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Sometimes when the "what's for dinner" dilemma arises, the answer needs to be as easy as pressing the Quick Minute button on the microwave twice. The tricky part is finding microwavable meals that will satisfy you, aren't full of junky ingredients and conform to your dietary restrictions. We've got the solution — fully prepared meal delivery services that deliver a box of healthy meals directly to your door that will keep you from stopping at the drive-through window all week long. The best prepared meal delivery services are the modern, healthier version of those 1980s TV dinners, and they save you time since there's no shopping or prepping involved, along with minimal cleanup.
Lots of fully premade meal delivery services are surprisingly affordable, some offer subscriptions for as little as $8 per serving (the more you order per week, the lower the cost per meal), and make eating nutritious meals a no-brainer. You can review the weekly menus, select your dishes and then — presto, a mail-order box will arrive on your doorstep within a few days. After a long day, you'll be able to heat up a dinner that you’ll feel good about and that doesn't require a trip to the grocery store or any prep work.
There are so many different heat-and-eat meals on the market and in your delivery area, it's tough to decide where to start. That’s where I come in. I’ve been eating for a living for many years now, have a degree from the French Culinary Institute and have worked for various food publications. I'm also a mom, with an active teen and tween whom I cook for daily. I personally tested the meal kits on this list with my family as well as worked with our in-house team of testers to evaluate the top prepared meal delivery services and evaluated each based on menu and dietary selections, flavor, cost, presentation, ease of preparation and eco-friendliness. These are our top picks for best prepared meal delivery services of 2023.
Cost: $13-$20 per meal/serving | Weekly menu options: 25+ Meal types: Paleo, Whole30, Keto, Mediterranean, low-carb, low-calorie, plant-based, performance-nutrition
Territory combines nutritionist input with creative recipes from local chefs to produce meals made in localized commercial kitchens, and you can filter meals by categories like Paleo, Whole30, Keto, Mediterranean, low-carb, low-calorie, plant-based, or ingredients you want to avoid or meals under a certain number of calories or sodium levels.
First off, we appreciate that all Territory meals are made without refined sugar, dairy or gluten. I did not tell any of my testers what was not in the meals and no one noticed or found them lacking in flavor or texture. The consensus was these are healthy meals with fresh ingredients that take the pressure off of dinner on busy weeknights and we would have been happy eating some of them weekly, especially when the temptation to pick up unhealthy takeout strikes.
Subscription: Meals start at $13 each. Onre delivery of 8 meals a week is $130 (less if you use a promo code). In most regions, deliveries will incur a flat charge of $7.95 per delivery per order. If you receive two deliveries a week, that cost will double. For national shipping, the cost can range from $9.95 to $15.95 per week based on UPS two-day shipping rates in your area.
Ease of use: Some meals are ready to eat cold and do not require heating. For most other meals, you can microwave according to package instructions.
Menu choices: There are 25+ menu options per week. You may order a maximum of 24 meals per week.
Taste: 8/10. We found ourselves looking for these meals in the fridge instead of turning to less-healthy quick meal options. That's a win.
Packaging: Most of the packaging is recyclable. You can find more specific information about recycling the packaging here.
Cost: $11-$13.50 per meal/serving | Weekly menu options: 35+ | Meal types: Keto, carb-conscious, vegan or vegetarian, calorie-smart, protein plus,
If you're trying to maintain a keto diet plan, Factor may be your best bet when it comes to fully prepared meal delivery services. The meals are packed with protein and flavor and are ready to eat in minutes. Meals start at $11 each, a box of 12 meals (including shipping), the cost is $143.88 without any promotion.
Factor was our overall favorite prepared meal delivery service for keto-friendly meals because it offers flavorful dishes (think Tex-Mex, Indian, Thai and more) and a variety of options to satisfy dietary restrictions such as keto and preferences such as protein plus. If you're seeking lots of protein, but can't stand the idea of plain chicken or beef at every meal, give Factor a go.
Subscription: Meals start at $11 each. A box of 12 meals (including shipping) costs $143.88 without any promotion.
Ease of use: Most meals are microwavable and ready in under three minutes.
Menu choices: There are 35 meal choices per week, with the ability to filter recipes by the following categories and dietary restrictions: keto, vegan or vegetarian, calorie-smart, protein plus and more. A la carte options include breakfasts, snacks, smoothies and portions of fully cooked proteins. You may order a maximum of 18 meals per week.
Taste: 7/10 When you have a high protein goal in mind and you get bored of the same flavors at every meal, these dishes fit the bill.
Packaging: Most of the packaging is recyclable. You can learn more about how to recycle Factor's packaging here.
Cost: $11.00 per serving | Weekly menu options: 30+ | Meal types: Vegan and Vegetarian, wheat-free, nut-free and no sugar added
Mosaic Foods offers lots of easy options for people who eat vegan, vegetarian and plant-based meals. With almost no effort, you'll have balanced and nutritious meals on the table. Our vegan tester reported that he and his family enjoyed some of the meals, but not all, and found that when they heated them up in a skillet on the stovetop, the results were better.
Subscription: Meals start at $11 each. A box of 12 meals is roughly $129.88, including shipping. Bonus: Mosaic Foods offers a 100% Guarantee, meaning if you don't love your meals, the company will issue a full refund, no questions asked.
Ease of use: Most meals can be zapped in the microwave in under five minutes. Family Meals are oven-ready, which means no hands-on work for you, but you'll need about an hour's lead time to heat these through. To prep the smoothies you must empty the contents of the cup into the blender with your liquid of choice (e.g. oat milk or water) and blend.
Menu choices: There are 30+ menu choices per week, ranging from smoothies to family-size meals, to veggie bowls. There are also categories based on dietary preference such as wheat-free, nut-free and no sugar added. You may order a maximum of 18 items per week.
Taste: 6/10. We were happy to have a change of pace from our usual home-cooked dinners and leftovers, but weren't wowed by these.
Packaging: 100% of Mosaic's packaging is either curbside recyclable or made with post-consumer recycled fiber. You can learn more about their sustainability efforts here.
Wide variety of food types
Oven-ready family meals
100% vegan options
Not great for families balancing plant-based and carnivore members
Cost: $6-$11 per meal/serving | Weekly menu options: 100+ options across 7 meal plans | Meal types:
Fresh N Lean is an organic meal delivery service that delivers a box of microwavable entrees to your door that satisfies specific dietary needs. They're not what we would call gourmet meals, but rather easy meals with organic ingredients that you don't need to think about. Just zap these babies in the microwave and you'll be able to stick to whatever meal plan you choose — whether it's keto, paleo, vegan, Whole30 or Mediterranean.
Subscription: Prices start at $7.93 per meal. Ten paleo meals (lunches and dinners) costs $134.90 per week, including shipping.
Ease of use: Microwave meals for less than three minutes.
Menu choices: There were more than 100 meal options to try each week across categories like keto, paleo, protein+, vegan, low carb vegan, Whole30 and more. Fresh N Lean's meals are organically-sourced, never contain gluten, added sugar or GMOs and are dairy-free, except for the keto meals. The weekly rotating menus also include breakfast options and snacks.
Taste: 5/10. We would not order these meals again, but if meal prep is not in your wheelhouse and you want a consistent meal source that conforms to your dietary restrictions, try these.
Packaging: Fresh N Lean meals are vacuum-sealed in BPA-free, recyclable trays. The plastic seals are also recyclable.
Seven dietary-specific meal plans
Everything from snacks to smoothies to breakfast, lunch and dinner
Cost: $11-$13.50 per meal | Weekly menu options: 100+ | Meal types: Paleo, Keto, Mediterranean, gluten-free, pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan
CookUnity delivers chef-crafted meals inspired by a variety of global flavors to your home in a way that none of the other meal delivery services do. This is seriously good food. We tried omnivore, pescatarian and plant-based dishes in categories like American, Indian, Vietnamese, Italian, West African and more, and there wasn't a single dud in the bunch. I was so impressed with the high-quality shrimp and fish dishes in particular, as those are notoriously challenging to reheat without turning into cardboard.
Subscription: $11.19 per per meal, and a box of 12 meals costs about $135, including shipping, which varies depending on your location.
Ease of use: Most meals were microwavable and ready in under four minutes.
Menu choices: There are more than 40 new dishes to choose from each week that you can filter by paleo, vegetarian, vegan, keto and Mediterranean, if you wish. In addition, you can filter by dairy-free, low-sodium, low-carb, less than 600 calories and gluten-free meals. The weekly menus also feature breakfast options, snacks, dips, dressings, desserts and pressed juices. You can order up to 16 meals per week.
Taste: 10/10. These were the most delicious meals we tried. The quality of fresh, high-quality ingredients and diversity of flavors were remarkable.
Packaging: CookUnity meal trays are industrially compostable, so if you have access to an industrial compost bin or organization, you can recycle them there. Otherwise, you can clean and recycle your trays with other paper materials. Learn more about their sustainability here.
60+ chefs who offer ever-changing flavorful menu options
Our testers were blown away by the meals and flavors
What should I consider when choosing the best-prepared meal delivery service?
Every heat-and-eat food delivery service has different strengths and weaknesses in their meal plans. Some offer more variety, some are great for families and others are geared toward vegetarians and those who prefer plant-based diets. When choosing the best prepared meal delivery service for your needs, you'll want to keep the following things in mind:
Subscription price, because everyone has different budgets.
Ease of use, because you’re getting a meal to make your life easier, so you don’t want anything too complicated or time-consuming.
Menu choices, because you want a good variety of meals, flavors and ingredients.
Taste, because above all, you want your dinner to be yummy!
Packaging: Is there too much? Too little? Is it putting out too much waste into the world? We factored this into our reviews.
How we chose the best prepared meal delivery services
In order to find the best prepared meal delivery services out there, we first reviewed Facebook groups devoted to discussing meal kits and gained expert advice from Jaclyn London, a New York City–based Registered Dietician. We then tested the top 15 prepared meal services, evaluating each based on various criteria, such as cost, flavor profiles, dietary-specific needs such as allergies or trending diets (Keto, Paleo, Mediteranean), ease of ordering, shipping efficiency and eco-friendliness.
What can I expect from a fully prepared meal delivery service?
A sigh of relief! No more grocery shopping, and you won't have to worry about what’s for dinner, or lunch or any meal that stresses you out. There are options to suit every budget and dietary need, including picky eaters. These companies generally allow you to filter meals by your dietary restriction, special diet or preference (omnivore, vegan or plant-based, gluten-free, pescatarian, low-calorie, heart-healthy, etc.). You can usually choose your delivery day and even add on extras like portions of fully cooked protein, breakfast foods, snacks and desserts.
What’s the best fully prepared meal delivery service for me?
With the market flooded with meals, choosing the right food delivery service can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry — we tested loads of them so we could recommend the best meal delivery service of 2023 that’s just right for you. Because each brand has its own points of difference with offerings for people focused on everything from allergies to wellness to weight loss, you're sure to find one that suits your needs.
What if I'm nervous about taking the meal delivery plunge?
Most prepared-meal delivery companies offer major discounts to first-time customers or a number of meals for free, making it very affordable to try a bunch before you commit (or don’t) to any one plan. All you have to do is take advantage of any one of these offers and then mark your calendar with an alert for the date by which you must cancel the subscription.
We received complimentary samples of some meal delivery services and purchased others ourselves and reviewed all with the same criteria.
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