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Below you'll find a list of meal kit delivery services...all of which I've personally tried. I give a detailed review of each company. Specifically, in this I look at ingredient quality, meal flavor, special diet accommodations, cost and give a rating about which company is best for you (depending on what you're looking for) .
By the end of this article you should have a pretty good idea about which one is the best fit for you, based on what you're looking for (Budget friendly? Organic? Top of the line restaurant flavor?).
Benefits of Meal Planning
I've been meal planning for years now. I started meal planning as a way to lessen the stress around dinner time, then I kept doing it to spend less money eating out, and now I do it to stay sane (and healthy) as a mom of two young kids.
Did you know people who meal plan are less likely to be obese and are associated with a lower BMI? It's true, according to this study.
And while I enjoy creating delicious meals for my family, sometimes I don't have the time or energy to sit down and make a plan. On those nights, either my husband takes over dinner duty, or we get takeout (I just try not to have an anxiety attack when I see the total price!!!), or we order from our favorite meal kit service.
If you're reading this post, you're probably at least a little bit curious about all the meal kit delivery services you've seen advertised on TV or in the mail.
Whether you just want a break from cooking, or you're tired of eating the same three meals every week, or maybe you're new to cooking and you want step-by-step instructions to get dinner on the table without the stress of going to the grocery store, meal kits could be just what you need.
What is a Meal Kit Service?
When you order from one of these meal kit delivery services, you will get a box of ingredients and recipes on your doorstep - ready for you to cook whenever it fits in your meal plan.
There are several meal kit services out there. This post covers the four we've personally tried. Keep reading to get an in-depth review of the following meal kit delivery services:
In case you're new to the meal kit world, here's what you should expect, regardless of which company you go with.
- You'll set up your order/account online and choose the meals you want from a list. These meals usually change weekly, so you always have new choices.
- You choose how many servings you want for each recipe, and how many different meals you'd like each week (usually 2-4).
- Once you order, they'll tell you when to expect your box to be delivered. On that day you'll get a box on your doorstep.
- In the box you'll find the recipes (with pictures) for the meals you have chosen, and ingredients for each recipe (labeled so you know which ingredients go with which recipe). The food will be in an insulated box that will keep fresh even if you're not home when they deliver.
- When you're ready to make the meal, pull out the recipe with the ingredients you need and get cooking!
- With all of these companies, you can skip a week of deliveries as needed.
Sun Basket is a meal kit delivery service that provides a way for healthy and delicious meals to make their way onto your family's dinner table. Their meals taste amazing, and fit easily into your diet and lifestyle.
My Review of Sun Basket meal kit
Sun Basket provides Organic produce and clean ingredients. They also provide the option of Organic meat for some of their meals. If Organic produce is important to you, Sun Basket would be a great option. At the time that I'm writing this, they don't default to organic meat, but some recipes allow for the substitution of Organic protein if that's important to you.
Easy to Follow Recipes:
I love that Sun Basket gives a whole recipe book with each purchase. I get to see the other options, and be inspired later on, even if I didn't order that recipe the first time. I gave Sun Basket three stars for this category because they don't provide pictures for each individual step. I'm a visual learner, and it's super helpful when I'm trying a new recipe to be able to see exactly what theirs looked like. If you like the visual guide, too. Keep that in mind.
The meals from Sun Basket tasted great. We are used to delicious food with tons of flavor, and these meals didn't disappoint. Their meals are chef-crafted, full of organic produce & super yummy.
Good For Special Diet:
Yes! They've got so many options. Paleo, Vegetarian, Diabetes Freindly, Carb-Conscious, Mediterranean, Pescatarian, Lean & Clean, Quick & Easy, Chef's Choice & Gluten Free. This is one of my favorite parts about it. There's something for everyone. If you've got a specific way of eating, Sun Basket is the meal kit that's most likely to have a meal plan for you.
$10.99+/serving + free shipping over $75. (Grab free shipping with this link). The cost of Sun Basket is higher than some of the meal kits, but keep in mind you're getting Organic produce. If Organic isn't important to you, keep reading for more budget-friendly meal kit options.
They offer a ton of flexibility in ordering. They provide a big recipe book with each order, including tips on living a healthy life (and information on add-ons they offer - like snacks, dips, salads, etc.). They've even recently started offering ready-made meals you just pop in the oven for a few minutes before serving.
Sun Basket is for You iF:
- You prioritize Organic produce in your family.
- You follow a special diet (different from the standard american diet) and it's important to you that your meal kit follows your diet.
- You're looking for meals delivered a couple times a week to lessen meal planning for your week.
- You'd rather make one-off orders instead of signing up for a subscription (this is a new feature they just added).
- You appreciate delicious tasting meals.
- You're looking to live a healthy lifestyle, not limited to just food and want healthy living tips included with your recipes.
Green Chef is a meal kit delivery service that offers GMO free, Organic, sustainable and traceable ingredients. The ingredients come pre-portioned, pre-measured, and prepped. Recipes are quick and easy, with step-by-step instructions, chef's tips, and photos. Dinner in about 30 minutes, without grocery shopping and meal planning.
My Review of Green Chef meal kits
Green Chef is USDA Certified Organic so all their ingredients are Organic. This includes produce, AND meat. If Organic ingredients are important to you, Green Chef is the way to go.
Easy to Follow Recipes
I really love the Green Chef recipes. The pictures are really helpful to see what exactly to do. I love the pictures in recipes for each step so I can be confident I'm not going to mess it up.
The recipes have chef tips throughout, with alternative options if you don't have a specific tool they recommend (for example...if the directions say to peel the squash, they might give an option to use a sharp knife in case your peeler isn't sharp enough). I like tips like this. I think it helps me become a better cook.
The meals we made from Green Chef were really good. They were restaurant quality good and have been an inspiration for some new staples in our meal rotation. Even when a few months had passed since we tried them, we still remember the meals and how good they were.
Good For Special Diet:
YES! One reason we wanted to try Green Chef is because they cater to special diets and lifestyles. They have meals in these categories (at the time I'm writing this): Keto, Paleo, Balanced Living, Plant-Powered, Family Plan.
One thing I noticed is that their sauces and pre-made seasonings don't list every ingredient on the packaging. However, it appears they have all the information online when you choose your meal.
$10.99-$12.99 per meal + $6.99 shipping. (Get $80 off plus free shipping with this link). I like to think of Green Chef as an alternative to going out to an expensive restaurant. The food is really good, and if you compare it to your favorite fancy restaurant, it's significantly cheaper.
Plus, the ingredients are organic. But if you don't care about Organic ingredients enough to pay a little more for your meal-kit, the next two options are more budget friendly.
You can set it up so that you get a box every week, every two weeks, or every 4 weeks. And you can always skip weeks as needed.
Green Chef is For You If:
- You want a certified organic meal kit delivery service.
- You want restaurant quality food that you can make at home that you can be sure follows your diet.
- You want to try new recipes and love the step-by-step pictures (and helpful tips throughout the recipe).
- You want step-by-step, easy to follow instructions to make restaurant quality food.
To try Green Chef, use this link to get your first box, plus free shipping!
Blue Apron provides chef designed recipes, with responsibly sourced, quality ingredients, perfectly portioned amounts.
My Review of Blue Apron meal kits
Ingredient Quality :
Their website says they source their ingredients from the farm and they use sustainable seafood. We thought the ingredients tasted great. They are not certified organic, but they do use non-GMO ingredients.
Easy to Follow Recipes
I thought the recipes for Blue Apron were pretty easy to follow. They do include step-by-step pictures, which is helpful. The recipes are a bit more wordy than Green Chef so I found myself losing my place more often.
The Blue Apron meals were tasty! We really enjoyed them and we felt like we got to try new recipes, which was fun. We can still remember the meals being super flavorful.
Good For Special Diets:
Maybe. They have a vegetarian option, and some Weight Watchers approved recipes. If you're following a special diet, you might be able to find a way to do it with Blue Apron. It all depends on how many restrictions you have. Unlike the first two meal kit services, it's not quite as straightforward with Blue Apron.
Their ingredients are clearly listed on all of their sauces, so you can always just omit the ingredient or find a substitution in your kitchen.
$8.99-$9.99 per meal, per person + free shipping (Get $60 off your first three boxes with this link).
Blue Apron is more affordable than the first two meal-kit services. Likely due to the Organic vs. non-Organic ingredients.
They also offer a wine subscription that's delivered monthly, chosen based on the Blue Apron recipes you picked.
Blue Apron is for you if:
- You don't care about spending the money on Organic ingredients.
- You're looking for meals delivered a couple times a week to lessen the meal planning for the week.
- You want to try a meal-kit without spending a lot of money for Organic produce.
- You're ready to start cooking more at home and need a little help getting started.
- You're not on a special diet.
Use this link to save on your first few boxes.
Hello Fresh offers easy-to-follow recipes with clear nutritional info, high-quality ingredients sourced straight from the farm. They deliver convenient meal kits that fit perfectly in the fridge and offers a fun cooking experience.
My Review of Hello Fresh meal kits
Their website says they source their high-quality ingredients "straight from the farm". They also use sustainable seafood. We thought the ingredients tasted great. They are not certified Organic, though.
Easy to Follow Recipes
The recipe cards from Hello Fresh were pretty easy to follow. The pictures were a little far away to really show what was going on in each step. The instructions are paragraph style on the recipe card. I really liked the shorter instructions like on Green Chef. I hate losing my place in a recipe, though.
The meals we got from Hello Fresh were pretty standard meals. They had good flavor with some meat, some vegetable, and some carbohydrates. We eat pretty low-carb, closer to Paleo, so the meals weren't our favorite (a little too carby for us).
Good For Special Diet:
They have four preferences - meat & veggies, veggie, family friendly, and low calorie. If you're following a different special diet, you might be able to find a way to do it with Hello Fresh. It all depends on how many restrictions you have.
Their ingredients are clearly listed on all of their sauces, so you can always just omit something if you need to. Or find a substitution in your kitchen.
They have 20 chef-curated meals to choose from each week. But they don't categorize meals based on special diets.
$7.49-$8.99 per serving + $7.99 shipping. Try them now and get a great deal with this link.
Hello Fresh is great for anyone on a budget. Since the ingredients aren't certified Organic, they can offer meal kits for a lower price.
They've got a kid-friendly meal plan option if you want kid-tested recipes.
Hello Fresh is for you if:
- You're looking for meals delivered a couple times a week to take the grocery/planning burden off of your shoulders.
- You're looking for quick and easy recipes to cook at home, and aren't a crazy foodie like myself.
- Either you're not on a special diet, or you're okay looking at all the ingredients and making substitutions from your own kitchen, where needed.
Try Hello Fresh with this link to save on your first orders.
Meal Kit Summary
So what's the conclusion? Well after trying all of these meal delivery services, one thing is for sure...we love meal kits. I love that there are so many choice. And each of them has something going for them.
It all depends what you're looking for and what your priorities are. Are you:
- Dealing with special diets? Try Sun Basket or Green Chef.
- A foodie and want to make extremely delicious (and Organic) food in your own kitchen? Try Green Chef Today.
- Just getting into the meal-kit thing and learning how to cook? Try Blue Apron.
- Wanting to try a meal kit, but don't have a huge budget? Try Hello Fresh.
If you're trying to save money, eat more at home, and be more aware of the ingredients in your food, a meal kit could be exactly what you need.
Did you know it costs about 5x more money to eat at a restaurant than it does to eat at home. And meal kits bring that down to about 3x as much as at home. So if you're looking for restaurant-quality food in the comfort of your own home, what are you waiting for?
How to incorporate meal kits into your routine
Here are my favorite ways to incorporate meal kits into our typical meal planning routine:
- When we want to try a new recipe but need a little inspiration.
- Date night - My husband and I both enjoy cooking together, but since we've had kids, we haven't been able to cook together much. A meal kit makes a great date night option. Plus, if you eat after the kids go down you can eat the food you actually enjoy eating (without worrying whether your kids will like it or not).
- If, like now (2020), the restaurants are closed or you don't want to be in a crowd, these meal kit companies will deliver the recipes and ingredients to your door. No need to face the crowds. Dinner's covered.