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The Best Healthy Meal Kit Delivery Subscriptions for Achieving a Balanced Diet

Recipe cards and four sets of healthy meals in front of a Sun Basket box, with flavored water and veggie leaves beside them.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Most people are motivated to try out meal kit delivery subscriptions like Blue Apron or HelloFresh because of the convenience and the efficiency they offer when it comes to meal planning and preparation and procuring ingredients. Meal kit delivery services can also cut down on food waste by providing pre-measured ingredients according to the exact recipe specifications, eliminating the potential of having a random hodgepodge of leftovers to try to use up before they spoil.

Meal kit delivery subscriptions can also theoretically provide benefits when it comes to the actual dishes and recipes themselves. For example, these subscription services promote a more varied diet by having customers select several different meals each week from a rotating menu of options spanning the gamut in terms of global cuisines. Instead of continually eating from the same limited menu of basic meals each week due to comfort, convenience, limited exposure, or lack of cooking confidence, subscribers to meal kit delivery services are exposed to a much wider range of recipes each week, which makes for a more well-rounded diet.

Additionally, depending on the meal plan you choose, the meal kit delivery subscription at large, and the specific recipes you choose each week, can be quite healthy. Many of the meals rely heavily on fresh and seasonal produce, as well as lean meats or healthy sources of plant-based proteins. Plus, as the ingredients are shipped in limited portion quantities, meal kit delivery boxes can help enforce portion control to reduce overeating. That said, many meal kit delivery subscriptions tend to prioritize flavor and simplicity over health to some degree. Therefore, if nutrition and health are at the forefront of your purchasing decision when it comes to meal kit delivery options, keep reading to find out the best healthy meal kit delivery subscriptions.

Best Overall: Sun Basket

A Sun Basket box placed behind a variety of healthy foods and recipe card on a kitchen table.
Sun Basket

When it came to determining the healthiest meal kits, we considered factors such as the quality of ingredients — organic, non-GMO, hormone-free meats, etc. — along with the nutritional content of the recipes and the specific dietary needs and lifestyles being catered to. We looked into the best low-calorie meal kits for those watching their weight, the best low-carb meal kits or those compliant with a paleo or keto diet, the best vegan or plant-based meal kits, the best low-sodium meal kits for those with high blood pressure, the healthiest meal kits for people with diabetes, and the best gluten-free meal kits for those with celiac disease or who follow a gluten-free diet.

Though we expected to find that different meal kit delivery subscriptions would be best for each healthy category, the overwhelming winner was Sun Basket. In fact, with the sole exception of the keto diet specifically, Sun Basket is the best healthy meal kit with an appropriate plan for each of these dietary needs. Sun Basket even has an excellent Carb-Conscious plan and a designated Paleo plan, but neither of these will be 100% compliant with the even stricter carbohydrate limits of the keto diet.

All of Sun Basket’s meal kit plans are generally healthy, and they have plenty of specific plans that cater to certain dietary goals and needs. Sun Basket uses 100% organic produce and ingredients, as well as non-GMO and hormone-free products. They are committed to sustainability and fair farming practices. In terms of health, Sun Basket recipes are designed to contain between 400 and 800 calories and include the freshest produce, lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fiber.

Sun Basket offers nearly 10 different healthy meal plans. Our top picks include the following:

  • Paleo: These meals are high in protein and free from dairy, gluten, grains, soy, corn, antibiotics, and hormones. In accordance with the paleo diet, only natural sweeteners like honey, molasses, maple syrup, and coconut sugar are used, and sparingly at that. The Sun Basket Paleo Meal Plan avoids most beans and legumes but does include the occasional pod (green beans, snap peas, snow peas). Example recipes in this meal plan include Thai turkey lettuce cups and green goddess steak salad with roasted carrots.
  • Gluten-Free: The gluten-free meal plan offers five to eight gluten-free options on the menu every week. Example recipes include salmon with roasted new potatoes and green beans, and steak and sweet potato fries with kale and mushrooms.
  • Lean & Clean: For the calorie-conscious individual, this meal plan contains curated weekly options that have less than 600 calories per serving with only lean, whole foods like organic, fresh produce, and lean proteins. Sweeteners are used sparingly but the flavor isn’t compromised. Lean & Clean recipes include salmon with cilantro-lime sauce and pear-cashew salad, chipotle turkey chili with cucumber-sumac salad, and Thai green chicken curry.
  • Diabetes-Friendly: These recipes are all approved by the American Diabetes Association. They are free from simple sugars and have complex carbohydrates from whole foods like whole grains, beans, and lentils. Each serving contains only 400 to 700 calories and has at least 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber for satiety. Even though this meal plan is designed particularly for those with diabetes, it’s also a perfect option for anyone with hypertension or looking to control their sodium intake, as each meal contains a maximum of 700 mg of sodium. Many meal kit recipes are quite high in sodium, but Sun Basket meals tend to be more reasonable. Where possible, you can always add less salt than the recipe card calls for when seasoning the dishes. Examples include turkey black bean tacos and seared port with blueberry-apricot sauce and sautéed greens.
  • Other healthy meal plans from Sun Basket include Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Carb-Conscious, and Mediterranean.

Sun Basket meal kit plans can be ordered with two or four servings per recipe, and you order two, three, four, or five meals per week. Depending on the order size, each serving ranges from $11.49 to $14.49 plus $7 per box for shipping.

Best for Vegetarians and Vegans: Purple Carrot

Healthy foods and a Purple Carrot box on a white surface.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

There are many meal kit delivery subscriptions that offer vegetarian plans, but Purple Carrot is a good choice if you’re particularly committed to a plant-based diet, as they exclusively create healthy vegan recipes. You can even supplement the dinners you order with vegan breakfast and lunch items. Some examples of recipes include red curry kimchi ramen with crispy onions, roasted acorn squash with walnut pilaf and Lebanese spiced tomatoes, and beluga lentil tacos with guacamole.

Each Purple Carrot dinner recipe contains between 500 and 800 calories per serving and provides healthy fats, plant-based proteins, and complex carbohydrates from the best vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruits as well as healthy fats and lean proteins. Meals kits can be ordered with two or four servings per recipe, and plans require that you order either three or four meals per week. If you order two servings of just three recipes each week, each serving works out to $12, while all larger orders drop the per-serving price to $10. One perk of the Purple Carrot meal kit subscription is that shipping is always free.

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Best Gourmet and Ready-Made: Factor_

Factor_ Yia Yia's Greek Bowl meal looks so delicious.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While most meal kit services ship you the ingredients and the recipes, and then you have to prepare the food, Factor handles it in a much more convenient way. You get fresh, ready-made meals right to your doorstep that just need to be cooked for a few minutes — no prep needed. All meals are gourmet-quality and chef-crafted with fresh ingredients from a network of Factor’s partners.

We’re talking about absolutely delicious and mouth-watering meals but without any compromises on the good-for-you side. House-registered dietitians help plan out the meals, each of which is packed with much-needed nutrients. After which, real chefs get the food ready to go. Factor’s range of meal plans includes Chef’s Choice — with a wide selection of options — Keto, Calorie Smart, and Vegan & Veggie. All wholesome meals come ready to heat and eat, with the option to choose from four to 18 meals per week, and the price per serving varies based on how many meals you choose.

Best Healthy Low-Carb, Keto, or Paleo Meal Kit: Green Chef

Three paper bags and an empty Green Chef box placed behind a variety of healthy foods on a kitchen counter.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While Sun Basket has a good Carb-Conscious plan as well as a Paleo plan, if you are adhering to the stricter keto diet specifically, the only meal kit delivery service that is actually with keto is the Green Chef Keto & Paleo plan. This meal plan allows subscribers to choose their designated number of recipes and servings per week from a rotating menu of keto-approved recipes.

The subscription options for the Green Chef Keto & Paleo Plan include two, four, or six-person servings of either three or four different recipes per week. Boxes with two servings of three recipes work out to $12.49 plus a $10 shipping fee per box, while larger orders can be as little as $11.49 per serving with the same shipping fee. Moreover, all of the ingredients in the meal kit are organic and free of GMOs, pesticides, and antibiotics.

The Green Chef Keto & Paleo Plan includes 10 or more different low-carb keto recipes each week that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. Examples include chicken and butternut squash hash with Swiss chard and sun-dried tomatoes, shawarma-spiced beef patties with lemon aïoli and cabbage, pork with balsamic tomato sauce, and spaghetti squash, and spicy sesame shrimp with broccoli stir fry. All of the keto recipes are low-carb, high-protein, and free of gluten, grains, soy, and legumes.

Editors' Recommendations

Amber Sayer
Former Digital Trends Contributor

Amber Sayer is a fitness, nutrition, and wellness writer and editor, and was previously a Fitness Editor at Byrdie. She contributes to Women's Running and freelances for various fitness blogs. As a certified personal trainer for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

Send all editorial inquiries HERE.

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