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Are meal kits worth it for one person? Tips for singles

Cooking for the whole family is a challenge of its own -- one made easier (and often cheaper) by meal kits. But is meal delivery still worth it if you're cooking only for yourself?

With so much variety in convenient and nutritious meal kits these days, it feels like the business model is an answer to everything. Looking for meal kits that cater to a certain diet? There are dairy-free meal kits, meal delivery services that are entirely plant-based, and more to choose from. 

There are even ways to save money on meal kits, so you know you're saving big by making the switch away from those lengthy trips to the grocery store. But do these benefits and discounts still apply if you live alone?

Are meal kits worth it for one person? Tips for singles

Here's the good news: Meal kits can still be worth it -- whether you're cooking for a house full of people or preparing meals for one. All it takes is a bit of thinking ahead to make meals last -- while avoiding food waste -- and some insight into the best meal delivery services for solo living. 

We have you covered on both counts. First, browse our picks for the best and most inviting meal kits for singles. Then, pick up a few handy tips that make it easier than ever to get the most out of meal kits.

The best meal kits for singles

If you're looking for quality prepared meals to fill your fridge each week, these are our picks for the top meal kits for solo living. 

Offering a wide selection of weekly meals and low prices that make sense for anyone living alone, these are three meal kits you want to check out pronto.

Best meal variety: HelloFresh

One of America's most popular meal kits is also one of the best for single living, thanks to easy yet inventive recipes like this standout 2022 dish: spicy Peruvian chicken with loaded rice, pickled jalapeno, and salsa verde. Like most of HelloFresh's dozens of meal options, customers can opt for two- or four-serving versions -- leftovers can be refrigerated for the next day, so dinner is set for the week!

Think of HelloFresh as a middle-of-the-road kind of meal delivery service. While there are others better suited to specific needs like plant-based meals or an all-organic menu (Daily Harvest is our personal organic fave), HelloFresh makes up for it by having a bit of everything. It's just you, a box of pre-portioned ingredients, and easily followed recipe instructions.

Sign up for discounts spread across 9 boxes (equal to 16 free meals), free shipping on your first order, and free breakfast items for life. 

Beginner-friendly meal kits: Home Chef

While reviewing the Home Chef meal kit, we were impressed by the number of accessible options and straightforward recipes. With cook times as low as 20 to 30 minutes and some added flexibility thanks to the option to customize meals (swapping out proteins, switching sides, etc.), Home Chef is the perfect meal kit for beginner cooks. 

Single at-home chefs can choose between traditional meal kits or premade meals that heat up within minutes -- perfect for anyone who struggles to make time in a busy schedule for nightly meals. If you want to master the art of meal prep, Home Chef's hassle-free recipes and meals would make the perfect addition to your fridge or freezer.

Most affordable: Dinnerly

Anyone paying attention will know we recently highlighted Dinnerly as one of the cheapest meal kits available today. With prices that go as low as $5 per serving, you're looking at a weekly meal kit bill that's half the price of other big name meal kits like Blue Apron. If saving money is a top priority than Dinnerly is the meal kit for you.

Dinnerly boasts dozens of weekly recipes, as well as a marketplace full of a la carte meals, sides, and more for your perusal. When you live alone, filling your fridge can feel like a race against time -- eat this before it expires, freeze that for later, etc. -- so being able to build your own delivery with pre-portioned meal kits, ready-to-heat meals, and add-ons like breakfast and lunch items can be a real gamechanger.

New customers can enjoy $140 in savings spread across their first five boxes. 

How to save money on meal kits

Meal kits tend to cost less per serving the more you order, which might give you pause if you live alone and want to switch to meal kit delivery without overpaying. The trick is to be deliberate when building your meal plan. Thinking outside the (meal kit) box is important to make the switch to meal kits worth it, even when you live alone.

Keep these tips in mind when building your meal plan to do just that: 

  • Don't be afraid to order more meals per week to capitalize on lower costs per serving. Don your meal prep extraordinaire hat to make one dinner last several days by storing leftovers for lunch or dinner later in the week. Tossing in ready-to-heat meals and marketplace products and ingredients into a meal delivery order can help to balance out fresh ingredients with shorter lifespans.
  • Don't gloss over those breakfast and lunch add-ons. These days, meal kits offer more than just dinner options, with single-serving breakfast and lunch dishes that make for great meal plan additions for anyone that lives alone. HelloFresh takes this one step further by offering free breakfast items for life with every new subscription.
  • Find even more savings by referring friends and family. Don't be afraid to share the convenience and affordability of meal kits with others. Many meal delivery services offer decent savings for referrals: Green Chef offers a $35 discount to anyone you send an invite to and sends you a $35 credit for use on future orders.

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