There are a ton of meal kits on the market now. Here's how to pick the right one for you.
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Pricing: From $9.99 per serving; blueapron.com
Known for: They're the OG meal kit delivery service, and they know it.
Best for: Most of Blue Apron's recipes are pretty easy, making the company a good choice for beginner cooks. Though there are generally a few choices for your three weekly meals, this isn't the best option for those with dietary restrictions, as they really only offer a regular and vegetarian option. And even though the meals won't take forever cook, you'll still spend a decent amount of time in the kitchen—somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 minutes. If you use cooking as a way to decompress and chill out after a long day, you'll be set. If not, keep reading.
Photo: Blue Apron
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Pricing: From $12 per serving; purplecarrot.com
Known for: They're 100 percent plant-based, and committed to it.
Best for: Vegetarians, vegans, and plant-based athletes will love Purple Carrot. The service offers traditional plant-based meals as well as the TB12 Performance Meal plan, which is Tom Brady–approved. TB's meals are higher in protein and always gluten-free, while the regular meal plan places an emphasis on simple, wholesome ingredients.
Photo: Purple Carrot
Amazon Meal Kits
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Pricing: From $8 per serving; amazon.com
Known for: Meals that go from box to table in about 30 minutes, delivered via AmazonFresh.
Best for: Anyone within an AmazonFresh delivery area. Though these meals are only available in select areas at the moment, they're incredibly convenient for those who already use AmazonFresh for groceries. And considering Amazon does just about everything these days, it's not so surprising that they've jumped into the meal kit delivery world. Their model is a little different—you simply buy each meal individually, and you can choose from fancier options like Togarashi-Spiced Salmon with Soba Noodles and simpler meals, like a Veggie Quinoa Bowl with Spiced Chickpeas. (BTW, here's why Amazon buying Whole Foods makes total sense.)
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Pricing: Average $15 per serving; chefd.com
Known for: Diet-specific meals from top chefs, including Weight Watchers–friendly ones with pre-calculated SmartPoints values, so all you need to do is cook, eat, and log your food.
Best for: Anyone on Weight Watchers, looking to lose weight, or hoping to eat healthier overall who has a decent budget to spend on food and likes the idea of meals recommended by fancy chefs. Chef'd also offers an Atkins meal plan, an American Diabetes Association meal plan, and New York Times Cooking meal plan. They also have quite a few lunch options for those interested in meal prepping their work lunches with minimal planning required.
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Pricing: From $8 to $15 for two servings; available only in-store
Known for: Affordable meals you can grab in-store with just the ingredients you need.
Best for: People who stop at Walmart on the regular and are looking for an option that won't break the bank. Walmart has carried other brands' meal kits for a while, but recently introduced their own, and the pricing really can't be beat, even though you need to actually go to the store to pick them up. Meal choices include Steak Dijon, Basil Garlic Chicken, and Sweet Chili Chicken Stir-Fry. As of now, the kits are available in over 250 stores, with plans to roll them out to over 2,000 by the end of the year—so keep your eyes peeled.
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Pricing: From $8.74 per serving; hellofresh.com
Known for: Easy-to-follow recipes that don't break the bank, with lots of one-pan meals to keep cleanup to a minimum.
Best for: People who are super busy and have a limited budget. HelloFresh already offers veggie options, but they also just acquired another meal kit delivery service, Green Chef, which means they'll soon be adding USDA-certified organic and vegan meal plans, as well as keto, paleo, and certified gluten-free meal plans.
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Pricing: From $10.99 per serving; sunbasket.com
Known for: Clean, sustainable meals for a variety of health-conscious eating styles.
Best for: People who are really specific about how they like to eat and want to know exactly where their food came from. Choose from gluten-free, paleo, soy-free, dairy-free, and lower-calorie options. Sun Basket places an emphasis on ethical sourcing of animal products and the best organic produce, which means you never have to wonder about quality. They also provide very specific nutrition info about each meal, in case you're counting macros or are simply curious.
Photo: Sun Basket
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Pricing: From $9.95 per serving; plated.com
Known for: 20 recipe options and two dessert choices per week, from a team led by a Le Cordon Bleu–trained chef.
Best for: People who want to choose the exact recipes they get from a ton of different options. Some other meal kit delivery services allow you to choose which recipes you'd like to receive, but Plated has *by far* the biggest offering in terms of variety.
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Pricing: From $9.99 per serving; terraskitchen.com
Known for: Healthy meals based on the Mediterranean diet with pre-chopped ingredients for a variety of dietary restrictions.
Best for: People who don't want to waste time chopping, have a dietary restriction, or are trying to lose weight. Like some of the other meal kit delivery services, you can select exactly which meals you want, with the bonus of all the ingredients coming ready to use and some meals even ready to eat. You can also purchase products like their 3-Day Fresh Food Detox, which includes everything you need for three full days of healthy meals, taking the guesswork out of eating well. Lastly, Terra's Kitchen uses an innovative delivery box called The Vessel, which keeps your neatly arranged food cold in easily removable shelves you can pull out and pop in the fridge.
Photo: Terra's Kitchen
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Pricing: Dinners $9.95 per serving, lunches $7.99 per serving; homechef.com
Known for: Simple, low-commitment meal delivery.
Best for: Busy people who want to cook but don't want to spend time thinking about it. Home Chef also offers a "plan ahead" option, which allows you to see the available meals for the next five weeks. That way, you can knock out all of your choices and not have to give brain space to it again for over a month. The company also realizes that lots of new cooks use their service, so they have a helpful kitchenware section on their site where you can buy cooking tools you might need to make their dishes. (BTW, scope these meal-prep gadgets that make batch cooking way easier.)
Photo: Home Chef