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The Best Cooking Apps and Food Services to Make Healthy Meals a Breeze

Purple Carrot

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Fans of Mark Bittman’s cookbooks will love this Boston-based company, which will ship you everything you need to make three meals a week. Like other meal-delivery services, Purple Carrot provides pre-measured ingredients and step-by-step instructions. But what makes Purple Carrot different is that the recipes are created by Bittman himself, who is the company’s Chief Innovation Officer, and the recipes are all vegan, and include freshplant-based, dairy-free ingredients. ($68; thepurplecarrot.com) (Love vegan? Try these 7 Vegan Recipes for a Satisfying Low-Calorie Lunch.)

Photo: Ava Brackett

SideChef

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This app literally talks you through the cooking process, narrating recipe steps to you and following voice commands like “next” or “back” when you want to skip ahead or repeat a step. Plus, it has built in timers to keep you on track as you move through a recipe. (Free, sidechef.com)

Photo: SideChef

Blue Apron Family Plan

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Of all the meal delivery kits we’ve tried, Blue Apron has some of the most delicious and balanced meals (and the lowest price per plate). In addition to their two-person and family plans, the company now has an online “market,” an e-commerce store that stocks the tools and cookware you need to get the best results, as well as a wine subscription. With Blue Apron Wine, you get six bottles each month to pair with your meals. They’re 500 ml bottles, which is the perfect size for two people to share. (From $60 for meal boxes, $66 for wine; blueapron.com) (Drink up! A Daily Glass of Red Wine Benefits Your Brain Age.)

Photo: Blue Apron

HelloFresh

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Like Blue Apron, HelloFresh delivers everything you need to prep three meals, in two-person or family size boxes. And starting this month, the company is partnering with Jamie Oliver, who will create recipes that customers can choose for their boxes. During the partnership, HelloFresh will donate to the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation for every meal box sold. ($69 for a Classic box for two with three meals; hellofresh.com)


Green Chef

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If you want the convenience of a meal kit and also prefer to eat organic, Green Chef is the box for you. It’s USDA-certified organic, and can be customized to your dietary preferences, including vegetarian, Paleo, and gluten-free. (From $72/box; greenchef.com)

Chef’d

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The company’s brand and chef partnerships are what sets its meal kits apart. The company has over 200 meals available to choose from; vegans can pick dishes that incorporate Beyond Meat (the company that brought you the High Protein Veggie Burger That’s the Best Thing to Ever Happen to Vegans), fitness lovers can get ingredients for meals by Tone It Up, and foodies can choose dinners from a wide range of chefs, including Alex Guarnaschelli and Chris Santos. (From $19/two-person meal; chefd.com)

Photo: Chef'd

PlateJoy

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If you don’t mind buying your own groceries, but can’t wrap your head around the process of making a meal plan and a shopping list, this service will help streamline the process. Take a quiz about what and how you like to eat, and PlateJoy will create a custom meal plan and shopping lists for you, taking into consideration special diets like gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, low-carb, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, and more. Especially smart: The algorithm pairs meals together to minimize the items on your grocery list, and tracks what you have at home. ($60/6 months; platejoy.com)

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