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Love it or hate it, many of us are still working from home—and might be for quite a while longer—which means we have a little more time on our hands to explore trying and cooking new meals. Sure, ordering takeout or prepared meals via Postmates or Uber Eats is always a reasonably solid option, but if you’re like me and have realized that the majority of the money you’ve shelled out during the pandemic has literally gone directly to the pricey contactless restaurant and lazy-day fast food orders, you may also be looking to pull back a bit on relying on these delivery apps to feed you, whether because you’re looking to save money or just trying to get back on track with healthier eating habits.
While many of us are familiar with some of the O.G. meal prep delivery and subscription serves like Hello Fresh, there are plenty of newer and more under-the-radar options the market that also deliver ready-to-cook and perfectly portioned ingredients that won’t put such a dent in your wallet and will help you get back in the kitchen. Sure, they may not be quite as budget-friendly as shopping for your own groceries, but they’re ridiculously convenient nonetheless.
Plus, these services are the perfect option for beginner chefs like me that want to dabble in the “culinary arts”, but still need just a little more help in the kitchen than the average person (hey, at least I’ve graduated from microwavable burritos, y’all!). Scroll through below to check out some of our favorite lesser-known food delivery services to try out for yourself.
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You probably have already heard about Blue Apron, our personal fave, but here’s a refresher in case you’re new to the whole meal delivery program thing. You can pick your meal plans based on how many people you need to feed, as well as opt for vegetarian and “wellness”-based options too, so you can tailor meals to any and all dietary restrictions and preferences. Plans start at just $9.99 per meal, which is way less than that pricey salad you’ve been ordering in every single afternoon.
Green Chef offers three organic plans: one for those of us who are following a keto or paleo diet, a “Balanced Living” plan and a third “Plant-Powered” option that’s perfect for vegetarians and vegans. All of the produce and eggs they use are certified organic too, which means that the resulting meals will be both delicious and good for you. Their menu of offerings also changes on a weekly basis so you’ll never feel like you’re eating the same thing twice.
Do you ever wish that you could cook like Martha Stewart? Now you can with Marley Spoon! Choose from over 29 Martha Stewart-approved weekly recipes, schedule a delivery date that works for you and cook up some seriously good meals the second your food arrives. All of the recipes contain only six easy-to-follow steps, so you’ll be cooking like a kitchen whiz in no time.
If you’re in need of a plant-based meal plan, try Purple Carrot. On average, each Purple Carrot meal results in 72% less carbon being released into the atmosphere when compared to the average American meal. Luckily, plant-based doesn’t have to mean boring. Purple Carrot’s ever-changing menu offers meals like Walnut-Crusted Artichokes and Spicy Almond Butter Noodles. Yum!
If you’re not ready to give up restaurant food, but still want to get back into the habit of actually cooking food for yourself, Goldbelly’s premium meal kits are the perfect in-between solution. The delivery service offers ready-to-eat meal kits from some of the best restaurants and chefs around the country for some pretty reasonable prices. You can also filter results based on not only your region, but also by diet type, category and price point, so there’s seriously something for everyone.
For those who just are simply *not* ready to graduate from the microwave to the stove and oven right now (or ever, we won’t judge) but don’t want to consume the excess sodium and preservative frozen meals often contains, it’s time to give Freshly a try. Basically, it’s a weekly subscription service that delivers fresh (not frozen) meals made by a legit chef that can be heated up and ready to eat in just three minutes. Because it’s all about balance, baby.
Offering customizable meals starting at just $10.99 for dinner dishes, Sun Basket’s ridiculously easy and hassle-free food delivery makes it easy to cook simple, high-quality and tasty dishes without breaking the bank or requiring top chef status culinary skills. Offering a vast selection of fresh and delicious meals suitable for a wide range of diets, from vegan to paleo, Freshly makes it easy to eat clean and organic without having to spend a fortune. Plus, new members are eligible for $35 off their first order!
My neighbor, ex-boyfriend and obviously me are all addicted to Territory Food’s super fresh, tasty and microwave-friendly meals. They. are. so. good. The meal delivery service often teams up with local, top-rated restaurants like Los Angeles based eateries Gracias Madre and Cafe Gratitude (along with their ongoing partnership with Bravo’s Top Chef Chef Eric) and there’s always a new rotation of meal options that changes every week, so you never get bored or run out of new items to try. Of course, if you do happen to be addicted to a meal, there are always permanent menu offerings (my favorite is the Keto Grilled Salmon with Cauliflower and Broccoli) that vary depending on your region.
Perfect for all the vegans and vegetarians out there, Vegin’ Out’s mouth-watering plant-based delivery plans offer oil-free, low-sodium and nutritionally dense meals with a huge variety of subscription options, from single or bi-weekly delivery options to 21-day cleanse plans. They also a yummy selection of meal add-ons, allowing you to add vegan breakfasts, sides, green juice and desserts to your order for a small fee.[‘
Sakara Life’s plant-powered meal program offers four different options to cater to your individual needs and wellness goals, with a focus on improving digestion, energy and even enhancing your complexion through nutrition: Signature Organic Meal Delivery, Detox Level II and Brides. Each ready-to-eat meal not only tastes delicious (yes, even if you’re not vegan), but also make you feel like a new person (trust me, I just tried the Total Body Reset a week ago). Some of my favorites dishes include Pink Peppercorn Tomato Bisque, Sexy Cinnamon Rolls and the Black Garlic BBQ Burger).
As I mentioned above, I’m not even plant-based and I absolutely loved each and every nutrient-dense meal I tried from Thistle (although, for pescatarian and carnivores, they do also offer dishes with fish and meat.) Unlike other meal delivery services, Thistle allows you to customize your menu and you can pause the program at any time but trust me, you will not want to. Some of my favorite dishes from the program include Creamy Tomato Pasta, Cauliflower Polenta Bowl and the Dirty Chai Oatmeal Bowl. They also offer a huge assortment of fresh juices and sides as well.