Blog post contributed by Alyce Reichenbacher, Dietetic Intern from Saint Louis University.
Home meal delivery services have recently skyrocketed in popularity. Do names like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, and Sun Basket ring a bell? If not, these are all examples of the various home meal delivery services that are available to the public. These companies, along with many others, ship ingredients and corresponding recipes right to your door. All that’s left for you to do is whip them up!
There are a few perks to using a meal delivery services:

  • They eliminate decision fatigue from having to figure out what to make for dinner each night.
  • They offer opportunities to try new cuisines or techniques.
  • They may help reduce food waste, because delivery kits include only what you need for each recipe.

Because there are so many options, I did the dirty work for you and researched a few of the most popular meal delivery services. Find out what one works best for you and your family:

1. Hello Fresh

  • Great for: Couples and new cooks
  • Price/serving: $8.47-$9.99
  • Plans feed 2 or 4 people
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy
  • Nutrition: Vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan options. You can choose Fit, Quick, or Variety meals. Fit contains the most wholesome, nutritionally dense meals on the menu, Quick contains the simplest and quickest meals. Variety contains recipes with new ingredients and cooking techniques to keep you on your toes.
  • Options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner but no dessert.
  • Other: Each recipe takes around 30 minutes and only consist of 6 steps. There are only 8 meal options to choose from each week. Ingredients come pre-measured and only the amount you need to make the meal. Free Shipping!

2. Blue Apron

  • Great for: Busy families
  • Price/serving: $8.74-$14.99
  • Plans feed 2 or 4 people
  • Level of Difficulty: Medium
  • Nutrition: Vegetarian and pescatarian options offered but difficult for any other diet restrictions.
  • Dinner only. Utilizes a wide variety of cuisines. Recipes change every week and tend to be seasonal.
  • Other: The weekly menu only consists of 6 choices for the 2 person plan and 4 options for the family plan. The company markets themselves on being environmentally friendly compared to their competitors. No additional shipping charges.

3. Sun Basket

  • Great for: The health-conscious foodie
  • Price/serving: $9.99-$11.99
  • Plans feed up to 4 people
  • Level of Difficulty: Medium
  • Nutrition: Paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, lean & clean options available. However, gluten-free meals are prepared in a facility that handles wheat. All produce is organic. They have 2 meal plans for dinner, Classic and Family. Recipes are created by Justine Kelly, who was the former head chef of a James Beard Award-winning restaurant. All recipes are “nutritionist-approved.”
  • Other: Choose from a variety of 18 weekly recipes. Added shipping costs and does not deliver to some states.

4. Home Chef

  • Great for: Picky eaters and/or lots of diet restrictions
  • Price/serving: $4.95-$9.95
  • Plans feed 2, 4, or 6 people
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy
  • Nutrition: Nutrition information provided with each recipe. Offers regular meals, smoothies, and fruit baskets. Caters to a variety of diet restrictions including vegetarian, nut-free, poultry only, soy-free, gluten free, low calories, low-carb, dairy-free.
  • Other: Only 13 meals to choose from each week. Free shipping on orders over $45.

5. Plated

  • Great for: Adventurous eaters who want variety and creativity in their dishes
  • Price/serving: $9.95-$11.95
  • Plans feed 2, 3, or 4 people
  • Level of Difficulty: Medium
  • Nutrition: Lots of seasonal recipes. Options for vegetarian, gluten-free, low calorie, and low-carb diets but there are no vegan-friendly recipes. Can mix and match dishes and serving sizes.
  • Dessert is offered.
  • Other: Gives you lots of options for meals. Offers 20 new recipes to choose from each week. Company places a strong emphasis on sustainability. There is a shipping fee.

Having a meal delivered to your house can save time and lower stress (plus, it can be fun!). However, meal delivery kits aren’t for everyone. Do subscriptions freak you out? Do you have a family bigger than 4? Is it too expensive? Well, you’re in luck because McDaniel Nutrition Therapy offers a free weekly Nutritious Family Eats Newsletter that offers another way to save time on meal prepping without spending all the money.
We do all the planning for you! You receive free weekly meal plans straight to your email with links to a variety of user-friendly recipes that are geared toward families and created by registered dietitians. While you still have to do the shopping and cooking (sorry, friends!), our newsletter eliminates the decision fatigue that comes from planning dinners every night.
The newsletter still gives you the autonomy to make changes/substitutions to your meals while saving some money in your bank account. Click here to sign up!