The best healthy meal delivery services might not be your first line of defense against an empty fridge and a grumbling stomach, but they’re worth a second look if you’ve never indulged before. These days, a trip to the grocery store and its inflated prices is often more expensive than ordering take out. And though you could visit the local farmer’s market or get yourself hooked up with a farm box, will either of those options set you up with easy recipes and tiny, pre-portioned baggies of everything you’ll need to sort out a meal in sub-40 minutes? Probably not. Can it send you a wealth of pre-made, chef-prepared meals, like a care package from your mom? Dubious!
The perks of a meal kit are many, but mostly boil down to convenience: With healthy meal subscriptions, eating better doesn’t have to involve hours of prep or trying to parse through the nutrition facts of whatever’s on Uber Eats. Plus, thanks to a streamlined selection process, you can order from your phone or computer and get your diet in check easier than picking out something on Netflix. There’s no better way to balance out Halloween candy and holiday sweets than with a healthy meal kit that’ll help you eat well, maybe teach you a thing or two in the kitchen (character building!), and—if you’re playing your cards right—even help you save money that you’d normally spend on greasy takeout.
The Best Healthy Meal Delivery Services, at a Glance
You wouldn’t be browsing this story if you weren’t short on time, so cut to the chase with our top picks for the kits that’ll balance your meals and your checkbooks:
- The Best Meal Delivery Service For Hardcore Vegans and Vegetarians: Purple Carrot
- The Best Premium Healthy Meal Delivery Service: Sun Basket
- The Best Healthy Meal Delivery Service for Fancy Takeout-Style Meals: Territory Foods
- The Best Healthy Meal Delivery Service with Large Portion Sizes: Mosaic
- The Best Healthy Meal Delivery Service for Salad Freaks: Sakara
- The Best Meal Delivery Kit For Inventive Smoothies and Breakfasts: Daily Harvest
- The Best Meal Delivery Service for Juice Bar Fiends and Lazy Vegans: Splendid Spoon
- The Best Healthy Meal Delivery Service That Offers Groceries, Too: Hungryroot
What does “healthy” mean here, exactly?
Healthy can obviously mean different things to different people. A green salad drenched in dressing may be high on fiber but also loaded with fats, sodium, and sugar if you’re beelining for the Cobb. Grocery shopping for fresh ingredients sounds easy in theory, but unless you have a long list of healthy recipes in mind, you’ll find yourself eating the same dishes and snacks over and over. If that sounds a little too familiar, then meal kits can save you from take-out temptation.
We’re not registered dietitians, but for this assessment of the best healthy meal kits, we focused on services that prioritized a wealth of leafy greens and vegetables, high-quality ingredients, organic meals, plus premium meats that were sourced ethically and sustainably. We also looked for balanced meals: tasty, filling, fiber- and protein-rich dishes with a not overwhelming amount of salt, fat, sugar, and cholesterol. Moreover, we surveyed the best of the best kits that offer a variety of options for people with different dietary needs (vegans, vegetarians, the gluten-intolerant, people jonesing for Paleo and keto options, “fit” plans for people bulking or counting calories, you name it).
How we tested
Over the course of the last couple years, we’ve had the pleasure of testing a variety of the finest meal delivery services out there. Most meal kits at this point are in an arms race to offer basically everything they can plop in one flimsy box, from pre-made meals to groceries and even wine bottles, so distinguishing between them really depends on how much time and money you want to spend, plus what your dietary needs are. We dabbled in a little bit of everything, from chop-and-stir, DIY services that let you do the cooking to lazy heat-and-serve meals that don’t need much except a microwave or an oven. Then, we zeroed in on what each service does best and whether their marketing claims held up up—noting whether food tasted more like an over-seasoned rag or a five-star takeout substitute, whether the food was filling and varied, and if meals were as speedy to prep as promised. Without further ado, the best healthy meal delivery services that’ll get your new year goals off on the right foot.