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What Is the Cheapest Meal Delivery Service?

With services such as Every Plate and Dinnerly coming out at less than $5 per meal for fresh, easy-to-make dishes, meal delivery services are getting people to gather around the table—and leave their wallets in the other room.

This is one of the reasons that the best meal delivery kits services have become so popular as of late. They help you create unique, delicious, and healthy meals at home, without having to do any shopping. These delivery services also help you come up with ideas for new dishes, and let’s be honest, a lot of us only have so much bandwidth each week for creativity and new ideas.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the cheapest meal kits on the market.

1. Cheapest Meal Kits Overall: Every Plate

  • $4.99 per serving
  • Shipping costs $8.99 per box

At just $4.99 per meal, Every Plate tops the list of most affordable meal delivery services. Young singles, college students, and budget-conscious customers are likely targets for these easy-to-make meals, which include all of the ingredients, simple recipe cards, and the promise of saved time as well as money.

Every Plate’s meals take about 30 minutes to cook and promise not to wreak too much havoc on your kitchen and sink. The meals tend to be on the hearty side, accessible and never too adventurous. Dishes like chimichurri steak and cheesy pork sausage sloppy joes seem tailored to a college student’s taste buds, though the menu usually includes an entree like lemon rosemary chicken to balance it out.

If there’s one downside, it’s that the weekly menu only features 8 meals. But at less than $5 a meal for either 2 or 4 people, which means 6 or 12 meals per week, it’s hard to criticize, even if it means a repeat of your favorite dish over the course of a week. Every Plate’s a good choice for anyone trying to ease into cooking or slash their take-out bills in half.

EveryPlate Try Now

2. Cheapest Meal Kits for Families: Dinnerly

Cheapest meal delivery service for families

  • $4.99 per serving
  • Shipping costs $8.99 per box

Dinnerly’s no-frills meal delivery service promises home-cooked meals without the mess or the bills. At less than $5 per meal with all the necessary ingredients and easy to follow recipes, it’s a nice alternative to eating out that can foster more family or couple’s time at the table.

Dinnerly says its meals feature grass-fed beef and antibiotic chicken, which is hard to believe given the low price of each meal. But the site explains its cost-cutting measures: instead of skimping on quality, Dinnerly foregos printed recipe cards for all-digital instructions and takes a simplistic approach to packaging and marketing. That means you’ll have to log onto the site for your recipes, but for $5 meals with quality meats and veggies it seems hardly a compromise.

The menu itself rotates every week and offers more than a dozen meals. There’s a nice balance between vegetarian and meat dishes as well as gluten-free options and kid-friendly meals. Dinnerly offers a two-person box as well as a family box, both with options for 3, 4, or 5 meals per week.

Dinnerly Try Now

3. Cheapest Prepared Meal Kits: Freshly

  • $8.99 per serving for for 12 meals per week
  • $9.99 per serving for 6- and 9-meals per week
  • $12.50 per serving for 4 meals per week

Freshly delivers protein-rich, gluten-free meals to your doorstep, with the option of ordering up to 3 meals per day and 12 meals per week. Freshly, as you may have guessed from the name, doesn’t include any frozen food—all meals are prepared using fresh, all natural ingredients (and thus, have a fridge shelf-life of about 4-5 days). Freshly also offers a rotating menu of 30 meals per week, so there’s little chance of you getting bored with your food.

Freshly meals are gluten-free, prepared in a peanut-free environment, and contain no refined sugars. They also tend to be the best meal delivery service for seniors. If there are other foods that you don’t want in your meals, you can customize your plan and request meals that don’t contain dairy, eggs, pork, turkey, fish, soy, and more.

As for pricing, Freshly isn’t expensive, nor is it cheap. It’s simply fair. Especially when you order the 12 meals/week subscription, in which each meal comes out to $8.99. And remember, you’re getting chef-prepared, healthy food delivered to your doorstep. All you need to do is pop it in the oven or microwave. Yep, the pricing is pretty fair.

Plus, shipping is free, and you can choose your day of delivery and cancel your subscription at any time.

Freshly Try Now

4. Cheapest Meal Kits for Keto Dieters: Green Chef

  • $12.99 per meal for keto dieters
  • $11.00 per meal for balanced living
  • $9.99 per serving for vegetarians
  • Shipping costs $7.99 per box

Green Chef is a meal kit delivery service that is totally dedicated to delivering healthy alternatives to the traditional fast food go-to meals so commonly consumed today. With a huge range of options, chef-inspired meals, and multiple plans to choose from, Green Chef really makes good on that promise. The special Keto menu caters to these dieters featuring succulent dishes like smoky chicken with cotija, cabbage, and cumin, Philly stuffed peppers with shaved steak and provolone filling, or trout with chermoula sauce.

You can choose from two, three, or four-person meal plans for boxes containing six to eight meals each. All ingredients are pre-portioned for ease of use, and almost all the prep work is done for you already. So, you can have delicious and completely green meals in minutes. Ingredients and recipe cards are color-coordinated for even easier preparation.

But what really makes Green Chef stand out is the quality of its food. USDA certified, Green Chef uses only organic ingredients that are responsibly-sourced and freshly grown in their organic food delivery service. You’ll get nothing but non-GMO, pesticide-free, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, steroid-free, clean, and sustainable ingredients that come from trusted farmers and fishermen. Bottom line, you will not find such quality, green, organic meal kits anywhere else for prices like these.

Green Chef Try Now

5. Cheapest Organic Meal Kits: HelloFresh

  • $9.99/serving for veggie and classic plans
  • $8.74/serving for a family plan
  • Free shipping

A fun, easy, and delicious option you may want to try is HelloFresh. The company is geared towards busy people who want to eat healthier but don’t have the time to go shopping and think of new meals all week long.

Customers get to pick from a variety of HelloFresh meals designed by chefs and dieticians. HelloFresh has something for everyone, from recipes that take less than 30 minutes, to variety meals, meant for those looking for something a bit more adventurous.

The HelloFresh menu includes things like Honey Sriracha Chicken Legs with Basmati Rice and Green Beans, Pan-Seared Steak with Roasted Butternut Squash and Green Beans Almondine, and One-Pan Hearty Pork Chili with Kidney Beans and Poblano Pepper.

One drawback of HelloFresh is that you only get 8 recipe options per week, but with premium ingredients and brilliantly-crafted recipes, you’ll have more than enough to work with.

Another draw with HelloFresh is that the shipping is always free, making it one of the more affordable options on the market.

HelloFresh Try Now

6. Cheapest Vegan Meal Kits: Purple Carrot

  • From $7.99 per serving
  • Shipping costs are free

Vegans have it hard. Their restaurant options are limited, their family and friends might not understand their lifestyle choice, and they have to work a little harder than others to balance their nutrition intake. But Purple Carrot is making vegan living a little easier and a whole lot more enjoyable. Offering totally vegan-friendly menus, Purple Carrot is the go-to meal delivery service for anyone looking for a healthier, non-animal-based meal plan.

A healthier alternative for most people, Purple Carrot’s plant-based meal kits, mean you are eating better every time you cook. What’s more, these meal kits come almost completely ready to eat. You can have a delicious and even healthy meal in just five minutes, thanks to Purple Carrot. Premium quality ingredients, already portioned out and ready to use, come paired with easy to follow instructions and even tips and tricks for helping you out around the kitchen.

Purple Carrot meals get cheaper by the dozen, or at least the more meals you order. For six servings, you’ll pay just $7.99 per serving, and you can add extras in case you get peckish between meals. With gluten-free menus, Purple Carrot is also a good option for anyone looking to cut carbs out of their diet for health or dietary needs.

Purple Carrot Try Now

7. Cheapest Vegetarian Meal Kits: Home Chef

  • As low as $7.99 per serving
  • Free shipping for orders over $45

Home Chef gives you the option of picking from 14 different meal options every week, including vegetarian, low-carb, and low-calorie meals.

A novel aspect of Home Chef is that it learns what you like and sends you meal suggestions based on your preferences. In addition, all of the recipes—including fun stuff like Cajun Shrimp Tacos or Chicken with Green Peppercorn Sauce and Panko-Crusted Broccoli—should only take you 30 minutes or less to make.

With meals as low as $9.95 per serving, and free shipping on orders over $45, a couple can eat 3 home-cooked meals every week for as cheap as about $50.

Home Chef Try Now

8. Cheapest Weight-Loss Meal Plans: Nutrisystem

  • $10.54-$14.29 per day
  • Free shipping

Nutrisystem got to be the biggest name in the business by designing diets that have customers eating 6 small meals per day, including snacks. The meals are planned by nutrition experts and if you don’t lose weight in the first 2 weeks, just ask for your money back.

Note that the cost of Nutrisystem’s plans are broken down by day, not by serving. That’s because unlike the other services on this list, Nutrisystem is a complete weight-loss plan that covers all of your intake over the course of the day.

A typical day might include maple brown sugar oatmeal for breakfast, chicken and cheese broccoli for lunch, meatballs and pasta for dinner with popcorn and peanut butter celery sticks interspersed throughout. Nutrisystem offers 4 plans that include more options and diet resources with each.

Nutrisystem Try Now

9. Cheapest for Smoothie Deliveries: Frozen Garden

  • $6.07 for 14-pack of green smoothies
  • $6.78 for 14-pack of paleo-friendly smoothies
  • $5.99 for 30-pack of smoothies

Frozen Garden specializes in ready to blend green smoothies that you can just open, add water, and blend. They are arranged into a wide variety of smoothies, such as calorie counter, sweet tooth, and liquid lunch, to name a few. With each smoothie, you can easily view the nutrition information and ingredients in a flash. It will also show what the company says the smoothie is best for (digestion, brain health, etc).

There is also a wide variety of green frozen smoothies, that use a base of dark leafy greens so that you get all those health greens—even if you aren’t a fan.

Now, it’s not a subscription service, you can’t order a plan that automatically renews every month. But the prices tend to be lower than the competitors, and also, you’ll definitely have flexibility.

10. Cheapest Chef-Created Meal Kits: Blue Apron

  • Starting at $7.49 per meal
  • 2-people and family plans with vegetarian and Weight Watchers options
  • Free shipping on all plans with 3 or more meals per week; otherwise $7.99

Blue Apron’s meal delivery service falls near the more affordable side of the spectrum despite a surprisingly sophisticated selection of chef-created Mediterranean dishes. Starting at just $7.49 per meal and featuring plans for couples, families, vegetarians, and even Weight Watchers participants, Blue Apron’s meal service offers something for taste- and health-conscious eaters at affordable prices.

Blue Apron’s meals feature non-GMO ingredients, local and seasonal produce, and sustainable seafood and meats all sourced from family-run farms. Every week you’ll find a new menu of about 8 meals such as sweet and spicy salmon, fennel and olive pasta, and Cajun-spiced steak with biscuits and maple butter. Specialty menus for vegetarians and Weight Watchers customers are smaller but feature tailored meals crafted with the same attention to taste and quality ingredients.

There are four meal plans to choose from: 2- and 4-person signature meals as well as the vegetarian and WW plans. Each plan includes an option for 2 or 3 meals a week, except the family option which includes 4 servings for either 2, 3, or 4 meals per week.

Blue Apron Try Now

Shipping

Even if a meal company is a couple dollars less per serving, if the shipping for the competitor is free, the per-serving price difference is negated.

With a company like Hello Fresh, which has free shipping on all orders, it can make a big difference, especially when shipping can easily tack on an extra $10 per order.

With some companies, shipping is only charged on smaller orders, for singles or couples. In these cases, it may actually pay off to spring for a 3-person or 4-person plan which comes with free shipping, thus offsetting the cost of the additional servings.

Introductory Offers

Most meal kit delivery companies have special introductory offers to get you to try out their services. With deals like these, it definitely pays off to give meal kits a shot, and even play the field some until you find one that you really like.

So, What’s for Dinner?

We’ll admit—if dinner is just the footlong hotdog at the convenience store or the dollar menu at the drive-thru, then a meal kit isn’t a cheaper option. But if you’re looking for healthy, interesting recipes that use premium ingredients and help you hone your cooking skills, then a meal kit is about as affordable as it gets. For slightly more than the price of fast food, you can take your home cooking to a whole new level and finally see what all the fuss is about.

The benefits of using cheap meal delivery services

If you are watching your budget and the price is a priority, then surprisingly to many, some meal kits offer the cheapest and most convenient way of enjoying delicious, healthy and freshly cooked meals in the comfort of your own home.

A meal kit service does all the planning, recipe writing and grocery shopping for you. They then provide perfectly portioned ingredients along with easy to follow recipes that result in delicious meals that everybody loves to eat.

By using a meal kit service, you will also be cutting down on waste and not spending money on excess ingredients that end up in the garbage.

Meal kit services provide perfectly portioned ingredients for an exact number of people. Often at the supermarket, it is hard to buy small portions of some ingredients. So one of the main attractions of using a cheaper meal kit service is that they can actually end up saving you more money compared to doing the more traditional supermarket shop for ingredients.

What makes cheap meal kits different?

The answer to this one is easy – they simply do more for less. Our experiences have shown us that despite the low prices, the cheaper meal kit delivery services still use the same quality ingredients as many other meal kit companies. However, they tend to have recipes that are a little simpler with fewer ingredients. This does not mean, though, that their meals lack anything when it comes to portion sizes or taste. Simple recipes can still taste great and be fulfilling; it is just that they cost less to prepare and generally also take less time to cook.

Cheaper meal kit services manage to keep their pricing down by using less packaging, which is great for the environment as well as your hip pocket. Another way of keeping costs down, without skimping on the quality of the meals is by avoiding any fancy marketing campaigns. By doing this, they can deliver fabulous low-cost meals that include amazing ingredients, without any glossy advertising!

Choosing the right affordable meal kit for you:

Obviously, pricing is a big factor, but on top of that, you will also want to look at a few other details when deciding which company is the best fit for you. Therefore, we always recommend trying at least 2 companies initially.

There are many things to consider when deciding on a meal kit service, some of these things might include: quality of the ingredients, style of the recipes, menu variety, nutritional values of the meals, dietary requirements you may have and flexibility of the subscription.

Why use our best cheapest meal kit review?

At the Meal Kit Review, we have a team of passionate meal delivery experts who know all the ins and outs of the industry. To complete a review such as this, we research all the companies that would be relevant, then undergo a thorough testing process of every company that is a possibility for our list. This includes subscribing, updating account details, asking for help from customer service, ordering meals, unpacking our deliveries, cooking the meal and most importantly, tasting them! We recommend that you use our cheapest meal kit review as we have done all the hard work for you by providing all the first-hand, relevant information that you need to make a decision.

As you can see, if you work out how much it costs you to prepare your evening meals, then using a meal kit delivery service can in comparison, be quite economical. You will find a range of affordable meal kit service options, each with its own benefits. In our opinion, it is always best to initially experiment with at least two different services. That way you can compare the companies and then decide which is the best option for you. All meal kit services are very flexible and offer options to skip weeks or order every second week, so you can very easily test two different services at the same time. That way you can also enjoy great beginner’s promotions from each company that you try.

Regardless of which company you end up selecting, using a meal kit service will save you time on meal preparation, and no doubt will also save you money.

Which Is *Actually* the Healthiest and Cheapest Meal Delivery Service?

Remember when you heard of the first meal-delivery service and thought, “hey, that’s a cool idea!” Well, that was 2012-when the trend first started-and now, just four short years later, there are over 100 meal delivery services in the U.S. and a $400 million market that’s projected to increase tenfold in the next five years, according to a special report by Consumer Reports. (There are even snack-specific delivery services now too.)

Getting meals that are pre-prepped can do wonders for anyone who feels clueless in the kitchen, or loathes battling lines at the grocery store or planning their meals. As far as convenience goes, the services are a win-win. But when it comes to being healthy and cost-effective? Hmm.

To break them down, Consumer Reports had food and nutrition experts test five of the major services-Blue Apron, Purple Carrot, HelloFresh, Green Chef, and Plated-and surveyed 57 meal-service devotees about their experience.

Are they healthy?

While most services have über fresh-sounding names and feature fresh produce and ingredients, that doesn’t automatically make them healthy. Plus, there’s the downside of not knowing the exact nutrition. Consumer Reports found that HelloFresh listed the most nutritional info-calories, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, sodium, and sugars-on their recipe cards, while other services only provided a calorie count. HelloFresh also proved to be (on average) lowest in calories and sodium and tied with Green Chef for lowest fat. They noticed that while some services-Green Chef specifically-had a hefty serving of veggies, others were lacking. Purple Carrot recipes are vegan and super high in fiber but tied for highest fat content with Plated.

However, the biggest worry was actually sodium content. Of the dishes they tested, Consumer Reports found that half had 770 mg of sodium (more than a third of the maximum recommended daily intake of 2,300 mg) and that ten of the dishes had more than 1,000 mg per serving. (To be fair, new studies are debating the new recommended sodium max, so it might not be a deal breaker.)

Are they actually a good value?

It depends on what you consider valuable-Consumer Reports found that for most of the dishes, the meal kit price was about twice as expensive as the per-portion cost of buying the ingredients yourself. For example, making Blue Apron’s Spring Chicken Fettuccini it would cost you $4.88 to buy for yourself vs. $9.99 for the pre-prepared meal. You could make HelloFresh’s Blackened Tilapia for$5.37 per-portion vs. $11.50 for the meal from the service. Of course, the prices range depending on which service and option you select. Consumer Reports found Blue Apron to be the least expensive, and Plated to be the most.

If you value your time and energy more than those five or so dollars, meal delivery services could be totally worth it. But if you’re penny pinching? It’s better to put in the legwork and DIY. (Because, actually, it’s possible to eat healthy on just $5 a day.)

The Takeaway

It’s worth noting that there are TONS of meal-delivery services out there and that the Consumer Reports sample didn’t cover them all. (Proof: here are six more you may have heard of.)

Arguably, the best part about these meal services is that you don’t need to go through all the planning and decision-making needed to whip up fresh, delicious meals on the reg-but having someone else do that for you is exactly what can keep them from being healthy. Take advantage of meals with large servings of veggies and limit yourself on sauces, sodium, and condiments the same way you would if you were DIY-ing your healthy diet. Then sit-back, relax, and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to fight the Trader Joe’s line this week.

  • By Lauren Mazzo @lauren_mazzo

Compare meal delivery and meal kit services

Weigh up the costs

Meal delivery and meal kits services are more expensive than buying your groceries in the supermarket. But what you’re paying for is convenience and the expertise of others, as well as their labour.

  • Compare with current bills. Before you sign up for any service, you need to compare the costs with your average shopping bill. Keep all the receipts from your shopping for the month and record what you spend on food items separately.

If you’re super keen to ensure the decision is right for you, separate out the vegetables, protein and dairy costs in case you end up subscribing to a company that only offers their veg as a side dish. That way you’re comparing like with like.

  • Consider the number of people. Many of the promotions you’ll see are based on a two-person subscription. It’s important to check the fine print of each offer to ensure you don’t get hit with extra costs when you sign up.

Always check the fine print

No matter what you buy online, it’s important to check terms and conditions. Meal delivery services may have a minimum spend amount or ask that you sign up for at least one month. Some services will allow you to pay as you go. Also remember to check the FAQ of each service for more information, or get in touch with the company directly.

Meal delivery services and the NDIS

If you receive support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), part of the cost of your meal delivery service could be covered. To qualify, delivered meals must be considered reasonable and necessary in your support plan. The NDIS typically only covers the cost of meal prep and delivery, so you’ll likely still have to pay for the cost of the ingredients.

Providers offering NDIS services include:

  • Dineamic
  • Tender Loving Cuisine
  • Gourmet Meals
  • THR1VE
  • The Good Meal
  • Fresh Meals 2 U

Which meal delivery service is for you?

There are over 35 meal delivery services in Australia. The larger companies deliver to major cities and some regional areas. It’s important to check which companies deliver to your postcode before ordering. Some companies deliver to the west coast only, others to parts of the east coast only.

We’ve divided up the services we’ve reviewed to make it easier for you to decide which one might be right for you:

  • Firm favourites
  • Feeling fit
  • Whole foods
  • Weight loss
  • Gourmet dining
  • Farm to plate
  • Dedicated to dietary requirements
  • Fresh
  • Frozen

*Disclaimer: Meal delivery services are designed with your health in mind, however, if you have any ongoing health issues it is important to check with your doctor before embarking on a weight loss plan or new diet regime.

The Details:

  • Has Weight Loss Meal Plans
  • Keto Meals
  • Halal Meals are available
  • Vegetarian Options

Delivery Areas:

Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Central coast and Qld Coastal towns up to Townsville.

7. Goodness Me Box

What they offer:

GoodnessMe Box is a health food sampling service. Our aim is to provide you food with integrity. Subscribe today! Let our health practitioners do the work. You discover foods that nourish your body. Get a monthly delivery of 6-10 boutique health products and samples. Only $25/month, cancel anytime. This is more of a tasting box than a meal delivery service as such – but it’s worth including it here!

Delivery Areas: Australia Wide

8. Dietilicious

Frozen is nature’s preservative. We take our guidance from this natural way to store and enjoy convenient meals. It ensures you consume meals at their maximum nutrition and flavour. The question is not whether meals are fresh or frozen but the nutritional quality and taste of a meal. We offer both; quality ingredients and a kitchen full of skilled chefs delivering meals for your health and enjoyment. Everything your body needs, nothing it doesn’t!

  • Offers Calorie controlled plans
  • Food Cleanse Plans
  • 5:2 Diet
  • Weight Loss Plans
  • Gluten Free Plans, Dairy Free Plans
  • Vegetarian and Vegan Options
  • Diabetic Plans
  • Keto Plans

Delivery Areas:

Dietilicious currently deliver to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Canberra and surrounds.

9. Fresh Meals 2 U

What they offer: Easy healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are all at your fingertips with Fresh Meals 2 U. This Australian Meal Delivery Service offers an extensive range of healthy meals and snacks. Choose from delicious breakfast options such as pancakes, lunch choices including salads and hearty dinners ranging from rump steak to salmon fillets. We even have your healthy snacks covered with a selection of incredible protein balls. We use market fresh vegetables, high quality meat, poultry and fish to bring you mouthwatering, protein-packed menu options. All our meals are carefully prepared and cooked by our chefs to guarantee high quality meals.

Delivery Areas: Fresh, Healthy Meal Delivery Service to Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney & Melbourne.

10. Gym Food Australia

What they offer: Young, fresh and innovative producers of fitness meals cooked to order. We are passionate about healthy living, fitness, food, and most importantly enjoying it! Food is meant to be enjoyed by you and your body. That’s why we engaged both a celebrity chef and a dietician with body building experience to create our delicious menu.

Delivery areas: North Queensland Pick-up Weekly, South East Queensland Home Delivery Weekly, Northern NSW Home Delivery Weekly, New South Wales Home Delivery Weekly, Victoria Home Delivery Weekly, South Australia Home Delivery and Pick-up Weekly, Western Australia Home Delivery and Pick-up Weekly, Darwin Pick-up Weekly.

11. Home Chef

What they offer: Home Chef is Western Australia’s foremost home delivery meal service. We are committed to providing you and your family with nutritionally balanced meals and a professional friendly service. Home Chef is great for people with busy lifestyles and offers peace of mind for families with elderly parents, people with chronic disease, disability or those recuperating at home.

Delivery Areas: Home Chef is available throughout the Perth Metropolitan Area from Two Rocks to Mandurah to the Hills area. Home Chef is also an approved meal provider to various regional hospitals and can deliver bulk orders to regional areas.

via dinkeroo.info

12. The Cook’s Grocer

What they offer: Along with our in-house chefs, we work with Sydney’s top restaurants, chefs and nutritionists to design a new menu and food box every week.

Delivery areas: We deliver to Sydney, Southern Highlands, Canberra, Newcastle and the Central Coast. Our food box delivery contains everything you need to cook delicious, healthy meals in 30 minutes.

via dinkeroo.info

13. Dinner Twist

What they offer: Remember when you used to have time to enjoy cooking? Our recipes are quick and easy to follow, using local, seasonal ingredients. We only deliver the quantities you need, so no food goes to waste.

Delivery Areas: Across all of Western Australia

via dinkeroo.info

14. Nourishd

Started in Brisbane in 2014, Nourish’d supplies healthy meals to be delivered each week. They offer a variety of packs depending on how many meals you wish to order. They only have a limited delivery area at this stage but are expanding all the time.

Nourishd has over 50 different meal options available including a Vegetarian range.

How much does it cost?

  • If you sign up to their newsletter you get $20 off your first order.
  • 5 meals start at $69.35 (price correct as of October 2019)
  • 10 meals from $128.70
  • 15 meals from $178.99

Delivery Areas:

Currently they delivery to most major cities and towns on Australia’s east coast including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, The Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Canberra.

via mealmatters.com.au

15. The Dinner Ladies

The Dinner Ladies prepare delicious meals for time poor people so they would always have good, wholesome food at the end of the day. They are based in Matraville, New South Wales. They do have limited delivery areas at this stage.

They have meals for toddlers, vegetarians, ‘thinner dinners’ and desserts.

16. Gourmet Meals

Based on The Gold Coast, Gourmet Meals have been around for 25 years and produce healthy, nutritious and great tasting portion controlled frozen meals. They service The Gold Coast, Northern Rivers, Ipswich and outer Brisbane suburbs right up to Caboolture.

Gourmet Meals has large meals, regular meals, soups, sides and desserts.

You can download their current menu here.

via gourmetmeals.com.au

17. Eat Fit Food

Eat Fit Food provide healthy meals from scratch using local farm fresh seasonal ingredients and organic where possible. They are based in Sydney.

They offer four different plans:

  • Dinner Only which is a 5 or 7 day plan
  • Lunch & Dinner (5 or 7 day plan)
  • Brekkie, Lunch, Dinner and Snack (5 or 7 day plan)
  • A La Carte Menu (pay as you go)

The Dinner Only plan starts at $19/day and the Brekkie, Lunch Dinner and Snack Plan is from $57 per day.

Their menu’s vary with a 100% plant based program available.

18. Soulara

Soulara provide chef-crafted 100% natural plant based meals. They deliver in most capital cities and regional areas.

They offer different plans depending on how many meals you are looking for per week.

*Prices correct as of October 2019

  • 7 Meals per week from $11.50 per meal
  • 9 Meals per week from $10.95 per meal
  • 15 meals per week from $9.50 per meal
  • 18 meals per week for $8.95 per meal

19. Tender Loving Cuisine

Tender Loving Cuisine are CDC and NDIS approved meal providers. They prepare meals for special dietary needs including heart friendly, dairy free meals, gluten free, diabetes friendly, low salt, soft texture and weight control.

CHECK OUT THEIR WEBSITE HERE

20. The Gluten Free Meal Co

The Gluten Free Meal Co is a dedicated gluten free home delivery service. They are endorsed by Coeliac Australia. They offer vegetarian, dairy free meals.

via goodmeal.com.au

21. Choice Fresh Meals

Choice Fresh Meals have been delivering healthy and delicious meals for the last 20 years. All meals are fresh (not frozen) and there are over 80 different meal choices to pick from.

via choicefreshmeals.com.au

22. My Muscle Chef

My Muscle Chef provides meals for those striving to achieve health and fitness goals. You choose the plan depending on your preferred outcome. These frozen meals are available at many supermarkets and gyms.

via mymusclechef.com

Food box services compared: Dinnerly, HelloFresh, Marley Spoon and Pepper Leaf

In this review:

  • Which food box delivery service is best?
  • Food box vs prepared meal delivery services: what’s the difference?
  • Food box delivery services – we test HelloFresh, Marley Spoon, Pepper Leaf and Dinnerly
  • Prepared meal delivery services – we profile Youfoodz, Gourmet Dinner Service, Dinner Ladies and My Goodness Organics
  • Are they good value for money?
  • What about weight loss services like Lite n’ Easy?

For a more detailed comparison, see our full meal delivery services review.

Which food box delivery service is best?

Our testers ordered and cooked two meals each from HelloFresh, Marley Spoon, Pepper Leaf and Dinnerly. We rated the services for ease of ordering, presentation and temperature on delivery, ingredient freshness, recipe accuracy and more. Prices provided are the base prices for meal plans at the time of publication, including delivery costs. It’s worth keeping an eye out for promotional price reductions and discount vouchers as they can offer significant savings, at least for your first order.

The services we tested all achieved scores over 80%, and Fiona Mair, CHOICE home economist and tester, says she’d be happy to recommend them – and not just for those who already know their way around a kitchen.

CHOICE home economist Fiona Mair testing a recipe

“Meal delivery services are predominantly marketed to time-poor families, and subscribing to them goes some way towards alleviating the perennial stress of having to decide what to cook for dinner. But if you have limited cooking skills and want to eat home cooked food they can also be a great way to learn how to cook,” she says.

Fiona found that the recipes are generally simple and relatively easy to follow, the ingredients are already portioned, there’s usually a utensil or tool list of what you need in your kitchen and a list of the pantry staples you’ll need.

“After a month of preparing a few meals from a meal delivery service you’ll have a repertoire of recipes under your belt that will give you confidence to shop and cook for yourself. You will also become familiar with flavours and cuisines that you may not have tried before,” she adds.

Food box delivery services: what we tested

We cooked:

  • Chicken piccata and roasted vegies with buttery sauce
  • Cheat’s Italian pork and vegie bolognese with penne and parmesan.

Cost (including delivery):

Meal choices each week:

  • 10 (classic), 6 (family), 5 (vegetarian)

Ingredient/nutrition/allergen details:

  • Recipe cards detail the ingredients provided, the additional pantry staples you’ll need and nutrition per serving. No specific allergen information on the recipe card. Website states “We are unable to cater for special allergies or intolerances at this early stage.”

Delivery area:

  • NSW, NT, Qld, SA, Vic, WA

Good to know:

  • A delivery fee may apply in some postcodes.
  • There’s no vegetarian meal option in the ‘family’ plan.
  • It has an associated app which you can use to manage your account.
  • Ingredients are delivered in colour-coded bags that correlate with the recipes.

We cooked:

  • Pumpkin ravioli and caramelised onion with walnuts and wilted spinach
  • Chicken-avocado burrito bowls with beans, rice and cheese.

Cost (including delivery):

  • 2-person box (three meals per week): $69.90
  • 4-person box (three meals per week): $114.00

Meal choices each week:

  • 20

Ingredient/nutrition/allergen details:

  • Recipe cards detail the ingredients provided and additional pantry staples you’ll need. Nutrition per serving is detailed. Common allergens are highlighted but recipe card also states “May contain traces of other allergens.”

Delivery area:

  • ACT, NSW, Qld, Vic.

Good to know:

  • It has the largest number of weekly food choices of all the services.
  • It has an associated app which you can use to manage your account.
  • Ingredients for each recipe are placed in separate paper bags.
  • ‘Packed in Australia’ grading system indicates percentage of Australian ingredients used.

We cooked:

  • Peri Peri chicken tray bake with rocket
  • Indian potato hash with haloumi, capsicum and peas.

Cost (including delivery):

  • 2-person box (three meals per week): $47.95
  • 4-person box (three meals per week): $77.95

Meal choices each week:

  • 8

Ingredient/nutrition/allergen details:

  • Recipe cards detail the ingredients provided and additional pantry staples you’ll need. Nutrition per serving is detailed. Common allergens are highlighted but recipe card also states “May contain traces of other allergens.”

Delivery area:

  • ACT, NSW, Qld, Vic

Good to know:

  • The advertised prices for meal boxes don’t include delivery (we’ve incorporated the $8.95 delivery fee into the costs above).
  • Simple recipes with few ingredients, this is the cheapest service for a family of four on a three-meals-a-week plan, but it requires you to be well stocked for pantry staples.
  • There’s no recipe card in the box; you need to print it out or view online.
  • It has an associated app which you can use to manage your account.
  • Ingredients are combined in the box, so you’ll need to sort them into meals.

We cooked:

  • Middle Eastern chicken with quinoa tabouli
  • Curry cauliflower fritters with salad.

Cost (including delivery):

  • 2-person box (three meals per week): $69.90
  • 4-person box (three meals per week): $118.80

Meal choices each week:

  • 8 (classic), 8 (family), 3 (vegetarian)

Ingredient/nutrition/allergen details:

  • Recipe cards detail the ingredients provided and the additional pantry staples you’ll need, but don’t provide nutrition or allergen details. Website states “If you have an allergy or intolerance to any ingredient, we can’t guarantee that our recipes don’t contain it. You can swap out those ingredients, but that will be up to you.”

Delivery area:

  • ACT, NSW, SA, Vic

Good to know:

  • Delivery days/times are limited.
  • It’s the only company to offer meal plans for one.
  • The service offers a fresh fruit snack option and you get a free bag of fresh fruit with the first two orders.
  • Recipes can be a bit confusing, and in our test the meal prep took longer than the claimed time.
  • There’s no separate pantry staple or equipment list, so you need to read through the recipe to find out what is needed.
  • You can’t view the recipe online.
  • Ingredients are combined in the box, so you’ll need to sort them into meals.

Food box vs prepared meal delivery services: what’s the difference?

There are essentially two types of meal delivery services: food box (meal kit) delivery services and prepared meal delivery services. To help you decide which would suit you best, we’ve prepared a general user guide, along with some tips and traps, for each type.

  • Go to food box delivery services – a user guide
  • Go to prepared meal delivery services – a user guide

This information is based on the feedback from 420 consumers who participated in our 2016 survey about their awareness and use of Australian meal delivery services.

Food box delivery services – a user guide

Benefits

  • minimal food waste
  • easy to follow recipes
  • ingredients local and pre-measured

If you enjoy cooking, but meal planning gives you a headache, you’re lacking inspiration or you find it hard to make time for the weekly shop, then food box delivery services such as HelloFresh, Marley Spoon, Dinnerly and Pepper Leaf can be a good option. Each week these subscription services deliver recipes and the precise quantity of the predominantly fresh ingredients you’ll need to cook them.

Kathy, a HelloFresh customer, told us, “I used them because I was studying and working and didn’t have much time to shop.”

Portioned ingredients for two Marley Spoon recipes

A major drawcard for our survey respondents who use these types of services is the minimal food waste associated with being supplied with the exact quantities of ingredients required for each recipe. This is particularly beneficial with ingredients you’re unlikely to use frequently. One respondent gave the example of “a pinch of paprika – I don’t have to buy a whole bottle of spices that I won’t use again”. If you’ve ever bought a huge bag of fenugreek for a recipe only to use one teaspoon of it in four years, then you’ll be able to relate.

The majority of users said they found the recipes to be simple and easy to follow, and obviously cooking with pre-measured ingredients means you can turn the meal around in less time than if you were starting from scratch. The use of locally sourced Australian ingredients, promoted by these services, was an attraction for many. And Pam, also a HelloFresh subscriber, was pleasantly surprised by the knock-on effect it had on her husband. “My male partner has started cooking!” she said.

Tips and traps

Check ahead that you have the required pantry staples Leftover packaging from one Hello Fresh meal we cooked

  • When using these types of services you’ll need to have to hand a range of everyday ingredients which frequently feature in the recipes. These include pantry staples such as soy sauce, white vinegar, salt and pepper, honey, oil, butter, milk, eggs, flour and sugar – so it’s worth checking you have them before your first delivery so you’re not caught short.
  • You can check out the following week’s menu in advance, but there’s little scope to make changes to what you’ll receive. “There was no way to choose meals based on our likes or dislikes,” said one user. This could be an issue, particularly for people with allergies. However certain allergens are identified on the recipes, and because you’re cooking it yourself you’ll have the opportunity to remove or substitute ingredients that aren’t suitable.
  • Some people also commented that the amount of packaging – each pre-measured ingredient comes in its own bag or container – was a deterrent. For more on this issue see How sustainable are meal box delivery services?

Prepared meal delivery services – a user guide

Benefits:

  • Minimal prep
  • Can keep in freezer for future

Services such as Youfoodz, Gourmet Dinner Service, Dinner Ladies and My Goodness Organics sell predominantly fully prepared meals. Ordering is simply a matter of choosing from the range of meals displayed on their websites, and the chilled or frozen meals will arrive at your door in a coolbox on your nominated delivery date.

What users of these services told us they liked most is the minimal preparation required – in most cases, little more than heating then eating. Another benefit is being able to stockpile meals in the freezer to use later.

  • The meals from some of these services focus predominantly on the protein component, with nary a vegetable in sight. They suggest you add a salad or vegetable side dish – and usually offer these to buy – but this will obviously bump up the total cost. This is worth bearing in mind when comparing meal prices (see Cost of convenience).
  • Some of these services offer a good selection of freshly prepared, chilled meals, while others sell predominantly frozen meals. If this difference is important to you, make sure you’re clear on what they’re offering before you order. We’ve provided this detail in prepared meal delivery services compared.

They have been great, especially when I had a baby and two small children and cooking wasn’t a priority. I could guarantee something relatively healthy for the family to eat.

(Belinda, Gourmet Dinner Service customer)

Prepared meal delivery services compared

The following companies offering prepared meal deliveries are among the most recognised and widely available. Prices and details are correct as of February 2019.

Fresh/frozen: Both fresh and frozen (this detail is provided for each meal).

Meal options: Weekly changing menu of main meals, soups/snacks, salads/sides, sauces and desserts.

Meal examples: Lamb roghan josh with cauliflower and spinach; Potager pie.

Ingredient/nutrition/allergen details: An ingredients list is provided for each meal. Vegetarian, nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and pork-free meals are identified by a symbol.

Areas available: NSW (Sydney), Vic (Melbourne).

Fresh/frozen: Main meals are frozen.

Meal options: Mains, sides, salads and desserts. Menu plans available.

Cost: Mains for 1–2 people range from $14.50 to $24. Minimum order $50, excluding delivery. Delivery costs around $12 depending on delivery area.

Meal examples: Roasted lamb shanks; Chicken, feta and black olive pie.

Ingredient/nutrition/allergen details: Each meal comes with an ingredients list and full nutrition information per serve and per 100g. Vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free meals are identified by a symbol.

Areas available: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and surrounds.

Fresh/frozen: Fresh.

Meal options: Menu items include breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, smoothies, juices, soups and broths. Paleo, vegan and other 5-day meal plans available.

Meal examples: Middle Eastern orange chicken; Zucchini fritters with wild rice tumble.

Ingredient/nutrition/allergen details: Each meal comes with an ingredients list. Nutrition and allergen information is provided on the website if you click on each item.

Areas available: Vic (Melbourne).

Fresh/frozen: Fresh.

Meal options: Breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks, drinks and customisable meal plans.

Cost: Most lunches and dinners cost $9.95. Delivery is $20 to Perth, $10 to Cairns, Darwin, Townsville, Southwest NSW and the NSW border, and free to all other locations.

Meal examples: Satay chicken with stirfry vegetables; Rosemary roast lamb with roast vegetables and mint-infused pea mash.

Ingredient/nutrition/allergen details: Each meal comes with an ingredients list and full nutrition information per serve and per 100g. It’s largely up to you to check the ingredients list of each meal for any allergens before ordering. When viewing a particular meal, the broad category it falls into is stated just above the customer reviews – dairy-free, gluten-free or vegetarian, for example.

Areas available: NSW, Vic, SA (Adelaide), Qld, ACT (Canberra), WA (Perth), NT (Darwin).

I use them so I don’t have to think about meal planning, plus their meals are interesting – not always the same boring staples I’d cook.

(Jessica, HelloFresh customer)

The cost of convenience

Food boxes

We compared the price of the popular Hello Fresh Classic Plan food box ($69.95 for three meals per week for two people) with the cost of buying the ingredients for those three meals (in the same or similar quantities) from Coles and Woolworths.

We found you don’t actually pay much less at a supermarket, and sometimes you pay more once you factor in delivery costs.

But in reality when doing your weekly shop you’re more likely to take advantage of special offers or buy larger packs which are better value for money – a 1kg tub of Farmers Union Greek Style natural yoghurt (50c per 100g) rather than a 200g individual tub ($1.10 per 100g), for example. And as long as you end up using the leftover ingredients before they reach their use-by or best-before dates and need to be discarded, then it’s cheaper doing the shopping yourself.

  • 87% of subscription food box users rated food quality, freshness and taste as good, very good or excellent.

Prepared meals

People who used prepared meal services were more likely to consider them good value for money than those using food box services. But how do they compare in price with the equally convenient supermarket ready-meals?

We compared the cost of two different dishes from prepared meal services with similar supermarket ready-meals and found the meal service dishes to be more expensive – and that’s before you factor in delivery costs.

A single serve of butter chicken from meal delivery services ranged in price from $9.95 to $23.99, but the Woolworths chilled version was just $6.90. The cheapest single serve lasagne offered by the meal delivery services we looked at cost $8.95 (300g) but the equivalent from Woolworths (fresh, single serve) was just $6.90 (400g).

  • 93% of prepared meal service users in our survey rated food quality, freshness and taste as good, very good or excellent. But whether or not the quality of ingredients warrants the higher price is hard to say.

Want to know which Greek yoghurt to buy? We test 22 different products in our Greek yoghurt reviews.

Feeding kids

If you’re planning on using a meal delivery service to feed a family that includes young kids you might want to proceed with caution. While overall ratings for meal services were generally positive, their meals aren’t guaranteed to win over a fussy toddler.

“Nothing targeted to toddlers,” commented one respondent about Gourmet Dinner Service.

“I would like to see more small kids’ meal options like the pasta with sneaky veg,” said another about Dinner Ladies.

What about weight loss?

Weight loss was a key motivation for users of some meal delivery services, including the popular service Light ‘n Easy, Eat Fit Food, Muscle Meals Direct and Dietlicious (sister company to Gourmet Dinner Service). While we did collect responses from people who’d used these services, the focus of our survey was on the pros, cons and experiences of using meal delivery services more generally.

Motivations aside, people’s experiences of these meal delivery services with an emphasis on weight loss were overall positive.

  • 98% of survey respondents who had used weight loss meal delivery services rated their delivery reliability as good, very good or excellent, and 77% of users rated food quality, freshness and taste as good, very good or excellent overall.

Does Lite n’ Easy help you lose weight? See our Lite n’ Easy review for the lowdown, and read our journalist’s experience of a week on a Lite n’ Easy diet.

We care about accuracy. See something that’s not quite right in this article? Email us at [email protected] or read more about fact checking at CHOICE.

What is the most affordable food box delivery service?

Here is Saving.com.au’s guide to the most affordable food box delivery services.

  • Hellofresh
  • Marley Spoon
  • Dinnerly
  • Pepper Leaf
  • The Cook’s Grocer

If you love cooking but the thought of meal planning and then going grocery shopping makes you want to cry (nope, just me?) food box delivery services are like kryptonite. Once you’ve tried them you’ll never go back to your weekly shop again.

Each week, these subscription services deliver recipes and the exact quantity of ingredients you need to cook them.

The recipes are always simple and easy for even the most novice cook to follow.

Benefits of food boxes

  • Minimal food waste – never buy a whole set of spices again for the ‘one pinch’ you need for a recipe
  • Recipe cards with easy to follow steps
  • Pre-measured ingredients
  • List of basic pantry staples needed

HelloFresh

Source: HelloFresh

How does it work?

Perhaps the best-known food box delivery service on the market, HelloFresh is a weekly, auto-renewing subscription service where you can choose from their classic, vegetarian, or family-friendly plans. From there, you can select how many meals you want to order that week and for how many people (either two or four).

Meals are chosen for you depending on what plan you’re on, but you do have the option of picking and choosing the recipes you want for each week.

Your box will have everything you need to prepare the meals, except for any assumed basic pantry items like (e.g. cooking oil, salt and pepper, flour, eggs, milk, white wine vinegar, honey, soy sauce, etc). Recipes are posted online the week prior and plenty of notice is given to subscribers of what basic pantry items are needed for that week, giving you plenty of time to stock up on any staples you might not already have in your pantry.

Ingredients come in colour-coded bags corresponding with the colour on each recipe card, so that you know which bag goes with which recipe.

If you’re not keen on the upcoming week’s menu or just want to take a break, you can pause your subscription at any time – you’re not locked into a contract.

Price

The cost depends on which box you choose and for how many meals and people, ranging from $7.99 per serving up to $11.66 per meal.

A Classic Box costs $91.95 for four meals for two people (eight meals in total). A Veggie Box is also $91.95 for four meals for two people. A Family Box will set you back $154.95 for four meals for four people (16 meals in total).

There’s also a generous 40% discount off your first box.

Prices correct at time of writing

Delivery is free for most areas, and the meals cater to vegetarians, omnivores and families.

Food wastage is kept to a minimum, with only the exact quantities needed for each recipe provided.

So much packaging! Everything is individually wrapped – even the herbs come packed in plastic which feels really unnecessary.

Most of it is recyclable though, and the cooler bags are biodegradable and can be reused.

The bottom line

It’s not the cheapest option on the market, but HelloFresh is still an affordable option if you’re time poor and don’t want the hassle of going shopping or deciding what to make for dinner every night.

Marley Spoon

Source: Marley Spoon

Marley Spoon is another great option for those who love cooking, don’t want the hassle of meal planning and shopping for the ingredients.

Choose from a two or a four-person box, and the number of meals you need for the week. The menu changes on a weekly basis and includes vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, and a low calorie ‘Healthy Choice’ range.

You can browse the current recipes for that week before you place your order and customise your menu. Just like HelloFresh, each meal is conveniently packaged in its own bag containing all the ingredients for that recipe, so you don’t have to decipher which ingredients go with which meal.

Basic pantry staples aren’t provided, but you can see what extras you’ll need when you put your order in, and you’ll get a handy reminder with your shipping confirmation.

You can change or cancel your subscription at any time, but you need to cancel up to a week before when your next delivery would be.

The cost depends on which box you choose, and for how many meals and people, ranging from $8.95 up to $13.75 per meal.

A two-person box with four meals per person would set you back $92 while a four-person box with four meals per person costs $143.20.

There’s also the option of adding a $24.90 fruit box to your delivery, filled with seasonal fruit which you can choose from.

Delivery is free and you can get a nice little $15 discount off your first box.

Prices correct at time of writing

Marley Spoon has a real focus on sustainability, from the organic food sourced right through to the recyclable packaging.

Marley Spoon claims all their meals have been put together by the in-house chefs and approved by a nutritionist.

There’s even a dedicated cooking hotline if you ever get stuck on a recipe or are just generally a bit clueless in the kitchen.

If you’re going away for a week (or just running out of space in the fridge!) you can put your order on hold or simply skip that week.

Again, ingredients come individually wrapped which feels a bit wasteful.

At the time of writing, Marley Spoon only delivers to Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, Wollongong, Newcastle, Darwin, and NSW’s Central Coast.

The bottom line

Marley Spoon is probably Hello Fresh’s most direct competitor, with competitive pricing and a rotating weekly menu of tempting meal options.

Dinnerly

Source: Dinnerly

Dinnerly only offers two options to choose from, a two-person box and a four-person box. Both plans include three meals a week per person and you can select which recipes you want from that week’s menu.

Three vegetarian options are offered each week.

Basic pantry staples aren’t provided, but Dinnerly will let you know what you need before you place your order.

Dinnerly claims to be the most affordable meal box delivery in Australia at just $4.95 per meal.

A two-person box for four nights is only $59.75 while the family box for four nights is just $96.95.

Unlike the other options, delivery isn’t free, costing $8.95.

Prices correct at time of writing

At just $4.95 per meal, the price is kind of hard to argue with.

You can also skip weeks – you’re not locked into a contract.

Every recipe only has five steps.

Unfortunately, there’s a reason why Dinnerly is the most affordable meal box in Australia. Unlike other meal box delivery options which organise ingredients according to each meal (e.g. in separate colour-coded bags), ingredients are mixed in together in the box.

Some online reviewers even complained that several key ingredients were missing, or there were random ingredients meant for other meals they hadn’t ordered.

Recipe cards aren’t provided in the boxes either so you’ll have to look up the recipes online or print them out yourself.

The meals are also a lot more basic (read, boring) than those in other meal box services.

Surprise, surprise – turns out you get what you pay for. While Dinnerly is easily the cheapest meal delivery box on the market, it’s probably the most disappointing.

Pepper Leaf

Source: Pepper Leaf

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Pepper Leaf works pretty much identically to all the other meal box services already mentioned. You pick a box, select how many meals you want that week and for how many people.

Pepper Leaf will then package it all up for you customised to your desired quantity and dietary requirements.

First timers get free seasonal fruit with their first two boxes and delivery is free.

The cost depends on which box you choose, how many meals you want and for how many people you need to feed.

A classic box for two people for four nights costs $89.90 per week. A family box for four people for four nights is $149.90.

Prices correct at time of writing

Unlike any of the other meal delivery boxes, there are meal options for one person – perfect if you’re living out of home for the first time.

There are options for as many as six people too which is great for a big family.

Dietary requirements are catered for, and there are plenty of vegetarian options.

They also claim to work with the Food Editors at New Idea and Better Homes and Gardens to come up with the recipes, and all the ingredients are sourced from local farmers and producers.

Delivery is currently limited to Victoria and New South Wales only, and you can only receive your order before 9 am on Saturdays and before 8 am on Mondays.

If you’ve got severe food allergies or intolerances you’d be best to steer clear, as Pepper Leaf can’t guarantee there won’t be any cross-contamination.

Unlike some of the other food box delivery services, there is no separate list of required pantry staples, so you have to sift through each recipe to figure out what you’ll need.

It’s the only food box delivery service to offer meal options for one person, which makes them an obvious choice for singles living alone. Overall, Pepper Leaf offers more ingredients in each recipe than their competitors, and they use more herbs.

Their meat is sourced from a gourmet butcher as opposed to a meat wholesaler, and they offer the greatest flexibility with delivery times, the number of meals and people.

The Cook’s Grocer

Source: The Cook’s Grocer

Another weekly, auto-renewing subscription service, The Cook’s Grocer is limited to parts of New South Wales only.

Just choose a box and the meals you want to cook each week, and The Cook’s grocer will package all the ingredients up for you.

Your box has everything you need, apart from a few staple pantry items most people have lying around anyway.

Unless stated otherwise, all their meals only take between 20 and 30 minutes from start to finish.

Unlike any of the other food box delivery options, The Cook’s Grocer also offers gourmet pre-cooked meals sourced from some of Sydney’s finest restaurants.

Again, the cost depends entirely on which box you choose, for how many nights and for how many people. Meals start from as low as $8 per serving through to $14.99.

There are three boxes to choose from. A two-person box for four nights a week would set you back $99.95. A family box (two adults and two children) for four nights is $134.95, while a four adult box for five nights costs $155.95

You can also order fruit and vegetable boxes, beginning from $19 for a fruit bag, all the way up to $68 for a family fruit and vegetable box.

Newbies can save $30 off their first two boxes.

Delivery is free for ongoing meal box deliveries, but if you’re ordering a one-off meal box you’ll have to pay a delivery fee of $8.75.

The gourmet pre-cooked meals are priced between $10 and $14 for a single serve.

Prices correct at time of writing

The recipes feel a lot more premium than some of the others (Ras El Hanout roast lamb with jewelled couscous anyone?).

The meals are really healthy, seasonal, and there’s a wide range of meat, seafood and vegetarian options to satisfy all appetites.

Chicken and pork is free-range, meat is only sourced from ethical farms, and only sustainable seafood is used.

Delivery is limited to Sydney, the Southern Highlands, Canberra, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong only.

Another note on delivery – the drivers won’t ring your door bell or call or text you to announce their arrival, which is pretty inconvenient if you’re an apartment dweller.

The Cook’s Grocer is easily the most high-end food box delivery service – but it comes at a steep price.

The verdict?

When it came to price, we compared all five food box delivery services across their box options for two people for four nights, and four people for four nights.

This is because some of the food boxes didn’t have options for all five nights of the week, but they all had options for four nights – making it the most obvious way to compare all five for price.

As you can see in the table above, Dinnerly came out on top as being the cheapest food box delivery service.

The Cook’s Grocer was the most expensive.

Prices correct at time of writing

Saving.com.au’s two cents

If you struggle with meal prep and like the convenience of not having to think about the weekly grocery shop, food box delivery services are perfect.

When you consider the average Australian family of four spends upwards of $200 a week on food and drink, a food box delivery service could help cut those costs. Keep in mind though, they don’t include breakfast or lunch options.

Ultimately, you have to consider what’s best for you and your budget.

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Emma Duffy Emma joined Savings.com.au as a Finance Journalist in 2019. She is a journalist with more than five years experience across print, broadcast and digital media, with previous stints at Style Magazines, 4ZZZ radio, and as editor of The Real Estate Conversation. She’s most passionate about improving the financial literacy of young women and millennials by writing about complex financial topics in a way that’s easy for the average Joe (or Jill) to understand. When she’s not writing about finance she’s watching Greys Anatomy (again).

Collections: Money Saving Tips

Meal delivery services in Australia 2019 (with discounts)

MEAL DELIVERY SERVICES TO MAKE LIFE EASIER

OUR FAVOURITE MEAL DELIVERY SERVICES

Possibly the most well-know of the meal delivery services for food kits, Hello Fresh has lured many with their fabulous advertising and specials. The recipes are nothing short of mouth-watering to look at, and the end results are surprisingly similar to the pictures, which is always a good thing. There is something about the simplicity of the menu cards that gets kids cooking too, so that’s a bonus. The weekly meal choice includes standard dishes, gourmet upgrades, a vegetarian meal and ‘dinner to lunch’ option. Plus, they now offer a couple of yummy snack packs too.

Box types: Classic, Family and Veggie. 2 or 4 people.
No. of meal kits per week: 3 – 5
Delivery area: See list here
Price range: $64.96 – $109.95
Pros: Meals very easy to make, options to ‘go posh’ with gourmet and to grab some snacks
Cons: There are set days for delivery which won’t work for everyone
SPECIAL: Save 40% on your first delivery

MARLEY SPOON

Marley Spoon is hot on the tail of Hello Fresh in the popularity stakes. They boast chef-created meals made with seasonal ingredients. There are 20 dishes to choose from each week including fast, healthy, vegetarian, no added gluten and family-friendly options. They focus heavily on sustainability with 100% recyclable packaging and reusable chill-packs made from 85% sugar cane! Food is sourced as locally as possible and, like most food delivery services, there is zero waste as everything is pre-measured for each recipe. Recipes are super-simple and have no more than 6-steps each. Easy-peasy.

Box types: Normal or Vegetarian. 2 people or Family
No. of meal kits per week: 3 – 5
Delivery area: See list here
Price range: $34.90 to $108.20
Pros: Delivery is daily, seasonal and sustainable, a reasonable amount of choice
Cons: Delivery area is little limited
SPECIAL: Get $35 off your first delivery

MEAL DELIVERY SERVICES FOR THE BUDGET CONSCIENCE

DINNERLY

Dinnerly is touted as Australia’s most affordable meal kit service, and they may be right with kits starting at just $4.95 per dinner, per person. How do they keep their prices down but still deliver quality ingredients? They take a simpler approach using fewer ingredients, no posh packaging and digital recipes cards, which makes them environmentally-friendly too. Meals include fast, healthy and one-pan with around 14 recipes per week, changing weekly. They make no bones about having less bells and whistles as their slightly costlier competitors but offer a solution ‘for people who like homemade cooking, but don’t like overpaying for the good things in life.’

Box types: 2 people or 4 people
No. of meal kits per week: 2 – 5
Delivery area: Currently delivering to most of NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and ACT
Price range: $39.00 – 99.00
Pros: Slightly more cost effective, less fancy packaging so less waste
Cons: Not as much choice for recipes each week, recipes a little basic (a pro or con!)
SPECIAL: Get $35 off your first delivery

MEAL DELIVERY SERVICES FOR THE HEALTH CONSCIENCE

YOUFOODZ

Moving onto ready-made meals, Youfoodz certainly know how to tempt the tastebuds with their mouth-watering website. Providing fresh (not frozen) food, YouFoodz has everything from breakfast, lunch, dinner, wraps, snacks and soups. And although the general theme is healthy food, they have a ‘Weightloss Refreshed’ 70/30 diet plan too, which includes meals and snacks and leaves you with no excuses whatsoever not to diet. They will even create a meal plan for you based on your goals, these being weight loss, clean eating or gain muscle. The choices are pretty much endless and all meals are for one person, which you can order in any combination you like.

Box types: Meals for 1 person
No. of meal kits per week: As many as you like
Delivery area: See list here
Price range: Snacks from $4.94 and meals from $9.95. Meal plans between $99 – $213
Pros: Huge range of food, diet specific, health conscience and next day delivery
Cons: You have to spend a set amount for home delivery, meals are not frozen
SPECIAL: Get one meal and two snacks to add your cart for free

THE GLUTEN FREE MEAL CO

The Gluten Free Meal Co. is Australia’s only gluten-free ready-cooked meal delivery service. This is the ideal choice for coeliac or busy mums looking for gluten-free alternatives. The menu is pretty extensive and EVERYTHING is gluten-free, including breakfasts, main courses, finger foods and even desserts. They also have dedicated vegetarian and dairy-free selections. All meals undergo gluten testing and ingredients and allergens are listed on the order page so you won’t miss anything. In the past, meals were only available as a subscription service, but you can now get gluten-free meals delivered straight to your doorstep by ordering directly from their website.

Box types: Single-serve meals (400g per meal)
No. of meal kits per week: NA
Delivery area: See list here
Price range: $7.50-$9.90 per meal
Pros: Extensive gluten-free menu with vegetarian and dairy-free selections
Cons: Minimum order of $65 for delivery
SPECIAL: All meals are only $8 if you order 10 or more meals

LITE N‘ EASY

Lite n’ Easy has been delivering dietitian-planned meals to Australians for over three decades. Meals can be customized based on your needs, whether you want to actively lose weight or you are simply too busy to shop and prepare healthy meals every day. The range of meals is extensive and includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, mini meals, meals in bowls, soups, desserts and Lite meals. Meals start from $6 and go up to $12 per single serving, with one week of meals starting at $117 (1200 calories, full 5-day plan). The cost ultimately depends on your chosen meal plan and delivery location. Overall, Lite n’ Easy is a great option for those who want to actively lose weight or anyone who prefers healthy but convenient ready-to-go meals.

Box types: Full 5 and 7-day meal plans and dinners only
No. of meal kits per week: NA
Delivery area: See list here
Price range: S6-12 per single-serve meal, $117-187 for full meal plans
Pros: Highly customisable meal plans and varied menu
Cons: Pre-packed meals that may not appeal to those who want fresh meal prep kits, minimum order value of $49 for all deliveries
SPECIAL: Money back guarantee on your first delivery

WEIGHTWATCHERS

Weight Watchers (WW) is a global leader in diet plans, and the company’s services just keep getting better and better. For the health-conscious mum who wants convenience above all else, Weight Watchers (WW) Healthy Kitchen offers ready-made meals that take the guesswork and time out of healthy meal preparation. Created by chefs and nutritionists, WW Healthy Kitchen meals for lunch and dinner are nutritiously balanced, protein packed, gluten free, and come in a variety of flavours. There is no added sweetener, artificial flavours or preservatives. To prepare, simply heat for 3.5 minutes and serve. All meals are SmartPoints® ready, with each meal worth from 4 to 8 SmartPoints®. Currently, ready-made meal boxes are only available at Woolworths (chilled ready meals section) or the Woolworths Online store.

Box types: Meals for 1 person (400g per box)
No. of meal kits per week: NA
Delivery area: NA
Price range: $9 per 400g box
Pros: Chef and nutritionist-prepared healthy meals
Cons: Limited selection and no home delivery service at this time
SPECIAL: Price drop $4 instead of $5.79 on selected boxes

JUST A REALLY CUTE FOOD DELIVERY BOX WE HAD TO MENTION

GOODNESS ME

GoodnessMe is the country’s largest health food sampling store. They offer health-focused subscription boxes which their team curates each month and sends to subscribers in Australia and New Zealand. If you are a fan of sustainable, organic, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free products, this box is for you. Besides nutritious food, the box is filled with health-focused lifestyle and beauty products. Some products from past boxes include nut milk, trail mixes, teas, baking mixes, chocolate bars, essential oils, deodorant and balms. Much of the box is food or drink (7-10 items) and the remainder is beauty/lifestyle items (2-3 full-sized or sample-sized products). One advantage of GoodnessMe boxes is customisation for those with dietary or lifestyle requirements. For example, you can request gluten-free or vegan boxes. GoodnessMe also offers monthly boxes exclusively for kids and quarterly beauty boxes.

Box types: 1, 3 and 6-month plans, kids monthly subscription box, quarterly beauty box
No. of meal kits per week: NA
Delivery area: Australia and New Zealand
Price range: $25/month + 6.95 shipping for month-to-month orders
Pros: Health-focused food/drink and lifestyle items in one box
Cons: Selection is limited to health samples, no meals or meal kits available
SPECIAL: 2 for 1 Free surprise box with every 6-month plan

Pros

1. Simple, tasty and generously portioned meals

What impressed me the most about Dinnerly is their taste. Dinnerly Australia offers really simple and delicious meals that you can cook in 30 minutes. All recipes are under 6 steps and very easy to follow. I tried three of their meals, Malaysian Chicken Curry, Indonesian Tofu Stir-Fry and Cheesy Caribbean Black Beans which were all super delicious!

2. Perfect for budget-conscious family

From $4.95 per person, Dinnerly Australia is Australia’s most budget friendly meal box. This makes Dinnerly ideal for first timers and those who are going to use it frequently or long term.

3. Good delivery options

Dinnerly Australia was launched in March 2018 and it’s the newest meal box service in Australia. Just like Marley Spoon or HelloFresh, you can choose morning or afternoon delivery for your box. I ordered my box to arrive before 7am, which did arrive on time with all ingredients! I decided to order early as I wanted to put my ingredients in the fridge before I left for work.

4. Easy to cancel or skip your orders

It’s important for me to remind you that when you sign up with Dinnerly Australia or any other meal box services, you are singing up to an ongoing weekly soft-subscription service. Good news with Dinnerly is that it’s really easy to skip or cancel your weekly subscription. You can do it all online (through “my settings”) with just a click of a button! Just remember that you will have to cancel your subscription 6 days before your next delivery (ACT & NSW) or 7 days before (VIC, SA and QLD).

Cons

1. Recipe only comes in a digital format

Affordability requires customers to do a little bit more. With Dinnerly Australia, you need to print-out or look recipes on your device. Remember, recipes come in a digital form. On the other hand, you will receive printed copies for Marley Spoon and HelloFresh.

2. Less labels and packaging

This is actually good news for environmentally conscious customers, but the ingredients are not placed into separate packages like Marley Spoon and Hello Fresh. So you need to sort out ingredients as per the recipe. On the other note, when I tried Marley Spoon or HelloFresh, there were lots of marketing leaflets inside the box… which I read but threw them away.

3. Add extra serve of veg to your meal to make it healthier

Recipes are certainly delicious, but you may wish to add extra vegetables to your meals. For each meal, you would on average get 2-3 vegetables at 500-800 calories. This is good, but recommended vegetable intake by the Department of Health and National Health and Medical Research Council is to make vegetables take up at least one third of meals and/or half the meal if you are trying to lose weight. So the tip here is to add another serve of vegetable to your meal. For service sizes guide, check out eatforhealth.gov.au.

4. Recipe selection is limited compared to other services

Unlike Marley Spoon, you don’t get as much recipes to choose from for the week for Dinnerly. Marley Spoon offers over 20 recipes to choose from each week, while you get 8 recipes to choose from for Dinnerly.

Which meal delivery kit is right for you?

We doubt you haven’t noticed, but meal delivery kits are BIG business. According to Neilsen, food boxes and prepared meals still represent a small portion of the grocery e-commerce market in Australia (1.6% of value sales), however meal kit delivery service has ballooned to over $5 billion in sales in the US alone, says market intelligence firm, Packaged Facts.

I have always been just a little bit curious about these meal delivery services, and the launch of a Dinnerly last month got me thinking. What are the meals like? Would cooking this way free up my evenings? Would my children like the meals? Do they cater for minority groups? In the end I decided there was only one way to get some solid answers to my questions and that’s to go online and start ordering…

Perhaps the best known of all the meal kit delivery services, HelloFresh is a weekly, auto-renewing subscription service where you can choose from classic, vegetarian or family-friendly recipes before you select how many meals you require and for how many people. Meals are chosen for you based on your preferences, although you can make changes if you so desire. We choose a family plan for four people for three meals – a plan which comes to $109.95 for the box.

My experience: Delivery occurs during the early hours of the morning (ours was dropped off at 3AM) so paranoia the box was going to be stolen kept me from sleeping properly. The Styrofoam box was filled with enough icepacks to withstand a hot day under the sun, and the box contained three packages with different coloured labels, recipe cards with correlating colour-coded labels and separately packaged protein.

The recipes were family friendly (our kids gave each meal a massive thumbs up), but what I loved was how easy – and quick – the cooking process was. All ingredients are pre-portioned so you never need to measure, and there are no leftover spices, vegetables or grains at the end.

My biggest fear going into this was that the portions would be small (a no-no in a Turkish household), but our four-person dinner easily made enough for five so we always had an extra lunch ready to go each day.

Dietary considerations: You will be asked about dietary requirements when you sign up. You can choose the vegetarian box, or you can tick the no pork or no beef box (for example) and be assured you will not receive these proteins in your delivery.

Marley Spoon

Like HelloFresh, Marley Spoon is a weekly subscription service, but its major advantage is that you can customise what you’d like to receive each week. Each week you’ll receive an email with suggested meal choices based on previous preferences and you can swap or pick and choose from around 12 recipes for that particular week. You can choose a two-person or four-person meal plan and enjoy between two to four meals a week. A three-meal plan for a family of four comes to $114.

My experience: With Marley Spoon, you can select a delivery time and ours arrives bang on midday with the delivery driver calling to let me know he had just dropped our box. Again, the ingredients for each meal were packaged similar to that of HelloFresh, with easy-to-understand, six-step recipe cards and pre-proportioned everything else.

Cooking was easy and quick, and we all enjoyed the dishes immensely. Win!

Dietary considerations: Marley Spoon customers can set up a taste profile which tells the company what they do and don’t like so that their pre-selection function knows what to avoid, says Marley Spoon co-founder, Rolf Weber. “The taste profile includes things like beef, pork, shellfish and spicy and there is also the option to set the account to vegetarian,” he says. “As all ingredients for recipes are listed, it is easy for people to identify whether they need to sub out an item.”

YouFoodz

For those who truly want to steer clear of the oven comes YouFoodz, a delivery service of fresh, pre-made and custom meal plans which can be curated to either help you lose weight, gain muscle, get healthy or just enjoy more free time. The meals are all individual serves (not quite right for feeding families although the cost is the same) but you can choose a meal plan (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for five or seven days, and decide whether you want to get into clean eating, go vegetarian, bulk up, or just have some nutritious, tasty meals in the fridge ready to go. The range includes snacks and juices and can also be purchased at various supermarkets such as Harris Farm. A meal plan of ten individual serves is priced from $99.50. You can also create meal plans based around your budget.

My Experience: I’m not sure what to think when the Styrofoam box packed with ready meals is delivered (bang on time) since I’ve never eaten pre-prepared meals before. I heat up my first dish in microwave, peel back the plastic cover and fall immediately in love. It’s delicious and I immediately know I’ve found a go-to for times when I just don’t have the time (or inclination) to cook yet still want something healthy. That said, it does feel strange heating four individual dishes in the microwave and serving it up to the family so I quickly realise it’s less a family dinner meal service, and more of a healthy lunches for me while I’m working service. The juices and snacks are a welcome addition.

Dietary considerations: Although you can select meals based on your preferences, YouFoodz is constantly diversifying to meet the needs of a wide range of Australian consumers, says YouFoodz general manager, Kane Sala. “Our customers are asking for more vegetarian option so that’s a big focus for our menu development team right now and we even introduced our first vegan meal last year,” he says.

“While most of the meats used are halal-certified by suppliers, they are prepped, cooked and stored in the same facilities as non-halal products, which unfortunately means our meals do not meet the full halal guidelines.”

YouFoodz is currently working through plans for their future facility expansion which will include product segmentation, which means they will ultimately be able to cater to a wider range of cultures and beliefs.

I walk away from the table each night feeling like the kind of mother most kids dream about.

The Dinner Ladies

Imagine a freezer stocked to the brim with mouth-watering, home-cooked meals you haven’t actually had to make yourself. This is the premise behind meal delivery service, The Dinner Ladies, which promises exactly that: freshly-made pies, lasagnes, curries, chooks, strews and fish cakes – all snap frozen and ready for you to reheat (or in some cases cook) for a meal in a hurry. Select small, medium or large servings depending on your family size (a small lasagne for example is $15 and a large is $28) and then navigate the multitude of icons next to each dish (kid-friendly, contains pork, gluten-free, needs cooking etc) to decipher whether it’s right for you. There is a minimum order of $100 and a $15 delivery charge if your order is under $200 (delivery is free if over $200).

My experience: The delivery driver hides my Styrofoam container a little too well – so well I believe the box has been stolen for all of five minutes. But upon finding it, happiness is truly mine, and when I open it, I’m thrilled to discover containers of frozen vegetarian lasagnes, curries and salmon patties. Placed immediately in the freezer, I simply defrost and reheat most evenings, or just place a lasagne in the oven. The kids love the dishes (as do we) and I walk away from the table each night feeling like the kind of mother most kids dream about.

Dietary considerations: With this service, the customer is in complete control of what they order, says Sophie Gilliatt, director of The Dinner Ladies, who explains they work hard to provide plenty of options on the menu for people of every cultural group. “We have a prominent pink P next to products containing pork and customers can also sort by categories so they will only, for example, see the vegetarian, chicken or seafood options,” she says. “We also provide a complete list of all ingredients so customers can double-check if they’re concerned.”

The chicken The Dinner Ladies uses is halal, however the other meat is not.

Welcoming the new kid on the block, Marley Spoon’s budget-friendly sister company, Dinnerly, which launched to much excitement last month. The service works on a weekly subscription service like Marley Spoon, however what really makes this meal kit service stand out is its price point – all meals are priced from $5.75 per serve. Although Dinnerly uses the same fresh produce as Marley Spoon, it keeps its prices down by focusing on dishes that use fewer ingredients and by doing away with expensive packaging, recipe cards and fancy marketing campaigns. Instead, you get quality food with digital recipes, plain packaging and six options to choose from.

My experience: My box is due to be delivered between noon and 6PM and it arrives at my door at 2PM, the press of the doorbell quickly followed with a text. Everything is measured and packaged beautifully, however when I go to cook, I realise I’m not so great with having to read a recipe on my phone and have to print out the recipe cards. That said, the meals themselves are lovely and enjoyed by the whole family. Each recipe claims to be five steps each and I’m thrilled to see that is indeed accurate. Dinnerly quickly proves to be a winner.

Dietary considerations: As with Marley Spoon, you can create taste profiles, however vegetarians will be thrilled to find there are plenty of delicious meat-free options each week.

In the end, we took a family vote and decided meal delivery services are exactly what we need right now. Making a decision on which service to actually go with is still being hotly debated at the time of writing, however.

Family cooking ideas Dolma raised me It was the stuff of my childhood and my large family dinners – I’ll always be thankful for stuffed vegetables. Why food is another way for your family to say ‘I love you’ You don’t have to speak up at the dinner table to make your point. Get your kids in the kitchen with these 11 recipes Get your kids to feed the family AND keep them entertained with these kid-friendly recipes. Win-win!

The Most Popular Meal Delivery Services

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In this rush-rush world of overcommitments and under-the-gun deadlines, it can be tough to stay on top of our health, and eating healthfully often takes a back seat.

“What’s for dinner?” is often a frustrating question, not always yielding a good answer (or any answer at all). Finding healthy takeout can be both costly and challenging. Fast food doesn’t translate to healthy food.

And cooking can be stressful and time consuming. By the time you’re finished with all the decisions about what to cook and the ensuing planning, shopping, chopping and actual cooking, you wonder if it’s worth all that time.

That’s why meal delivery services, which began in 2012 and now comprise a $400 million market, are so popular. The shopping, planning and delivery are up to them; the meal is in your hands. You receive an insulated box containing your ingredients for the week, plus detailed recipe cards.

Here are five of the most popular services. Expect fresh ingredients that come fully measured and pre-portioned, all ready for you to don your apron, read the instructions and cook up a storm.

Though convenience is a big factor, be aware of a few things:

  • You’ll still need prep time to do things like chop and sauté.
  • You will need to have some basic ingredients on hand, like eggs, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Most meals will take between 30 and 45 minutes to prepare.
  • Many of the plans go heavy on the salt, making the sodium content high. If you want to limit your salt, forgo the shaker or add just a dash or two.
  • You’ll pay the same price no matter which meals you choose. To get the most for your money, you may want to choose the meals with pricier ingredients (for example, choose salmon over veggie pasta).

1. HelloFresh

Hello Fresh offers three plans, with recipes changing weekly. Its Classic Plan costs $9.99 per meal and includes meat and fish; its Veggie Plan is available for the same price and includes meat-free proteins; its Family Plan is $8.74 per meal. Among its easy-to-prep recipes are dishes like Lasagna-baked Fusilli With Kale and Mozzarella; Lobster Ravioli and Shrimp With Heirloom Tomatoes and Tarragon Cream Sauce; and Chicken Under a Zucchini Blanket With Mashed Potatoes and Green beans.

HelloFresh received high marks from Consumer Reports, which rated its recipes lowest in fat content, calories and sodium among the five services it tested.

2. Green Chef

Dishes include Pork Golumpki Ragout; Pink Peppercorn Salmon; Black Rice Stir-Fry; Spaghetti Squash Pasta; and Mongolian Tofu.

In its ratings, Consumer Reports gave Green Chef a score of “excellent.”

3. Blue Apron

Blue Apron offers more ethnic-inspired recipes than many of the other plans, with fewer traditional-style meals. Its prices are lower than most, too: a two-person plan for three meals per week is $59.94, and its family plan that serves four totals $69.92 for two meals or $139.84 for four meals per week.

Meals include Spring Chicken Fettucine with Asparagus and Kale; Fresh Udon Noodle Stir-Fry with Asparagus and Togarashi; Greek Pizza with Kalamata Olives and Feta; and Crispy Cod Tacos with Chipotle Cabbage Slaw.

This service stands out from the others in that it offers suggested wine pairings for each meal and, as an additional service, can arrange for curated monthly wine shipments.

Consumer Reports awarded Blue Apron an overall score of “very good.”

4. Plated

Plated offers a lot of flexibility in the number of meals you can order each week, allowing you to select as few or as many dinners as you’d like, from twice a week to every night of the week. Menus, which change weekly, include offerings for omnivores, vegetarians, and seafood lovers, with recipes like Brown Butter Orecchiette With Spicy Sausage and Peas; Salmon Fried Rice With Chinese Broccoli; Cheesy Baked Rice With Roasted Carrots and Parsnips; and Blackened Fish Sandwiches With Avocado Mash and Creamy Aioli. Dinners average about $12 per serving.

Plated is the only meal service that offers dessert options (for an additional $4 per portion), like Chocolate Caramel Turtles With Pecans and Sticky Monkey Bread With Walnuts and Cinnamon.

Among all plans tested by Consumer Reports, Plated got the highest score for taste and ease of preparation. The service will email you a few days in advance of delivery if there are extra ingredients you need to have on hand.

5. Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot is all about plant-based meals for vegans, with all its offerings containing whole grains or legumes and other high-fiber ingredients. Costs range from $68 per week for its two-person plan to $74 for the four-person plan. Choices, which are more limited than the other services, include Chinese Broccoli with Tofu and Peanut Sauce; Spinach Risotto with Spiced Chickpea Crumble; and Crisp Potato and Poblano with Red Cabbage Slaw.

Consumer Reports rated it as “very good.”

If you prefer to save your money and start from scratch, HealthyWomen offers some healthy recipes for any meal or snack.

Cheapest meal delivery service

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