flavor and quality of the dishes compensate for the relatively limited menu of just 22-26 options per week. Although, there's a new menu each week so you’re not likely to have to repeat a dish anytime soon.

The menu can be filtered to accommodate dietary requirements including options such as Keto, Paleo, High Protein, Low Carb, Low Calorie, and Dairy Free. The menu can also be filtered for Vegetarian and Plant-Based dishes but the options are very limited. You also get a 20-minute free consultation with one of six dietitians, who can help you decide on a meal plan if needed.

4. BistroMD – Physician-Designed Prepared Meals for Weight Loss

BistroMD Best Features

  • Meal plans designed with medical expertise to suit your body type

  • Promotes a healthy lifestyle instead of being a quick fix for temporary weight loss

  • Dedicated meal service for weight loss with gender-specific diets

  • Exclusive member community with health coaches for support and encouragement

BistroMD in a Nutshell

BistroMD was started by physician Dr. Caroline Cederquist, who works with a team of dietitians to deliver healthy weight loss plans. There are also fitness experts available to support and motivate you through your weight loss journey and help you to adopt a healthy lifestyle. 

It should come as no surprise, then, that in addition to its Standard Program, you'll also find the Diabetic Program, the Heart Healthy Program, the Gluten-Free Program, and the Menopause Program. Each plan caters to the specific nutritional requirements of that particular bracket. If the set plans don't work for you, you can also customize a program.

BistroMD has more than 150 doctor-designed meals, and it continues to add new ones, so you’re less likely to see a meal repeated throughout the six-week rotation system. Vegetarians, however, will find fewer options, and vegans are not catered to.

We go into more detail on BistroMD’s plans and prices in this BistroMD review.

In short, based on your budget, you can either opt for the complete seven- or five-day program which offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day (bar one cheat night!), or you can just choose the Lunch & Dinner program. It also offers its EATS (Essential & Tasty Snacks) package as an optional addition

5. Freshology – Healthy Meals for Weight Loss

Freshology Best Features 

  • Nutritionist-designed and chef-prepared meals

  • Wide variety of meals across all plans, with Keto, Vegetarian, and Diabetic options

  • Meals have a frozen shelf life of up to 30 days

Freshology in a Nutshell 

Powered by Diet-to-go, Freshology offers nutritionist-designed, healthy meals that don’t compromise on taste, courtesy of the professional chefs preparing them. Get your free diet analysis on the website before you sign up, then pick one of the four customizable meal plans: Balance, Balance-Diabetes, Keto-Carb30, and Vegetarian

In addition to being low carb and low calorie, the meals also have controlled sodium and cholesterol.

We go into more detail about what sets Freshology apart in our Factor review

In short, the flexible plans allow you to replace any meal at any time. The hundreds of options are served on a five-week rotation system – so there’s always plenty of variety. If, however, you’re vegan, lacto-vegetarian, or pescatarian, this service is not for you. 

Another minor drawback with Freshology is that it requires you to purchase meals for a minimum of five days per week – though it does offer free cancellation if needed. 

6. Veestro – All-Vegan Prepared Meals 

Veestro Best Features

  • Completely plant-based

  • Vegan versions of classic recipes available

  • Nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free, low-carb, and low-calorie options available

  • No preservatives added and guaranteed freshness

Veestro In a Nutshell

Veestro is a great thing to have happened for vegans, especially if you have limited time to cook or are a new vegan still adapting to a plant-based lifestyle. Veestro’s frozen meals come in bundles of 10, 20, and 30 that are all ready to devour after a few minutes of heating.

You can learn more about how Veestro works, and how much it costs, in our Veestro review.

Its menus feature a spread of 45+ entrees and eight breakfast items, which is pretty vast considering that most prepared meal delivery services have only a small number of plant-based options. The best thing is, you'll find vegan versions of all your favorites in the form of plant-based meat alternatives. 

You can either select your own meal bundle from the A La Carte menu, or Veestro has also introduced a vegan Weight Loss Plan, which includes three meals per day. In addition to the high-protein and low-calorie options, you can also filter your meals to be nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and even kosher.

7. Daily Harvest – Yummy Dose of Fruits, Veggies, & Superfoods 

Daily Harvest Best Features

  • Organic farm-fresh ingredients

  • Superfoods in every meal

  • Unique and delightful combos that feel decadent yet healthy. 

  • Bowls from as little as $5.99

Daily Harvest in a Nutshell

Eating well-balanced meals with enough fruits, vegetables, and superfoods is not always possible. But with no need for shopping, prepping, or cooking, Daily Harvest will come as a sweet relief if you’ve been procrastinating about healthy eating.

Its colorful and creative smoothies, soups, and bowls are just as yummy as they look. The company also offers bread, snacks, frozen treats, and more, with some really unique and surprisingly delicious combos. 

You can choose your plan of nine, 12, or 24 meals from the 80 plant-based options available, delivered either weekly or monthly, as you wish. The only two skills you need to excel in are blending (for its smoothies) and heating (for everything else).

The drawback, however, is that though the prices aren't as expensive as some other meal delivery services, you will also have to budget for your other meals throughout the week.  You might even find that some of the portion sizes aren’t sufficient as a meal replacement.

8. Fresh n’ Lean – Lean, Chef-Prepared Meals

Fresh n’ Lean Best Features

  • Freshly prepared gluten-free meals

  • Plans available for keto, paleo, and vegan diets, with additional protein options

  • All its proteins have no added hormones or antibiotics

  • Affordable – as little as $7.93 per meal

  • Free shipping across the US

Fresh n’ Lean in a Nutshell

As the name suggests, Fresh n' Lean is a dedicated prepared meal delivery service that focuses on healthy and nourishing food. Though it has something to suit most diets and lifestyles, it’s particularly great for athletes and active people looking for high-protein options. In addition to its Protein+, Keto, and Paleo plans, it also has Vegan and Low-Carb Vegan plans, something that’s very uncommon. 

You can learn more about what sets Fresh n’ lean apart in this Fresh n’Lean review.

The meals are prepared fresh with organic and gluten-free ingredients, and the meats used are free-range and hormone-, steroid- and antibiotic-free. You can further filter out allergens as per your preferences. It even offers high-protein snacks and desserts, too, to keep your cravings in check. 

If you’re ordering a la carte, you can choose what you like from the menu, at any time. However, if you’ve subscribed to the weekly meal plan, you’ll be asked for your preferences but the chefs will determine what comes in the bundle of 7-21 meals (based on your subscription plan).

Fresh n' Lean earns brownie points for its pricing as well. While some meals start from as little as $7.93, the shipping is free everywhere in the US.

9. Home Bistro – Chef-Prepared Gourmet Meals 

Home Bistro Best Features

  • Restaurant-grade dishes prepared by executive chefs

  • No added preservatives, even when frozen

  • Meats are hormone-, steroid-, and antibiotic-free

  • Extensive menu with new dishes added every season

Home Bistro in a Nutshell

If you’re someone who doesn’t want to compromise on taste just because you lack the time or culinary skills, or because you have dietary restrictions, you'll find all your food fantasies come true at Home Bistro. The company proudly emphasizes that its meals are prepared by Certified Executive Chefs – the highest certification granted by the American Culinary Federation. 

This explains its seasonal menu that very much harbors a Mediterranean style of cooking. You’ll also find a range of Diabetic Friendly, Heart Friendly, Lower Sodium, and Vegetarian meals, and they all taste as good as they look.

The dishes are prepared locally with fresh ingredients and grass-fed meats that are free of hormones, steroids, and antibiotics. You can either buy individual meals as and when you like or you can opt for Home Bistro’s Meal Combos, which include 6-20 dishes based on your preferences.

The only drawback is the cost – the cheapest meal is around $15 and the most expensive is $34.99. Given the variety, the ingredients used and, of course, the taste, this could be justified, but might not be suitable for those on a budget.

10. Snap Kitchen – Diets Made Effortless & Delightful

Snap Kitchen Best Features

Snap Kitchen in a Nutshell

Despite being relatively new in the meal delivery industry, Snap Kitchen is holding its own for three main reasons: 

First, it accommodates several diets, including keto, paleo, and Whole30, as well as high-protein plans for athletes and low-carb options for weight loss. Secondly, its Total Custom plan gives you complete control, allowing you to order larger portion sizes if you need to.  Lastly, it has a varied menu to choose from (around 36 dishes – though the menu may vary depending on your zip code), and the meals arrive fresh rather than frozen, which means they’re ready to eat in much less time. You can choose six or 12 meals per week.

Though the menu might seem limited compared to some other services, the affordable pricing and free shipping (where Snap Kitchen is available – it doesn’t provide service across the whole of the US yet) makes it a great match for those not wanting to spend too much.

Best Prepared Meal Delivery Services: Comparison Table

Meal Delivery Service

Dietary Preferences/ Menu Options

Starting Price Per Serving

Delivery Frequency

Shipping Cost


Home Chef

Vegetarian

$6.99

Weekly

$10 for orders less than $40; free on orders over $40

Get Started

Freshly

Gluten-Free, Peanut-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free

$8.49

Weekly

$3.99-$12.11

Get Started

Factor

Keto, Paleo, High Protein, Low Carb, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian, Plant-Based

$11

Weekly

$11-$15

Get Started

BistroMD

Diabetic-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Heart-Friendly, Menopause-Friendly

$7.50

Weekly

$19.95

Get Started

Freshology

Diabetes-Friendly, Keto, Vegetarian

$6.80

Weekly

From $8

Get Started

Veestro

Plant-Based, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, High-Protein, Kosher

$9.90

One-time, weekly, biweekly, monthly

$9.99 for a la carte orders, free on subscription orders

Get Started

Daily Harvest

Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Keto, Paleo, High-Protein, Low Sugar

$5.99

Weekly, monthly

Free

Get Started

Fresh n’ Lean

Protein+, Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Low Carb Vegan, Bulk 

$7.93

One-time, weekly

Free

Get Started

Home Bistro

Vegetarian, Paleo, Lower Sodium, Low Carb, Heart Friendly, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Diabetic Friendly, Cancer Support

$14.99

One-time, weekly, biweekly, monthly

Free

Get Started

Snap Kitchen

Keto, Paleo, Whole30, Vegetarian, Pescatarian 

$9.58

Weekly

Free

Get Started

When is a Prepared Meal Delivery Service NOT Right For You?

If you suffer from any chronic health conditions, such as severe celiac or Crohn’s disease, you should consult your doctor before committing to any meal delivery service. Sometimes the services themselves, like Freshly, provide complimentary consultations with a wellness expert, nutritionist, or dietitian so you can discuss allergens, substitutions, and other dietary needs before you order.

Additionally, a prepared meal delivery service may not be right for you if you want to improve your culinary skills or if you enjoy spending time in the kitchen. Then, you might find a meal kit a better alternative. You still save time by not going grocery shopping or planning your meals, and you’re able to prep and put together dishes yourself. 

Bottom Line: Are Prepared Meal Delivery Services Worth It?

Considering that prepared meal services eliminate everything from grocery shopping to cooking while ensuring we can get healthy, nutritious meals on the table every day, we’d say they’re worth every penny. You also have the benefit of not having to compromise your lifestyle in the process.

Not only are these delightfully wholesome meals brought to your doorstep, meal delivery services generally offer a time window for delivery and can be flexible with your changing schedule, as long as there’s notice beforehand.

FAQ

What is the best prepared meal delivery service?

The best prepared meal delivery service varies depending on what you’re looking for. For a keto-friendly meal plan, Freshology or Fresh n’ Lean might work better, while Home Bistro would be a good option for gourmet meals, and Veestro would be great for those wanting to try a plant-based meal plan.

Why use prepared meal delivery?

For starters, prepared meal delivery services are a huge time-saver (and often money-saver, too), and convenient as they eliminate the process of shopping for groceries and then preparing a meal. What's more, they allow you to achieve your health goals, including sticking to specific diets, without much effort on your part.

Services like Home Chef let you experience home cooking with absolute minimal effort, with oven-ready meals. Meals come fully prepared and in oven-safe pans, ready for you to pop them into the oven, bake, and enjoy.

What is the cheapest prepared meal delivery service?

The lowest-priced prepared meal delivery service is Fresh n’ Lean at $7.73 per meal on certain plans and no shipping charge. Another inexpensive service is Daily Harvest at $5.99 per meal as part of its Taster Box, and then $7.75 per meal going forward. Affordable meal plans are also offered by Freshly, from $8.49 per meal.

Which prepared meal delivery service is best for diabetics?

For a diabetes-friendly diet, you could opt for a meal delivery service that offers a specific diabetic-friendly plan such as Freshology, BistroMD, and Home Bistro. You could also go with a company like Freshly that lets you customize your plan after discussing it with a Wellness Expert. Before committing to any plan, however, it would be best to check with your doctor.

About The Author

Kiran Kaur

Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank

Kiran is a creative writer, unapologetic tea-lover, established food junkie, an astute food critic and a self-proclaimed chef. When she’s not curating content on various topics, Kiran is trying different cuisines and winning arguments with her husband.

Kiran is a creative writer, unapologetic tea-lover, established food junkie, an astute food critic and a self-proclaimed chef. When she’s not curating content on various topics, Kiran is trying different cuisines and winning arguments with her husband.
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