I have been a vegetarian for nearly 10 years. That means I have had to learn to be a strict vegan, a strict vegetarian with a lot of cross-contamination. I have had to figure out how to share or cook with someone who eats seafood, something I had been assured was not a problem.
Cooking, teaching, and living with my mom mean I’ve developed a ton of meal-planning and prep skills, including shopping lists and regular delivery options. To make it easy for her, I picked out two of my favorite options, both of which I know she’ll enjoy and that won’t overwhelm her fragile eater brain. There’s a new trend in meal delivery that could be better for your budget and the health of your child.
Think of these meal delivery services as the new online grocery delivery. You just give the companies your ingredients and they produce meals that have been prepared to your specifications. You can choose from many meal plans with various menus such as home delivery meal kits for singles, couples for kids, and many more options as pointed out by food expert Diana Reed of MealPlated.
OrganicBabyFood.com delivers ready-made meals designed to satisfy picky eaters, but not so much that they become anorexic. The cost for a week’s worth of meals ranges from $35 for the vegan plan to $80 for the gluten-free plan.
It can be delivered directly to your home, and there’s no minimum order.FunFoodForward.com has similar options starting from $15 per meal with no delivery fee.
In addition to the vegan and gluten-free plans, you can choose from the plan that’s similar to the organic one, so there are some healthy options, too. If you want to make homemade meals and your child is deathly afraid of eggs, there’s an option that delivers egg-free meals. The meals are easy to prepare and cook for the child, with instructions on how to peel, cut, and stir in. The first week’s cost is $140 for seven meals. Another delivery service that I like and that prepares meals to a child’s health needs is Little Herbivore.
Top-Rated Food Delivery Services
PackoToGo is a weekly service that makes grocery shopping easy. It delivers pre-portioned ingredients right to your door, with fresh meat, eggs, fruits, veggies, snacks, sauces, and more. It is a perfect option for those who don’t have the time to shop around for good products and aren’t comfortable with cutting up meat or fish. It works for people who like to eat “wild” or primal, avoiding all processed foods. They promise no GMOs, no additives, no sugar, no dairy, no soy and a 100 percent cruelty-free environment.
I love to drink wine and beer — especially craft brews. Corkcicle makes it easy to chill beers on the go! As long as you stick to their suggested serving size, you can enjoy them cold in just 10 minutes. They will also allow you to replace ice or add in a mix-in for an added touch.
Both PackoToGo and Corkcicle can be used to cook all your meals for the week, with endless permutations.
Here’s how meal delivery services like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Plated work:
Picking out a menu for the family can be stressful for some families. If you are one of the few people on the planet who doesn’t particularly care for eating out and dislike the idea of leftovers, then meal delivery is for you.
For instance, Hello Fresh provides monthly boxes full of fully prepared meals that are shipped to your home, providing all the ingredients you need to cook your meals at home. Once the Blue Apron arrives, you can sit down for dinner within just 30 minutes.
If you’d prefer to pick out your own recipes and cook at home, however, services like Plated and Plated Kids will have you covered with pre-portioned meals, all the ingredients you need to cook them, and even cookbooks that teach you how to make your creations.
What sets the services apart is their level of detail. By choosing which meals you want to make each week, you’re able to pick out ingredients, dine on meals you’ve designed, and create a well-balanced and healthy diet.
Ready to begin? Read on for more information on each of the meal delivery services out there.
Blue Apron was one of the first meal delivery services on the market, and it is still the largest meal delivery service in the United States. The company does, however, face competition from the likes of Hello Fresh and Plated. While Blue Apron specializes in preparing entire meals for you, the other services’ services are designed to cater to specific diets, such as gluten-free and paleo.
The basic meal plan Blue Apron provides you with gives you four meals, from which you can choose three. These meals are meant to be easy to cook for one person, easy to make for two, and easy to prepare for three. Each meal costs $59.89, and the service comes with the ingredients you need to make the dish, plus a recipe book. The grocery list also contains a few snacks you might want to add to your list of food items for the week.
Depending on what you want, the amount of time you have, and what your schedule is like, you can end up paying as little as $1.99 per meal or as much as $11.99 per meal. The nutrition facts provided with each meal also provides you with calories, fat, carbohydrate, and protein content.
Launched in 2011, Hello Fresh is currently one of the largest meal delivery services in the United States.
The meals are customizable, so you can cook whatever you want on the days that you don’t order delivery. Each delivery is meant to provide you with all the ingredients you need to cook five recipes and then store the extra ingredients for later use.
Hello Fresh also provides recipes with easy-to-follow instructions, with images to help you see what your meals will look like.
You can choose between three, four, or six meals per week, which can be either vegetarian, meat-free, or gluten-free. Each meal plan costs between $34.99 and $49.99 per week and has a daily value of roughly $7. The recipes include gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options, which is very generous.
Plated was originally a tool for people who wanted to eat at home but didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The service provides recipes for as many people as you need. This is beneficial, considering that some people have difficulty cooking from scratch.
The service includes all of the ingredients you need to make the recipes, with the recipe taking the extra steps you might be tempted to skip. Plated also focuses on providing more of a breakfast or dinner plan, since most people don’t usually have time to cook in the mornings or in the evening. The plan costs $49.99 per week, but with delivery, you can usually get your meals delivered to your door within 30 minutes. One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll pay $20 per week for wine, which you can add on to any plan.