Picture this: it’s a Sunday afternoon, the weekend has completely gotten away from you, and you’re now frantically thinking about what you’re going to eat during the week?! Perhaps the kids are misbehaving or the weather is bad, so a grocery store run is completely out of the question.
You’re really in a pinch and have resigned yourself to the same costly, unhealthy takeout options.
The above scenario is tooootally understandable, especially for busy parents or those in demanding professions like nursing, teaching, truck driving, firefighting … and MUCH MUCH more (we salute you all!). But luckily, with so many meal delivery options, even the busiest person can have healthy, nutritious meals delivered straight to their door.
But with so many options out there, you may be confused about how meal subscription services work, and where to even start in choosing one that’s best for you. In this blog post, we break down frequently asked questions related to meal subscription companies so you can choose a plan that works best for your unique lifestyle and dietary preferences!
How do most meal subscriptions work?
For those with busy schedules, meal subscriptions take the guesswork out of selecting weekly lunches and dinners. Within whichever meal subscription service you pick, a designated number of meals are included weekly, monthly, or whatever custom timeframe you’d like– at a set cost and delivered to your doorstep.
Meal subscription companies often make the process straightforward and seamless for customers through an app or step-by-step website.
Who is a meal subscription plan beneficial for?
The good news is that there’s a diverse range of meal subscription options and most people can benefit from it! There are pros and cons associated with meal subscription delivery, and we’ve broken out a few considerations below.
Pros of meal subscriptions
If you’re strapped for time, meals delivered via subscription service are convenient and fast to make! Many meals clock in at 20 minutes or less–it depends on how much chopping and cooking to account for as well.
Cuts down on decision fatigue
Ever feel like you have SO many decisions to make on a day-to-day basis that you’re exhausted? Yeah, us too! Choosing a meal can feel like a tedious chore and “just one more thing” to worry about. Meal subscription delivery cuts down on decision fatigue and makes meal decisions easier.
Reduced food waste
While cooking meals from recipes seen in a cookbook or on Pinterest is fun, it sometimes results in far too much food. And inevitably, those leftovers get forgotten in the back of your refrigerator and go bad. Meals shipped via subscription plan are pre-portioned to ensure you are only delivered the quantities you need.
Browsing the grocery aisles (especially on an empty stomach) can result in adding tasty treats to your cart that don’t always line up with health goals. We’re guilty of this, too, don’t worry! Getting meals delivered via subscription cuts down on the temptation to buy unhealthy snacks and can help you stay on track with nutrition goals.
Choices for any lifestyle
If you’re vegan, gluten-free, paleo, keto, or anything else, there’s a meal subscription delivery option out there for you! One of the perks of a meal delivery plan is that you have access to foods that you sometimes wouldn’t normally be able to get at your local grocery store.
Cons of meal subscriptions
While meal subscription services come in a range of price points, they can be more expensive than buying ingredients at the grocery store. When choosing a plan, it’s important to know how much each week of meals will cost and incorporate it into your budget … otherwise, it’s easy to be caught off guard with a higher-than-anticipated cost.
But on the flipside, keep in mind that by investing in a meal delivery service, you’re saving soooo much time elsewhere–like on recipe selection, grocery shopping, and meal prep + planning! When weighing your options, it’s up to you whether the investment is worth it based on the time you save.
Set delivery schedule
If you have a job that requires odd hours or isn’t flexible, scheduling a meal delivery time/date may be tricky. If you feel comfortable with the meal being delivered while you’re not home, that’s fine! But for those who prefer to be home when packages arrive, the meal subscription delivery options may be too inflexible.
However, keep in mind that if home delivery feels tricky, you can always get your meals delivered to work … or wherever you want, really! If your schedule doesn’t allow you to pick up your meal delivery package right away, consider options that deliver shelf-stable items, which will save you the stress of hustling home to attend to items that need a refrigerator or freezer.
Increased packaging waste
Meal subscriptions use packaging that keeps perishable items cold, but unfortunately, this can result in more waste. Between cardboard boxes and non-recyclable frozen packs, you may feel guilty throwing away more waste than you’d like.
Another perk about shelf-stable foods is that there’s NO extra and unnecessary packaging, like frozen packs. Deliveries with shelf-stable items tend to only be with what’s absolutely needed–meaning they’re overall better for the environment!
Our favorite meal subscription companies
Proper Good provides meal subscription options ourselves, and we admire the dedication to health and nutrition other companies in the space provide, too! We believe meal delivery can change lives for the better and are in awe of the delicious, nutritious meals meal subscription companies provide.
Here, we’ve picked out a few meal subscription companies to look into, for those considering a meal delivery service.
Best non-perishable meal subscription that gives back: Proper Good
If you’re notorious for leaving a pre-made meal in the refrigerator and forgetting about it, Proper Good is for you! With non-perishable soups, chilis, and oatmeals, Proper Good pouches fit snugly in your pantry and stay fresh for months.
Our subscription program comes with a ton of benefits, such as free priority shipping, a free gift, and up to 20 percent off. There’s no commitment and you can swap items, skip a shipment, or cancel at any time.
And when you support Proper Good, you give back, too! When you purchase Proper Good and post your meal on Instagram with @eatpropergood and #eatpropergood, we donate a meal to those in need on your behalf. We also donate a meal for every subscription order.https://www.self.com/gallery/10-healthy-meal-delivery-services
Not to mention the HUGE benefit that there’s no meal prep involved! Nutritious pre-made meals are hard to come by, and that’s a big reason why we started Proper Good. If you’re someone who’s always on the move or just not interested in spending time on meal prep in the kitchen, we’re here for you!
Best for beginner cooks: Home Chef
Home Chef is a subscription program that offers 30+ meal choices per week, and most of them can be made in 30 minutes or less!
There are several options available for those with dietary restrictions, like dairy-free and gluten-free, so no one is left out! And for those just starting their cooking journey, Home Chef even has a section on their website with common kitchen tools to help get you started.
You’re able to choose from servings of two to four per meal, and meals start at $7 per serving.
Best for the environment: Green Chef
This eco-friendly meal subscription delivery service is rooted in the belief to live and eat green. They’re a USDA certified organic company and work closely with farmers to source sustainable and delicious ingredients.
While Green Chef’s paleo and meat-based meals look tasty, they also have a wide variety of plant-based options, too! According to UCLA, making the shift to a plant-based diet could add up to 49 percent of the global food supply without expanding croplands, while also reducing carbon emissions and waste byproducts. (We talk more about the pros of a plant-based diet here!)
So if you’re keen to not sacrifice flavor while protecting the environment, Green Chef is for you!
Best for adventurous home chefs: CookUnity
Grab your white chef’s hat and head into the kitchen when you choose CookUnity’s meal subscription delivery service! These meals are curated by award-winning chefs … and they share their BEST recipes with subscribers!
Just fill out your profile to share what foods you like and don’t like, then browse dozens of meals to choose what’s best for you. Menus are posted two weeks in advance, giving you plenty of time to weigh pros and cons to each (and okay … maybe drool a little, too!) Meals arrive fresh (not frozen) in compostable packaging with heating instructions and nutrition information.
This is a great option for those who want the convenience of a meal subscription plan without the hassle of cooking. Plus, those who want the finest, artisan ingredients. CookUnity comes in at a higher price point than other options on this list–16 meals per week, for instance, costs $10.49 per meal.
Best for healthy eating on a budget: Every Plate
It’s a common misconception that meal subscription plans break the bank. There are several budget-friendly meal subscription options out there, such as Every Plate.
Their tagline is, “Make affordable, crowd-pleasing meals at home.” Sign us up for that, please! ;)
Every week, you choose from 17 wholesome recipes that rotate in and out each week. Those recipes are delivered straight to your door for you to enjoy all week long. Every Plate’s biggest selling point is the lower-than-usual price point ($4.99 per serving) and simplicity, as each recipe contains only 6 steps.
Perfect for busy parents with kids or anyone looking to try their hand at making home cooked meals at a lower price point!
So now you’re ready to take on any culinary challenge, right?! ;) Even if you’re still on the fence about investing in a meal subscription plan, we hope this list has helped provide guidance and research on a few of our faves.
Was there a meal subscription delivery service of yours that we missed? Tell us in the comments!