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Prepared meal delivery services ship ready-to-eat meals directly to a person’s home. Our editors and freelance writers reviewed several services that offer quicker and easier meals.

When testing meal delivery services, Medical News Today asks reviewers to consider:

  • the ease of ordering
  • variety in menus, meal types, and cuisines
  • how many diets the brand caters to, including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and more
  • the flavors and textures of each meal
  • how environmentally friendly the packaging was
  • how easy it was to prepare and cook their meals
  • whether the serving sizes were appropriate
  • whether they had to add any ingredients to complete or improve their dishes
  • who the service may be best suitable for
  • the service’s prices

MNT has tested some of the products below. Reviewers may have received some products from the manufacturers for free, which does not influence their review. All opinions are the reviewers’ own.

The following table compares the services in this article.

Price per servingMeals per weekDietary optionsRegional availability
Factorfrom $10.99up to 18• keto
• vegetarian
• vegan
• protein plus
• chef’s choice
• calorie smart
• paleo
• low carb
contiguous U.S.
CookUnityfrom $11.09up to 16• vegetarian
• vegan
• pescatarian
• low carb
• gluten-free
• dairy-free
• low sodium
• keto
• paleo
• low calorie
47 U.S. states
BistroMDfrom $6.59up to 21• signature
• gluten-free
• heart-healthy
• keto flex
• diabetic
• menopause
• vegan
contiguous U.S.
Trifectafrom $10up to 21• keto
• paleo
• clean
• Whole30 approved
• vegan
• vegetarian
50 U.S. states
Home Cheffrom $9.99up to 6• calorie-conscious
• carb-conscious
• pescatarian
• vegetarian
• low sodium
49 U.S. states
Daily Harvestfrom $6.79up to 24• plant-based
• Mediterranean
• gut-friendly
• plant-based protein
• diabetes-friendly
• Whole30
contiguous U.S.
Fresh N Leanfrom $7.93up to 21• keto
• paleo
• standard vegan
• vegetarian
• low carb
• vegan
• gluten-free
• protein+
• Mediterranean
• Whole30 approved
all 50 U.S. states
Mosaic Foodsfrom $9.99up to 18plant-basedmajor metro areas in eastern and western U.S.
Veestrofrom $11.93up to 30• gluten-free
• plant-based
• under 500 calories
• nut-free
• soy-free
• kosher
contiguous U.S.
Pete’s Real Foodfrom $15.25up to 17• paleo
• vegan
• keto
• AIP
all 50 U.S. states

Medical News Today chooses meal delivery services that fit the following criteria:

  • Nutritional value: MNT chooses meal delivery services that meet the average person’s nutritional needs and promote healthy eating habits.
  • Ingredient quality: MNT chooses meal delivery services that use fresh, high quality ingredients. Some also use organic produce or sustainably sourced ingredients.
  • Variety: MNT chooses meal delivery services that feature a range of flavors and ingredients to suit different taste preferences and diets.
  • Price: MNT chooses meal delivery services with different price points to suit a range of budgets.
  • Availability: MNT chooses meal delivery services available throughout most of the United States.
  • Sustainability: MNT chooses meal delivery services that reduce their environmental impact with recyclable packaging, carbon-neutral shipping, local ingredients, and other sustainable practices.
  • Reputation: MNT chooses only brands that adhere to industry best practices and have passed our medical vetting process.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more.

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Meal delivery services are increasing in popularity because they provide a healthy alternative to eating out or ordering takeout, especially for those who do not have the time to cook meals from scratch at home.

These companies send ready-to-eat meals directly to a person’s home on a specified delivery day. Some companies may offer fresh meals, whereas others provide frozen food that people can heat in a microwave or oven.

Learn more about the best frozen meal delivery services.

Most companies offer a variety of menus to suit different dietary requirements. Customers can also specify the number of people in their household and the number of meals they need per week.

Additionally, prepared meals save time as a person does not need to consider meal planning and does not need to spend much time preparing or cooking.

Meal kits include preportioned ingredients and a recipe, and customers must prepare and cook the meal themselves. Prepared meals come frozen or chilled. Typically, a person only needs to heat the meal in the microwave or oven before they can eat it. It involves no prep and minimal cleanup. Plus, frozen food may help reduce food waste, preserve nutrients, and provide a quicker and easier way to prepare more nutritious meals.

Meal kits can help people develop their cooking skills, and individuals can swap out ingredients they do not like. Prepared meals do not offer either of these benefits.

However, meal kits can be more expensive than grocery shopping. They will not suit those who cannot prepare and cook their meals due to health conditions or time pressure. Prepared meals may also reduce the risk of receiving spoiled ingredients, and individuals can often keep prepared meals in the freezer if they do not want to eat them when they receive them.

People may wish to consider the following when choosing a meal delivery service:

  • Dietary requirements: People should ensure that the company they choose caters to their dietary requirements, including any allergies. Some companies allow people to filter menus by dietary needs.
  • Family options: If a person shops for a menu for adults and children, they may wish to choose family-friendly meals. Several companies offer meals that children may be more likely to enjoy.
  • Meal amount: People should ensure that the company offers enough meals for the people in the household.
  • Subscriptions: People may wish to choose a company that allows them to cancel or skip deliveries if they need to. Additionally, people may wish to choose a company that makes it easy to cancel a subscription.
  • Budget: Meal delivery company prices vary considerably. Often, the more a person orders, the less it costs per serving.
  • Sustainability: People should look at how the meal delivery service sources the ingredients to ensure the company does this sustainably. Many of these services use organic ingredients. Additionally, people may wish to investigate if the company’s packaging is recyclable and environmentally friendly.

Meal delivery companies often market themselves as a more affordable option than grocery shopping. However, any savings a person may experience will depend on how much the company charges.

A 2021 study found that meal kits may be an affordable way for people on a lower income to eat three healthy meals per week, as long as the companies sell the meals at cost.

However, another 2021 study found that meal delivery services are more expensive than shopping for ingredients and cooking at home but less expensive than eating out.

One disadvantage of prepared meal delivery services that may make them less cost-effective than grocery shopping is that they do not provide leftovers. This means that people cannot batch cook a meal to eat throughout the week, which may otherwise make ingredients go further.

Learn more about the best cheap meal delivery services.

The best prepared meal delivery service for any individual is the one that suits their budget and dietary requirements, offers a wide variety of meals and cuisines, and delivers to their state.

Factor offers a wide range of ready meal menus with options to suit different dietary needs. Its meals are mid-range considering its prices per serving.

 

Medical News Today only features prepared meal delivery services that offer nutritious meals for a range of diets. Daily Harvest and Mosaic Foods offer prepared meals, including whole food ingredients.

Meal delivery services typically aim to provide nutritionally balanced but convenient meals delivered directly to people’s homes. There is no guarantee that frozen meals from grocery stores are nutritionally balanced or contain whole or minimally processed foods.

Meal delivery services often claim that they use the freshest produce in meals and that nutritionists design their meals to be healthy and balanced. There is likely to be less transparency about the sources from which ingredients come compared to meal delivery services.

However, people should check the nutritional content of the meals they get through meal delivery services to ensure they provide the nutrients they need.

The majority of prepared meal delivery services offer foods that are nutritious when a person eats them in moderation.

Individuals need to check the nutritional facts of the meals they wish to try before making a purchase. This way, they can ensure that the meal they choose fits their nutritional needs.

Clean eating refers to a diet of food as close to its natural state as possible, with minimal processing and additives.

All of the meal delivery services in this article have clean eating options. Trifecta has a “clean” menu, which may be the best choice for people who want a clean eating diet.

Meal delivery services provide meals that fit someone’s dietary needs or preferences. A person can generally choose the meals they receive and specify how many they need for the week.

Most services deliver weekly or biweekly. Most also allow people to skip or cancel deliveries as long as they do this before the cutoff time the company dictates.