Everything You Need to Know About Meal Delivery Plans
If you’re looking for a smart and easy way to eat great food and save yourself time and money, then meal delivery plans are a great choice. These meal delivery companies deliver fresh ingredients and clear recipes, straight to your doorstep, allowing you to cook chef-inspired meals with ease.
But with so many options out there, it can be difficult to find the best meal plan for you, especially when you consider unique tastes, preferences, and dietary restrictions. Below we take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about meal delivery plans and what you should be looking for in a meal plan.
What is a Meal Delivery Plan?
Simply put, meal delivery plans offer pre-packaged meal ingredients and an associated recipe, delivered to your door. They allow you to cook fresh food at home but cut out the trouble and time it takes to find a recipe and shop for ingredients.
Most of these services have extensive menus, allowing users to choose the recipes they want for each week’s delivery. Then, a box is delivered once a week with everything you need to make your selected meals.
Which Kind of Services do Meal Delivery Plans Offer?
In general, a meal delivery plan lets customers choose from a variety of dishes and choose how frequently they want these meals delivered to them. The company will then deliver the food and recipe to your home with instructions for preparation. Some meal plan companies even offer prepared meals which don’t require any cooking whatsoever. These meals will either come frozen or sealed in refrigerated containers.
How Much do Meal Delivery Plans Cost?
Each meal delivery plan offers different pricing models. Pricing is usually based on a subscription model where you are charged monthly, though some delivery plans allow you to try meals a la carte, meaning as a one-time meal. Furthermore, when considering pricing, be sure to also look at extra charges for shipping and delivery. Our comparison table makes it easy to see the pricing of different meal delivery plans side-by-side, helping you compare plans and costs.
How Can I Make a Meal Delivery Plan More Budget-Friendly?
Despite the focus on affordable meal delivery plans, they can still end up costing you a bit more than if you did all the work yourself. The trade-off largely comes from the time and effort savings that you enjoy. For many people, that’s worth a few extra dollars per meal. But, if you’re looking to save even more money, and make the most out of your food budget dollar, while still enjoying the best meal delivery plans, follow our simple tips outlined below.
Try to choose recipes or service with meals that will freeze well, or provide portions that will provide sufficient leftovers. You can always order more servings than you need to ensure you have some leftover for another day’s quick meal or lunch.
Depending on the pricing plan of the meal delivery plan service, if it’s a fixed price for all meals regardless of ingredients, then take advantage – go for the recipes with higher-end ingredients, e.g. sirloin over chicken breast – and you can actually come out ahead, paying less than you would in a grocery store.
There are many promotional deals, coupons, and discount codes available for most meal delivery plans today. Be sure to do some quick Internet searches before you sign up, and get referral codes from any friends who use the same service, to maximize the value for your money.
What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing a Plan?
Aside from price, there are several other factors to consider such as delivery and shipping. When it comes to delivery and shipping, be sure to consider costs and make sure, of course, that you live within the delivery area of the meal delivery service. Furthermore, we strongly recommend taking a look at the delivery dates and times and making sure this matches up with your schedule.
Do Meal Delivery Plans Cater to Dietary Restrictions and Preferences?
There are many different types of meal delivery services and each company has different options to accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences. Below are some of the most popular options.
Not all meal delivery companies offer uniquely vegan meal plans so it’s best to check out their plans before ordering. Some companies may offer vegetarian options which can easily be turned vegan by swapping one or two ingredients. If you are looking for an exclusively vegan meal plan, check out our list of the top vegan meal plans.
Vegetarians have more food options than their vegan counterparts, but still, not all meal delivery companies have robust vegetarian menus. Many sites have helpful filters, allowing you to avoid food items such as eggs, fish, dairy, and more. Sun Basket even offers a dedicated vegetarian meal plan with 3 weekly vegetarian options.
Meals made with organic food have become increasingly popular as people seek healthy and sustainable meals. In general, organic food is grown naturally without the use of pesticides and to ensure its organic quality, it should be certified as organic. Sun Basket guarantees that over 99% of their produce is USDA-certified organic, and also offers responsibly raised meat and poultry, and sustainably-sourced seafood. If eating organic food is important to you, check out the top organic meal plans.
Meal delivery kits can be an exciting event for the whole family, as they can mean delicious family dinners with new and exciting recipes. Furthermore, the cooking process itself can be a fun and safe way for the kids to get involved in the kitchen, helping cook and prepare the food. As such, some meal delivery companies offer kid-friendly recipes that are not only easy to make but also offer a variety of kid-friendly food options.
Focusing on foods available during the Paleolithic era, modern Paleo diets usually cut out all processed food as well as dairy, salt, refined sugar, and more. Paleo diets are often heavy on fruit, vegetables, and meat, and are touted as having numerous health benefits. Several meal delivery companies offer Paleo food options, but luckily, almost every company clearly lists their ingredients, empowering you to decide whether or not a meal option is up to your Paleo standards.
Most meal delivery companies deliver pre-portioned food and clear ingredients, leaving the cooking and prep up to you. For some, this is a great option and will teach you a variety of new cooking skills. For others, however, having to prepare a meal can be stressful, time-consuming, and even dangerous. For example, new mothers, grieving families, or senior citizens will all appreciate a delicious meal plan but may not be able to do the preparation necessary. For this reason several meal delivery companies such as Freshly and Babeth's Feast offer fully-cooked meals which can be heated up and served within minutes. For more on prepared meal plans, check out the top prepared meal delivery plans.
Eating healthy can mean different things to different people, and almost every meal delivery service offers healthy meal options. Home Chef, for example, allows you to choose low-calorie and/or low-carb meals which will help you eat right. They also allow you to view the calorie and nutritional information of each meal, a key component of healthy eating. Check out the top healthy meal delivery plans here.
Eating right and losing weight using a traditional meal plan is certainly possible, as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle and choose healthy meals. For weight loss specific meal plans though, we suggest taking a look at weight loss meal plans, or diet meal plans, which usually offer pre-made meals as well as snacks and shakes that keep you healthy, full, and energized. There are many weight loss plans on the market, so to determine which ones to trust, be sure to check out our top weight loss plans.
What is the Best Meal Delivery Plan?
Choosing the best meal delivery plan for you will depend on your preferences, your specific tastes, and other factors. Here is some info on the top 4 best meal delivery plans.
- Sun Basket: Sun Basket is not the cheapest meal plan delivery service but has one of the most diverse sets of cuisine and special diet offerings, including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, and many more.
- Home Chef: Home Chef boasts a wide variety of recipe choices, regular, down-home style food that’s not super-fancy or over-the-top like some meal delivery plans, and very affordable prices.
- Blue Apron: Blue Apron is also well-respected, with a good selection of choices, affordable prices, and a mid-range cuisine that’s both relatable and a bit adventurous – a good balance.
- Hello Fresh: Hello Fresh has some of the lowest prices of any of the top meal delivery services today, with several plans to choose from, and a likewise approachable mid-range cuisine that’s sure to be a hit with adults and kids alike.