Whether it's during chilly autumn nights or stiflingly warm summer evenings, cooking dinner should be something to look forward to. If the hours leading up to the evening meal leave you feeling like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland — a whirlwind of stress and worry with one eye on the clock — it may be time to change up your routine.
Meal kits like Green Chef can be a great way to free up some time and energy during the week. If you work late or have a lot on your plate as the designated cook for a (even if you didn't technically ask for the role), things like food prep and grocery shopping can be hard to fit into your busy schedule.
With a, you simply make your selections online and wait for a box of fresh, pre-packaged ingredients to arrive at your door. No more time-consuming trips to the grocery store -- you know, the place you go to misplace that shopping list. No more Sundays spent wracking your brain for the perfect meal strategy, either -- sign up for meal kit delivery and take the day off.
Meal kit services have grown in popularity, and with reason. One 2022 study confirmed that the number of Americans using meal kits increased during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results showed that people cooking dinner with the help of meal kit services ate a greater variety of foods than those who didn't -- namely, organic fruits and vegetables.
That's not to say meal kits are the answer to all your dietary problems; results are not guaranteed, and your mileage may vary. What it does mean is that your life can get a little bit easier throughout the week, and maybe healthier too: Meal kits can open the door to a fabulous variety ofand recipes you might not have previously experienced.
"A good meal delivery kit should provide a diverse range of recipes and flavors to keep your meals interesting and enjoyable," says nutritionist Mary Sabat. "Look for kits that update their menus frequently and offer a wide selection of cuisines."
The best meal kits to try out this year
With so many options out there, how do you know which meal kit is the right fit for you? To make things easier, we put together a list of the best of the best.
- Top choice for nutritious meals: Green Chef
- Best chef-curated recipes: Blue Apron
- Best variety: HelloFresh
- Best organic ingredients: Sunbasket
- Best affordability: Dinnerly
- Best premade kits: Factor
Depending on your needs, preferences, and reason for considering a switch to meal kits, we have something for everyone. From flashy chef-curated recipes to budget-friendly services, here are the top meal kits of 2023.
Top choice for nutritious meals: Green Chef
If you want easy-to-follow recipes packed with organic ingredients, there's one service you can look to above all others: Green Chef. This meal kit service has a lot to offer when it comes to nutritious meals with nearly 50 recipes to choose from on a weekly basis.
"Green Chef is [a] meal delivery service that focuses on organic and sustainable ingredients," Sabat says.
"They offer a variety of meal plans, including options for omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and those following specific dietary restrictions like keto or paleo. Green Chef's standout feature is their commitment to organic certification. They work with farmers, ranchers, and fishermen who use sustainable practices and source organic ingredients whenever possible."
Green Chef sets itself apart from other meal kit services thanks to organically sourced produce and eggs. Organic beef, chicken, and wild-caught seafood options are also present and accounted for -- and according to Green Chef's FAQ, if it sends anything that falls a bit short of the company's quality standards, you'll know thanks to specific labeling and in-box communications.
Sign up is easy -- just take your pick from categories like Mediterranean, plant-based, or protein-packed, select your preferred number of deliveries per week, and you're all set. When it comes to pricing, Green Chef roughly breaks even with competitors like HelloFresh and Blue Apron; the service's prices start at $12 per serving.
Best chef-curated recipes: Blue Apron
"Blue Apron offers over 50 different weekly options from a variety of cuisines," says registered dietician Melissa Darlow. "In addition to meals, there are add-on items such as desserts or single serving portions of proteins. Blue Apron meals provide easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions making them beginner friendly."
If you want something that satisfies your inner chef, Blue Apron has the meal variety for you. Here you'll find recipes that might be a step or two above the typical meal kit ensemble. Plus, with servings starting at just $8 a pop, you can save a little bit when compared with other meal companies.
If you're tired of the same old kitchen concoctions, browse through Blue Apron's weekly recipes for an enlightening selection. When was the last time you cooked a Thai-Style Steak and Noodle Salad from scratch? Sheet Pan Cheesy Jalapeno Chicken sounds easy enough; why have you never thought to try that on your own? If the idea of cherry-picking your favorite unique recipes from cuisines you don't normally consider, Blue Apron may be the pick for you.
Best variety: HelloFresh
A nice variety of recipes means you're more likely to keep coming back week after week. HelloFresh, one of the best-known meal kits in the game today, takes the cake in this regard. There are more 50 recipes to choose from with each delivery -- and you're bound to find something you like, thanks to a number of diet-specific categories.
Looking for vegetarian recipes? HelloFresh serves up several plan-based picks each week like the Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto or Creamy Dreamy Mushroom Cavatappi (and yes, that's the actual name, but also a valid description in our book).
Need to limit yourself to low-calorie dishes? This meal kit company's Fit and Wholesome category contains meals that typically stay under 650 calories per serving, so you're in luck.
Nutritionist Lisa Young told us HelloFresh is worth the hype "... due to its assortment of meals and how it promotes an easy, positive experience in the kitchen. HelloFresh includes a colorful recipe card with simple steps that allows people with any skill level to follow along."
Best organic ingredients: Sunbasket
If a "USDA Organic" label is one of the first things you look for when grocery shopping, then Sunbasket might be the meal delivery service you've been holding out for. With its commitment to delivering a minimum of 98% USDA-certified fresh produce in every box of ingredients, this meal kit company is leading the charge for quick meals made of healthy ingredients.
"Sunbasket is a popular meal delivery service that emphasizes organic and sustainably sourced ingredients," says Sabat.
"... Sunbasket's standout feature is [its] commitment to organic produce and responsibly sourced meats and seafood. [Sunbasket works] closely with local farmers and producers to provide high-quality, organic ingredients to [its] customers."
Whether you're getting your protein from a chilled display rack at the grocery store or from one of Sunbasket's insulated delivery boxes, it's always better to know exactly where your food is coming from. That's why we appreciate Sunbasket's transparency around who supplies the company's seafood, poultry, and red meat.
Sunbasket gives you a choice of more than 20 quick and easy recipes each week. One thing you'll find here that is hard to find with other meal kits (yes, even those on our list) is a gluten-free category. You can browse through a number of weekly meals that are free of gluten, dairy, or soy, as well as diabetes-friendly and vegan options.
In addition to a refreshing variety of diet-specific categories and labels, Sunbasket also offers some fun additions that you can tag onto orders, a la carte style. We've seen market items like a packaged salami tray, breakfast sandwiches, garlic bread with mozzarella, and even fresh grocery items like butternut squash ravioli.
Best affordability: Dinnerly
As the meal kit with the lowest prices per serving, Dinnerly takes home the gold for best budget meal kit choice. It won this totally real medal by offering up light, easy, and appealing meals for a good deal cheaper than its competition.
In addition to low-carb affairs like the simple yet filling Steak and Honey-Lime Roasted Carrots or the satisfying Creamy Ravioli Primavera, Dinnerly offers dozens of recipes to pick from each week.
The variety here may not be as stark as some of our other top picks, but with pages of selections to browse through, you're bound to find a few plates that catch your eye (like the One-Pot Tomato Ravioli did for us, pictured above).
A nifty bonus feature that comes with this meal kit company is its market tab. This allows you to blend in a bit of grocery shopping with your order -- just make your selections right from your phone to have ready-to-heat meals, sides, pantry stapes, desserts, and more delivered alongside everything else.
Best premade kits: Factor
We made sure to fill the last spot on this list with something for the time crunchers. If you're too busy to go through the whole cooking and cleaning process that a box of fresh ingredients requires, than consider premade meal kits.
Our pick for the best premade meal kit is Factor. This company offers lean, fitness-friendly meals that take no time at all to prepare. Find keto, low-calorie, vegetarian, and vegan recipes in the mix as you choose from more than 30 different weekly meals.
"Factor is a meal delivery service that aims to provide healthy and nutritious meals to its customers. They focus on offering balanced macronutrients, which include proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats," says Sabat.
These balanced ingredient lists mean nutrient-dense meals that would be a great addition to any lifestyle.
How to go about picking the perfect meal kit service for you
Ok, you've read through some of the top meal kits worth your time and money and now your stomach is growling. Before you seal the deal on a subscription, how do you go about picking a meal kit fit for you?
Personal preference is always the first thing to consider. Although most meal kit services offer an easy out if you want to cancel or postpone deliveries, it's best to figure out exactly what you want ahead of time to ensure you're set for a while with meal deliveries. If you get bored easily from a lack of variety, stick with meal kits that offer big weekly menus. If meal prep is a top priority, look for meal kit companies that also offer premade or frozen meals.
"Check out pricing along with dietary restrictions," Darlow says. "If you are following a specific diet (vegan, gluten free, carnivore, keto, etc.) be sure to look for a service that caters to your dietary needs. Pricing is also [important]. Some delivery services start at $8 per serving, making it an affordable way to eat healthy."
How we ranked the best meal kit delivery services
When cobbling together our list of the meal kits we most highly recommend, we took into account the following list of factors:
- Meal variety: We took into account how many unique or interesting recipes were available to pick on a weekly basis. The more, the merrier.
- Fresh ingredients: We stuck with meal kits that touted health-conscious recipes and weekly deliveries packed with organic ingredients, vegetables, and healthy greens.
- High quality recipes: Just because you're letting someone else put together a recipe doesn't mean you don't deserve to feel like a top-tier chef when you put each dish together! We prioritized appealing recipes that weren't just tasty and healthy, but also plain fun to cook.
- Diet-specific plans: A healthy diet is different for everyone, so we looked for meal kits that easily accommodate a number of dietary restrictions and preferences such as fitness-friendly eating and plant-based diets.
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