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We tried 17 meal delivery kits — here are the best of 2021


After months of fending for ourselves in the kitchen during the pandemic, it’s about time to start thinking out of the box — the meal kit box.

Meal kit boxes of recipes and their ingredients can offer the combined powers of mixing things up in the kitchen and crossing off some of those New Year’s resolutions, from wanting to eat healthier to spending less time at the grocery store.

For me, a 20-something who has graduated from the microwave and into the culinary world of two or more pots on the stove at a time, I wanted to try out as many meal kits and delivery companies as possible. From the last week of 2020 through the first of 2021, I tested, tasted and built box-forts with 17 kits, ranging from plant-based to protein-packed, fresh to flash-frozen.

My conclusion? There’s truly a meal kit for everyone, many with deals running all the time for new users and specials for true meal kit masters. They range in skill level just as much as they range in dietary preferences, price and serving sizes to fit every household.

The hard part is just deciding which to try, which is why I tried them all for you first.

Here’s everything you need to know about all the meal kits you’ve been hungry to try.

Commerce writer Sophie Cannon sits on the floor in a fort of meal kit boxes
Robby Guerrero

Starting at $6.99 per serving, $90 off first four boxes with code NYPOSTJAN

A Home Chef box and food
Sophie Cannon

Home Chef brings the elements of comfort food and home cooking to your doorstep, with recipes tailored to fit your schedule.

When curating my own box, I imagined all the types of meals I cook in order to go about my day well-fed and on-time. I ended up choosing a classic cooking meal with a 35-minute cook time, a faster 15-minute option and an oven-ready dish for those nights when you can’t bring yourself to do much more than turn on the oven and set the table.

For a taste-test, I went with the happy medium of the three, opting for the 15-minute hoisin pulled pork with jasmine rice. The first note to make is on the notes themselves. The recipe cards were super well-organized, making my type A personality very happy.

Three Home Chef recipe cards
Sophie Cannon

After unzipping the correct package for my meal, the cooking process was as easy as promised, clocking in at about 20 minutes due to my slower chopping skills.

The four-part directions were a breeze to read, and also featured photos for those who need a photographic confidence boost to compare their cooking. The meal itself was flavorful, easy and didn’t taste like a time-constrained cook at all.

With new meals offered weekly, choose between regular meal kits, 15-minute meals, easy-prep and oven-ready and extras like a protein pack of meats and fish to supplement a kit or make your own recipes with. Many meals can also be customized with Impossible Foods products, for those who go meat-free without sacrificing taste.

A bowl of pulled pork and rice in a blue bowl
Sophie Cannon

Too Long; Didn’t Read (TLDR):

  • A ton of options for different schedules, including 15-minute meals and oven-ready bakes
  • Easy-to-use zipper-bag packaging, and even easier-to-use recipe cards with cook time, expiration date, difficulty and spice levels
  • Everything included except salt, pepper and oil
  • Great variety of meals for each week, and in many meals the meat can be substituted for Impossible Foods vegan options

Starting at $8.74 per serving, take $90 off across your first four boxes including free shipping for new users

A beef meal from HelloFresh
Sophie Cannon

HelloFresh and hello, easy directions for gourmet-looking meals.

Once you’re ready to cook, each meal is laid out in six easy steps. How they can make both one-pot pasta and a full steak meal into just six steps in beyond me, but it works and makes meals manageable for all skill levels.

Three recipes from HelloFresh
Colorful photos on the recipe cards are appetizing, and offer helpful plating recommendations. The cards also include a calorie listing for those counting.
Sophie Cannon

I decided to go big or go home with my test cook, choosing a steak with mushroom cream sauce and roasted potatoes and carrots for a Monday night dinner. HelloFresh packages each set of ingredients conveniently into individual brown paper bags. Once unpackaged, I did a quick wash and dry for the produce, and the rest of the meal was pretty straight forward.

I timed the cook, and sure enough, it was pretty close to the estimation on the cards — 47 minutes for me for a slightly more well-done steak and an older oven for the crispy potatoes.

TLDR:

  • Easy to customize meals and skip weeks. Can order meals for two or four people, with two to six meals per week
  • Easy to follow and aesthetically pleasing recipe cards in the box for each meal
  • Accurate estimates for prep and cook time for an easy weekly schedule.
  • Make sure to have kitchen staples such as salt, pepper, butter and oil in the house, as they are not included in the box.

Starting at $11 per meal, take $90 off your first three orders for new users

Factor75 meal kit meals and juices
The cooking instructions are printed on the back of each color-coded box or package.
Sophie Cannon

If your resolution this year is to cook less but eat healthier, Factor is for you.

A new sister-site to the HelloFresh family, Factor is unlike the rest of its siblings in that no cooking is required — unless you consider using a microwave cooking.

I decided to cook my pumpkin pancakes in the microwave, to see if they really stand up to the chewy-making effect a micro can have on some frozen foods.

The pros: the pancakes certainly weren’t rubbery, and they provided ample butter and syrup, which instantly makes for a great breakfast — or, in my case, a perfectly fine dinner. The cons: even though it was a microwave meal, there are a few sticky steps, such as flipping each (hot) pancake and then making sure the butter is melted all the way through the stack of three cakes. As for the taste, neither a pro nor a con. They definitely tasted like healthier pancakes — butter and syrup helped — and the addition of the nuts on top was a satisfying touch.

A stack of pumpkin pancakes and a green juice
Sophie Cannon

To wash it all down, I also grabbed one of the cold-pressed juices — Factor also offers wellness shots in addition to their four juice flavors. The pineapple turmeric basil juice sounded super interesting, and sure enough, it was as tasty as it was vitamin-packed. The option to go to my fridge instead of a 9-dollar-a-pop juice shop with a hipster barista is worth it in of itself for me.

In terms of variety, if you’re planning to factor in Factor into breakfast, lunch and dinner, too, you certainly can and not get bored with your options. There are even dessert options too — the dark chocolate peppermint keto-friendly cheesecake was my personal favorite.

The very best part of this kit for me was the ability to feel like I was having a fancy meal without any of the work. For those truly don’t want to, or don’t have time to cook, the grab, micro, and go method is a definite perk.

TLDR:

  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts all come frozen and ready to reheat and eat
  • Great option for those on-the-go and also health-conscious
  • Offers options for different diets including keto, paleo, plant-based, low-carb, vegetarian, pescatarian and meat-eaters, too
  • Have plenty of freezer space to store meals or order a smaller plan (they range from four meals a week all the way up to 18 meals per week)

Starting at $11.99 per serving, take $80 off first 4 orders with code NYPOST80

A Gobble meal kit box with fresh food and cookie dough
Sophie Cannon

Not only for Thanksgiving, Gobble is the meal kit that serves up generous turkey-day-sized portions no matter the season.

The first thing I noticed about Gobble was just how much fresh produce I received in my order. For the beautiful Italian flat iron steak meal, which is supposedly two servings, I got a huge bag of ripe cherry tomatoes and an entire bundle of green onions. Even though this meal’s side was a creamy polenta, I could have just as well made a side salad of marinated tomatoes with the leftovers. For my miso-baked salmon, I got a giant bag of fresh broccoli and a ton of jasmine rice. During the unboxing alone, it was evident that Gobble values quantity and quality. One last thing that didn’t go unnoticed? The four balls of cookie dough that came with my meal, not that I had any room left in my stomach after the meal to come. A second dessert stomach is a thing, right?

Two Gobble recipe cards
Sophie Cannon

Another thing to note was the smaller, more compact recipe cards. While they are so much easier to save and store in a kitchen drawer than full-sized pieces of paper, they are also a bit more cramped in terms of directions and information. I couldn’t find an estimated cook or prep time like on other company’s cards, and the cooking directions were a bit complicated looking as they follow a more crowded paragraph format.

After gathering salt, pepper and oil, not included in the box, I decided to pick the steak as my meal, as I was making this for a filling dinner after a long day at work (well, work is cooking meal kits, so I can’t complain). While cooking red meat has always been a subject of some fear for me, the steaks were already cut into the two portions, so my hand-to-raw-meat interaction was a breeze, and isn’t bad even for the more squeamish.

Steak in a pan with green onions and tomatoes
Sophie Cannon

Since there wasn’t an estimated time on the recipe card, I set my own timer. The total time for my medium-rare meal came out to 29 minutes and 33 seconds, prep work included. For a full steak dinner that yielded enough for two portions and leftovers of the polenta and veggies, this is the kit for hungry families who want to spend some quality time together in the kitchen.

TLDR:

  • The box comes with super generous portions of fresh produce and pantry staples such as rice that can be saved for later or fed to a hungry crowd
  • You’ll get quantity and quality, as the fish and steak were both fresh and tasty
  • Recipe cards are a bit harder to follow than some due to small size, but easier to store and reuse for later
  • No cook time estimations on the cards, but when timed even a full steak meal was under 30 minutes, prep to plating

Starting at $12 per serving,

A Purple Carrot meal box and the ingredients
Sophie Cannon

100% plant-based, 100% stands up to the taste-test, too.

Purple Carrot is one of the vegan and vegetarian-friendly meal kit boxes that friends had been telling me to try for a while now, and I’m so glad I did. Though I am a carnivore through and through, I found that Purple Carrot is a great introduction to vegan eating.

When choosing a meal to cook, I knew I wanted something that I loved already in its original meaty form, made vegan, to really put the box to the test. I picked the vegan chick’n and dumplings with oyster mushrooms and green beans, which had a hefty cook time of 40 to 50 minutes, according to the recipe booklet.

After I had chopped everything down to size and foraged for my mushroom heads (well, picked them apart from the woody stems, but it sure felt like foraging) 15 minutes had already ticked by. The rest of the cook was pretty straight forward, used minimal dishes, and came out almost exactly like the photo, albeit a bit soupier of a sauce.

A cutting board with veggies
Sophie Cannon

Did this vegan dupe stand up to comforting chicken and dumplings? Absolutely. And I didn’t feel like taking a food-coma nap afterward since all the ingredients were so light and nutritious. Another pro; everything was included in the box except salt, pepper and oil, as they made sure to package vegan butter, flour, baking soda and thyme into pre-measured baggies.

A bowl of soup with mushrooms and a recipe card
Sophie Cannon

For those who do want to eat plant-based for all three meals of the day and then some, the site does offer a lot of different options, changed up every week. On the site now, curate your box with eight different dinner options, two breakfasts, two lunches and six different snacks from an array of vegan companies.

TLDR:

  • Totally plant-based meals that don’t sacrifice taste
  • A bit more prep work but worth the extra chopping time for the taste
  • Everything was included (even baking soda and butter) except for oil, salt and pepper
  • Great for plant-based eaters or an easy introduction for non-vegans to try it out

Plans start at $59 per delivery, take 40% off plus free gift in every delivery

A Hungryroot box with food on the table
Sophie Cannon

If you find yourself rooting around your kitchen all day for meals and snacks, Hungryroot may be the best choice for you.

When I first signed up to make my profile, I was taken through a fun, almost Buzzfeed-style quiz that had me pick and choose my favorite types of foods and think about my eating habits. Being honest with myself, I was sure to check the boxes for liking sweets and snacking, skipping breakfasts and adding snacks to my dinners. At the end of the quiz, you are presented with a customized plan of meals and servings, as well as the option to add on breakfasts, snacks and sweets.

A black and white recipe sheet from Hungryroot
Sophie Cannon

While some of the food is Hungryroot brand, such as the veggies, pasta, meat and rice, some of the other items, including snacks, desserts and even the buns for my burgers, were from other unique brands. This was actually really cool to see, as by ordering one meal kit, I was exposed to new products that I can now go out and but on their own when I run out — looking at you, Pipcorn cheese balls!

I chose to cook a Hungryroot brand spinach feta turkey burger on an Ozery OneBun multigrain bun with Hungryroot avocado crema. The burgers came in pre-formed, pre-cooked patties, and were super easy to pan sear while the buns toasted, all in all totaling about 10 minutes total for a healthy and hearty lunch. The burger itself was delicious, and something I would seek out in a grocery store to buy again.

A turkey burger on a plate with avocado and ketchup
Sophie Cannon

While this particular meal was on the easy side, while browsing the site I was happy to see a whole range of options, including groceries to have in the fridge, which I found to be super unique and well-needed in the meal kit space.

This company is great for those who have a culinary mind and like cooking their own recipes but also like trying new ones, especially with healthy ingredients and fun new products. Plus, it saves a trip to the grocery store and scrambling to plan a weekly menu on the spot.

TLDR:

  • Plans can include full meals, snacks and sweets — perfect for mindful eating all-day
  • Not just a meal kit service, but also grocery delivery, too!
  • The mix of HungryRoot branded items and other brands is a great way to explore new products
  • Recipe card is found on the back of your order receipt and not too colorful, but gets the job done
  • Great for those who like to cook on their own terms but also enjoy a new recipe now and then

Starts at $4.69 per serving

A pile of food on a kitchen table
Lauren Steussy

Dinnerly falls on the more affordable end of the meal kit spectrum, with easy meals perfect for weeknights or busy families. The recipes also seem catered to those with picky eaters — we love a disguised veggie! They’re not overly healthy but they get the job done.

Among the meals I picked were a “Better-Than-Takeout” option designed to scratch the itch of one’s favorite Dan Dan Noodle spot. The end result was satisfying, especially with a couple of easy modifications from my pantry, such as black vinegar and chili oil. Was it easier than takeout? Not exactly. Was it as tasty as takeout? I’ll leave that to the experts. But no doubt it was cheaper and came with the satisfaction of it coming from my own kitchen.

A bowl of asian noodles with chopsticks
Lauren Steussy

Another thing I liked about Dinnerly was that it has plenty of vegetarian options — another pro tip for keeping those grocery bills down — with plant-based protein replacements such as spinach, chickpeas and broccoli.

An added perk was the ability to choose a dessert or other ready-made item in place of a meal. Because sometimes macarons are for dinner.

TLDR

  • Dinnerly is cheap and simple, with recipes that won’t be too challenging.
  • It’s perfect for busy families or those who are beginners in cooking.
  • Vegetarians will rejoice at their meat-free offerings.
  • Make sure to check your zip code for delivery, as some areas in the Midwest and others are not eligible as of time of publication

–Lauren Steussy

Starting at $7.49 per serving, $60 off over your first three boxes

A Blue Apron box with food and recipes
Sophie Cannon

Strap on your aprons, it’s time to get cooking with a kit that will make you feel like a master chef in no-time.

Blue Apron was one of the first meal kit companies to hit the market, and it has continued to be ultra-popular — for good reason. Their ingredients are full-sized and appeared insanely fresh. I chose the harissa chickpea shakshuka with pita and the pesto chicken pasta as my meals and received full cans of tomatoes, chickpeas, a whole bag of Brussels sprouts, a full bulb of garlic and the most beautiful large green pepper I’ve seen.

What’s a meal without wine? For those who know little about pairings, and for a home sommelier who wants to try something new, the meal kit service also doubles as a wine guru, offering a wine pairing subscription on their site.

An assortment of red and white wine and a Blue Apron pairing kit
Sophie Cannon

For a healthy and hearty meal, I went with the shakshuka with za’atar pita. As promised on the recipe card, the meal took roughly 30 minutes to prepare, and only used two pans — one for the meal and one to toast the bread, although I’m sure you could use a toaster oven if you have a lack of pans or burners. The shakshuka was a different recipe than I was used to, but thanks to the packet of za’atar seasoning and the fresh mint and feta cheese that came with it, it tasted pretty darn close to needing a passport.

A pan of shakshuka on the stove
Sophie Cannon

The rest of the Blue Apron offerings look to be just as filling and have full-sized ingredients. It’s ideal for feeding a hungry family, or for the culinarily-inclined who like to know exactly what ingredients they are using and from where they came.

TLDR:

  • Full-sized ingredients, super fresh produce and makes large portions
  • A bit more in-depth cooking, with great tasting results
  • Offers a wine subscription box as well, to pair with your cooking creations
  • Perfect for a hungry family or those who want to spend more quality time in the kitchen

Starting at $10.99 per serving, $35 off plus four free gifts for new users

A Sun Basket meal kit with food on the counter
Sophie Cannon

Sun Basket is truly a ray of sunshine for those who value organic ingredients and getting a healthy and delicious meal on the table.

The meal kit service offers two different types of meals: the traditional cook-it-yourself type with the organic ingredients and recipe cards in the box and the ready-made kind, where all you need is an oven or a microwave and you’re good to go.

They also cater to almost any type of diet under the sun, offering kits for paleo, vegetarian, pescatarian, clean-eaters, gluten-free, diabetes-friendly and a chef’s choice option for those wanting to expand their culinary horizons. For my box, I decided to do a mix of everything, getting one oven-ready meal that was gluten-free, dairy-free and pescatarian and one regular meal kit to be cooked up.

A package of Sun Basket shrimp paella
Sophie Cannon

For the instant option, I was sent a shrimp paella with fire-roasted tomatoes and bell peppers, instantly taking me back to Spain where I tried the dish for the first time. Instead of a bulky pan to cook my paella, I was given a microwave-safe container, cutting my cook time to just six minutes total. I was wary of overcooked and rubbery fish with dry rice, but the dish came out moist and delicious, so either I have a magic microwave or the people at Sun Basket knew what they were doing when it comes to microwavable meals.

They have a full breakfast menu with options for different types of eggs, oatmeals, bread and spreads, and even juice, smoothies and a coffee-in-a-can that looks awesome. Moving on to lunch and dinner, they have both the ready-made meals as well as cooking options, a whole section for pasta and sauces, extra protein packs, and of course, snacks. This site had some of the most variety I had seen so far in my meal kit quest, and can 100% be eaten for every meal of the day without getting bored with the selections.

For the traditional meal, I went for their Italian sausage and vegetable skillet with spicy green harissa. This meal was also gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free, and also paleo, and labeled as spicy for those who can’t take the heat. The veggies included all had organic stickers on them, and were fresh and crisp as I was chopping them up. I also noticed that they were full-sized, ultimately serving a bit more than the two promised portions.

A blue bowl of sausage and veggies
Sophie Cannon

TLDR:

  • Wide array of options for both pre-made and traditional cook meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks
  • Ready-to-eat meals taste fresh, even when microwaved
  • Ample amounts of organic produce and nitrate-free meats in the traditional meal kit; can serve more than the serving size and perfect for hungry families
  • Smaller recipe cards for easy storage, and also found online or on the app for iPhone and Android

$4.99 per serving, $1.99 per meal plus 20% off another 2 boxes for new users

An orange box of EveryPlate meal kit and produce in a box
Sophie Cannon

EveryPlate is another affordable option, this time from the Hello Fresh family. The kit includes recipe cards, fresh produce, meat and fish coming packaged on ice, and a brightly colored box that arrives on your doorstep for no supermarket stops along the way. For less cash than any fast food meal, the options are also healthier, and the produce that came in my box was all fresh and full-sized, overflowing out of the box.

A box with fresh veggies and seasoning
Sophie Cannon

As I was cooking up my chicken sausage tomato soup, I noticed the recipe cards had some other helpful tips to save food waste. There were also plenty of helpful notes to reassure a home chef who is just starting out.

A white bowl of red tomato soup
Sophie Cannon

After devouring the soup — a great meal for any winter’s day — I checked out the site to see what other offerings they had. Each week, they lay out 16 different meals to choose from, ranging from chicken, pork, beef to fish and veggie-based. The plans are customizable for your household’s needs, allowing you to order for two or four people, three to five meals per week. The best part is that no matter the combination, each standard meal is still $4.99 per serving.

TLDR:

  • A huge amount of super fresh veggies, large seasoning and sauce packets and big portions of dry ingredients such as rice and pasta
  • At only $4.99 per serving, this is one of the best bangs for your buck, without sacrificing flavors or fresh ingredients
  • No options for vegans or other dietary preferences other than vegetarian and pescatarian
  • Smaller recipe cards for easy storage, but still very easy to read and follow with extra tips included

Starts at $10.99 per portion

A pile of rood and recipe cards on a wooden table
Lauren Steussy

The ever-industrious Martha Stewart has come to save us all from our pandemic cooking burnout. Her meal kit company was designed with weeknight warriors in mind, with tasty, wholesome recipes that won’t take more than 40 minutes to whip up. Even though I have nothing but time while staying inside, I certainly don’t have the energy for big productions anymore.

Martha & Marley Spoon is incredibly easy, all the way through. You won’t really spend time prepping little bowls of ingredients or fussing over various flourishes. The service offers 22 recipes each week, and it might be hard to pick your two favorites. I opted for her Tortelloni Minestrone and Skillet Chicken Pot Pie. As promised, both the tortelloni and the pot pie took less than 40 minutes to make. There was time during the cooking process to do dishes too, so when our dinner was done, there was almost no cleanup.

A pan of chicken pot pie on a stovetop
Lauren Steussy

As for the pot pie, I’m still dreaming of it. The finished product had big Marie Calendar energy: nostalgic, wholesome and pure comfort. I’ve since recreated the dish on my own, which is perhaps the ultimate compliment for a meal kit.

In all things, trust Martha.

TLDR:

  • The taste of the meals is above average for a kit
  • They don’t take long to make, with just 6 steps and usually about 30-45 minutes to make and clean up
  • There are plenty of options for specific diets, including vegetarian and low-carb recipes
  • Make sure to check your zip code for delivery, as some areas in the Midwest and others are not eligible as of the time of publication

–Lauren Steussy

Starting at $10.99 per serving, $90 off across your first four boxes including free shipping for new users

Green Chef meal bag and box
Sophie Cannon

The green cousin of Hello Fresh, Green Chef stands out as a traditional meal kit with better-for-you options. When researching all the kits on the market, I noticed that Green Chef offered the first Keto options for those on the fad diet trend. Now, they offer an array of other options too, from vegetarian to plant-based to good old fashioned carnivore.

Another highlight is the allergen-friendly notes on the cards, as there are indications on each ingredient that say if it could trigger an allergy, for example, an “SH” next to the shrimp and an “S” next to the sesame sauce for those with a soy allergy.

A shrimp pasta meal from Green Chef
Sophie Cannon

I went with the sesame shrimp noodle bowls from their gluten-free menu, which claimed to take 25 minutes to cook. The cooking itself stood up to the pretty picture on the recipe card, and so did the cook time; a great sign for those who only have a half-hour lunch break or don’t want to cook for hours only to eat in minutes. The kit came with everything I needed, sans salt, pepper and cooking oil, so make sure you have those on hand.

TLDR:

  • Great for those with specific diets like Keto, Paleo or plant-based
  • Also great for those with allergies in the house, as the cards indicate allergens in each basket ingredient
  • Super fresh-tasting fish that comes on ice in the box
  • Each meal takes six steps to complete, usually under about 35 minutes; perfect for quick lunches and dinners

Starting at $8.49 per serving, save $40 off first four orders of FreshlyFit

Four FreshlyFit meals on a table
Sophie Cannon

FreshlyFit is the newer nutritionist-backed ready-made meal line from Freshly, and I was ready to dig in with no dishes to clean up afterward.

The meals, like Freshly, come 100% pre-made, and all one has to do is follow the microwave instructions on the back of the packaging and enjoy. Sounding simple enough, I took out the Seasame-Ginger Bliss Bowl and popped it in for five minutes total, giving me time to browse the site and read the rest of the packaging.

My meal contained one cup of veggies, plant-based protein and a fiber boost, as well as only 320 calories for the whole bowl. They also carry paleo, vegetarian and pescatarian meals, and ensure that each dish is always gluten-free and peanut-free, a plus for any families with those common allergies.

A black container of pasta and broccoli on a table
Sophie Cannon

With the most wonderfully-sounding ding of the microwave and a quick stir, my meal was ready. The bowl was delightfully creamy, and the veggies retained their crunch, which is no small feat for a frozen dish.

FreshlyFit is the service to try for those who like microwavable meals that taste homemade and are packed with proteins for a post-workout feast or diet-friendly choices for an easy after-work dinner with no cleanup involved.

TLDR:

  • Good variety of diet-friendly options for those who follow keto, paleo, carb-conscious diets and more.
  • Pre-made for the fastest prep and no cleanup or dishes
  • Meals were substantial enough for a healthy lunch or dinner, with portion control made easy

Starting at $8.99 per serving, take $60 off your first four orders with code LAUNCH15

A green Freshly box and containers of food sit on a table
Sophie Cannon

Freshly is the way to go when looking for ready-made meals that heat up in a snap and are substantial enough to satisfy for lunch or dinner for one.

The pre-made meals come frozen and on ice, making it easy to store right from the box to your freezer for safekeeping. The meals are single servings, making portion control a breeze as well as prep (there isn’t any) and cleanup (also none).

The site offers a weekly menu of options, ranging from comfort food such as the BBQ and mac and cheese I was about to inhale, to Asian-style chicken, turkey meatballs and even a carb-swapping cauliflower bowl. They are sorted into different categories as well, such as Crafted Classics, their Signature Collection and Takeout Twists.

A white container of mac and cheese and BBQ beef sit on a table
Sophie Cannon

My meal fell under the Crafted Classics umbrella — what is more classic and comforting than a plate of barbecue and creamy mac and cheese? After microwaving for about three minutes, my meal was ready to go and I was transported to the south for some of the most tender barbecued beef. It was hard to believe that this meal was microwaved, as the meat retained all of its moisture and the mac and cheese was delicious, too.

Freshly is the meal service for those who either don’t love to cook or simply don’t have the time, but still love to eat great meals without heading out to a restaurant or grocery store take-out bar.

TLDR:

  • High-quality meals with a weekly rotating menu of options for lunches and dinners
  • All meals come frozen and pre-made, meaning no mess or cleanup afterward
  • Perfect for on-the-go eating or those that don’t want to have to cook every night while still eating well
  • Meals heat up quickly in the microwave without drying out or tasting frozen

Plans range from $65 to $185 per delivery, take $60 off across your first three boxes

A box of Splendid Spoon meals and smoothies on a kitchen counter
Sophie Cannon

Splendid Spoon is a top pick for those who can’t be bothered with pots and pans but value healthy and tasty plant-based meals and drinks.

The company is less meal kit and more delivery option for nutrient-packed soups, bowls, smoothies and wellness juice shots. When setting up my account, the first thing to make note of was just how many options for breakfast, lunch and dinner there are. There are currently 31 different bowls and soups, six varieties of noodles, five lighter “reset” soups for diet days, three wellness shots, and 16 flavors of smoothies. I’d say a combination for every day of the week, but there are so many more than that.

In unboxing, one quick thing to remember is that there is dry ice that comes on top of your order, so make sure to unpack and dispose of the ice.

Smoothies from Splendid Spoon
Sophie Cannon

As for the meals, the smoothies and wellness shots can be thawed in the fridge or enjoyed as an icy treat. I chose the latter for my mango guava smoothie due to my impatience, and it was a refreshing option that I sipped on during this whole review, and eventually melted into a drinkable smoothie. The wellness shots are more like a few sips, but great as an ice cube or a liquid — up to you. The soups, however, should be reheated in my opinion and can be warmed in the microwave, as the bowls they come in are micro-safe and BPA-free. Can I hear it for no dishes?

TLDR:

  • Plant-based people take note as every meal and smoothie is plant-based
  • Not boring, as there are more than 50 options ranging from soups to bowls to smoothies
  • Great for on-the-go meals and snacks for busy people, post-gym pick-me-ups and no dishes to do after
  • Not a total replacement for every night of the week (but pretty close)

Starting at $26.56 per meal

Sakara meal kit with a tote bag, food and a brown box
Sophie Cannon

Clean eating has never been easier with Sakara Life calling the shots for every meal of the day.

The plant-based and nutrition-focused meal delivery service is one that can really revamp the way you eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. The meals each come in a take-out style container, with a sticker indicating when I should eat the meal right down to the time and day of the week. Don’t tell, but for this test, I pulled out a Saturday breakfast and a Friday dinner, just to see the range of offerings… and because I needed to know what a pink poppy seed muffin looked like, even though it was 6 p.m.

The best part for me was the portability and ease of the whole thing, especially as someone who skips breakfast or opts for a muffin when running late.

While heating my dinner bowl, a Sakara burger with chili cashew creme, I decided to browse the site to see what sort of plans they offered. For those that want to try out a weekly meal plan but are a bit timid, they do have a one-week trial to test the waters. If you like it, you can set up a reoccurring subscription and have Sakara Life meals all week long, your choice as to which meals of the day and for how many days. Bonus points for being super customizable, as some may want just a few days a week and others an entire fridge of pre-planned meals for their three squares.

A muffin, orange, and salad with a veggie burger
Sophie Cannon

With my burger bowl, after incorporating the cashew creme and the other garlicky dressing, I do have to say that while not a burger in my meat-eating eyes, this was one of the best salads I have had — ever. I’m always wary of salads that come pre-made, as it is always a game of dodging wilted lettuce and mushy greens. Even though this bowl was shipped to my door, everything was crunchy and fresh, no wilted leaves in sight.

TLDR:

  • Plant-based to a whole new level; very healthy salads, breakfasts and bowls for super clean eating
  • Unique offerings; not just trying to mimic traditional meals with plants, but creating whole new dishes and flavor profiles
  • Labeled options for every day of the week, three meals a day; takes the planning out of meal prep
  • Offers a detox program as well
  • Sacrifices some flavor for health but replaces with superfoods and a rainbow of nutrients

Starting at $5.99 per serving, take $25 off your first box with code NYPOST25

A box of Daily Harvest meals and frozen meals on a counter
Sophie Cannon

Daily Harvest truly means daily, as I happily ate breakfast, lunch and a dessert in one sitting when diving into my box of frozen meals and snacks.

They keep it simple; everything comes frozen on dry ice (careful with kids if they help with the unboxing process!) and ready to either reheat, blend or in the case of ice cream, thaw and enjoy. Since there wasn’t much to actually cook, I took a look at their site while my sweet potato and wild rice harvest bowl was heating up in the microwave and my ice cream tempering on the counter. The site has loads of options, ranging from smoothies and lattes for a quick drink or start to the day, followed by oat and chia bowls for breakfast, harvest bowls, flatbreads and soups for lunch or dinner, bites for, well a quick bite, and scoops for dessert, which is Daily Harvest’s name for their non-dairy ice cream.

Their plans range by items, not by servings or meals per week like other companies, which is great for those who don’t abide by traditional meal times, are busy and need quick bites during the day or simply love pre-made but super nutritious meals in a snap.

A pint of ice cream, a bowl, and a cup of coffee sit on a counter
Sophie Cannon

My sweet potato bowl took about four minutes in the microwave, and I was surprised by how well it turned out. I’d never microwaved avocados or white beans before and was expecting a less-than-savory texture, but was instead given a well-cooked but still fresh-tasting meal in under five minutes flat.

All in all, Daily Harvest is a great kit to have on-hand and in-freezer at all times, whether it be as part of your daily routine or a great fall back when waking up late and needing a quick smoothie or bowl or dinner for the family on busy nights.

TLDR:

  • Great selection of meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks and desserts
  • Perfect for on-the-go eaters, busy people who forget to eat but want to be nutritious.
  • Most meals heat up in the microwave or stovetop in under 10 minutes, others need to be blended and some you can eat frozen (ice cream and frozen treats)
  • Make sure to let ice cream thaw 10 minutes before digging in (I know it’s hard)

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