Susan Friedman
vegetables and potatoes

Are you too beat after work or a hectic day with your kids to think about what to eat for dinner, let alone shop for groceries? You might want to contemplate signing up for one of the ubiquitous meal prep delivery services for chef-inspired grub at home.

Trust us, you're not alone in your “What's for dinner?" anxiety. With quality-driven, 20 to 40-minute make-at-home meals or frozen meals that take even less time to defrost and serve, even the lifestyle queen, Martha Stewart, has joined the fray with Martha & Marley Spoon.

TV commercials showcase happy families – smiling couples preparing a meal together or parents with little kiddos. It looks so fun to do and the finished dish appears exactly like the yummy photo that comes with the cooking instructions. Gotcha!

To help figure out which service is best for you, we've got a few deets on what could be a perfect solution for busy weeknight meals and more. Here are a few companies selling the culinary phenomenon.

Blue Apron

Each recipe comes with clear and concise instructions and color photos to guide you seamlessly through the steps. But if that's not sufficient, you can access online instructional videos, too.

Select from either a 2-person plan or a 4-person family plan. Pre-portioned meal ingredients are paired with each recipe. Your box arrives cooled and insulated with ice packs. Chicken, steak, fish and other proteins are vacuum-sealed.

The two-person plan amounts to about $9.99 per serving. Twice a week will run you just under $50 and three times a week is nearly $60. The four-person family-plan verges on $72 for twice a week to just under $120 for four times a week.

Depending on your dietary leanings, your options are vegetarian, pescatarian, red meat, fish, shellfish, pork or lamb recipes. Food allergies? Take note that all meal boxes are packed at the same facility.

Hello Fresh

With easy-to-follow recipes and clear nutritional info, your meal kit arrives filled with ingredients sourced “straight from the farm." Each box is sized to fit perfectly in your fridge.

Choose recipes weekly from three meal plans.

  • Veggie: Plant-based proteins, hearty grains and seasonal produce. Choose two to three meals per week.
  • Classic: A wide selection of meat, fish and seasonal produce. Select two to four recipes per week.
  • Family: Quick and easy meals with flavors that everyone will (hopefully) find tasty. Select two to three recipes per week for your brood.

Hello Fresh offers six-step recipes, plus a flexible subscription model. Pricing starts at only $9.99 per serving. This alternative to frozen meals offers a bonus – join the wine club for premium wines paired with meals the likes of crushed peppercorn steak with creamed kale and potato wedges or lobster ravioli and shrimp with tomatoes and tarragon cream sauce.

Daily Harvest

Superfood harvest bowls – including cauliflower rice and pesto, Brussels sprouts and tahini, or butternut squash and chimichurri – along with make-at-home smoothies from ginger and greens to chai and coconut are the basis of Daily Harvest's menu.

There's also one-step veggie soups, overnight oats and ready–to-bake gluten-free cookie dough. Without compromising nutrition, this entirely plant-based meal delivery service's offerings are unprocessed, unrefined foods in a convenient frozen format.

Your order arrives on dry ice so all you need to do is pop your goods into the freezer and then defrost to consume. Bonus – there's minimal cooking and cleanup. Just add the suggested liquid base, then blend, soak or heat.

Weekly smoothie plans can run up to $7.99 per cup – 24 cups monthly cost $6.99. The more cups you order, the more the price per cup decreases.

Order a meal delivery service for the first time and get substantial discounts, and in some cases, up to a half-dozen meals free. Once you express interest, expect to be slammed with coupon codes.

In most cases, you're given the opportunity to try the service once and cancel, or keep the orders coming.

Photo by Syd Wachs on Unsplash



About The Author

Susan Friedman

Susan Friedman is a lifestyle journalist with a background that includes real estate, interior design, architecture and kitchen and bath design. The former senior editor of Florida Travel + Life magazine, Susan resides in sunny south Florida and loves exploring the next great place to live, local culture and neighborhoods with cool vibes. Whether it’s in her own backyard or beyond, she has the pulse on what’s trending now in apartment dwelling and more.