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Christin Perry

9 Best Meal Kit Delivery Options for Hungry, Busy Families

Short on time but have plenty of mouths to feed? These top meal prep delivery services help busy parents whip up healthy meals in no time.

We all want to feed our kids yummy, healthy meals—but when you’re busy chasing after a toddler, helping the kids with homework or dealing with fussy babies (trust us, the witching hour is totally a thing), carving out time to shop for, prep and cook a gourmet dinner is no easy task. Your saving grace? Meal kits.

These days, there are tons of flexible, family-friendly meal kit delivery services to choose from, dishing out a culinary lifeline when you need it most. Sure, services like these are a bit pricier than other meals-in-a-box (looking at you, Kraft mac-and-cheese!), but there are a bunch of advantages to using meal prep delivery:

They include healthy ingredients. Most of the services we looked at provide locally sourced, high-quality, even organic ingredients whenever possible. Meal kits are a great way to incorporate fresh, whole foods and high-quality proteins into your family’s diet.

They supply all the ingredients you need. When you sign up for a meal prep delivery service, you can rest assured that when your box arrives, it’ll contain all the ingredients you need to prepare a full meal for your family. And anyone who’s ever had to strap kids into the car and head to the grocery store to pick up that one forgotten item knows how much of a time- (and sanity-) saver that is.

They provide step-by-step recipe cards. Dreaming up a tasty dish that everyone (including your picky little eaters) will enjoy, and then figuring out how to perfectly execute it, can be exhausting. Thankfully, most of these services provide full-color recipe cards that walk you through how to prepare your chosen meal using the ingredients they’ve sent. Bonus: As you work your way through these, chances are you’ll also beef up your culinary chops!

They let you choose your meals. The meal delivery services we’ve included below all give you the flexibility to choose which recipes you’d like to make in a given week; the number of choices ranged from about six to 20 or more! Not only that, but most let you skip a week or cancel anytime.

Here, we’re serving up a list of the 9 best meal prep delivery services for families. Bon appetit!

Photo: Courtesy One Potato

One Potato

Parents everywhere are raving about the meal prep delivery service from One Potato. Co-founded by Catherine McCord, the creative mind behind the family-oriented food blog Weelicious, One Potato is designed to be truly kid-friendly. It offers simple yet delicious (and always organic!) meals to suit every palate, and even gives you the option of ordering half sizes for those with smaller appetites. Choose between a vegetarian box or an omnivore box, and then pick from among seasonal or family favorites, like Pan Roast Chicken with Honey Glazed Carrots and Crispy Fries. Nut-free and gluten-free meals are available. Ingredients show up pre-chopped and pre-measured and cook up in 30 minutes or less. Plus, the instructions not only walk you through how to whip up the meal, but also how to get your kids involved safely. Best of all, every box includes free cookie dough for your kiddos!

Subscribe: $86 for two meals per week for family of four (including shipping); Onepotato.com

Photo: Courtesy Hello Fresh

HelloFresh

Founded in 2011, HelloFresh was the true pioneer of the meal prep delivery industry—and through excellent customer service and wholesome, simple-to-make meals, it’s retained its spot as one of the best meal kits today. Under the family-specific plan, you can pick your meals from five different recipes each week, like 20-minute pulled pork grilled cheese sandwiches, or one-pan orzo Italiano with chicken sausage, tomatoes and spinach. HelloFresh will then send you pre-measured ingredients and recipe cards to help you whip up fast, fresh weekday dinners. Plus point: Parents of little ones with food allergies will appreciate that the recipes are often egg- and nut-free.

Subscribe: $62 for two meals per week for family of four (including shipping); HelloFresh.com

Photo: Courtesy Blue Apron

Blue Apron

Another meal kit delivery company that hit the scene early on is Blue Apron, and it’s definitely one to try! Blue Apron offerings include kid-friendly recipes and farm-fresh ingredients, pre-proportioned and dropped off at your door, along with step-by-step cooking instructions. Pick from the five weekly recipes, like General Tso’s Chicken, and Yellow Tomato and Basil Pesto Pizza. Meals are labeled “quick & easy” or “hands-off cooking” so you can zero in on the recipes that take the least effort.

Subscribe: $72 for two meals per week for family of four (including shipping); BlueApron.com

Photo: Courtesy Gobble

Gobble

Sure, meal kits save you from having to take a trip to the grocery store, but admittedly some still take a good amount of time to prepare. Enter Gobble, which boasts meal prep in just 15 minutes or less, thanks to the pre-peeled, chopped and marinated ingredients that come included—no prep necessary! The recipes are as delicious as they are easy to make: Parm-Crusted Chicken with Lemon-Basil Orzo Salad? Yes please! Bonus: Gobble’s website makes it easy to choose recipes that are tagged “kid-friendly” and those without common allergens like gluten, dairy and eggs.

Subscribe: $151 for three meals per week for family of four (including shipping); Gobble.com

Photo: Courtesy Sun Basket

Sun Basket

If your family adheres to a special diet, like vegan, vegetarian, clean eating or gluten-free, then Sun Basket is hands down the best choice for a meal prep delivery service. These meal kits include clean, organic ingredients and recipes perfect for busy parents who want to provide super-healthy food for their kids—they can all be made in 30 minutes or less. Under the family plan, you get to choose between six kid-friendly meals like pasta and tacos, along with cooking steps even the little ones can help with. The in-box activities for kids is a nice touch.

Subscribe: $95 for two meals per week for family of four (including shipping); Sunbasket.com

Photo: Courtesy Terra's Kitchen

Terra’s Kitchen

Here’s another great meal kit delivery service to try if you’re looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Terra’s Kitchen provides fresh, wholesome ingredients to make recipes based on the Mediterranean diet; the meat is free of hormones and antibiotics, the seafood is sustainably sources and the produce is organic when possible. Terra’s Kitchen boasts abundant vegetarian and vegan options, like Chickpea Chili and the Terra Buddha Bowl, and even offers snacks and smoothies. And when we say “abundant,” we mean it—the menu is 50 recipes deep, searchable by various filters, like looking times, allergens and cuisines. When it comes to delivery, Terra’s Kitchen does things a bit differently; your food will be delivered in what is basically a mini-fridge instead of an insulated box. Great for freshness, but not so great if you live in a 5th floor walk-up. And instead of a price per meal plan, Terra’s Kitchen prices meals out individually, so you can shop within your budget.

Subscribe: Order minimum is $72 plus $5 shipping fee; Terraskitchen.com

Photo: Courtesy Martha & Marley Spoon

Martha & Marley Spoon

If the name didn’t give it away, this meal prep delivery service is Martha Stewart’s foray into the world of meal kits. You might be pleasantly surprised, then, to find that the recipes are pretty straightforward—they’re even tagged “kid-friendly” and “under 30 minutes” to help you make your selections from 10 different options. Pre-proportioned ingredients and recipe cards help get you on your way, although some customers point out that prep is more involved than with meal prep delivery options that do all the peeling, chopping and marinating for you.

Subscribe: $76 for two meals per week for family of three to four (including shipping); MarleySpoon.com

Photo: Courtesy Dinnerly

Dinnerly

This meal prep delivery service, which started on the West Coast, is owned by Martha Stewart as well. It’s a great option for families working with a tight budget. For $5 per adult-sized portion, you still get a box of fresh, quality ingredients and step-by-step cooking instructions, but the lower price point is made possible by fewer ingredients in each dish, a digitally sent recipe instead of printed cards and simple packaging. You get to choose from six different meal options each week (like Beef Tostadas and Panko-Mustard Crusted Chicken), labeled “kid-friendly” or “under 30 minutes” to help guide your selections.

Subscribe: $69 for three meals per week for family of four (including shipping); Dinnerly.com

Photo: Courtesy Plated

Plated

Plated is the haute couture choice when it comes to having meal kits delivered to your home. Choose from an expansive 20-recipe weekly menu, with the option to include desserts, and wait for your box of ingredients and cooking instructions to arrive. Every drool-worthy recipe uses locally sourced, artisanal ingredients that can be otherwise difficult to find in stores. Recipes like Kale-Walnut Pesto Pasta and Spicy Scallop Linguine are perfect for discerning palates, while pickier little eaters will enjoy kid-friendly recipes like Pretzel Cheeseburger Sliders.

Subscribe: $60 for two meals per week for family of four (not including shipping); Plated.com

Published July 2018

Plus, more from The Bump:

5 Easy Weeknight Meals for Busy Moms

Food Blogger Moms Share Their Favorite Recipes for Picky Eaters

How to Deal with Picky Eaters

PHOTO: Courtesy Hello Fresh