Best prepared meal delivery services for 2020: Freshly, Daily Harvest, Home Bistro and more

Best prepared meal delivery services for 2020: Freshly, Daily Harvest, Home Bistro and more

Throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, eating balanced, nutritious meals is important to maintaining your overall health and well being. However, not a lot of people have the time for meal prep, patience or skill in the kitchen to be cooking up gourmet meals seven times a week. That’s where a prepared meal delivery service comes in with nutrious meals. With these meal delivery plan services, all you have to do is pull fully prepared meals out of your fridge or freezer and warm them up — no actual cooking required for a healthy meal.

Personally, I’ve been a fan of having nutritious meals shipped right to my door for a while now, and prepared meal delivery services have been key to helping maintain a healthy lifestyle during lockdown. I began to research this list of meal delivery company options before COVID-19 hit, and since then I’ve become an even bigger convert. I’m happy to present it to you now in hopes that a meal delivery program brings a little relief to your daily routine, regardless of whether you’re a foodie, a picky eater or somewhere in between. And, because everything is prepared, you don’t have to be a professional chef to eat something delicious.


Before we dive into the list of prepared meal delivery services, let’s answer some questions. First, how are these set apart from our favorite meal kit delivery service options? While the meal kit revolution — which led to household meal kit delivery names like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh — was all about providing you with the basic ingredients and instructions on how to pull it all together into a delicious meal, we’re betting you no longer have time or patience to do that. Prepping and cooking your meals is really only fun when you’ve got the time to develop your recipes, go to the grocery store to shop for your own ingredients and otherwise flex your chef muscles. Not so much when your trip to the market involves a mask and getting in and out as quickly as possible.

That’s why these oven-ready meal kits and healthy prepared meal services have emerged as a solution when you need quick, easy and delicious meal options but your budget for takeout is running thin. Newer healthy meal delivery services such as Veestro and Freshly have taken note of modern healthful eating habits and offer prepared menus tailored for every dietary preference, including carnivores, vegetarians, vegan and others on a plant-based diet, as well as those keeping to a ketopaleo, low sodium, gluten-free, organic, low carb, low-sugar or low-calorie diet. No matter your dietary restrictions — or if you’re a picky eater or have food allergies — there’s a meal kit service for you.

While most of the meal plan services we sorted are ready-made meals — that is, prepared, precooked and with ingredients ready to pop into the oven or a hot skillet to be heated — meals from services such as Home Chef and Gobble are not yet cooked. These “oven-ready” meal delivery plans, which fall somewhere between a classic meal kit and meal delivery, are uncooked but preassembled to be thrown together and baked, broiled or stir-fried with no major prep required. In short: Please don’t eat any raw chicken. You don’t need food poisoning on top of everything else that’s going on!

Most of these meal subscription companies ship their preportioned and precooked meal options frozen or partially frozen. Since the delivered meals arrive in shipments of four or more, most meals are designed to be popped right into the freezer so you can defrost and eat them over the course of the week or longer. Even if you don’t plan to eat the fully prepared meals every day — or even every week — having a prepared meal dish or two (or even snacks stashed away in the freezer for emergencies) can be helpful when you you just don’t have it in you to even boil water for pasta. And let’s not even get started on what having a stash of meal options does for our peace of mind.

While I wasn’t able to try every meal from every one of the meal kit and delivery services listed, I did get a chance to try at least one meal option from each. As you’ll read, some of these meal delivery services and meal kits are centered around a particular healthy recipe meal concept. Home Chef, for instance, has simple meal kits down to a science with fresh ingredients and recipes that are already prepped and can be finished in as little as 15 or 20 minutes. Others, such as Veestro, specialize in premade or prepared vegetarian and vegan meals for those going meatless or dairy free in 2020, but still looking for an alternative to cooking. Seriously, if you’re on a special diet you need to check out the options — there’s sure to be one for you.

There’s still nothing quite like a home-cooked fresh meal, but some of these simple and affordable meal services just might be the thing to lighten your load during the challenging times we’re currently living through. And, perhaps most important, these meal delivery companies don’t require a trip to the grocery store…Read more>>