Even though we’re home significantly more right now, it seems like we have less time than ever. Meal delivery boxes are a great way to take some thinking out of dinner, something that everyone can agree we need right now. With so many companies jumping into the market, however, which meal delivery boxes are the best for families?
The Best Meal Delivery Boxes For Families
We decided to give a few different subscriptions a try and see for ourselves. We will be looking at the best meal delivery boxes for families, judging them on pricing, how easy the recipes are, and more importantly, how they taste. Please note, there are far more meal delivery boxes out there and we haven’t tried them all, but these are the best based on our own experience. With that said, we have some extremely picky eaters in our house and these meal delivery boxes still made everyone happy.
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission should you click through to make a purchase. This in no way impacts my recommendation of said services nor the cost to you.
Blue Apron review
This was the very first meal delivery box we’d ever purchased and it’s still one of the best. The recipes come on big cards with photos and clear instructions for each step. Our absolute favorite meal was the spicy egg, potato, and cauliflower tostadas with watermelon radish and orange salad – they were unbelievably delicious. So much so that I added growing watermelon radish to my plans for next year’s garden!
Blue Apron‘s meals taste amazing and though the recipes are high-quality, following the recipes wasn’t difficult at all. We split the cooking between the adults and the kids helped with prep – everything worked out fine and it was a fun time as a family. Definitely a great nod to meal planning made easy.
Pros of Blue Apron meal subscriptions:
- Truly delicious recipes
- Easy-to-follow instructions
- Very fresh ingredients – we never had wilted or bad-quality produce
- Options for vegetarian, low carb, and Weight Watchers-inspired weekly deliveries
- Scaling pricing, from 2, 3, or 4 people, at between $8.74 and $9.99/serving
- Free shipping
- Beyond Meat is an option for protein in addition to chicken, pork, beef, or seafood
Cons of Blue Apron meal subscriptions:
- Recipes might be too fancy for picky eaters
- Weekly meal options are narrow sometimes, though you do have the option of skipping a week if you don’t like what’s on the menu
- Portions are not overly large, though not as small as some services we’ve tried
- No option for larger families beyond 4 people
Ultimately, Blue Apron offers high-quality food, easy recipes but complex food, and can feed a family of four. It’s perfect for your sporadic parental date nights also, as cooking together is a fun activity, even in the middle of a pandemic (and they sell wine pairings, too!)
Freshly boxes are a little different in that the food is pre-made and you only need to heat it. This is ultra-convenient and the food was pretty spectacular. Each meal comes in a pre-portioned container that you simply pop into the microwave and cook. Aside from forks, there really aren’t any dishes involved, either, which is a win on a busy weeknight.
The service is a subscription but you can cancel between weeks, so it’s not like you’re locking in for months at a time. They deliver it to your door and the food is fresh, not frozen, so even though they look like TV dinners, they’re so much better. The steak and diced sweet potatoes were a family favorite, but their meals range from fancy (chicken Livorno) to comfort food (think fried chicken and mac & cheese).
Pros of Freshly meal subscriptions:
- Extremely easy – just heat and serve
- Fresh pre-made meals are so much more delicious than frozen, and you simply don’t understand until you’ve tried them
- A diverse menu of delicious but healthy options each week
- Cancel-anytime subscription service is pretty forgiving in terms of when you can stop before you’re charged
- The 12-meal/week meal box can feed 4 family members comfortably at $8.49/meal
- Meal portions are designed for adults, so they are pretty generous
Cons of Freshly meal subscriptions:
- The biggest subscription you can get is 12 meals per week, which is fine but if you have a bigger family, it might not be good for you
- Shipping is not included in the pricing, so it’s anywhere from $11.49/meal to $8.49/meal, then shipping is added on top
- If you have dietary restrictions, they accommodate gluten-and-allergy-free needs, but it’s mostly up to you to find what you can have based on their ingredients lists
Freshly is a very convenient, delicious delivery box, and for many people, it will be perfect. Getting a fresh, delicious, and healthy meal on the table in 3 minutes is a big selling point. It is a bit more expensive than other services, however, and the shipping isn’t included, so that’s more cost on top. The menu and meal portions alone are worth checking out if Freshly sounds good to you.
We were very impressed with HelloFresh. The menus are fancy without being too difficult to make and the flavors are amazing without being overly complex. Each week you have roughly 21 recipes to choose from, and you plan your meals week-to-week. Mushroom-smothered chicken is a favorite of my husband’s while I loved the turkey meatball subs, but everything we’ve had was good.
The meals themselves are varied between proteins, including plant-based proteins and completely vegetarian menus. They do offer guidance for specific dietary restrictions, and their menu can point you towards certain eating styles but they don’t have separate menus for these things (like keto or paleo). Still, the selection is good and the recipes are fairly simple.
Hello Fresh is also one of the most affordable meal delivery boxes, starting at $7.49/meal (for 2 or more people) and going down from there. They also offer free shipping on your first order, which for a family of four is around 3 meals per person, per week.
Pros of Hello Fresh meal subscriptions:
- Recipes are easy to make and the majority are ready in 30 minutes or less
- Each meal is well-balanced and nutritious while still being delicious
- One of the most affordable meal delivery subscriptions
- Low-calorie, family, and veggie plans help you customize the nutrition and eating habits of your family
- Cancel anytime, week-to-week
- Good portion sizes
Cons of Hello Fresh meal subscriptions:
- No options to cater to specific dietary plans like keto, paleo, or fully vegan (though a few meals each week might be vegan)
- Shipping is an added cost, even on larger orders
If you want the thrill of cooking with the ease of simple recipes and being able to quickly table your dinner, Hello Fresh is a great service. Though they charge for shipping on all orders, it’s only $6.99, regardless of how many servings you receive each week. The food is delicious and healthy, and with no contract, you’re not really risking anything by giving them a try.
Imperfect Foods review
Imperfect Foods isn’t a meal delivery box, per se, but they are a revolutionary company. They take food that would be thrown away because it’s not perfect (like misshapen produce) or because it was an overstock at a grocer, and they sell it to you at a tremendous discount. The food is healthy and completely normal, just, well, imperfect.
Each box is extremely customizable, with offerings for 1-2, 3-4, or 5+ eaters. You can further customize with low carb, vegetarian, vegan, or “I eat it all” options, as well as organic, regular, or “both” options for types of food. Finally, you choose what meal means the most to you (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and they suggest a box.
Imperfect Foods Cost
You can also add on “packs”, which are designated as:
- Meat and fish
These are an additional cost but are packed with foods specific to the type of pack you chose at a lower price.
Once you’ve made your selections, you can actually choose what goes into your box from their selections. Each week they have a large variety of regular and organic produce, grains, meats, fish, dairy, and other delicious offerings that you can choose from. Imperfect Foods differs from other companies however because they don’t create meals for you – it’s more like a grocery service. They do have a curated recipe list, however, that can vary depending on the types of foods they have available each week.
This flexibility is better for someone who has cooking experience and wants to supplement their grocery list each week with some flair. It’s also a great program with a limited budget because Imperfect Foods offers reduced-cost boxes for people who qualify for EBT/SNAP benefits. This is a great service that I would love to see other meal/grocery delivery subscriptions adopt.
Finally, Imperfect Foods is very sustainable – their business model is based on “rescuing” food that would otherwise be destined for a landfill.
So with all that said, I want to love Imperfect Foods. I really do. But my own personal experience with Imperfect Foods wasn’t great. The order was changed a few times due to something we picked being out of stock. There were also some billing and shipping hiccups, a big issue being that some of the food arrived completely unusable due to a lack of proper temperature regulation or haphazard packing.
Pros of Imperfect Foods deliveries:
- Delicious, healthy, organic food delivered each week
- Sustainable – not only the packaging but the very business model is based on eliminating food waste
- Providing access to organic produce and healthy food to people with lower incomes
- Reasonable prices
- No subscription – you can cancel week-to-week
- Pricing for a family of 5+ starts at $45 for produce each week, with additional packs being $9.99
Cons of Imperfect Foods deliveries:
- No real meals – you choose what is delivered and make meals on your own
- Not great for someone who doesn’t already know how to cook, though they do have a recipe blog where you can find inspiration
- $8.99/week shipping regardless of your plan
- Our experiences of things running out and billing problems were back when the company just started, but it’s still worth mentioning that you should be mindful of these issues
Imperfect Foods is a great way to get healthy food delivered to your house and to get creative, working outside of a pre-planned recipe. Their business model is highly sustainable and serves the environment by preventing food waste. And by giving people who qualify for EBT a discount, they are serving communities impacted by nutritional scarcity and food deserts.
Green Chef review
Green Chef is a great service because it allows you to tailor your meals based on dietary preferences better than most of these other services. This includes vegetarian, vegan, paleo, or keto options, but also pescatarian and gluten-free options as well. The ingredients are pre-portioned and the recipes are easy and come together in about 30 minutes. The quality of the ingredients stood out to us as well – we never had wilted or underripe produce.
While the meals are delicious and the recipes quick and easy, Green Chef is one of the pricier meal delivery kits and the cost actually goes up per person as you add more meals each week, where the other boxes tend to go down per serving the more you buy.
Still, the price hovers around $8.49/person per serving and the food is definitely higher quality than most of their competitors. The price for keto and paleo meals was around $1 more per person as well, but they tended to have more protein and obviously no grains, so it makes sense.
Pros of Green Chef:
- One of the most customizable meal systems we found, if not the most customizable
- Probably the most nutrient-dense meals as well; they avoid a lot of bread and pasta, opting for vegetables and proteins primarily
- Highest quality food of the plans we’ve reviewed
- Organic and non-GMO ingredients
- Sustainable packaging and production
- Meals come together in 30 minutes or less
Cons of Green Chef meal:
- Most expensive price per serving of most meal delivery boxes
- $7.99 shipping each week
- You don’t choose your meals – they get your preferences and then send you suggestions. You can skip a week if you don’t like their options, but you can’t actually customize your specific meals beyond your dietary choices.
Green Chef is very high-quality food, quick to prepare, and extremely delicious. It is also a case of “you get what you pay for”, in that all of this quality comes with an increased price tag. Still, they have options for families, their meals are extremely healthy, and they’re a great way to get your family cooking.
These are some of our favorite meal delivery boxes. We’ve had good experiences with all of them, but we’d love to hear which subscriptions you love that we didn’t mention, so let us know in the comments and we’ll check them out.
We did a meal service several years back. I don’t remember which service, but one of the downfalls (in our opinion) was the large styrofoam coolers it was shipped in. We felt bad throwing them away due to environmental reasons, yet they took up too much room in our garage!
I’d love to try a service again. Can you tell me if there was a service that was more environmentally conscious with their shipping materials than the others? Thanks in advance!
Your testimonial for Blue Apron has caught my eye. I have to check i tout again!
I go back and forth with it because of the cost, but I’m never disappointed in the quality/recipes!
I haven’t tried meal boxes to be honest – Hello Fresh is the main one in the UK. I do like cooking from scratch & as I am often in stores and markets near enough every day with my job, I have ingredients at hand. That said, some of the recipes you’ve mentioned from the companies, sound quite delicious – so I might give them a whirl 😊