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Best Meal Delivery Services

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Meal delivery services provide fresh or frozen prepared foods for a fee. Use our guide to research the best meal delivery service for you. We explain what to look for in services that offer meals in packages or individual plans. Many companies are oriented toward weight loss, but some are designed for individuals and families with busy schedules. Ordering online and getting delivery to your door is fast and easy.

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What to consider before choosing a meal delivery service


The price of a meal or plan is a major factor for most consumers when choosing a meal delivery service. Prices vary from vendor to vendor but usually fall between $8 to $10 per person per meal.

  • Discounts for order size: Most services offer discounts on larger orders. This means if you purchase a monthly or weekly plan, you are more likely to receive discounted prices than if you purchase meals individually.
  • Shipping: Many services provide free or discounted shipping if certain requirements are met, such as if the order is over a certain dollar amount or if the customer purchases a monthly meal plan.


Many meal-delivery services offer their meals based on a plan. This means that you receive multiple meals at once for a flat fee.

  • Frequency: The frequency with which you need to order depends on what type of plan you have. Some services offer weekly plans, while others offer meals as a package for an entire month.
  • Meals per day: Many plans give you the option of how many meals you want per day. You can choose from dinner-only options to three-meal options with snacks included.


Some meal services are catered to specific weight-loss plans or even dietary restrictions, which can be especially helpful for people who live far from larger grocery stores.

  • Weight loss: Weight-loss plans include meals of specific portions and food types that are designed to help the customer lose weight.
  • Restrictive diets: You can find meal plans that are friendly toward diabetics or those with other dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free or organic.


Meal-delivery services often offer customization options to give more flexibility and control to the customer.

  • Meal swapping: For customers who are purchasing a monthly or weekly plan, the customer chooses a pre-made plan, but can swap out meals or portions of a meal and replace them with their preferred dishes so that they only receive foods they enjoy. Food services that sell meals individually will often let customers swap out the included side dishes or desserts as well.
  • Create your own plan: This option allows customers to pay the flat fee of a plan but choose all their own meals, rather than have them chosen by the service.

Frozen or fresh

Meal-delivery services typically ship their food frozen, but some offer fresh food, either for you to heat up or cook yourself.

  • Frozen: Since many meal plans are month-long plans, the food is generally frozen for convenience, longevity and freshness.
  • Fresh: Fresh (non-frozen) meals are available from some services. The prices for these meals are generally a little higher, and they can only be purchased individually or on a weekly plan.


Some vendors require a weekly or monthly commitment, while others do not.

  • Commitment: This option requires customers to commit to a weekly or monthly plan that is automatically renewed.
  • Non-commitment: This option means that customers only order when they want to order, and they are not charged until they place an order at the time of their choosing.

What are different types of meal delivery services?


This is the most common type of meal-delivery service. It offers meals that are specially portioned and designed so that customers are able to meet their weight-loss goals.


This option provides meals that are compatible with a paleo diet. This means that meals are generally high in protein and gluten-free.


Gluten-free plans cater to those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. Meals may be prepared in a nondedicated facility, however.


Some meal services provide diabetic-friendly meals. These foods are low in sugar to help diabetics maintain consistent blood-sugar levels.


Some services offer meals for special occasions such as holidays or family events. Rather than a plan, these are a one-time purchase designed to feed a number of people rather than an individual.


Some services ship fresh ingredients, along with a recipe. Customers then cook their own meals.

Who can benefit from a meal delivery service?


This group of consumers is actively trying to lose weight, and meal-delivery services can help make the process easier. The preplanned meals are designed to be balanced and healthy so that consumers don't have to worry about counting calories or determining a food's nutritional value.

Busy individuals

Some people's schedules do not leave them with much time to cook or prepare meals, and hiring a personal chef may not be financially viable. For these customers, meal-delivery services are helpful as they provide meals in advance that can be reheated or cooked whenever they prefer.

People with restrictive diets

For people with diabetes, gluten sensitivities or other restrictive dietary needs, some meal-delivery services offer foods that cater to these individual needs. There are also plans designed with the health of older adults in mind. This makes meal planning simpler because consumers do not have to come up with new meal ideas or wonder about a meal's compatibility with their health restrictions.

Meal delivery service FAQ

Can you lose weight with meal delivery?

Yes, a meal delivery service makes it easier to lose weight. The service provides you with healthy food options that taste good, which makes it simple to stick with a diet. When you enjoy the food that’s part of your diet, losing weight becomes less challenging and more rewarding.

Are there any meal delivery services for one person?

Yes, there are several meal delivery services for one person. For instance, some services offer food for only one person each night. Opting for a single-meal service guarantees you get only the amount of food you need.

Is there a meal delivery service for diabetics?
Yes, diabetics can order special meal delivery services designed for their dietary considerations. If you visit the website of a reputable meal prep company, it should offer options for several different types of diets. Be sure to order a plan that’s diabetic-friendly.
What temperature would you reject a delivery of frozen food?
If you order meal delivery, your food must be kept at a safe temperature. This means that all high-risk foods need to arrive chilled or frozen.
  • Chilled food should be no warmer than 41 degrees.
  • Frozen food should be completely frozen when it arrives.

If you have reason to believe that the food is warmer than it should be, call the meal delivery company.

When was food delivery invented?
Food delivery is not a new concept. In 1889, chef Raffaele Esposito delivered his pizza in person to King Umberto I of Italy and Queen Margherita of Savoy, starting the now popular trend. The trend evolved, and people eventually had the opportunity to order a long list of foods for delivery. However, it wasn’t until 2007 that meal kits started to gain popularity.
Are frozen meals bad for you?
No, frozen meals are only bad for you if they aren’t healthy. When you order frozen meals from a meal service, you get high-quality food that is healthy and delicious. Many people use frozen meals as an effective way to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle.

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    Meal delivery service author reviews


    A Berlin-based company with U.S. headquarters in New York City, HelloFresh delivers fresh ingredients and recipes to the customers each week for them to prepare at home. The company even partners with famed chef Jamie Oliver for exclusive recipes.

    • Various options: HelloFresh offers options for vegetarians, as well as larger boxes for families.
    • Subscription service: HelloFresh sells a "subscription" that automatically renews each week unless you opt out.
    • Wide delivery range: The company delivers anywhere in the continental U.S.
    • Small suppliers: Food is purchased from smaller suppliers for the freshest ingredients.
    • Choose your meals: You can choose which meals you receive each week to suit your own individual tastes and needs.
    Read 6151 Reviews
    Top Chef Meals

    Founded in Westchester County, N.Y., by caterer Paul Ghiron, Top Chef Meals prides itself on providing gourmet, restaurant-quality meals that are both healthy and affordable. It ships its food frozen and delivers to most of the United States.

    Read more about Top Chef Meals

    Frozen, doctor-designed meals delivered with the distinct dietary needs of men and women in mind. Customizable menus run five or seven days, starting at $89.96, with gluten-free and diabetic options.

    Read 148 Reviews
    Healthy Chef Creations

    Founded in 2001, Healthy Chef Creations delivers meals fresh, not frozen, to the customer's door each week. The Winter Park, Fla., based company's gourmet, chef-prepared food is entirely organic.

    • All organic: Healthy Chef Creations' foods are all organic and free of chemicals and pesticides.
    • Plan variety: The company's wide variety of plans appeals to dieters, individuals, families, expectant moms, new moms and more.
    • Kid friendly: Healthy Chef Creations offers school lunch options for children, adding another dimension for busy families.
    • Fresh food: Meals are prepared and delivered fresh each week.
    • Chef-prepared foods: Foods are "spa-inspired" and created by chefs for unique, delicious meals.

    MagicKitchen.com's founder started the company in Oakland, Calif., to bring busy families together at dinner time, and to provide nutritious dining options for seniors. From its Kansas City, Kan., distribution center, MagicKitchen.com delivers to all of the U.S. It also offers a variety of options for people with dietary restrictions.

    • Individual meals: MagicKitchen.com sells frozen meals individually for flexibility.
    • Friendly for people with dietary restrictions: The site offers a wide variety of options for people with special dietary needs, including diabetic-friendly meals, low sodium, dairy-free, gluten-free, renal diet and more.
    • Auto-ship meal programs: It offers an auto-ship meal program at a discounted price for people who want to buy meals on a weekly or monthly basis without having to reorder.
    • Gift options: You can also send meals as gifts.
    • Food variety: Customers can choose entrees as well as accompanying sides, desserts, soups and breads.

    Based in Lorton, Va., Diet-to-Go features meal plans to help customers meet weight-loss goals. It offers both fresh and frozen food options, with three different meal plans to accommodate various dietary needs.

    Read 18 Reviews
    Blue Apron

    Founded in 2012 in New York City, Blue Apron delivers fresh ingredients and recipes to customers who then prepare and cook the food themselves. The company also offers a monthly wine subscription of six wines with pairing notes.

    Read more about Blue Apron
    Send a Meal

    Launched in 2004 in Austin, Texas, Send a Meal offers family-sized meals that customers can buy for themselves or send as gifts. For convenience, the meals can be ordered on an individual basis or as part of a meal plan.

    Read more about Send a Meal
    Home Chef

    Based in Chicago, Home Chef sends fresh ingredients and recipes to customers each week for them to cook their own meals. The company's algorithm suggests meals for you based on your "taste profile," which details what you do and don’t like to eat.

    Read more about Home Chef

    New York City-based Plated sends a box of fresh ingredients and recipes to customers each week for them to prepare their own meals. Each week the service offers nine different recipes to choose from, with dessert options as well. Two of the meals are designated as Chef's Table recipes, with specialty cuts of meat and market-priced seafood.

    • Antibiotic-free: All meats come from animals that were not given antibiotics.
    • Easy delivery: Food is delivered in refrigerated boxes so ingredients stay cold in case the food is delivered when you're not home.
    • Subscription service: Plated's subscription service automatically renews weekly unless you choose to opt out.
    • Plan variety: The company offers plans with two, three or four meals weekly so customers can tailor the service to their budget and schedule.
    • Unique meals: Plated's menu offers unique, chef-designed, out-of-the-ordinary meals to expand your food horizons.

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