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Last Updated on December 17, 2023
Make no mistake: not all meal delivery services are created equal. Even if you aren’t trying to follow a particular diet or lifestyle, it can be tricky to wade through all the options to find the right service. If this is the dilemma you’re currently facing, it’s your lucky day – you’re about to find out exactly how to select the perfect meal delivery service for your preferences. It’s really just a matter of knowing what the options are to begin with; after that you can easily narrow down the choices until you’ve found what you want.
Of course, this will be easier for some than for others. If you just want some pre-made meals delivered every week or so, you’ll have loads of choices. However, if you want the meals to adhere to specific dietary restrictions (like keto or paleo), you might not have quite as many options. Even so, you’ll probably still be able to find what you’re looking for. You could get keto meals delivered by Clean Eatz Kitchen, or paleo meals from Pete’s Paleo. The point is that you’ll have options, no matter what you expect to get.
With that introduction, here are some questions that’ll help you choose the perfect meal delivery service.
Which type of meal you want?
Here are the main options offered by meal delivery services:
- Fully prepared meals (either fresh or frozen) that are ready to be reheated in the microwave
- Meal kits that include pre-measured ingredients with recipe cards, which can be assembled and cooked with very little time and effort
- A combination of prepared dishes and meal kits
Do you want more meal options than just dinner?
The majority of these services focus on dinner menus, but some of them offer lunches, breakfasts, snacks, drinks, or sauces as well. The idea is that you won’t just save time grocery shopping for a couple meals per week; you could actually cut down on your grocery-shopping requirements by a large margin.
Do you have any dietary requirements?
There are any number of dietary preferences that people follow, and many meal delivery companies make sure to include the most common ones in their menus. Popular options include low-carb, gluten-free, paleo, keto, vegetarian, vegan, and organic. You may be able to find the type of meals you’re looking for as part of a broader menu, or you could use a service that offers exclusively the type of meals you’re after, such as paleo or vegan.
How much variety do you want?
If you’re going to be getting meals delivered every week, it’s reasonable to expect a certain amount of variety. If you’re getting multiple meals per week, you’d probably be better off with a service that offers quite a few dishes; otherwise you’d end up eating the same thing several times per month. Of course, you might be fine with that; just make sure you know what you’re getting into! Pro tip: some meal delivery services regularly rotate their menus, so that’s one way to ensure variety in your deliveries.
Do the dishes need to be complex or imaginative?
Let’s be honest – there are only so many times you can have steak with potatoes and gravy before it gets old. If you want your tastebuds to go on an adventure, make sure you pick a meal delivery service that isn’t afraid to stray from the beaten path. You may pay a bit more given the quality of the recipes, but it’s still possible to find interesting options for a reasonable price.
How much emphasis do you want on nutrition?
Since convenience and taste are usually the top priorities here, you may have to do a little extra research to find a meal delivery service that’ll meet your nutritional requirements as well. You may be looking for high-protein meals, low-carb meals, dishes that include plenty of veggies, or options that are lower in sodium.
What about ingredient quality?
There are several factors to consider here. Are the meals fresh, or do they come frozen? Are you assembling and cooking the ingredients yourself, or are the meals microwave-ready? How long have they been in the package, and how long did it take for them to be delivered? Some meal delivery services even include information on where their ingredients were sourced. You could also find meals made with organic produce, or with meat from ethically raised animals.
Does the packaging need to be sustainable?
Most of these services use a lot of packaging, much of which is single-use plastic. If you want to keep the waste to a minimum, you could look for a meal delivery service that uses compostable or recyclable materials.
What’s the price point?
No matter what your budget, you should be able to find a suitable option. Plus, you can often save on the price per meal by including more units per order. When considering different meal delivery services, make sure you think about factors like value for money, shipping, and the cost of add-ons. Organic or ethically sourced ingredients will add to the price, and shipping could come as a surprise too (depending on where you’re located).
Do they deliver in your area?
Speaking of your location, there are plenty of meal delivery services that don’t cover the entire US. Before getting excited about finding the perfect service, confirm that they make deliveries in your city.
Do they have good customer reviews?
This is where the rubber hits the road. A meal delivery service can talk itself up all it wants, but the customer reviews will tell you whether or not they’re the real deal. They may post reviews on their website, but you should check out other online reviews first; they’re more likely to tell the whole story.
Finding the right meal delivery service isn’t actually that difficult; you just have to know what to look for. Once you’ve found the best choice, all that’s left is to enjoy the tasty meals, the minimal mess, and the convenience of your new favorite meal delivery service.