Since Blue Apron popularized the trend back in 2012, you’ve probably tried at least one meal kit delivery service. It’s an easy and ever-convenient way to put a full plate of dinner on the table and warm up to a few new dishes en route.
With the pandemic in full swing, at-home meal kits have become incredibly popular. And it’s no wonder — you’re tired, you can’t go to your favorite restaurant (or it closed), and shopping for groceries has become an often stressful enterprise. Dreaming up an intriguing meal is a chore that, quite frankly, many of us could do without right now.
That’s where the meal kit comes in and right now, there are more options than ever. There’s something for all tastes and diets, some backed by celebrities and famous chefs and others stressing healthy ingredients. They range dramatically in offerings, cost, level of difficulty, and overall quality. So, we’ve done you a solid and picked out the best of the pack.
From Home Chef to HelloFresh, these are the nine best meal kit delivery services of 2021.
For the utmost in convenience and efficiency, RealEats owns the throne. The meals are precooked, meaning all you have to do is heat them up on your stove or in your microwave. On the surface, that sounds like a recipe for mediocre meals fit for little more than camping but there’s real quality here. That, and you have access to some compelling options, from miso salmon with sauteed kale and organic scallion brown rice for dinner to chia seed pudding for breakfast.
Among the most popular kits out there, HelloFresh meal kits offers a fairly eclectic array of meals split into weekly lineups of roughly two dozen recipes. Generally, prep takes about 30-45 minutes and the resulting dishes are decidedly tasty. Meals are split into helpful categories (veggie, one pan, calorie smart, spicy, etc.) and you’re given quite a bit of freedom in terms of selections. Generally, the recipes are pretty easy to follow, while involved enough to make you feel like you’re actually carrying out a genuine culinary enterprise.
Sun Basket is on the list for a number of reasons. The service stresses seasonality as well as certified-organic ingredients, meaning it is better for you and the environment. There are options for all three meals of the day as well as snacking and there’s actual transparency within the project, as Sun Basket likes to stress the California farmers and growers it collaborates with. What’s more, there are useful families of meal plans, from diabetes-friendly (with recipes approved by the American Diabetes Association) and carb-conscious to pescatarian and Mediterranean.
Martha & Marley Spoon
While the meals from Martha & Marley Spoon are a little more demanding, there’s reward in what ends up on the table. The produce shows up in good shape and the additions are pre-measured according to the recipe. Cooking commences over six-step recipes (some certainly harder than others) and you get the feeling Martha might even enjoy these on her own now and again. Favorites include a fettuccine alfredo that takes just 20 minutes to whip up and oven-fried pulled pork flautas.
Much more along the high-end side of the meal kit delivery spectrum, Sakara Life specializes in stylish, elevated health foods. Focusing on plant-based proteins, leafy greens, and unrefined sugar, it’s a solid option for the gluten-free and dairy-free crowds or those just looking to avoid GMOs. It’s also a great way to kick off a new year as you might be looking to detox fashionably. The programs aren’t cheap but you’ll essentially be eating like you have your own personal chef and nutritionist.
With HomeChef meal kits, you get simple yet flavorful meals as well as access to kitchen supplies, should you need any to knock out some of the dishes. They take an average of about a half-hour to create, and range from Greek zucchini tostadas to steak strip marsala risotto. And the meal categories are intriguing, including genres like grill-ready, entre salads, 15-minute meal kits, and more.
If children are in your picture, Nurture Life is an outstanding option to keep them fed and healthy. It’s a great way to introduce the little ones to new flavors courtesy of things like edamame and butternut squash. The meals, the work of chefs and dietitians, come in TV-dinner-style trays that heat up with ease in minutes. And it’s not just for kids, as there are options for babies, toddlers, and teens, too.
Also aboard the plant-based diet train, Purple Carrot stresses healthy meals sourced from crops grown in environmentally friendly ways. The outfit pays attention to its carbon footprint and therefor opts for any number of greens over beef, pork, and the like. The menus tend to be craft, featuring dishes like buffalo cauliflower quesadillas and walnut crusted artichokes. You’ll see veggies in a different way and likely feel better as a result.
Gobble is all about getting your dinner on the table in one quarter of an hour. The menu items are some of the most inventive in the circuit, with dishes like open-faced brie and mushroom crostini with butternut squash and malabar vegetable curry with carrot salad and garam masala basmati rice. It’s a worldly selection and you can cancel at any time. It’s not as involved as some of the other options (if that’s what you’re after) but the meals are quite delicious and change with the seasons.
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