If you’re like most of us, you’re busy. You know that eating healthy is crucial to your health, hormone balance and energy level. You know that eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains will benefit your health — and that reducing processed foods loaded with added sugars, carbs and hard-to-pronounce ingredients will help you feel better in the long run.
But finding time to plan out, shop for, prepare and cook wholesome meals can be a challenge. It’s the very reason so many of us find ourselves reaching for the nearest convenience food despite our best intentions.
Recently, a plethora of online meal services have set out to solve that problem by delivering healthy, whole-foods based meals right to your door, taking planning and shopping off your list. Some of them even do the cooking for you!
But how do these programs work, and are they really worth the cost? We explore a few of the most popular options below. Whether you use one of these services as your main meal strategy or as a quick fill-in to complement your own meals planning, there are a variety of options to suit just about every diet. Best of all, you can customize your weekly meal plans, and skip any weeks you won’t be needing it (ie, you’re going on vacation).
Like to Cook But Lack the Time?
If you’re someone who enjoys cooking but lacks the time or willpower to find healthy recipes, shop for weekly ingredients and prep time-intensive meals, a service like Hello Fresh or Purple Carrot may just be the extra bit of help you need to keep your healthy diet on track. Both services curate your recipes and ingredients for you, leaving you to simply take care of a little meal prep and cooking.
Hello Fresh offers ten new recipes each week, so you never have to fall into a dinner rut again. You’re also in the driver’s seat — you choose whether you want meals based on meat and veggies, low-calorie recipes, or a plant-based menu. Customize your weekly meal plan to accommodate the number of people you’re feeding, and enjoy healthy meals for as low as $5.66 per serving.
Meanwhile, for $7.49 per serving, Blue Apron offers chef-designed meals from balanced Mediterranean dishes to quick and easy one-pan dinners. Choose from meat, fish, or vegetarian focused menu plans. They even offer special diabetes-friendly recipes.
Need Fast, On-The-Go Meals?
Whether cooking isn’t your forte, or you just need quick, easy morning and lunch options, there are a number of ready-to-eat meal services on the market. Unlike the options mentioned above, these services do the prep and cooking for you, so all you need to do is drink your breakfast, or heat up your meal.
Fairly new to the scene, Daily Harvest delivers soups, smoothies, oats and harvest bowls that are pre-made and arrive frozen. Smoothies come in ready-to-sip bottles and include a variety of nutritious options, such as Banana & Greens, blended with fresh ingredients like kale, spinach, wheatgrass, cucumber and banana. These make for a nutrient-dense kickstart to your day, or work great as a post-workout meal or afternoon snack. The harvest bowls (such as Brussels Sprouts and Tahini) and soups (such as Green Chickpea & Kale or Cauliflower & Leek) give you wholesome, filling lunch options that are easy to heat and eat during a busy day. No more drive-through food for you!
This service also allows you to focus on your particular dietary needs, including vegan, gluten-free and even ketogenic options. Daily Harvest can be spendy (many options run over $7 for serving) but can be worth its weight in gold for keeping your diet and health on track.
If you’re looking for a healthy and easy vegan and gluten-free meal plan, Splendid Spoon focuses on delivering nutrient-dense whole foods in the form of smoothies, soups and grain bowls. From breakfast smoothies like Carrot Ginger and Green Matcha to fresh soups, it’s a quick and easy way to get plenty of fresh, whole foods and nutrients on the go.
Their hearty grain bowls also make a great lunch or dinner option, with delicious options like Brown Rice Taco, Moroccon Spiced Buckwheat and Carrot Lentil Curry bowls. Weekly meal delivery runs $65-135 per week, depending on whether you want morning smoothies only, or a more complete breakfast/lunch meal plan.
A Commitment-Free Way to Kickstart Healthy Eating
Even if you don’t plan to use a meal-service long term, one of these options can be a great way to kickstart healthy diet changes. If you find yourself still grabbing fast food or heavily processed foods, using one of these meal services can help you create healthier habits with little additional effort.
Whether you use these options as a stepping stone to creating your own healthy meal plans, or determine that these are great long term options to keep your diet and health on track, we can all use a helping hand.
And if you decide a service is not for you, you can pause or cancel your deliveries at any time.
Here’s to healthy eating!