Even if you love to cook, there are likely days when you just can't be bothered to figure out what to make to eat, let alone grocery shop, prep, and then actually cook it. Prepared meal delivery services have caught on that people want to maximize their delicious food intake while minimizing the amount of effort needed in the kitchen by offering chef-prepared meals shipped straight to your door. That means all you have to do is to take them out of the fridge or freezer, heat them up (generally either microwaving or throwing them in the oven), and enjoy. And there are no pots and pans to clean up afterward, either.
Best prepared meal delivery services at a glance
- Best for award-winning chef-prepared meals: Cook Unity
- Best for colorful, balanced meals: Thistle
- Best for science-based meals: Methodology
- Best for globally-inspired meals: Mosaic
- Best for fast meals: Fresh n' Lean
- Best for locally-prepared meals: Territory
- Best for vegan meals and snacks: Daily Harvest
- Best for farm-fresh, organic meals: Sunbasket
- Best for dietician-designed meals: Factor
- Best for whole-ingredient meals: Splendid Spoon
- Best for plant-based meals: Purple Carrot
We're not talking about those old-school TV dinners, either (no offense—these can definitely get the job done, but they're oftentimes lacking in flavor and quality). No matter what your dietary preference—if you're vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, or all of the above depending on your mood—there are plenty of options that use organic, sustainably-sourced, and/or local ingredients. So, it's like eating a healthy, home-cooked meal, but without any of the hassle.
Ahead, find the best prepared meal delivery services, from vegan meal deliveries to chef-provide menus, to make your lunches and dinners easier than cooking—and cheaper than ordering takeout.
The best prepared meal delivery services
For: Anyone who likes eating at restaurants but doesn’t like going out.
Need-to-know: CookUnity offers meals handcrafted by award-winning chefs, so you can enjoy fine dining without leaving your home or putting on shoes. The chefs vary by region, and all the meals are made in small batches so you’re getting fresh, high-quality food each time. Each CookUnity meal serves one.
Healthy factor: Many of the ingredients are local, organic, or sustainably sourced. The chefs are mindful of sodium levels and butter, and often use olive oil. There are options for keto- and paleo-friendly, low calorie, low carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, low sodium, and vegan.
Delivery details: Menus are posted two weeks ahead of time, and meals are delivered weekly, fresh and not frozen, and come with reheating instructions (usually under five minutes). The packaging is compostable, recyclable, or reusable, and meals can stay fresh in the fridge for 4-7 days. CookUnity delivers across the country.
Cost: Weekly subscription plans start at $10.49/meal and you can choose 4, 6, 8, 12, or 16 meals a week.
For: Anyone who loves colorful, nutritious, and tasty meals.
Need-to-know: Thistle’s meals are designed to be balanced and nutrient-packed, featuring simple whole foods and seasonal ingredients. There are options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, juices, and wellness shots. The meals are plant-forward but you can also choose lean meat protein in many of the menu items. Each meal is one serving.
Healthy factor: Thistle’s meals are primarily plant-based and made from ingredients that are local, sustainable, and organic where possible. On average, the meals have 5.8 unique fruits and veggies, plant or meat options, as well as superfoods like turmeric and spirulina. They also contain protein-rich grains like quinoa and brown rice and healthy fats like avocados and nuts. All meals are gluten- and dairy-free, and have no refined white sugars or artificial preservatives.
Delivery details: All meals come fully-prepared in insulated bags and can be eaten cold (though some will be tasty heated up, too). Thistle has local delivery in the mornings and evenings along the West Coast, and shipping options in the evening to CA and parts of NV, AZ, ID, NV, OR, and WA.
Cost: Meals start at $11.50 or $42/week.
For: Wellness lovers who want scientifically nutritious meals.
Need-to-know: Methodology meals combine science and nutrition, and are designed for maximum plant variety and minimum saturated fat. The menu, which changes weekly, has over 200 plant-based ingredients to optimize gut health, longevity, and weight management. There are breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks (even ready-to-bake cookie dough), and drinks, and meals can serve one or two people. Celebs like Zedd and Olympian Meryl Davis are all fans.
Healthy factor: Meals are made with whole, real foods, and most items are sugar- and gluten-free. The only dairy used is grass-fed ghee, and you can find options for various preferences like vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean, and pescatarian.
Delivery details: Methodology delivers weekly to cities in Northern and Southern California. Most meals are delivered in glass jars in an insulated box.
Cost: Meals start at $18, and you can choose if you want meals 2, 3, 5 or 7 days a week.
For: Anyone who is (or wants to be plant-based) but doesn’t have time to cook.
Need-to-know: Mosaic offers plant-based meals that are shipped frozen and can be heated in the microwave in five minutes or less. Choose from veggie bowls, family meals, oat bowls, soups, and Mosaic + (meals made by some of New York City’s top chefs and restaurants). For every box sold, Mosaic works with nonprofit City Harvest to distribute two pounds of nutritious food to New Yorkers in need.
Healthy factor: Mosaic’s meals use fresh vegetables and fruits and whole grains from farms and distributors around New York’s Hudson Valley. There are 4+ vegetables in every meal. Ingredients are organic when possible, and there are no artificial ingredients, added sugars, or preservatives. There are both vegetarian and vegan options.
Delivery details: Mosaic delivers to most major metro areas in the Eastern and Western U.S. The meals will be good for over three months in the freezer, and all packaging is recyclable.
Cost: Meals start at $8.99/each and you can choose anywhere from 6–18 items per box.
For: People who want to eat healthier without compromising taste.
Need-to-know: The team behind Fresh n’ Lean is comprised of nutritionists and chefs to make sure all your meals are both nutritious and delicious. If you want to eat healthy without hassle, this is a good way to do it — meals arrive fresh and fully cooked, and you can heat them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes or in the oven for 10-15. There are new menus every week, and you can pick a subscription plan or order a la carte, with each meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) designed to serve one. You can also add snacks to your order.
Healthy Factor: Fresh n’ Lean uses locally grown, organic ingredients, and everything is gluten- and GMO-free. Most meals are also dairy- and soy-free. The animal products are antibiotic- and hormone-free, as well as free-range and cage-free. There are no refined sugars or artificial flavors. Meals are dietitian-approved and there are options for whether you’re looking for protein+, keto, paleo, Whole30, vegan, and vegan low-carb.
Delivery details: Fresh n’ Lean delivers to all 50 states. All meals arrive in a recyclable, insulated box and stay fresh for 7-10 days in the fridge.
Cost: Plans start at $8.49/meal, and you can choose if you want breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner for five or seven days. If you want to build your own subscription off the a la carte menu, there’s an $85 minimum order.
For: Foodies who want to support local chefs.
Need-to-know: Territory’s roster of local, independent chefs provide delicious meals right in your backyard ($9 of every Territory meal you buy stays in your community), and dietitians are also involved to ensure the meals are scientifically nutritious. The menu rotates weekly, and adjusts based on how you rate the previous week’s meals (you can edit the selections, too). With every order, Territory donates the monetary equivalent of over a pound of rescued food to Feeding America and its network of local food banks.
Healthy Factor: Territory uses responsibly-sourced, non-inflammatory ingredients, and healthy fats. Animal proteins are antibiotic- and hormone-free, and seafood is sustainably fished or farmed. There is no gluten, dairy, highly processed oils, or refined sugars, and you can find options whether you’re following a Mediterranean, paleo, vegan, Whole30, or keto plan.
Delivery details: You can get meals delivered once or twice a week, and you can order up to 12 meals for each delivery. They deliver to the DC metro area (plus Richmond and Coastal VA), New York City, Philadelphia, the Bay Area, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Southern California, parts of the East Coast and NE Region, with more to come. Meals are good for three days after the delivery date.
Cost: Meals start at $11.95 and vary by menu items and meal size.
For: Anyone who wants to sneak more fruits and veggies into their diet
Need-to-know: For an easy way to add more fruits and veggies in your day, check out Daily Harvest’s menu. All of the items are created by chefs and nutritionists and made from sustainably-sourced fruits and veggies that are frozen at their peak ripeness to lock in nutrients. Many meals are heat and eat right out of the freezer (e.g., the flatbreads, harvest bowls, and harvest bakes), and there are also soups, smoothies, bites, and desserts if you’re in the mood for something else.
Healthy factor: About 95 percent of Daily Harvest’s ingredients are organic and because everything is based on whole fruits and vegetables, it’s vegan, too. There are no additives, preservatives, fillers, or refined sugars — basically, you’ll be able to recognize and pronounce every ingredient on the label (even ashwagandha).
Delivery details: Daily Harvest delivers to 95 percent of the U.S., and your items come in an insulated box packed with dry ice. Most packaging items can be recycled or industrially composted.
Cost: Choose from over 80 items on the minute and build your own box with nine, 14, or 24 items to be delivered weekly or monthly. Prices range from $5.99 to $11.99 per item, and the more you order, the more you save.
For: Fans of farm-fresh meals.
Need-to-know: Sunbasket’s organic Fresh & Ready dinners come fully prepared and you just have to heat them in the microwave or oven (if you’re in the mood for a little DIY, Sunbasket offers Meal Kits with pre-portioned ingredients). The meals are dietician-approved and source high-quality, healthy ingredients. The menu changes weekly, and you choose at least four servings per week (each Fresh & Ready meal serves one). To round out your subscription, you can add breakfast, lunch, or market items. Sunbasket also gives back by donating to nonprofits across the U.S. that provide healthy food to underserved communities.
Healthy Factor: Sunbasket’s chefs aim for 99 percent USDA-certified organic fresh produce, eggs, milk; sustainably raised or wild-caught seafood; and responsibly raised and hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. Meals use minimal sugar and processed ingredients, and there are gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian options.
Delivery details: Meals are delivered cold-packed in reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging. Sunbasket ships to most of the U.S., excluding AK, HI, MT, ND, and parts of NM.
Cost: Starting at $9.99 per serving for the Fresh & Ready plan (4-10 meals/week).
For: Those looking for some dietitian-designed meals.
Need-to-know: Factor is almost like having your own dietitian—all of the ready-made meals are designed by dietitians to optimize the nutritional value, and then prepared by gourmet chefs to ensure they taste good. They’re delivered fresh to your door and you just need to heat them (microwave or oven). The menu features 29+ meals (each meal feeds one) and changes weekly. If you have any questions, or want some help in setting dietary goals, you can connect with their team of dietitians for a free online consultation or a 1-3 month personalized nutrition coaching package.
Healthy factor: Factor uses high-quality, fresh ingredients in all the meals. They also have a U.S. chicken welfare policy that makes sure chickens are cage-free and raised in a clean, safe environment. You can choose between keto, calorie “smart” (<550 calories), chef’s choice, and vegan & veggie meal plans. There are no hormones, antibiotics, refined sugars, or GMOs.
Delivery details: Factor delivers to all 48 contiguous states, and meals are delivered in BPA-free CPET plastic containers, which are safe for heating and storage and recyclable. Meals come in insulated boxes with gel packs, and they’re good for at least seven days in the fridge.
Cost: Meals start at $11 and you can choose to receive 6-18 meals/week.
For: Plant-based eaters who want meals with whole ingredients
Need-to-know: Splendid and Spoon is a plant-based meal service that offers dishes, noodle bowls, grain bowls, smoothies, cold-pressed juices, and wellness shots. You can mix and match across categories, and chefs and nutritionists are involved in developing options that are delicious, balanced, and healthy. Meals can be heated in the microwave or oven for a few minutes, and then they’re ready to be enjoyed.
Healthy factor: There are over 65 menu items that are all plant-based and are made with a balance of protein, healthy fat, and complex carbs. There is no dairy, eggs, gluten, artificial sugar, or meat, and you can also filter your options by dietary needs (higher fiber, lower sodium, etc.), avoidances (opt of out caffeine, cilantro, tree nuts, and more), and benefits (such as being blood sugar friendly). Ingredients are whole and unprocessed, and the Dirty Dozen are sourced organically.
Delivery details: Splendid and Spoon delivers to all 48 contiguous states, and meals are packed in dry ice. The packaging is 100 percent recyclable. Most of the bowl meals can be enjoyed within 1–2 weeks of being in the fridge, of 1–3 weeks in the freezer.
Cost: Meals start at $9.99, and you can choose between 7, 14, and 21-meal plans. If your order is over 10 meals, you get free shipping.
For: People looking to supplement their weekly meals with a some plant-based meals
Need-to-know: Purple Carrot’s plant-based meals menu items list the calories in each dish as well as the amount of time to cook it, with every option only requiring five minutes.
Healthy factor: You can choose gluten-free or high protein meals, but they can’t omit specific allergens for meals (but you can double check nutrition labels). Purple Carrot sources from farmers across the country, and most non-product items are organic.
Delivery details: Purple Carrot ships to all 48 contiguous states, and orders over $99 ship for free. Meals are delivered on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday depending on your area and packed in insulated boxes with non-toxic ice. Meals have “best by” stickers, but in general they will stay fresh for at least seven days after arrival. Most of the packaging is recyclable.
Cost: Meals start at $11, and you can choose if you want two or four servings per meal, and two or three meals a week.
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