Knowing you have a delicious and nutritious dinner to look forward to can really set you up for a good day. However, having to plan and shop for said meals every week can feel like an endless chore.
If you've found yourself stuck in a food rut, with no time to scour recipe books or the internet for inspiration (let alone time for trips to the supermarket), then meal delivery services can offer a welcome alternative.
Each week you can have a box delivered to your home filled with pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes.
Or, if that still sounds like too much effort, there are also companies offering nutritionist and chef approved pre-prepared meals, which you just need to heat up in the oven or microwave.
Recipe and meal kits have the added environmental bonus of helping to reduce food waste, as they include exactly what you need to cook the meal and not an iota more, so there will be no more feeling guilty about leftover ingredients abandoned in the bottom of your fridge.
Have a particular dietary requirement? Many services have menus specifically curated to suit different needs, be that vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or dairy-free.
You will usually have to sign up for a subscription when placing your order, however, most plans are 'commitment free' rolling contracts, meaning you can cancel at any time or 'pause' it if you'd like a week off.
We've rounded up some great meal delivery services in the UK, all of which are currently offering introductory offers for new customers.
Best UK recipe kits that can be delivered straight to your door
Most recipe kits include enough ingredients to create a meal for two to four diners - and while Mindful Chef does have these options, it also offers a box for solo diners.
Choose two to five healthy recipes from a changing rota of 20 recipes, all of which are gluten-free, dairy-free and contain complex carbs (no refined ones).
The pre-prepared ingredients are ethically and sustainably sourced straight from local independent farms. There are plenty of vegan options, while meat dishes include only grass-fed native-breed beef, free-range chicken and sustainably caught fish. There is also the option to add a Fruit Box in place of one recipe.
The company is also 'mindful' of its environmental impact and is B Corp certified, which means it must act responsibly and work to have a positive impact on the environment, suppliers and the wider community.
For every meal purchased Mindful Chef will supply a nutritious school meal to a child living in poverty, via charity partner One Feeds Two.
If having a lot of choice is important to you, Gousto offers the widest range of recipes, with over 75 available to choose from each week, including veggie and vegan options. From family classics to global cuisines and even a 'health range' curated by Joe Wicks, there are plenty of plant-based and gluten-free and dairy-free options too.
If you're short on time, there is also the option to filter recipes to show only ones that can be prepped in five minutes or those that will be ready in 10.
Choose between boxes designed for two adults or a family box for two adults and two to three children, each of which can be filled with two to four recipes.
Gousto is also a certified B Corp, meaning it is committed to upholding high environmental and social standards.
One of the original recipe box services, Hello Fresh allows you to choose from 44 recipes every week, as well as a changing selection of sides and desserts.
You can pick to have your box filled with between three to five recipes each week, with portions designed to feed two to four people.
There is the option to filter recipes in categories covering: meat, veggie, pescatarian, family, quick cook, and 'calorie smart'.
HelloFresh is also committed to offsetting 100% of direct carbon emissions from the business.
Want to stick to a Keto or lower carb diet plan? Green Chef was launched by the HelloFresh group to cater for people who want to stick to a specific diet plan.
Each week you can choose three to four recipes in portions for two to four people, from one of six diet types: flexitarian, lower carb, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or Keto.
The recipes feature seasonal ingredients sourced from small-scale British suppliers and the company is 100% plastic and carbon neutral.
If you just want one or two boxed recipes delivered each week, Riverford offers individually boxed recipe kits with portions designed for two people.
Better known for its organic fruit and veg delivery boxes, Riverford is a certified B Corp and most items in its recipe boxes will arrive loose, tinned or in paper/home compostable packaging.
If there is any plastic you can rest assured it will be recyclable. Plus, the company will collect the box back to reuse.
Whether you’re after just one meal for the week, or are looking to create a seven-day menu, you can choose as many of the six vegetarian and six vegan recipes at Abel & Cole each week as you’d like.
Each meal comes in portions for two to four people, but if you want larger portions of certain dishes, you can double up on each recipe.
Each meal contains at least two of your five a day and all ingredients are either organic or wild grown.
Abel & Cole also offer fruit and veg boxes, or the option to just order the standalone ingredients and kitchen essentials, such as milk, eggs and butter.
The recipe writers also offer handy hints on how to use things you might normally think of as food waste, such as citrus peels, veg peelings, herb stalks. Plus the reusable boxes will be collected the following week.
Best UK pre-prepared meal boxes that can be delivered straight to your door
If you have a fitness goal in mind, The Good Prep will deliver you three individually portioned meals a day, five days a week as well as healthy snacks, designed to help you achieve that goal.
There are set menus available for three, five or six day plans, each tailored to different goals, and spanning main meals, breakfasts, snacks, add-ons and juices.
There is also the option for a vegan menu or to build your own plan. You can even arrange a call with the team to work together on a bespoke plan.
Meals are fresh, not frozen, so your weekly order will be split into two deliveries, one on Sunday and one on Wednesday.
For every full price meal you order a meal will be donated to a person in need via Foodinate.
Made by chefs and designed by a nutritionist, these vegan meals all contain at least two of your five-a-day, protein and a source of iron, as well as being low in sugar. They are delivered frozen, ready to cook in your microwave or oven.
Each week you can build a box of six meals, from a selection of 30 dishes, in portions for one or two people. Set bundles can also be purchased, which also include side dishes, breakfast pots, smoothies or treats.
The dishes come in sustainable packaging and Allplants is a certified B Corp, which is working to reduce food waste, improve soil quality and become carbon positive.
If you love fresh pasta but don't have the time to make it from scratch, this meal box allows you to choose from a weekly rotating menu of 10 seasonal recipes, each of which includes freshly made pasta, an authentic sauce and a garnish. You'll also receive step-by-step instructions for each recipe.
Options can be filtered so it is easier to find dishes free from certain allergens or vegetarian options. You can also order indulgent desserts and side dishes like a charcuterie platter or Focaccia al Pomodoro, for that real restaurant at home experience.
This pasta is as fresh as it comes, so you'll want to eat it within a day of delivery or freeze on the day of delivery for up to a month. (Defrosting instructions for your recipes will be included in your box).