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The best meal delivery services for families offer a range of menu options and serving sizes. They also let people customize different meals based on dietary preferences, which is especially important when finding suitable meals for children.
In this article, we will outline what to look for in a family meal delivery service. We will then discuss different meal delivery options suitable for families with varying dietary requirements and budgets.
Family meal delivery services work in the same way as similar providers. They include a weekly selection of premade meals or premeasured ingredients for home delivery.
People choose their meals and request how many servings they need each week. There are options to avoid certain foods or tailor meals to suit dietary requirements.
Many meal delivery services have child-friendly meals, while some offer a discount if people order a certain number of meals per week.
For busy families, planning, shopping, and preparing healthful, home-cooked meals is difficult. With this in mind, some may eat out or order takeout for convenience.
These meal options can save time and potential stress. However, they may lead to people consuming meals that are high in calories but low in nutrition. The American Diabetes Association say restaurant meals are usually larger and contain higher amounts of fat, sugar, and salt than home-cooked foods.
Research focusing on the nutritional density of restaurant food also suggests that children’s meals can be unhealthful. A 2015 study found that most children’s meals in United States chain restaurants contained high levels of fat, saturated fat, sodium, and calories.
Therefore, where possible, people should opt for home-prepared meals rather than eating out. Ideally, these home-cooked meals should contain plenty of vegetables and whole grains.
Research supports the benefits of eating healthful home-cooked meals as a family. A 2015 study found a link between frequent home cooking and a healthier diet.
Meal delivery kits and healthful ready-to-eat meals may help bridge the gap between convenience and the time people invest in cooking.
Another benefit of meal kits is that they encourage families to cook together while providing children with an opportunity to learn more about food.
Meal kits help people save time as the ingredients arrive pre-prepared. If the meals are ready-to-eat, people only need to heat them up.
Other meal delivery benefits include:
- opportunities to learn new recipes
- rotating menus
- nutrient-dense food
- opportunities to try different diets, such as plant-based and paleo options
- potential discounts when people order more meals
- flexible subscription options
- organic and sustainable food sources
All these benefits apply to grocery-bought food if a person plans their meals in advance and sets time aside each week for cooking.
Please note that no one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tried these meal delivery brands. All information is research-based.
Families who follow a vegetarian diet can still enjoy the convenience of meal kits.
Examples of brands that sell vegetarian meal kits and healthful ready meals include:
Sunbasket offer sustainable fresh ingredients and are certified organic by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). They offer a vegetarian meal plan, which is nutritionally balanced and high in plant proteins, fiber, and good fats. Recipes also offer some child-friendly preparation activities, such as juicing a lemon.
People can choose 2–4 meals per week, with 2 or 4 servings per meal. The cost of each meal reduces as people increase their order size. This could benefit families who need to order several meals. People can choose between meal kits and ready-to-eat meals.
Hello Fresh offer a vegetarian meal plan with a range of chef-designed recipes that vary in cooking times.
People can choose from 2–4 meals per week, with 2 or 4 servings per meal. The more a person orders, the lower each meal costs. This could suit families who need to place large orders.
Meal delivery kits are more expensive than grocery store shops. However, there are some more affordable meal kits that families could include in their budget.
Examples of brands that sell affordable options include:
Dinnerly claim they offer one of the most affordable meal delivery kits on the market due to streamlining their business.
- digital recipe cards instead of paper
- fewer ingredients per dish
- simple packaging and marketing
Dinnerly offer a family box with 4 servings. People can choose from 3–6 meals per week.
Every Plate market themselves as one of America’s best value meal kit services. They use less packaging and simple ingredients to keep costs low.
Meals plans accommodate two to four people, with 3–5 meals per week. Portions are adult-sized, so 4 portions may feed a family of five.
People can choose from a menu of 16 meals each week, with insulated ingredients and recipe cards.
As vegan diets grow, so do the variety of vegan meal delivery options.
Examples of brands that sell vegan meal kits and ready meals include:
Purple Carrot is a plant-based meal delivery kit service. They offer a range of vegan meals with gluten-free and high protein options. They also have breakfast, lunch, and snack options. People can choose from 2 or 4 servings.
VegReady offer ready-to-eat, 100% vegan meals with no chemical preservatives. The meals do not require refrigeration. They currently deliver to the U.S., excluding Hawaii, Alaska, or Canada.
Each delivery includes 24 meals, which provides 8 servings. Each meal contains a main meal, a side dish, and a sauce.
People can choose from 2 meal options:
- Amazonian Rainforest Meal Case: Lentils and brown rice, with sides and sauces
- Coastal Verde Meal Case: Lentils and white quinoa, with sides and sauces
VegReady seem to be a popular option, as occasionally their kits are sold out. However, people who opt for this service can join a waitlist using the link below and receive notifications when they are back in stock.
Examples of brands that offer paleo meal delivery options include:
Pete’s Paleo provide paleo meals using seasonal produce and are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and sweeteners. There is a set menu that changes weekly.
Pete’s Paleo offer a family meal plan that includes 5 meals, with 4 servings per meal. There is also the option to double-up on protein for each meal, or add an extra side.
Factor 75 offer a paleo meal plan comprising fresh ingredients and lean meats.
Meals are fully prepared and only require heating up in an oven or microwave, which may suit families looking to reduce meal preparation time.
People can choose from 4–18 paleo meals per week while selecting their serving sizes for each meal. If a person struggles to decide what they want, Factor 75 can choose meals for them based on their preferences.
Families living with gluten intolerance have several meal delivery options catering to a gluten-free diet, with some providers offering certified gluten-free meals.
Examples of brands that sell certified gluten-free ready-to-eat meals and meal kits include:
Freshly provide up to 12 meals per week, which provides 3 meals a week for a family of four. All meals provide 1 adult serving.
Meals come fully prepared in a microwavable container, so they simply need heating up.
The Green Chef Keto and Paleo meal plan is certified gluten-free with the GIG. Meal plans can feed up to a family of four, while people can order 2–4 recipes each week.
Busy families may find meal delivery services save time by reducing meal planning and preparation.
People who regularly eat out or order takeout may find these services offer healthier and more affordable alternatives. Many meal delivery options cater to specific dietary needs and a range of budgets.