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February 12, 2020

Meal Delivery Kits Evaluated

To help people create healthy meals using fresh ingredients, numerous companies have created a meal delivery service. With these subscription services, you receive exactly the ingredients you need to make a dish, which helps to eliminate food waste and reduce prep time. You also receive corresponding recipe cards that guide you as you prepare delicious meals at home.

In this post, we’ll share information about four meal kit delivery services, along with links to articles sharing even more options.

Home Chef

The magazine Self lists what their editors consider the 13 best meal kit delivery services, and we’ll share three of their choices. They selected Home Chef because this service allows you to choose from nearly a dozen meals each week — ones you can prepare in 30 minutes or less. They have set up their plans to accommodate dietary restrictions and, because they prepare their menus five weeks in advance, you can plan out more than an entire month’s worth of meals in one sitting.

With Home Chef, meals typically cost $10 per serving, and you can choose to have two or four servings delivered. There is free delivery on orders more than $45; under $45, there is a $10 delivery charge. This meal plan is available nationwide.

Purple Carrot

Every meal from Purple Carrot is vegan, ideal if you don’t eat animal products or if you’re lactose intolerant. Self says this meal plan goes far beyond “boring grilled veggies,” instead offering “seasonal products, herbs, and creative sauces that keep things interesting.”

They offer choices that are quick and easy to make, as well as ones that are high in protein. There are also chef’s choice meal plans. Purple Carrot costs $72 week and provides three meals weekly for two people. The subscription service for this meal company is available in all states except Alaska and Hawaii.

Green Chef

This subscription service is ideal if you want ingredients that are USDA-certified as organic because their aim is to ensure that at least 90% of ingredients sent are organic. Each Green Chef meal is designed to be prepared within 30 minutes. You can choose meals created for vegetarians and vegans, as well as ones for carnivores and omnivores. They also provide paleo, keto and gluten-free meal plans. The Green Chef subscription service is available nationwide, and it costs $79 weekly for three meals for two people, which includes shipping; note how some dietary options come with a higher cost. You can also pay $95 weekly for two meals for four people, including shipping.

Martha and Marley Spoon

Reviewed.com includes Martha and Marley Spoon in its recommendations. This company is co-led by Martha Stewart and the review notes how meals are “as sophisticated, simple, and American as its namesake.” Portions are smaller than those offered by other meal delivery services, with less variety from week to week.
Price per serving when ordering for two people is $10.25 per meal; when ordering for four, the per-meal price is $8.90. Options include those for vegetarians and vegans, and there are gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free choices. While many meal plans provide recipes that take 30 minutes or less, those by Martha and Marley Spoon typically take 50 minutes.

You can find even more meal plan options at CNET.com and Epicurious.com, along with details about each subscription service listed.

Pros and Cons of Meal Delivery Services

Money Management International lists the advantages and disadvantages of signing up with a meal kit company. Pros include ease of preparation, with reduced prep time, and portion control. Because you receive fresh ingredients, the meal kits are healthier than many other options, and you can often choose plans that fit your dietary needs.

Cons include the cost, which averages $10 to $15 per person. This is more than if you went to the grocery store and bought your own ingredients, but less than going out to a restaurant. Fresh ingredients perish fairly quickly, so you need to use the kits more quickly, and the quality of ingredients varies by meal kit company. Portion sizes may be too small for some people. Plus, you typically need to make your meal choices at least one week ahead of time.

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