How to Choose a Healthy Meal Kit Service

Three Parts:Picking a Meal Delivery KitEvaluating Your Meal NeedsMaking the Decision on a Meal Kit Delivery Service

A new and popular mail service trend are meal kit delivery services. Companies will ship out groceries and recipe cards so you can skip the grocery store and make fresh meals at home.[1] There are huge variety of these services. Some offer very minimally prepped ingredients, while others will ship you pre-made meals that require little preparation. In addition, some of these meal kit companies offer vegetarian options, Paleo options or even feature specific cuisines like southern recipes or asian-inspired recipes. Since there are so many of these meal kit delivery services available, it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for you. Do a little research beforehand on a few companies so you can pick out the right one for you.

Part 1
Picking a Meal Delivery Kit

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    Consider your personal food preferences. When you go online to research different meal kit delivery services, you'll notice there are a whole bunch of options. Review what types of foods, cuisines and recipes are typically featured.
    • If you're a picky eater or enjoy more standard American-style or comfort foods, look for options that will fit your tastes.
    • For example, instead of getting a meal kit service that feature unique foods like Bibimbap bowls or Korean tacos, choose a service that features recipes like buffalo chicken sandwiches or spaghetti and meatballs.[2]
    • If you're interested in getting out of your "cooking comfort zone" or want to try new flavors, look for a meal kit service that does offer more unique ingredients, spices and recipes.
    • Many meal kit services will give you a few recipes and meals to choose from each week. Usually you have the option of choosing a more traditional recipe in addition to trying something more unique.
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    Consider add on options. Since there are a variety of meal kit delivery services available, companies are working to distinguish their offerings. Some companies now offer much more than just a dinner meal.
    • If you enjoy the occasional glass of wine or beer, some companies now offer "alcohol add-ons." They will suggest an alcoholic beverage that will pair well with one or all of the recipes or meals you've chosen.
    • Other meal kit services also offer dessert. If you'd like to try a sweet treat (without making a whole cake or pie), these are great options to try as well.
    • Note that if you're adding additional items to your weekly meals, there is usually an extra cost associated with these add-ons.
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    Review ingredient sourcing. The availability of meal kit delivery services has opened up the door for people to receive local, organic or sustainably grown ingredients. If you're interested in using these types of foods or ingredients, make sure to review the ingredient sourcing from different companies.
    • Some meal kit delivery services advertise that their ingredients are all locally grown or raised. You may even find services that only deliver to a small local area as well.
    • If you want organic or sustainably grown/raised ingredients, make sure you spend time reviewing where they get their ingredients and whether or not they can be verified as 100% organic.
    • Another feature that you may want to pay attention to is whether or not the packaging is environmentally friendly or recyclable. Each ingredient and food is wrapped individually and the shipping box also has extra packing and cold packs to keep things fresh.
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    Choose a service with a lot of flexibility. One feature that you should look for specifically in a meal kit delivery service is flexibility. While most companies do provide some flexibility, some specific items you should note are:
    • Meal and recipe variety. You'll notice some companies offer as many as 9 different meal options per week. Others may only offer 3-5 items.[3]
    • Ship dates. If you have a varying schedule week by week, choose a service that allows you to choose the delivery dates every week. Some don't offer this option and some only allow you to choose the ship date with initial sign-up.
    • Delayed delivery. Another option that is important to look for, is the ability to delay or cancel a delivery for a week or more. You may only want to get a delivery service 2 times a month. You should be able to choose what weeks your delivery comes and which ones you want to skip or delay.
    • Easy cancellation. Always thoroughly review how to cancel your subscription. You may just need to "delete your account" or send an email to a support person. You should also look that they allow you to cancel any time.

Part 2
Evaluating Your Meal Needs

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    Figure out your weekly food budget. Just like you'd stick to a budget when you're grocery shopping, you should also figure out your budget for meal kit delivery services. Many services are comparable to purchasing foods at the store, but others may be more expensive.
    • If you already know your weekly food budget, use this amount to gauge if you want to spend money on a food delivery service a few times a week.
    • If you're unsure of your budget, track your weekly spending at the grocery store. You may want to average a few weeks to get an idea of how much money you typically spend on food.
    • Take note, the prices of the weekly subscriptions may look significantly less expensive, however many times they're only delivering 3 meals per week.
    • In addition, these meals do not generally provide enough food for leftovers. So you'll still need to purchase breakfast, lunch and snack items at the grocery store.
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    Note any special diet needs. If you have a food allergy, sensitivity or a cultural/religious diet restriction, make sure you search for a meal kit delivery service that can abide by those restrictions.
    • If you're a vegetarian, vegan or even someone following the Paleo diet, you can find a variety of meal kit delivery services that have offerings that fit those needs.
    • It might be a little more difficult to find a meal kit delivery service that is Kosher or Halal. However, if this is essential to you, you may want to call different companies and ask how they're foods are prepared and whether or not they fit these guidelines.
    • Most of these companies do give information on each ingredient and allergen information. However, if you have a severe allergy to foods, it's always best to call and double check how the ingredients are handled and processed.
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    Decide how much cooking you want to do. As mentioned previously, there are a large variety of meal kit delivery services that can meet many different needs. Many also advertise that they are for beginner chefs, experienced chefs or are designed for those who want to do minimal cooking.
    • When reviewing possible meal kit delivery services, check the options that are available. Companies will list the skill level needed to prepare items. This will help you determine what meals or companies fit your cooking abilities.
    • If you love cooking and love experimenting with new cooking techniques, go for a company that will send meals that are more intricate to make. These meals may be more fun to prepare and you may learn some new cooking skills.
    • Some companies offer prepared meals. These require little to no preparation. Some meals just need to be reheated or assembled. This is great for someone not interested or comfortable with cooking.
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    Consider your scheduling needs. One aspect you should look for in a meal kit delivery service is flexibility. This is especially important if you have specific scheduling needs.
    • If you have a very busy schedule and don't typically follow a routine day by day or week by week, go for a company that gives you a lot of flexibility as far as the day of delivery and timing of the delivery.
    • If you like sticking to a tight schedule and routine, make sure to sign up for a weekly delivery and time that fits into your schedule. You can make this very hands off and know that you'll automatically have a delivery the same time and the same day of each week.
    • Also, if you do enjoy going grocery shopping or going to the farmers market, you may want to sign up for a company that allows you to "skip" weeks of delivery.

Part 3
Making the Decision on a Meal Kit Delivery Service

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    Try Blue Apron. Blue Apron was one of the very first meal kit delivery services available. They're a more general type of meal kit service and have a variety of offers to meet your needs.
    • Blue Apron offers two different plans: a two person plan or a family plan (which serves four people) and you'll get 3 meals weekly. They also have recently added a wine club which you can add-on for an additional price.
    • Meals do need to be prepared. You'll spend approximately 30-45 minutes cooking the meal. However, all of the ingredients are pre-portioned for you.
    • In addition, Blue Apron sends very nice recipe and instruction cards with information on how to make the meal and facts on different featured ingredients.
    • Blue Apron is best for someone who has some basic cooking knowledge, has the time to cook for 45 minutes and enjoys a wide variety of cuisines.
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    Get southern cuisine with Peach Dish. Peach Dish is a unique service in that it offers meals and recipes that have a southern influence. If you enjoy traditional comfort food, this may be the service for you.
    • Peach dish offers two different plans. You will get 2 meals per week and you can either choose a 2 serving or a 4 serving plan.
    • Like many meal kit delivery services, you'll need to do some cooking with Peach Dish. Ingredients do come pre-portioned and packaged, but you'll need to cook and prepare the dish.
    • Peach Dish is best for those that enjoy southern cuisine, have a tighter budget and also want to stick to more traditional types of foods.
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    Cook dinner in 20 minutes with Forage. Forage is a much newer meal kit delivery service. It also distinguishes itself from others by using recipes and meals from local restaurants (instead of an in-house culinary team).
    • Forage offers only one plan at this time. You will get 2 meals with 2 servings each every week. It's also a little on the pricier side compared to some of the other companies.
    • Another way that forage is a little different from other companies, is that some of the meal or ingredients are already cooked or prepped for you. This can help cut down on the overall cooking time required for their meals (less than 20 minutes per meal).
    • The one downside of forage is that it's only available to California and Nevada residents at this time. Though they do have plans to expand to more locations in the future.
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    Try Hello Fresh. Hello Fresh is another very popular and common meal kit delivery service. Their claim to fame is that they offer more nutritious meals in addition to offering a vegetarian plan.
    • Hello Fresh offers 4 different plans. You can do the vegetarian box for either two or four people or you can purchase the classic box for either two or four people. The vegetarian box is cheaper than the classic box.
    • One interesting aspect of Hello Fresh is that they have partnered with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. When you're choosing your meals, you can choose meals and recipes created by him.
    • Hello Fresh is very similar to Blue Apron. They're dishes take about 30 minutes to prepare. All ingredients are pre-portioned, but you cook the meal.
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    Increase your choices with Plated. Plated is another meal kit delivery service that has become more popular over the last year or so as well. It's most similar to Hello Fresh and Blue Apron.
    • Plated doesn't have specific plans to choose from. They present 7 different meals each week and you can sign up for however many meals you'd like delivered that week. The pricing is more expensive than some of the other companies.
    • Plated is designed for a home cook that has some basic cooking skills. In addition, meals are little more time intensive and hands-on. So if you're not fan of cooking or don't have time for little details, this might not be the plan for you.
    • The meals and recipes offered by Plated are a little more unique and span a variety of cuisines each week.


  • Do thorough research prior to signing up for any weekly meal kit delivery service option.
  • Also make sure to read how to cancel your subscription and how often they're charging your credit card.

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Categories: Maintaining Diets