Whether you need to avoid the grocery store during COVID-19 or just want a fun cooking challenge, meal delivery services can be a weeknight dinner game-changer. They provide culinary inspiration, introduce new ingredients and cook techniques, and are typically cheaper and healthier than takeout. But how do you choose the right service for you? Healthline’s experts have tested and ranked the best meal delivery options.
With everyone sheltering in place due to COVID-19, meal delivery services are booming. They take the guesswork out of weeknight meals and can introduce you to new foods and cooking techniques. The best service for you depends on your budget. GH Institute food and nutrition experts evaluated 40 services, from recipe-based meal kits to fully prepared ready-to-eat options, to find the most cost-effective and healthy choices.
The cheapest meal delivery services charge $5 per serving and feature recipes with ingredients like lean proteins, organic vegetables and low-sugar fruits. But the more expensive services include gourmet recipes and high-end cuts of meat that can add up to $15 or $20 a serving. We recommend evaluating each meal kit service’s price range before signing up. Some meal delivery services offer family plans that can reduce costs per person.
Many meal delivery services offer a variety of diet-specific meals that have been created by physicians and registered dietitians. Some services also provide customers with nutrition facts for each meal so that they can make informed decisions about what they are eating. Whether you choose a meal kit service or a full-service restaurant delivery company, these types of services can be serious weeknight dinner game-changers. They can offer culinary inspiration, introduce you to new ingredients and cooking techniques and save time by eliminating grocery shopping and recipe hunting.
Grocery delivery companies offer a similar convenience to meal delivery by providing customers with the opportunity to order and receive groceries online, such as fresh produce, breads, meats, dairy products, beverages and more. These items are often delivered in insulated bags with dry ice and can be shipped to homes, office buildings or apartment complexes. Typically, a tip is given to the driver upon pickup. Some companies even deliver to restaurants, cafeterias, and health care facilities.
Most meal delivery services have a variety of meals to choose from. This can be a plus for those who want to try new foods and restaurants but don’t have the desire or time to cook at home. The variety also helps prevent food waste, as you won’t have a lonely onion or sweet potato sitting in your fridge. Food variety is important because it optimizes your metabolism and can prevent nutrient deficiencies, such as iron deficiency.
If you’re a busy person and feel overwhelmed with the amount of time it takes to grocery shop, cook and clean up after meals or simply don’t have culinary skills or the desire to put together a meal, meal delivery services can help. These companies ship ready-to-eat meals, or kits containing the ingredients for a few meals to your doorstep on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. You can choose how many meals you want sent to your home, and most meal delivery services let you pause or suspend deliveries with zero penalty. You also won’t have to worry about wasting food, since the kits contain pre-portioned portions.
In summary, meal delivery services offer a convenient and flexible solution for individuals seeking delicious and nutritious meals without the hassle of cooking or meal planning. Understanding the various options, dietary accommodations, and delivery terms empowers consumers to make informed choices for a satisfying dining experience.
How does meal delivery work, and how often can I receive meals?
Meal delivery services typically operate through online platforms or apps. Customers can select meals from the menu and choose delivery frequencies, such as weekly or bi-weekly. Some services offer daily delivery options for fresh meals, while others provide frozen meals for longer shelf life.
Can meal delivery services accommodate portion sizes for individuals or families?
Yes, meal delivery services often offer various portion sizes to cater to individual needs or families. You can choose portion sizes based on the number of people you need to feed, ensuring everyone enjoys a satisfying and well-balanced meal.