Meal Delivery Services 101

We love meal delivery services, because you can have fresh, healthy ingredients and/or meals delivered right to your door. But what do you need to know about them? We have you covered.


Meal Delivery Services 101

Meal delivery services have put a new twist on meals and cooking. Planning meals, making a list, going to the supermarket… all that is out. And fresh, delicious ingredients (or even full meals) delivered right to your door is in.

There’s no way around it – meal delivery services are here to stay, and they are loved by all age groups. On the go Millennials love picking their meals on their smartphone, while time crunched and health conscious Boomers and Gen X’ers have embraced the convenience and healthy options meal delivery services offer.

Add to this the fact that there is truly something for everyone, and every appetite or diet restriction. Read on for the facts you need to know about them so you can pick the best meal delivery service for you and your family.

The Big Question: To Cook Or Not to Cook

While there are other defining differences, most meal delivery services fall into one two categories: those that deliver pre-measured ingredients and recipes that you cook, and those that deliver full pre-cooked meals that you simply heat and eat.

So the first choice you have to make is “do I want to actually cook or not?” There really is no right or wrong answer. Let’s look at each type:

  • “Ingredient and Recipe Style” Meal Delivery Service.

    These services (such as Home Chef, Hello Fresh, and Green Chef) deliver ingredients and a recipe, and you do the cooking. The ingredients are always fresh and pre-portioned, and the recipes are easy to follow, so there’s really very little chance of messing it up. These services are perfect for people who want help with meal planning, and don’t want to shop for ingredients. This way, you get perfect ingredients, and an easy to follow recipe, so you can still unleash your inner chef!

  • "Heat and Eat” Meal Delivery Services

    These types of meal delivery services (such as BistroMD and Diet to Go) deliver you delicious meals that are fully prepared. All you need to do is “heat and eat”. This saves you and your family considerable time and work, yet still ensures you get fresh, delicious, healthy meals that are perfect for families to sit and enjoy.

    Which of the two you choose is completely up to you – if you like to cook, go ahead and try the ingredient and recipe style. If your idea of cooking is setting the temperature on your stove, go with heat and eats.

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How are They Delivered Fresh?

Both ingredients style and heat and eat are delivered fresh to you. Every company we tried uses modern cooler technology packaging, dry ice, and flash-freezing the food so it’s always delivered to you fresh. We were skeptical at first, but really, everything was great, ad in the end, we couldn’t tell the difference whether we bought it from a meal delivery service or from our corner grocer.

How do You Choose Your Meals?

Every meal delivery service we tried has both an app and a prolific website. Menus are generally shown 3-4 weeks in advance, and you choose what you want in the upcoming weeks. This way, you’re always well ahead of the game. And the menus are ever-changing, so you’re not going to get bored with your choices.

The meals are also quite adventurous. Prepared meats and veggies, sides, sauces, etc. – you won’t find anything boring here, no matter which meal delivery service you choose.

Lastly, it was quite easy to suspend delivery and skip weeks on all of the services. So if you’re going to be away for a week or two, no problem.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Some of the meal kit delivery services offered up to 3 meals a day, while others concentrated on just dinner. Again, this gives you an awful lot of choice in regards to just how much you want to use a meal kit delivery service.

Hold The Gluten (or the Meat!) – Special Diets

Most of the meal kit delivery services we tried offered several different menus that catered to different lifestyles and diets. Most had a vegetarian / plant-based option, and most offered gluten-free options. Some offered Paleo and Keto diets, and others offered things like diabetes friendly or even a menopause focused diet.

There were some, particularly in the “heat and eat” category, that focused on healthy eating and weight loss, so if that’s your need, there are options for you.

We found enough options for everyone around our table, so nobody went hungry, no matter their diet.

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We found the prices quite reasonable across the board, with not too much variance between companies. Most of these meal kit delivery service meals came out to somewhere between $8.50 and $10 a serving, which is pretty reasonable considering the quality of the ingredients / food, and the time you save by not shopping. It’s certainly more economical than eating out, and a lot healthier for you as well.

In the End

We really liked these meal kit delivery services, and can heartily recommend them to individuals and families that want to spend more time enjoying each other’s company, and less time shopping and meal planning. Plus, good food never goes out of style!