Over the past few years, new meal delivery services have been popping up left and right, offering a wide array of options for just about everyone.
These services help streamline meal prep and reduce the time you spend in the kitchen, all while adding diversity to your diet.
However, with so many options available, it can be challenging to know how to go about finding the meal delivery service that’s right for you.
This article discusses 12 of the most important factors to consider when selecting a meal kit.
When picking a meal delivery service, the first thing to consider is the type of meals it provides.
Some services, such as Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, provide premeasured ingredients and recipe cards, making it easy to make your own meals at home and improve your confidence in the kitchen.
Others offer fully prepared meals, which are delivered either frozen or refrigerated for easy reheating. This can be a good choice if you have a busy schedule and don’t want to worry about cooking during the week.
Certain companies may also offer multiple types of meals. Sun Basket, for example, allows you to choose from a selection of meal kits and fully prepared dishes to customize your weekly box.
Curious about prepared or frozen options? Be sure to read the following guides:
Another key consideration when picking a meal delivery service is its available meal options.
Although many companies focus exclusively on dinner dishes, others also offer other meals for an additional fee.
Certain meal delivery services also provide other optional add-ons, such as snacks, sauces, proteins, and drinks, which may be ideal if you’re hoping to save time on grocery shopping each week.
Additionally, if you’re looking for kid-friendly meals, you may want to consider a company that caters specifically to children, such as Yumble.
If you have any dietary restrictions, it’s important to find a meal delivery service that provides options that are suitable for your needs and preferences.
For example, many companies label items that are low carb, low sodium, paleo-friendly, or vegetarian, making it easy to check the menu to find which meals will work for you.
Or, if you’re following a gluten-free diet, you should opt for a company that offers meals that are certified gluten-free or produces foods in a gluten-free kitchen, such as Green Chef.
Additionally, if eating organic is a priority for you, you should look for a service that uses mostly organic ingredients, such as Daily Harvest.
Also, keep in mind that many services prepare their meals in kitchens that handle major allergens. Therefore, if you have a food allergy, it’s important to contact the company if you have any concerns about cross contamination.
Here are a few guides to help you find the service that best fits your dietary needs:
If you find that eating the same foods every week gets too repetitive, choosing a meal delivery service that offers plenty of variety in their menu is crucial.
Be sure to consider how often the menu rotates and whether a company offers weekly specials or seasonal items to add diversity to your diet.
You should also decide whether you prefer ordering from a company that selects your meals for you each week, or if you want to mix and match your favorite foods yourself for a customized meal plan.
When checking the menu of a meal delivery service, you should consider the specific style and complexity of the dishes they offer.
If you’re an adventurous eater, you may want to look for a meal delivery service that incorporates lots of new and interesting ingredients into their meals.
For example, Purple Carrot offers plant-based meals that feature a variety of unique herbs, spices, and vegetables, making it a great choice for those who like to get creative in the kitchen.
On the other hand, some companies like Freshly focus on familiar favorites. Freshly has an extensive menu with options that the whole family can enjoy.
If you’re ordering a meal kit that requires you to cook and prepare foods at home, you should also consider the time commitment for each meal and whether it fits into your schedule.
Whether you’re trying to manage your weight, manage your blood sugar levels, or simply eat healthier, finding a service that provides healthy, nutritious meals is key.
Ideally, each dish should contain a good mix of nutrient-dense ingredients, including veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats.
Some people may also prefer meals with a higher amount of protein or a lower amount of carbs, sugar, sodium, or calories.
If this is an important factor for you, be sure to look for a company that provides detailed information on the nutritional value of each meal to find a service that caters to your needs.
Here are a few guides to help you find a service that best fits your nutritional needs:
Most meal delivery services offer weekly subscriptions to plans of varying portion sizes, which can make it easy to find an option that works for you.
If you’re looking to feed the whole family, check out Home Chef, which provides either 2, 4, or 6 servings in each box for households of all sizes.
On the other hand, companies like Factor or Sprinly offer individually portioned meals, which can be especially convenient for those who live alone.
Picking a meal kit that uses fresh, high quality ingredients is an easy and effective way to maximize the quality of your dish and ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Some companies provide detailed information on which ingredients are found in every meal, along with where each ingredient is sourced to help ensure quality.
You should also consider how orders are packaged and how long they are in transit, as this can significantly affect the ingredient quality.
For many people, sustainability is an important issue that should be carefully considered when selecting a meal delivery service.
Unfortunately, most services use large amounts of single-use plastic and unsustainable packaging, which can create excess waste.
Instead, you can minimize your environmental impact by choosing an eco-friendly company that uses recyclable or compostable packaging.
You should also look for companies that feature seasonal or local ingredients in their recipes, which are more sustainable and often even taste better.
Meal delivery services can range quite a bit in terms of cost.
Some companies are much more budget-friendly, such as Dinnerly or EveryPlate, both of which cost a fraction of the price of similar services.
You can also often save money by ordering more servings or meals per week.
When evaluating the price of a service, be sure to consider the additional costs for things like shipping, premium ingredients, and optional add-ons to find a service that fits your budget.
You can also check out our list of the five most affordable meal delivery services.
Unfortunately, not all companies offer nationwide shipping.
In fact, some services are limited to specific regions, and many only offer delivery within the contiguous United States.
This may be especially important to keep in mind if you live in a rural area or certain states like Hawaii or Alaska.
Fortunately, some companies like Trifecta Nutrition provide free nationwide shipping, even in areas where delivery options are often limited.
Even if you check the menu of a meal delivery service and read the brand’s website from top to bottom, it can be difficult to determine how the food will actually look and taste when it’s delivered to your doorstep.
Reading firsthand reviews from other customers can help you get a good sense of the true taste, texture, and appearance of each meal to help you decide whether it’s a good fit.
You should also keep an eye out for reviews that mention issues with delivery, quality, or customer service using websites like Consumer Affairs.
Many meal delivery services are available, each of which varies in terms of nutritional value, variety, price, quality, and availability.
Be sure to consider all of the factors outlined in this article to select a service that meets your needs.
You can also check out some of the articles listed above for more ideas on where to get started.