4 Ways to Make Dinner Easier


You know homemade is healthiest-but sometimes the planning, shopping, and cooking just feels like so much work. Well, the food gods have heard your prayers: Services are cropping up all over that do the hard part, delivering recipes and ingredients right to your doorstep. (If only they came with someone to do the dishes.)

"Cooking is a fundamental life skill, and these companies make it really easy to get back into the kitchen and fix balanced meals," says Heather Mangieri, M.S., R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Once you've gained confidence with a few meals, use the ingredients and techniques you've learned and start experimenting. Don't be afraid to get creative." We kitchen-tested four of the largest companies.

1. Blue Apron

Price: $10 per plate ($60 for three meals)

Pros: Among the most delicious and balanced meals we tasted; lowest price per plate

Cons: Not national; you can request diet preferences but can't choose meals

2. Plated

Price: $15 per plate ($60 for two meals); those with a membership (starting at $8 a month) pay $12 per plate

Pros: Big focus on local ingredients; extremely flexible-you choose your meals and how many (with a minimum of two); starting this fall, will offer add-on desserts

Cons: Without a monthly membership, highest price per plate

3. HelloFresh

Price: $11.50 per plate ($69 for a Classic box with three meals; vegetarian box costs less)

Pros: Met the promise of quick 30-minute meals (some of the other plans took longer); detailed nutrition information; will start delivering nationwide this fall

Cons: Some meals could have included more veggies

4. PeachDish

Price: $12.50 per plate ($50 for two meals)

Pros: The closer you are to the Atlanta-based company, the more local your groceries will be; easy and fast meals; a surprise treat included each week (ours was a bite-size dessert)

Cons: Doesn't include any nutrition information; portion sizes less consistent

*All meals serve two or more people; prices represent the fewest meals you can order for two people. Companies deliver to all or most of the United States unless indicated.

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