Meal delivery services help you skip the shopping by providing the recipes and all the ingredients you need to cook dinner. Some come to your doorstep while others are locally-based with pickup spots around town. I tested three to get a feel for how these services work.

Blue Apron
Blue Apron, the most popular meal delivery service I reviewed, is a New York-based company that sends over 2 million meals a month. The meals were easy to prepare, even with my beginner cooking skills. With fresh, healthy ingredients, the meals were big enough to feed my family of four. Their website includes an online market with cooking tools and cookware, interactive recipe pages, and quick cooking tutorials for beginners.
The Meals: I tried the Family Plan box, which included fish and chips with radish, snap peas and romaine salad and a Mexican pork pazole soup. Our kids gobbled up the fish, while my husband and I particularly enjoyed the fresh avocado, lime, and crispy tortilla chips in the soup. Both meals come with large recipe cards to keep.
Packaging: The box had more packaging than the other services I tried. You can, however, return your packaging for free, and the company reuses and recycles it. The company’s website also lists specific ways to recycle the box, liners and ice packs on your own.
Pricing options: The Family Plan (serves a family of four) is $69.92 for delivery of two meals per week or $139.84 for delivery of four meals per week. The two-person plan for three meals a week is $59.94. Shipping is free and families don’t have to order each week.

Terra’s Kitchen
Green packaging and healthy meals make this Baltimore, Md., company stand out. The recipes
were quick to make, coming in at around 30 minutes as promised. Because all of the ingredients were already diced and ready to go, I saved on prep time. Vegetarian only meals are available, as well.
The Meals: With Terra’s Kitchen, it was easy to tailor the meals I chose to my kids’ taste. Our favorite meals were: chicken tacos with avocado goat cheese sauce and chicken, sweet and spicy dressed greens and cheese pom-poms. The meals come with large recipe cards to keep.
Packaging: The ingredients and recipes come in an impressive, eco-friendly mini-fridge package that I conveniently put out on the porch the next day for pickup. Most of the remaining packaging is recyclable.
Pricing: Meals in a two-serving quantity range from $9.99 to $17.99. Skip meals at any time.

Garnish & Gather
Based in Atlanta, Garnish & Gather works with local restaurant chefs and farmers to provide meals. Select recipes online and also order local, mostly organic produce, meat and additional food items to pick up at a store near you. Each recipe comes with tips on how to make changes for kid-friendly meals. One recipe each week is marked “kid-approved,” with a part of the recipe the kids can help with. My little foodie enjoyed helping break the woody ends off the asparagus and removing the rosemary from the stems of the rosemary stalk.
The Meals: I prepared chicken bacon burgers with caramelized onions and chevreon top with a side of asparagus. I had fun working through the steps of the recipe and was pleased that I could make it all work. The meals tasted like food from a nice restaurant.
Packaging: Pick up meals in the store in a reusable Garnish & Gather shopping bag. Cold items are in coolers at the location. If meals are delivered to your door, they are provided in a cooler bag.
Pricing: Meals for two are $28 and meals for four are $56. Families can order up to five dinners each week.  Pick up meals at a location near you or have them delivered for a $10 fee. Families save $8 on “kid-approved” meals for four. Add groceries to your meal delivery, such as organic eggs or apples. It’s easy to pause your subscription and skip a week or more of meals.

The Takeaway

I enjoyed feeling like a “real” cook in the kitchen with all three services, while also feeling less stress because the recipes were selected and all the ingredients delivered to my door in the right proportions. I’ve even incorporated into my cooking some of the easy tips I learned from the meals, such as adding goat cheese to a burger or adding a simple mayonnaise-based hollandaise to fish to add flavor.

Our family typically goes for easy and quick meals that all of us can eat, such as grilled cheese, spaghetti and make your own tacos. These meals successfully got us out of our comfort zone and trying new foods and flavors.

– Laura Powell

Recent Posts