With plenty of time on our hands to cook and a good reason to avoid the grocery store, meal kits are exactly what we need right now. The SmarterTravel editors tested out some of the most popular meal delivery services on the market and found the best meal kits that are worth signing up for.
If you’ve been comfort-eating a little too much and want to get back into a healthy mindset, Sakara is the perfect reset. We tried out its signature program, which included three days’ worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This vegan meal kit service is based off nine pillars of nutrition, and aims to get you healthier by providing all the nutrients your body craves.
The meals all come prepackaged and ready-to-eat, although some dishes can be heated up if you prefer. Along with the food, the signature program included Sakara’s probiotics, detox tea, and a detox snack bar.
Sakara’s emphasis is on fresh, green vegetables, with lunches and dinners packed full of greens. Even as non-vegans, we found the food to be surprisingly filling and tasty, with fresh sauces and dressings that added lots of flavors.
At the end of the three-day program, we noticed a marked shift in energy levels, a decrease in sugar cravings, and even a bit of weight loss. Sakara helped us reexamine our eating habits, and has inspired us to add in more vegetables to our daily diet.
Hungryroot is a combination of healthy grocery delivery and meal kits, with a focus on convenience. Meal kits are more assembling than cooking, involving minimal prep work and not much clean-up after. For example, we tried a vegetable stir-fry that came with chopped up vegetables, a premade seven-grain rice blend, pre-cooked tofu, and sauce. All we had to do was dump everything in a frying pan and heat it up, and then we had a filling and healthy meal.
Hungryroot is designed to be mix-and-match, so you can order plenty of separate components (like premade rice and lentils, or salad greens) and use them to make whatever you like. The service also offers groceries, like bread, soups, premade healthy oatmeal, and more. A favorite was the highly addictive (but sneakily healthy) black bean brownie batter that was studded with chocolate chips and could be eaten by the spoonful out of the container, or cooked for fudgy brownies that tasted decadent.
Pricing: Plans start at $59 per order. Click here to get 30 percent off your first delivery over $99.
How much time (and motivation) do you have? Sun Basket has a meal kit to suit every lifestyle—pick from oven/microwave ready, pre-prepared (no slicing, dicing or peeling required), or classic cooking options.
Each week, you’ll get to choose which meals you want. Sun Basket can accommodate a wide range of diets, including vegetarian, gluten free, paleo, low-calorie and low-carb. Most meals take around 30 minutes to prepare, and the step-by-step instructions are very easy to follow. All of the meals have been approved by an in-house dietician, and contain between 500 and 800 calories per serving.
You can also add on easy breakfast and lunch options, healthy snacks, fresh pastas, and prepared meat and fish.
Sun Basket will send all the ingredients that you need, in recyclable or compostable packaging.
We tried the classic cooking meal kit, and were impressed at how quick and easy the meals were to prepare. We also enjoyed trying out healthy recipes that we wouldn’t have attempted on our own, like the cauliflower macaroni and cheese or the General Tso’s Tofu.
The snacks (we loved the red pepper hummus and granola butter) were a great healthy substitution for our usual midday treats.
Freshly offers ready-made, single-serving meals that require just three minutes in the microwave to prepare. Subscription plans range from four to 12 meals per week, with more than 30 dishes to choose from in categories such as “Feel-Better Food” and “Takeout Twists.”
Quality can be a little uneven but is generally a cut above most frozen prepared meals; the chicken teriyaki and steak peppercorn were among the better ones we tried.
All dishes are gluten- and peanut-free, and you can also find dairy-free, low-carb, and low-calorie options. However, Freshly does not currently offer any vegetarian or vegan meals.
If you want to improve your cooking skills, Blue Apron is a great place to start. It will send you step-by-step instructions and pre-measured ingredients, so you can learn how to make recipes that might otherwise be out of your comfort zone.
Each week you’ll choose three meals from a wide variety of dishes, including vegetarian options, Weight Watchers Approved recipes, diabetes-friendly meals, or meat and fish options. The meals have a ton of variety, so you won’t get bored. Our favorites included the fried zucchini and mozzarella sandwiches with carrot fries and guacamole, and the couscous-stuffed poblano peppers.
Blue Apron also has a wine delivery service, so you can order the perfect pairing for your meal kit, as well as wine and cheese bundles for a delicious appetizer.
You can even order kitchen tools (like pots and pans) and pantry essentials (like olive oils and seasonings) if you really are starting from scratch.
If you’re vegetarian, keto, or just interested in eating healthy, give Green Chef a try. These meal kits focus on clean ingredients and can accommodate a variety of diets (including meat or fish eaters).
All of the ingredients come pre-measured and already prepped, saving you a lot of time. Each recipe is accompanied by photos that show you exactly what to do to whip up dishes like creamy stuffed chicken or black bean and sweet potato tacos.
The recipes can be quickly made in 30 minutes or less; and use organic, non-GMO ingredients.
Interested in trying the vegan diet or just want to eat a little healthier? Purple Carrot makes it super simple to make healthy, tasty, and filling plant-based meals.
You can order breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. Each week, you’ll choose which meal kits you want. You can select based on the time it takes to prepare—ranging from five minutes to 35 minutes. Despite being vegan, many of the meals are high-protein, and all are very filling. Gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free meals are available as well. Don’t miss the penne mushroom Florentine or the cauliflower steaks.
EveryPlate is the most affordable meal kit service on our list, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be sacrificing quality or flavor. EveryPlate aims to cut costs by using minimal packaging and simple ingredients.
Each week, you’ll receive a box with ingredients for three meals, plus easy-to-follow recipes. Most of the meals are meat-focused, with options like chili honey butter chicken and beef banh mi bowls.
EveryPlate does not offer options for special diets (such as vegetarian or gluten-free).
We tried Factor 75 meal kits for a few weeks and found its pre-made meals to be healthy, filling, well-portioned, and super easy to prepare.
The meal kit brand is different than some others in that all the meals are pre-made, so you just heat them up in the oven (or microwave) quickly—most take about five minutes (this was our favorite part). And for those that eat keto, gluten-free, or paleo, there are specific dishes designated for you. The weekly menus also have designations for plant-based, spicy, vegetarian, dairy-free, and low-carb. When you first sign up you also get a free, 20-minute nutrition consultation.
Each week you select your designated number of meals from the weekly menu, then your meals are delivered on your selected weekday. The pre-cooked meals last about seven days in your fridge, so you have plenty of time to eat them. We particularly liked the feature of being able to add in extra protein (like cooked chicken breasts or shrimp) each week. You can also add on wellness shots and juices.
Caroline Morse Teel is a Principal Editor for SmarterTravel. Follow her on Instagram @travelwithcaroline for travel photos and advice.
Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.
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