Best Budget Friendly
Making sure your family gets three nourishing meals every day is a struggle for many parents. Time is short, and food preferences are all over the place come mealtime. A meal delivery service for families can be a great option, but you want the best without investing a ton of time and money in finding one that meets your needs.
The problem with most meal delivery services is that they don’t offer a weekly menu that appeals to the entire family, including the picky eaters at your table. And, if they do offer the menu you’re looking for, you might find that preparing meals takes too long.
To solve this problem, we considered everything that a busy family is looking for in a meal delivery service. We looked at both meal kits and prepared meals, as well as price, quality, variety, and dietary preferences, like low-carb or gluten-free meals.
Here is a breakdown of six popular companies that will help you determine the best meal delivery service for families like yours.
Martha & Marley Spoon
It’s no surprise that the meal service with Martha Stewart‘s name attached is one that wins high marks overall for family meals. Martha & Marley Spoon has taken the meal service concept and infused it with flavors that step outside the typical while still appealing to the range of preferences at your table.
One of the reasons we choose Marley Spoon as the best meal delivery service for families is that they offer a great variety of meal kits with high-quality ingredients that can be prepared in only six steps.
Each recipe is assigned a cooking level, so you can choose meal kits that are within your own culinary comfort zone, but also maybe pick a delicious meal that the kids can take part in preparing every once in a while.
To sweeten the deal, most of Marley Spoon’s meal kits can also be on the table in thirty minutes or less.
Speaking of sweetening the deal, Martha & Marley Spoon does also offer a few selections of sweet treats, so you can have a little dessert, too. The Tiramisu Cupcakes are super delicious.
Martha & Marley Spoon offers 22 meal options each week, many created to meet the needs of special diets and food allergies.
- Nearly two dozen meal options every week
- Meals are tagged as family-friendly, 30 minutes or less, etc., for easy menu planning.
- Delivered fresh, with a focus on seasonal ingredients
- Unique spice blends that add flavor without being overpowering
- Offers a small selection of breakfast, lunch, and dessert options
BEST BUDGET FRIENDLY
Feeding a family isn’t cheap, especially these days with soaring grocery costs. Maybe you’ve looked at a few different meal delivery services in the past but backed away as soon as you saw how much they cost. Dinnerly is a meal delivery service that crushes all those misconceptions that a meal delivery service must have a hefty price tag.
Dinnerly is a meal kit delivery service with an entire menu of options that start at right around $5. There are plenty of times that you might even notice that Dinnerly costs less than if you made a meal plan and did the grocery shopping on your own!
That said, it doesn’t matter how cheap or good Dinnerly is if they don’t offer family-friendly meals. In our opinion, Dinnerly is one of the best meal kit delivery services for families that want a break from dinnertime stress but are also on a tighter budget.
Dinnerly offers in the ballpark of forty meals per week to choose from. You can take a sneak peek at each recipe to get an idea of what types of ingredients it contains, nutritional information, cooking time, and cooking skill level. Most meal kits don’t take much longer than 30 minutes, and some even take significantly less time.
A few examples of the family meals Dinnerly offers include Popcorn Chicken with Broccoli, and Cheese Sauce, Everything Bagel Crusted Steak, and Cheesy Tex Mex Meatballs.
Of course, nothing is perfect, and Dinnerly does have what some may consider to be flawed. For instance, there aren’t many options if you have someone with dietary restrictions, such as dairy-free or gluten-free.
Also, some reviews say that the recipes are a little bland. But, on the flip side, this does make Dinnerly a viable option as a meal delivery service for families that have picky eaters at their table.
- Affordable meal kit delivery service
- Great variety on their weekly menu
- Other meal delivery services charge more for the same quality
- Fresh ingredients arrive well chilled and packaged to preserve the quality
- Kid-friendly and family-friendly recipes
Many of the best meal delivery services for families cater to busy lifestyles. They know families want and need dinner on the table fast, but that taste and nutrition are equally important. Where other services focus on achieving this in under 30 minutes, Gobble raises the bar with meals that can be on your table in 15 minutes or less.
We also like Gobble because many of its ingredients are sustainably sourced, and they offer two different types of meal plans. There’s the Classic Meal Plan and the Lean and Clean Meal Plan.
The Classic Meal Plan features meals the whole family will enjoy. There are classic and globally-inspired flavors, plus Gobble lets you swap out your choice of protein with some of their meal kits.
The Lean and Clean Meal Plan is for those who want healthy meals or have special dietary preferences, such as preferring low-carb meals or a lower caloric value per serving.
Now, to get back to how Gobble meal kits are so fast and easy. All ingredients in your Gobble meal kit come pre-cut, pre-measured, and ready to toss into a pan. Most meals are only three steps and require minimal pans and utensils to prepare, making for quick and easy cleanup.
- Wide variety of international cuisines to explore with your family
- Sophisticated dishes might not be well received by younger, pickier eaters, but there are plenty of family-friendly meals that most will enjoy
- While there isn’t an allergy-free menu, many meals can be prepared free of common allergens if you need dairy free meals or gluten-free meals.
- From package to table in 15 minutes or less
It’s great to have everyone around the table, enjoying a meal together. The best meal delivery service for families can make this a reality every night. There are a lot of really good services out there, but Home Chef wins accolades for offering such great variety among meal kit services.
Let’s start by talking about options. So far, there have been a lot of meal kit delivery services on this list, and Home Chef is a meal kit service also. However, in addition to meal kits, they also offer oven-ready meals, grill-ready meals, and fast & fresh meals that only need to be popped in the microwave for a few minutes.
When you’re choosing meals from Home Chef, you can also filter your meals by calorie-conscious, low-carb, and meals that are ready in under 30 minutes.
With just their classic meal kits, there are about a dozen meals per week to choose from., but then add in more than a dozen meals per week for fast and oven-ready meals, and you’ve got a ton of variety to choose from.
Home Chef does a great job of offering tasty meals the whole family will enjoy, and they do sprinkle a couple of larger family-style meals into the mix. Plus, they also offer a few desserts and sides, which is something not many meal delivery services do. Home Chef meal kits are good for a variety of cooking skills.
Home Chef offers a variety of options with more customization than other services. Their price point is attractive, and they have solid reviews for taste, freshness, and quality.
- Customizable, allowing you to add, swap, or eliminate the main protein in many dishes
- Larger portion sizes are great for growing teenagers and heartier appetites
- Calorie and carb-conscious options, as well as a vegetarian menu
- Meal kits and prepared meals that the whole family, including picky eaters, will enjoy
- It can take some work piecing together meals for other special dietary preferences
- 30-minute or fewer options, with 5-minute prep, get meals on the table quickly
HelloFresh is one of the best meal delivery services for families because they offer several meal plans, including a meal plan that’s specially designed for families.
You can choose to have meal kits with two or four servings and then choose how many meals per week you want. Three meals per week seem to be one of the more popular options. Still, the more meals you order, the less HelloFresh costs per serving, so ordering a larger box is a good way to save money.
HelloFresh makes it easy to see how long each of the meal kits takes to prepare, and most of them are 30 minutes or less. If you’re someone who dreads preparing meals because of the time it takes but feels it’s still important to feed your family nutritious food, we think HelloFresh meal delivery kits are a good fit.
- HelloFresh offers a large menu and a good variety of meals per week to choose from
- Per serving, price goes down the more you order
- High-quality, fresh ingredients
- Meals arrive fresh – you just spend a little time cooking
- Several meal plans to choose from
As a family with young children, you know firsthand how much they love to help in the kitchen. One Potato is a meal delivery service designed for families like yours that encourages these moments and opportunities for learning with family-friendly meals.
One Potato’s recipes, created by Weelicious and a James Beard award-winning chef, are dishes that even the youngest, pickiest eaters will enjoy. Plus, they provide tips for getting kids safely involved in meal prep (and the bonus cookie dough in each box is a major perk, too!).
One Potato meals are tasty and nutritious, but they make an effort to go beyond the usual suspects of brown rice, green beans, chicken nuggets, and other typical kid-friendly meals. Instead, you find nuggets made with Italian braised chicken and vegetables that actually have really good texture and taste.
Dishes like tacos are on the menu, but you can choose to prepare them with tofu instead of beef. One Potato also offers a few vegetarian and gluten-free meals.
Also, we like that they build meal plans around your family’s size, and this includes how old your children are. Instead of an adult-size-only portions per serving, you can get kid-sized portions too. This means less food waste, which is a great thing for all families.
- Prep is easy, and meals take less than 30 minutes to prepare
- Ingredients are pre-chopped, enabling kids to safely help in the kitchen
- Quality is a priority with organic, non-GMO ingredients
- Some gluten-free meals and other special dietary considerations are available
- Customizable portions based on your family size
It’s easy to list a few of the companies offering the best meal delivery service for families, but mealtime isn’t a one size fits all adventure. Your family is unique in many ways, which means that even the very best meal delivery service might not be the best fit for your family.
Before jumping on board with any of the companies above, or one that isn’t included on this list, here are a few points worth considering.
Meals Everyone Will Love
A challenge with any meal delivery service is finding an option that appeals to everyone in your family. When you’re making meals from scratch, you can customize your dishes accordingly.
This isn’t always an easy task when meals come pre-cut, pre-portioned, or prepared for heat & eat — especially if you have picky eaters at your table.
Take some time to look over their current menu, as well as past or upcoming highlights, if they’re available. Are there options that your kids will enjoy, such as finger foods for the little ones at your table? What about dishes that are easily recognizable and not too exotic?
Working to adapt each and every dish takes away some of the convenience that meal delivery services offer. Most families seek delicious meals that are created with nutritious foods that will leave everyone with a smile on their face.
Few things are as important as the quality of food you feed your family. If there’s a downside to family meal delivery services, it’s that quality can be all over the board. It would be great if every meal delivery service used locally-grown organic produce or sustainably raised and ethically sourced meats and fish. However, this isn’t always the case.
Generally speaking, companies that include organic, non-GMO, and ethically sourced ingredients in their dishes are paying more attention to quality and freshness. It’s also worth looking at some reviews to see what subscribers are saying about quality.
Variety is key, especially if you depend on a meal service to provide a couple of meals to your family each week. Not only do you want to avoid boredom, but you want enough variety to please everyone in your family.
Consider how many menu options are offered each week and if those options are overall appealing to you and the other members of your family.
Fast and Easy for Parents
Something that each of these meal delivery services offers is less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your family. Still, there are variances in how much time you’re going to spend in the kitchen with each of these services.
Do you like to chop and prep ingredients yourself? Do you want something pre-cut and pre-portioned so that little hands can also help? Are you more interested in heat & eat options that require no more than 5 minutes in the kitchen?
A meal kit delivery service, like Marley Spoon, is a great option if you like to cook but want to skip the hassle of meal planning and grocery shopping.
On the other hand, a meal delivery service that offers fully prepared, ready-to-eat meals is a huge convenience if you’re short on time or just don’t like to cook. Gobble is one of the best meal delivery services for fully prepared meals that can be on your dinner table in a matter of minutes.
The awareness of food allergies has grown in recent years, but you can’t assume that every company considers allergens when creating their meals. If you have any allergies or sensitivities in your family, it’s important to choose a company with specially designated menus.
Keep in mind that just because a meal delivery service offers meals that might be dairy-free or gluten-free, there’s still a chance of cross-contamination unless they don’t use that ingredient at all in any of their meals.
If you have dietary restrictions and you’re interested in a food company without allergen or special diet information, reach out and contact them directly with your questions before ordering.
A meal delivery service isn’t going to work if it doesn’t fit into your budget. It’s also easy to get carried away ordering meals when they all look so appetizing. Take some time to consider what you’re willing to spend before diving in.
There are also some less obvious costs to consider when choosing whether or not to sign up for a meal delivery service. For instance, knowing that you have delicious meals at home that can be prepared in a jiffy might prevent you from going through the drive-through or spending a hefty amount on takeout.
There’s also the value of your time, where you can be doing other things besides meal planning and grocery shopping. Plus, for most families, meal delivery service equals less food waste, which is a cost saver all on its own.
You’re going to find a wide range of costs for these types of services. We’re talking anywhere from $5 to $15+ per serving.
There are definitely very affordable meal kit options and oven or microwave-ready meals, but the quality you get for the price should also be a factor in making your decision.
Are you ready to enjoy a delicious, healthy, and stress-free meal with your family? One of these best meal delivery services for your family is sure to provide you with exactly what you’re looking for. Marley Spoon is the top choice, but others like Gobble and Home Chef also have so much to offer.
You might have noticed that some of the most popular meal delivery services, like Blue Apron and Purple Carrot, didn’t make it onto our list. It isn’t that these meal delivery services offer an inferior product. It’s just that the ones on this list are better suited to families.
Will a meal delivery service feed your family the same as if you were cooking from scratch? Sometimes, especially if it’s a meal delivery service. But even if the meals aren’t exactly the same as you’d prepare, have a few meal options per week that allows you to take the night off and enjoy time with your family is worth it.
If you’ve been on the fence about trying one of these services, just take the leap. If you take a little time and research the best option for your family, there are some great choices out there that won’t leave you disappointed.