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EATSMARTER! Exclusive

Choosing the Best Meal Delivery Service

By EAT SMARTER
Updated on 22. Sep. 2016

Getting dinner on the table can be a challenge some nights. Between getting home from work, helping the kids with homework and doing any housework, preparing a delicious and healthy meal turns into a time-consuming task. Here at EAT SMARTER! we know this, we have a collection of quick and healthy recipes that can easily be made, sometimes in as little as 15 minutes. We also understand that sometimes having prepped ingredients ready to go with an easy to follow recipe may be helpful, and that is where meal delivery services come in.

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There are many meal delivery services currently available on the market, some are nationwide while some are limited to only certain cities and areas. These meal delivery services have many different choices and flavor preferences ranging from southern-inspired to vegan. We have looked at the some of the top choices for meal deliveries and compared them to one another so you can make an informed choice if you think meal deliveries will be a beneficial addition to your kitchen.

These services work by delivering all the ingredients you need to make meals right to your front door. The ingredients are proportioned and come with a recipe. In some, but not all cases, the company also provides nutritional information. This information varies from only showing calories and fat to including the whole spectrum of vitamins and minerals that the meal provides.

Blue Apron:

Blue Apron is one of the most well-known meal delivery services currently available on the market right now. Their mission is “to make incredible home cooking accessible to everyone.” They work to support regenerative farming practices, have a food waste reduction program, a program where their packaging can be sent back for proper recycling, and they work with the Monterey Bay Aquarium to make sure all the seafood used is a safe and sustainable choice.

Blue Apron has a few plans that you can choose from, either a two-person plan or a family plan. They have vegetarian and meat options.

Sample menu items include: Peruvian Roast Chicken and Potatoes, Japanese Rice Bowl & Mushroom Tempura, and Maryland-style Cod Cake Sandwiches.

Blue Apron also has a marketplace where you can purchase (mostly Blue Apron) branded kitchen tools, such as cutting boards, whisks, and aprons. In addition, Blue Apron offers a wine subscription service where you can get 6 500 mL (they say the perfect bottle size for 2 people, about ⅔ the size of a traditional bottle of wine) bottles of wine for $65.99 per month. The wine comes with tasting notes and pairing tips.

Plated:

Plated is another well-known service for meal deliveries. They boost the quality and creativity of their ingredients and recipes as a way they are different from their competitors. The meat they use is from animals raised without antibiotics and they source sustainable and domestic seafood. While Plated does not have a send-back recycling program like Blue Apron, they do provide detailed instructions on how to recycle or reuse all the different kinds of packaging you receive with your order.

Plated plans go by either 2, 3, or 4 2-serving dinners per week. They have options for both vegetarians and meat eaters.

Sample menu items include: Zucchini Lasagna, Brown Butter Pork Chops, and Vegetable Tostadas.

Hello Fresh:

Hello Fresh has been around for a few years and they are in the group of companies which leads that market. There is limited information about the sourcing of ingredients and there is not any information provided on their website about how to recycle the packaging that the ingredients come in. They do, however, state that their recipes are created with the help of a nutritionist and they do provide detailed nutrition information for each recipe.

There are three options for Hello Fresh deliveries including a Classic Box, Veggie Box, and a Family Box.

Sample menu items include: Argentine-Spiced Steak, Open-Faced Turkey Patty Melts, as well as recipes created in partnership with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver such as Basil Pesto Tagliatelle.

Peach Dish:

This southern-inspired company is still fairly unknown, but they have bold flavors and a good variety of options available on a weekly basis including dishes in their Ribbon Series which are more curated and expensive. They provide detailed information about the suppliers they use and you are able to purchase items from their suppliers through the Peach Dish website. You can also purchase a variety of ‘goodies’ such as pantry items, cookbooks, desserts, and specialty recipes.

You can order between 2 and 12 servings of each meal, they offer vegetarian options.

Sample menu items include: Gnocchi with Green Beans, Vidalia Onion, and Pesto, Beef Tenderloin with Demi-Glace, Roasted New Potatoes & Heirloom Beans (Ribbon Series), and Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Dressing, Walnuts & Garlic Rice Pilaf.

Home Chef:

Home Chef partners with chefs to create recipes that are easily prepared at home with their ingredients and guidance. They offer gluten-free, vegetarian, low-carb, and allergy friendly options. Their website does not offer any tips for recycling the packaging the ingredients come in.

You can order per serving, and you can pick how many meals you want per week.

Sample menu items include: Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Dill Yogurt Sauce, Spring Noodle Salad, and French Chicken Breast.

Purple Carrot:

Purple Carrot is a newcomer to the market, and it is the only one from this group that is 100% vegan. They tout the health benefits of a plant-based diet and give you information about how it helps not just your body but also the environment. If you are slowly phasing meat out, or if you are trying to add more creative vegetable dishes to your week Purple Carrot is a great choice.

At the moment, they only have two plan options: three, two-serving meals per week or two, four-serving meals per week.

Sample menu items include: Brown Rice Spaghetti with Miso Walnut Sauce and Crisp Green Beans, Sweet Potato Mushroom Tacos with Mango Chile Salsa, and Asparagus and Caramelized Onion Flatbread with White Bean Puree.

Sun Basket:  

Sun Basket is the only meal delivery kit that offers organic and non-GMO ingredients. They have a strong focus on providing the best ingredients, including sustainable seafood, antibiotic-free, pasture raised, and grass-fed meat. The meals and plans are created by a professional chef, approved by a nutritionist and can be customized as paleo, gluten-free, or vegetarian depending on your personal dietary needs. Their website features information about some of the farms they source their ingredients from.

You can choose a 2-person plan or a 4-person plan, from there you have a variety of options such as Chef’s Choice, Rise & Shine (which includes breakfast), Vegetarian, Paleo, and Gluten-Free.

Sample menu items include: Pan-seared Steak with Romesco and Kale-Artichoke Salad, Risotto with Corn, Shiitakes, and Basil, and Spiced Lamb Patties with Cauliflower “Tabbouleh.”

Marley Spoon:

Marley Spoon is another newcomer, they have a focus on supplying the best seasonal ingredients for your meal plan. Their chef-created meals are vibrant looking and have options for vegetarian and gluten-free eaters. They have a lot of information about recycling or reusing the packaging that the ingredients come in, as well as a program where you can send the packaging back and they will recycle it for you.

They offer a variety of different plans for either two people or a family of four. Each week you can have 2, 3, or 4 meals delivered to your home.

Sample menu items include: Chorizo and Kale Tostadas, Gluten-Free Broccoli Pasta, and Caramel Chicken with Steamed Bok Choy and Rice.

Price and detail breakdown:

There are many options out there if you are looking for a convenient way to get a home-cooked meal on the table at the end of a long day. It is important to take all the different aspects of each program into consideration before ordering. Take a look at the nutritional information of the meals you are ordering, because they are not all the healthiest choices.

Also, be aware of the plastic packaging that comes with these meal services, as the ingredients are all individually packaged (and usually in plastic). A lot of the companies have detailed instructions about how to recycle or reuse the packaging, and some even have programs where you can send your packaging back to them and they will recycle it for you.

All of these services tend to offer seasonal recipes and ingredients. They are also all flexible subscriptions, meaning you can cancel or pause whenever you need to.

If you are a busy person, but cooking a meal at night is important to you, it is a good idea to consider one of these meal kit delivery services, which can take some of the guesswork out of getting dinner on the table.

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