Home Healthy Eating The best healthy meal kits in 2019 – CNET

The best healthy meal kits in 2019 – CNET

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The meal kit and meal delivery revolution is in full swing, but what are the best healthy meal kits available for those keeping to a diet, or simply a closer eye on what they eat? As our already busy schedules grow exponentially busier, the need for fast, simple and delicious solutions to that daily dilemma (food!) grows along with it. And the more we learn about how much our daily diet affects overall health, there is a simultaneous demand for those smart mealtime solutions and services to offer healthy options — whatever that may mean to us.

Whether it’s clean eating (as in the Whole30
diet), cutting out excess carbs and sugar (that keto life), or good old-fashioned calorie-counting (Weight Watchers is totally still a thing), simply delivering convenience no longer suffices. Meal kits companies are now offering healthy meal options and tailored meal plans with easy weeknight execution to fit just about any healthy lifestyle or diet you can dream up. 

Blue Apron may have been the first big player on the meal-kit scene, but specialized meal kits and delivery services tailored to organic, vegetarian and vegan lifestyles followed close behind. Startups like Purple Carrot and Green Chef offer vegetarian, sustainable and organic meal kits. Other companies like Splendid Spoon, Kettlebell Kitchen and Freshly have taken things one step further, delivering fully prepared healthy meals, smoothies, soups and grain bowls on a weekly basis, taking all the guesswork out of dinner and helping protein-hungry athletes and everyday folks with dietary restrictions stay on track.

Read more: The best keto fast food items at McDonald’s, In-N-Out, Taco Bell and more

Of the many healthy meal kit and meal delivery services now in the market, many have a unique health bent or diet specialty hoping to carve out a customer niche that might benefit most from their culinary and delivery offerings. There are meal kits for keto and paleo lifestyles, organic or vegan diets, low-calorie meal plans to aid in weight loss, and much more. 

Though we did not test each and every meal kit or meal delivery service, we did dive into the specific offerings and menus (as they relate to health and diet) as well as the plans and pricing details for some of the most popular services available in 2019 to help you find the best healthy meal kit or meal delivery for you.

These products and services are independently chosen by our editors. CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Home Chef

With more than 38 meal kits and recipes to choose from in any given week, including convenient one-pan dinners and oven-ready meals, Home Chef is a good choice for making simple and delicious healthy meals at home. 

One thing to like about Home Chef is you can easily customize or sub the protein in your meal kit, so if a certain dish sounds tasty but you’re not a big pork person, you can swap in some chicken or fish. Home Chef also allows you to order double the protein in your meal without doubling the overall portion, so it’s a great low-carb meal kit option for keto or paleo diets. You can also choose to order antibiotic-free protein instead of the standard version for an added cost.

Pricing and subscriptionMeals start at $7.99 per serving with additional premium Home Chef recipes and add-ons offered at market price. You can add fruit for a few extra dollars, for instance — the perfect defense against those 3 p.m. cravings or late-night snacking woes. If you order now, you can get $20 off your first four boxes.

Blue Apron

Probably the most recognizable of the meal kit services, Blue Apron has a lot of healthy options — and just a lot of options, in general. Blue Apron recently teamed up with Weight Watchers for easy-to-cook healthy recipes that align with its point system, making it easy for those in the program to keep track. Blue Apron offers customers roughly 8 to 12 meals to choose from per week including a few vegetarian options as well as a few that created for the Weight Watchers Freestyle program. 

Separate from Weight Watchers meals, their vegetarian options get high marks in the reviews we read, but if you are full-on vegan or vegetarian, there are likely better vegetarian specialty meal kit and meal delivery services with more daily/weekly plant-based options. Blue Apron also has one of the most user-friendly interfaces of all the meal kit services and optional wine pairings, too. 

Pricing and subscription: Price per serving ranges from $7.49 to $9.99, with options to prepare two to four recipes per week and two or four servings per recipe. Keep an eye out for special offers.

Sun Basket

Sun Basket meal kit delivery service focuses on healthy eating with easy-to-cook recipes, many of which are designed specifically for various diets and dietary restrictions, including low-carb, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, keto, paleo and more. Each week starts with 18 dinner options — like shrimp paella or turkey meatballs with cashew crema — of which you pick two, three or four to be delivered the following week. 

Sun Basket also has an entire section of healthy snacks to add to your order, like red pepper hummus, miso broth, sous vide egg bites and coconut yogurt. Sun Basket is one of the meal kits with the best variety, and you can really customize your weekly order to your specifications.

Pricing and subscriptionEach serving runs about $12, so three dishes per week (six total servings) will run you about $72. The family plan offers better value but less selection, with just six meals to choose from per week; however, the portions serve four adults (with leftovers). For the family plan, three meals (12 total servings) costs about $132.

Plated

Plated offers some of the best quality and variety of any meal-kit delivery services. It uses ingredients of very high standards, including antibiotic-free chicken and poultry, mostly organic produce, hormone-free beef and wild or sustainably raised fish. Great for gourmands, Plated may have a slightly higher degree of difficulty per meal but gets consistently high marks with some of the best-tasting meal-delivery kits in the game, thanks to entrees like pan-roasted chicken with farro, fennel and parmesan, lamb bolognese and scallop poke bowls.

Plated’s menu of roughly 20 dishes rotates frequently and can be ordered for as many as four servings (great for families) and as many as four nights per week. As with most, you can sort according to dietary preferences including vegetarian, keto or low-carb, low-calorie meals and more.

Pricing and subscription: Two nights of meals (four servings total) starts at $47.50 and goes up from there but Plated is offering a 25% discount off your first four weeks! You can always skip meals and cancel anytime. 

Freshly

Freshly is a simple yet consistent ready-to-eat meal delivery (not a meal kit). Freshly’s meals eliminate any prep needed for services like Blue Apron and HelloFresh, serving single-portion meals for the health-conscious person who may not have time or interest in cooking. Freshly’s meals come frozen, to be heated up in a microwave or conventional oven. They all average about 500 calories per serving and are gluten-free, all-natural and free of refined sugar. A few ready-to-eat meals from Freshly include a hearty penne Bolognese bake, chicken with coconut curry and turkey mushroom meatloaf.

Pricing and subscriptionFreshly plans start at $50 for 4 meals ($12.50 per meal) and get cheaper the more you order. If you go big with the 12-meals-per-week plan, each one breaks down to just $9.

Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot is one of the original plant-based meal-kit delivery services. The 100% vegan meal kit service scores points for its inventive and interesting meat-free meal options like cauliflower and quinoa kofta or sticky apricot seitan stir fry. Purple Carrot makes it easy to sort its offerings into high protein or gluten-free meals that satisfy even nonvegetarians. Do be aware that some of its meals take some time and a little skill to put together, but if quality, homemade vegan meals are a priority for you, this is probably the best meal kit pick. 

In addition to the tasty vegan meals, you can add extras like banana chia pudding or overnight oats with apricot, goji berries and cashew butter.

Pricing and subscription: Purple Carrot meals cost you roughly $12 per serving, which isn’t exactly cheap for vegan food, but you can choose between two plans designed for either singles or couples (three two-serving meals per week) or a family (two six-serving meals per week). 

Hungryroot

While it’s not a traditional meal kit or meal delivery, Hungryroot is an intersection of AI and grocery delivery to send a curated heap (based on your preferences) of healthy groceries, snacks and preseasoned proteins for quick meals, or more intricate meal-making (if you choose). This is a good option if you like to cook and are looking for some healthy kitchen inspiration, but find meal kits but to be a little restrictive. Like, maybe you just don’t want tilapia tacos tonight. 

Hungryroot is banking on the fact that you’ll love its expert suggestions for fun, high-quality grocery products like wild mushroom chicken meatballs, Thai peanut sauce or a crunchy carrot-lentil mix. The initial consultation is actually pretty basic, just accounting for dietary restrictions and allergies. But don’t worry, you can fully customize your order after checkout, so if you hate beets, you don’t have to have beets. Hungryroot will also send recommended recipes that can be made with the items you’re getting.

Pricing and subscription: Small grocery deliveries are $69 and include groceries to make three to four two-serving meals, plus snacks. Medium deliveries are $99 and should make roughly four to five two-serving meals, plus snacks, while large deliveries go for $129 and are enough for five to six two-serving meals, plus snacks.

Green Chef

Green Chef is a healthy organic meal-kit delivery service that will tailor your plan to maintain a paleo, keto, vegetarian (plant-powered) or just a steady balanced diet. Roughly 90% of the ingredients included in Green Chef’s meal kits are certified organic and meats are sustainably fished, farmed and raised without hormones or antibiotics.

Like Blue Apron or Sun Basket, Green Chef provides all the ingredients needed to cook a fairly simple meal — generally in less than 30 minutes — and thoughtful recipe cards with photos make following instructions easy like with the simple teriyaki pork meatballs. There are some meal kit services on our list with more total options per week, but Green Chef definitely scores points for quality, healthiness and ease of use.

Pricing and subscriptionGreen Chef starts at around $8 per serving and allows you to customize or skip weeks when traveling, etc.

Eat Clean Bro

You can tell by the name, Eat Clean Bro, is after a particular segment of the population: Bros, of course. And where do bros hang out? Gyms. So this prepared meal delivery service — as you might have already guessed — focuses on clean, healthy, protein-packed meals to support that gym life. 

“Bros” who use the meal delivery service (available in selects markets only) pick a minimum of five meals to be delivered on the next delivery day. Eat Clean Bro meals are categorized by protein type (salmon, chicken, pork, etc.) or into popular diet categories like clean, lean, under 400 calories, keto-friendly, vegetarian and more.  

Pricing and subscription: Meals start at $8.50 and go up to $13 for dishes like salmon and steak. 

This is definitely the best meal delivery for ready-to-go, healthy breakfast and lunches. Splendid Spoon is hoping to entice folks who want to keep it simple, easy and nutritous for breakfast and lunch with its ready-made smoothies, soups and grain bowls delivered to your door weekly. 

Splendid Spoon puts an emphasis on nourishing ingredients, but doesn’t slack on taste because of it. Soups include cauliflower tikka and Mexican tomato, while smoothies come in tasty combos like almond butter and jelly, blueberry acai and a green matcha smoothie with spirulina, ginger and turmeric. Soups and smoothies are loosely categorized by their overall intended effect, like “heal,” “energize” and “refresh.”  Splendid Spoon also offers a full-day soup cleanse add-on to “reset” your system.

Pricing and subscriptionSplendid Spoon offers a few options, like a breakfast plan with five smoothies per week (most are relatively low in sugar) or a lunch plan, which is five days of vegetable-packed soups, stews or grain bowls for $65. Or get the whole shebang: an entire five days’ worth of smoothies and lunches (soups and grain bowls) for $135. It is a subscription, but you’re free to cancel anytime, including after the first week if you want to just try it out. 

Kettlebell Kitchen

Perhaps you’ve seen Kettlebell Kitchen-branded fridges in gyms and boutique workout facilities around town. This fitness-inspired meal delivery service (no cooking required) is well-positioned as the best meal delivery service for protein-hungry gym buffs, CrossFitters, cardio queens and the like. Kettlebell is slightly less concerned with the gourmet-ness of it all and is far more focused on delivering tasty, no-frills, convenient protein-packed meals tailored to amplify and complement an active lifestyle. That means lots of grilled chicken, lean pork loin and veggies like cauliflower and sweet potato. KBK also offers fully vegetarian meals, smaller snacks, sides, desserts and breakfast.

Kettlebell starts you off by culling your fitness goals (add weight or muscle, trim down) as well as nutrition and diet goals — a great meal delivery option for Whole30, keto and paleo — and then plugs you into a meal delivery plan to help you meet said goals. The service allows you to order as you go or sign up for a meal plan with meals delivered twice-weekly, either to your home or to a holding fridge at its many gym and fitness partners. This feature is definitely nice if your schedule fluctuates or you travel often and you don’t want food sitting on your doorstep for long (though it is cooler-packed, just in case).

Pricing and subscriptionMeals are mostly $12 each with snacks and vegetarian meals a bit less. Meal plans are somewhat customizable, and the more meals you select per week, the cheaper they get, down to less than $10 per meal if you choose 18 per week.

Veestro

Prepped, frozen and vegetarian (no cooking or assembly required), Veestro’s meals are shipped and can be heated up in either a microwave or conventional oven. Veestro proves to be one of the more affordable meal delivery services, with 15 meals per week (three meals a day) clocking in at just $130 (with the current discount). Veestro has a truly massive selection of vegetarian meals, and you build a box of 10, 20 or 30 meals at a time to be delivered in bulk when you want.  

If calorie-counting is important to your health goals, Veestro tries to keep the three daily meals in its “Weight Loss” program around or less than 1,200 calories with dishes like red curry and vegetables, seitan soba noodles, meatless shepherd’s pie and breakfast burritos. Once you get your first plan, you can start to customize, reordering dishes you liked and skipping those you didn’t. 

Pricing and subscriptionThere are several options. A custom or chef’s choice plan of 10 meals cost $117. Twenty meals cost $217 and 30 meals will cost you $297. The weight loss plan, which includes three meals per day for five days, recurring, is $176 for five days of meals or $227 for seven days of food. 

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