We ranked healthy meal kits by price, time, diet, and variety to find the best one for you


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Photo: Stocksy/Sean Locke

How do you answer the eternal question: Whats for dinner? We’re all in search of the best way to simplify our nightly routines. But if you didn’t spend your Sunday prepping meals for the week, filling Tupperware after Tupperware with protein, veggies, and grains, good luck rummaging through your fridge for something to throw together. If you seek rave reviews from everyone around the table (and consistent satisfaction at dinnertime), it’s worth exploring the wide variety of meal kits meant to save time while adding flavor to your life.

These days, signing up for meal kits means you’re freed from the decision making that surrounds mealtime, and you don’t even need to go to the grocery store to get the ingredients. In the U.S., meal kit delivery services has exploded to a $10 billion industry. But the rapid growth has created a new problem. There are so many to choose from that it’s hard to make a choice.

Reviewing all the different meal kits out there, it’s clear that there isn’t a singular perfect option; the “best” meal kit is the one that works best for you and your family. Is saving money on groceries the goal? Do you live in a household with one or more dietary restrictions? Or picky eaters? Is the issue a lack of time? Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a meal kit delivery service that’s right for you.

Here’s how to choose the best meal kits based on your biggest priority

HelloFresh
Photo: HelloFresh

Best for beginner chefs: HelloFresh

If you want to cook more but feel intimidated, HelloFresh is a good meal kit subscription to consider. The recipes aren’t anything fancy, but the results are really satisfying. Standouts include chicken and cranberry currant pan sauce, smoky black bean and corn tostadas, and greens farro bowl. Bonus: You can add wine pairings to be delivered with your ingredients.

  • Price: A
    At $6.99 a serving, it’s one of the most affordable kits on the market.
  • Time: A
    Meals take roughly 30 minutes to prepare.
  • Diet: B
    HelloFresh does offer a vegetarian plan, but does not have plans for other diet types.
  • Variety: B+
    Meal choices are simple, but good. This isn’t going to be a subscription that’s super experimental, but you’ll leave the dinner table content.
  • Sustainability: A
    Over 90 percent of HelloFresh’s ingredients are organic and the packaging is recyclable.

Overall: A-

 

plated
Photo: Plated

Best meal variety: Plated

Whereas most meal kit services let you choose from roughly three to six meals each week, Plated offers 20. If you’re adventurous eater and looking to eat outside the box (a meal kits pun! Get it?), Plated is for you. Argentine beef empanadas, green curry scallops, Turkish baked eggs, beef and sweet potato lasagna—you’ll be spoiled for choice. Plans range from $9.95 to $11.95 a meal.

  • Price: A-
    Plated won’t break the bank, but it’s not the cheapest option out there.
  • Time: A-
    In general, recipes range anywhere from 20-55 minutes to prepare. Plated also offers 2 “quick cook” meals per week, which take 35 minutes or less.
  • Diet: B-
    While the meals themselves lean toward being healthy, there aren’t special subscription plans for different diets.
  • Variety: A+
    Users can choose from 20 different options a week and the offerings are the best on the market.
  • Sustainability: A-
    Whole not all Plated’s ingredients are organic, they support antibiotic- and hormone-free meat, and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Overall: A-

 

dinnerly
Photo: Dinnerly

Best price: Dinnerly

If your main healthy food goal is keeping your bill down, Dinnerly might be the best option for you. For just $4.99 a serving, you get ingredients and recipes for meals such as asparagus and spinach “pizta,” Italian white bean tostadas, and sweet and sticky cauliflower. You can also keep things vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, and low-carb.

  • Price: A+
    A full two dollars cheaper than the next least expensive option, you don’t find a better price for a meal kit.
  • Time: A-
    All recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less.
  • Diet: B
    While there are options for vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, and low-carb are all available, there are not meal plans for vegans, keto, Paleo, or Whole30 eaters.
  • Variety: B
    Users have eight meals to choose between, which is plenty, but not as much as some other subscriptions. The options lean toward standard American fare such as sloppy joes, grilled barbecue chicken, and skillet chicken.
  • Sustainability: B+
    Dinnerly uses antibiotic-free chicken and grass-fed beef, but not everything is organic. Everything is pre-measured to cut down on food waste and the company uses sustainable packaging and includes guidance on how to recycle it.

Overall: b+

freshly
Photo: Freshly

Best time-saver: Freshly 

Everything from Freshly is devoid of artificial ingredients and preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and refined sugars, which is quite a feat considering the meals are mostly microwaveable. Yep, you read that right: Literally all you have to do to dig in is pop the meal in the microwave or oven. It doesn’t get easier than that. Freshly favorites include southwest chicken bowl, shrimp and andouille paella, and Korean-style veggie bibimbap. Each serving is $8.99 to $12.50 (depending on your plan) and menus can be made gluten-free or vegetarian.

  • Price: A-
    The price point isn’t outrageous, but it’s not the cheapest one on the market.
  • Time: A+
    There’s literally no cooking required and everything is ready in three minutes.
  • Diet: B-
    All Freshly meals are gluten-free and the company encourages Paleo and vegetarian eaters to email them for special suggestions, but there are no special meal plans offered for various diets.
  • Variety: A
    The menu options are stellar, ranging from basic chicken dishes to more out-of-the-box international cuisine.
  • Sustainability: B+
    The entire meal kit is recyclable and the meals are portioned to avoid food waste. However, not all of the ingredients used are organic.

Overall: A-

 

blue apron
Photo: Blue Apron

Best for people who actually like to cook: Blue Apron

If you actually like to cook, this is the one for you. While the chore of grocery shopping and deciding what to make is eliminated, Blue Apron lets you do most of the work yourself—chopping all your veggies and mixing the sauces. Most meals often include some wildcard ingredients, like cumquats or leeks, giving users the chance to cook with something new. The price comes out to $8.99 – $9.99 per serving, depending on plan, and the company has long prioritized sustainability, through a partnership with GreenBlue. The meals do take a while to make, so just budget enough time to make your delicious creations.

  • Price: A
    It’s one of the more affordable meal kits out there, and the servings are big enough that you’ll almost always have leftovers.
  • Time: B-
    More of a weekend activity than a weeknight dinner solution, the meals can take over 40 minutes to make.
  • Diet: A-
    While Blue Apron does offer a vegetarian meal plan as well as a Weight Watchers meal plan, it doesn’t have subscriptions for keto, Paleo, Whole30, or vegan eaters.
  • Variety: A+
    Za’atar cauliflower and fregola sarda, spicy shrimp and vegetable curry, fennel and onion pizza, and Greek burgers are all on the menu—and that’s just for this week.
  • Sustainability: A
    All the ingredients are organic and everything is recyclable.

Overall: A-

 

sun basket
Photo: Sun Basket

Best dietary choices: Sun Basket

Vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean, low-carb, Paleo…whatever your healthy eating plan of choice is, Sun Basket can accommodate. Everything is organic, and you can even tack a five minute salad onto any meal. For $9 to $12 per serving, you can get meals such as curried tempeh stir-fry with black rice, chard rolls with ground beef and rice, and smoky white bean burgers with lemon green beans.

  • Price: A-
    It’s moderately priced, but you can still get cheaper.
  • Time: A-
    It takes about 30 minutes to prepare a meal.
  • Diet: A+
    Sun Basket caters to a variety of eaters including vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean, low-carb, and Paleo.
  • Variety: B
    While the meals themselves can be creative, users don’t have very many to choose from each week.
  • Sustainability: A
    Everything is organic and the materials are all recyclable.

Overall: A-

 

purple carrot
Photo: Purple Carrot

Best for vegetarians: Purple Carrot

While most meal kits are conscious of non-meat eaters, often including some vegetarian options, Purple Carrot was founded with vegetarians at front of mind. Every single meal is vegan. Some examples: potato malai kofta, goghujang peanut noodles, falafel bowl, and spinach artichoke grilled cheese. Meals are $12 a serving, and there’s a high protein meal option for those worried about getting enough of the nutrient.

  • Price: A-
    The price isn’t bad, but it’s not the cheapest meal kit option on the market.
  • Time: B+
    Most meals take 30 and 45 minutes to make.
  • Diet: B-
    Obviously Purple Carrot has non-meat eaters covered, but they don’t cater to other diet types. Although to be fair, this is by design.
  • Variety: A
    If you don’t eat meat, it’s easy to fall into the trap of eating the same meals over and over, but Purple Carrot’s offerings are creative enough to get anyone out of a rut.
  • Sustainability: B+
    While the kits are recyclable, not all of the ingredients are organic.

Overall: B+

 

daily harvest
Photo: Daily Harvest

Best for breakfast: Daily Harvest

While Daily Harvest has moved beyond their original concept of ready-to-blend smoothies and now offers harvest bowls, soups, and desserts, they’re still the very best at breakfast. Besides their green adaptogen-filled smoothie blends, you can also add adaptogenic lattes to your meal plan. Oh, and oat bowls and chia bowls, too!

  • Price: B-
    Meal plans range from $47.94 for six smoothies a week ($7.99 per smoothie) to ($7.49 per smoothie), or $167.76 for 24 smoothies a month, making it pretty pricy.
  • Time: A+
    Literally all you do is blend the smoothies. And even the harvest bowls and soups can be done in four minutes or less.
  • Diet: B
    While everything is healthy and vegan, there aren’t special subscriptions for various types of eaters.
  • Variety: C
    Daily Harvest uses some pretty cool ingredients—lion’s mane—but if you aren’t into blended meals, your options are pretty limited.
  • Sustainability: A-
    Most—but not all—of the ingredients are organic, and the packaging is all recyclable.

Overall: B

 

If you’re looking to save time outside the kitchen, here’s how to cut down on shower time and during your workout.

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