Let’s face it: parsley, leafy greens, and avocado are all awesome to cook with on Day One, but before you know it, they end up brown and unappetizing in the back of your fridge. Now factor in a busy lifestyle, Whole Foods‘ salad bar, Trader Joe’s frozen food section, your corner Chinese restaurant’s killer General Tso chicken, and about a million other distractions that get in the way of actually whipping up a meal from scratch. Is it any wonder food waste and unhealthy grab-and-go meals are still the norm?
Knowing exactly what you’re eating, however, is imperative for optimizing your health—which is exactly why it might be time to change your buying habits. If you haven’t mastered the art of shopping, meal prep, and portion sizes—but want to cook healthy at home—a boxed food service may be for you. With the right delivery, you can skip the grocery store and get the recipes and ingredients you need sent straight to your door. The only time anything is wasted is if you don’t get around to cooking up the recipe. But with all the options out there, it can get a little overwhelming to figure out which one to choose. So, here’s a look at the best services to help you navigate the increasingly crowded boxed food delivery space. Check ’em out and then keep an eye out for these 27 Functional Foods for Better Health and Weight Loss to make an appearance in your meals!
Blue Apron is the original and dominant player in this space. They’ll send all the raw ingredients you need to make a variety of dishes, based on general taste preferences. Dishes take anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes to prepare and cook, change weekly, and are between 500 and 800 calories per serving. All of the ingredients are pre-portioned and the brand makes an effort to work with local farmers to deliver seasonal, more flavorful raw ingredients to customers. Delivery is nationwide and free.
For two: $59.99 ($9.99 per serving) for three meals, six total servings
Family plan: $69.92 ($8.74 per serving) for either two or four meals, eight total servings
Martha & Marley Spoon
Marley Spoon recently re-launched in partnership with Martha Stewart to deliver pre-portioned fresh ingredients to make Stewart-developed recipes. They also work with an in-house nutritionist and, with the exception of fish, they guarantee that you’ll be able to use all of their ingredients for at least four days after you receive them. Delivery is nationwide and free. Hint: When you simply can’t get around to making the meals in your selected boxed service, make sure you are familiar with these 25 Ways to Use Almost-Spoiled Food!
For two: $61.50 ($10.25 per serving) for three meals, six total servings
Family plan: $106.80 ($8.90 per serving) for three meals, twelve total servings
The Quinciple team works with a long list of farmers and markets to deliver fresh foods, including fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, bread, produce, eggs, and pantry staples (literally anything from wild blueberries to challah hot dog buns) to make at least two different dinners for two people. They offer both a classic box and a vegetarian box, both of which come with weekly changing recipes and tips. Most items in your box will stay fresh for 5 to 7 days. Delivery is included with the price of the box, but as of now, they only deliver to Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Home delivery: $49.90 per box/week
Pickup locations and company accounts: $42.90 per box/week
Peach Dish sources all of their ingredients regionally and seasonally. You pick from four meat/fish and four vegetarian dishes each week (the minimum order is $50, which includes two servings of two meals). All of the dishes are Southern-influenced, and each box includes everything you need aside from salt, pepper, oil, and water; this is standard across most boxed food services. Note that while half of the dish options change weekly, the other half only change seasonally; so, while their national shipping can be free, it depends on whether or not you order with a subscription. Like the idea of more Southern-inspired meals but not sure this is for you? Then don’t miss these 21 Flat-Belly Hacks for Southern Cooking!
2 servings: $25
4 servings: $50
6 servings: $70
8 servings: $90
12 servings: $130
The Good Farm Delivery
The Good Farm Delivery is basically an online farmer’s market. While they won’t give you recipes, they will give you access to farm fresh ingredients, minus the hassle, and they have a very wide selection. Working with nearly three dozen local farms and artisans, they offer everything from fruits, vegetables and flowers to eggs, dairy, and chocolate. As of now, they only deliver to the Hamptons area. Delivery is $10.95 per order from Southampton to Amagansett and $14.95 per order for deliveries to Napeague/Montauk/Shelter Island.
Prices vary based on what you opt to order and there is a minimum order of $39.
Hello Fresh’s main point of difference is that they work with an in-house registered dietician to conceive all of their meals and they give customers detailed nutrition fact labels on their recipe cards (and website). Like Blue Apron, their recipes can all be made around the 35-ish minute mark and usually with six steps or less. They offer three box options: classic, veggie, or family. Delivery is free and nationwide. And speaking of the experts, discover the 15 Ways Nutritionists Have Changed Their Diets Over the Past 5 Years!
Classic or Veggie Box: $69 ($11.50 per serving) for three meals, six total servings
Family Box: $105 ($8.75 per serving) for three meals, 12 total servings
The Purple Carrot
If you’re vegan and on a tight schedule, The Purple Carrot is for you. Their entire menu is vegan and the menu options are set. Most ingredients are organic, ethically sourced, and always non-GMO. Each box also comes with health and environmental tips. Note that these meals can be a bit more involved and may take up to 45 minutes. Delivery is free and nationwide.
The Perfect Pair: $68 ($11.33 per serving) for three meals, six total servings
A Whole Bunch: $74 ($9.25 per serving) for two meals, eight total servings
Home Chef is the option for those who need variety; they have 11 meal options every week, as well as a smoothie recipe, and offer an optional bag of seasonal fruit. Their recipe cards include wine and beer pairings along with calories, fats, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and sodium values.
Meals cost $9.95 per serving and can be ordered in two, four, or six serving sizes. Fruit and smoothie add-ons are $4.95.
Each week, Plated lets you choose from nine savory recipes and two dessert recipes. While most ingredients are included, Plated assumes you have basics like olive oil (they detail exactly what is included). Their seafood is domestically and sustainably sourced, and their animals are raised without antibiotics. Shipping is free for anything over two meals.
For two: $48 ($12 per serving) two meals, four total servings; $72 ($12 per serving) three meals, six total servings; $96 ($12 per serving) four meals, eight total servings (there are also options for five, six or seven dinners per week)
If you’re in the Bay Area and want to make an effort to help grow and sustain your local food system, check out Good Eggs, which offers next-day delivery on local, organic produce, meat and fish, and pantry staples all sourced from local purveyors. They claim that, on average, their items are nine days fresher than competitors’ and they literally have hundreds of items to choose from. While orders don’t come with recipe cards, Good Eggs does have recipes on their website, all of which are designed to be healthy and time-efficient (some can be done in under 10 minutes and without turning on the oven). If you aren’t into recipes, then you’ll love our list of 40 Dinner Ideas That Don’t Need a Recipe!
For all orders over $60, delivery is free; otherwise, costs range from $2.99 to $3.99.