Between work, parenting, and household chores, it's easy to feel spent by dinnertime. If you need a bit of help in the kitchen, we recommend Home Chef, HelloFresh, Sunbasket, Purple Carrot, Green Chef, EveryPlate, Freshly, and Blue Apron as the best meal delivery services for families.

Let’s be honest, who really has time for meal planning and grocery shopping? Especially when you’re part of a busy family.

When parents aren’t working or sleeping, they’re folding laundry, changing a toddler’s diaper, taking a shower, walking the dog, shuttling kids to soccer practice, cleaning the bathroom, and so on. The daily barrage of to-dos seems insurmountable — which is where meal delivery services swoop in and save the day.

Meal kits provide a convenient alternative to drive-thrus and grocery shopping. But which service, among the dozens available today, is best for you and your clan?

Overview: Best Meal Delivery Services for Families

Home Chef: Best for Customizable Meals

  • The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - Home ChefPrice per serving: Starting at $7.99
  • Shipping cost: $6.99-$13.99
  • Number of options each week: 30+ and 18 “extras”
  • Number of servings/meals: 2, 4, 6, or 8 servings/21 meals
  • Estimated prep and cook time: 10-50 minutes
  • Special diets: Vegetarian, low calorie, low carb
  • Current promotion: Try Home Chef - Get $90 off your first 3 orders!

Founded in 2013, Home Chef is one of the original meal kit delivery services, and it’s only improved with age.

One of the many features that makes Home Chef so popular, especially among families with picky eaters or dietary restrictions, is their level of customization options. When you sign up for Home Chef, you’ll complete their “taste profile” and note any dietary needs or preferences you may have.

For individual recipes, you can use their “customize it” option to swap out one protein, like steak, for another, like organic chicken breasts. You can even choose the ingredients you want to avoid, like nuts and mushrooms!

The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - Home Chef

Home Chef also lets you decide how much time you want to spend cooking, by providing simple options like “15 Minute Meal Kits” all the way up to their “Culinary Collection.” And instead of offering traditional “meal plans,” you’ll pick the number and type of meals you want as well as the number of servings for each. You can choose from 30+ meals every week and select two, four, six, or eight servings for each.

Finally, if you (or your kiddos) aren’t happy with a meal, Home Chef offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Try Home Chef or read our full review.

HelloFresh: Best for Aspiring Chefs

HelloFresh has been around for nearly a decade, and they’ve staked their claim on the meal kit delivery empire. In fact, the HelloFresh Group owns four major meal delivery services, including Green Chef and EveryPlate (featured later in this article).

HelloFresh is growing fast for a number of reasons, but among them is their deliberate effort to create family-friendly dinners. With their Family Friendly Plan, you can receive four healthy, tasty meals, created with little palates in mind.

The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - Hello Chef

HelloFresh is a great choice for novice chefs (or little chefs), because they let you select the “level” of cooking you want. For beginner cooks, level one requires just a couple pots and pans (if that!), while level three recipes cater to culinary artists who want a little extra time in the kitchen.

Kiddos who like to help may enjoy the level one meals, and they’ll love the brightly colored recipe cards and photos with clear instructions for every step of the process.

Try HelloFresh or read our full review.

Sunbasket: Best for Health-Conscious Creatives

  • The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - SunbasketPrice per serving: Starting at $9.99
  • Shipping cost: $9.99
  • Number of options each week: 24
  • Number of servings/meals: 2 or 4 servings/2, 3, or 4 meals
  • Estimated prep and cook time: 15-40 minutes
  • Special diets: Low carb, low calorie, paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, diabetes-friendly, pescatarian
  • Current promotion: Try Sunbasket - Get $90 off + a free gift and free shipping on your first box!

Sunbasket caters to those who value organic, sustainably sourced ingredients. 

They are a USDA-certified organic handler, and more than 99% of their produce is organic. In addition, their meats and poultry are responsibly raised, their seafood is exclusively wild-caught, and their in-house dietitian reviews and approves every recipe that heads out the door.

However, Sunbasket does a lot more than source from environmentally friendly suppliers; when those high-quality ingredients arrive, Sunbasket’s chefs produce some of the most creative, globally inspired meals in the industry. For parents who want to expose their kids to a wide variety of foods, Sunbasket is a great asset. In fact, their recipe booklet includes ways kids can help during the cooking process!

The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - Sun Basket

In addition to their range of flavor profiles, Sunbasket provides meals for every time of the day. You can purchase a probiotic smoothie for breakfast, a sesame ginger salad for lunch, then round out the day with pepper and onion-smothered Black Angus steaks with kumquat salad. You can also add snacks, proteins, pasta sauces, desserts, and more.

Try Sunbasket or read our full review.

Purple Carrot: Best for Veggie Lovers

  • The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - Purple CarrotPrice per serving: Starting at $11.00
  • Shipping cost: Free
  • Number of options each week: 4 or 8 (depends on meal plan)
  • Number of servings/meals: 2 servings (3-4 meals) or 4 servings (2-3 meals)
  • Estimated prep and cook time: 10-50 minutes
  • Special diets: Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free
  • Current promotion: With Purple Carrot - Get $30 off your first subscription with code carrot30

Plant-based recipes have grown in popularity in recent years, and Purple Carrot is one meal delivery service that’s capitalizing on the movement.

Purple Carrot specializes in veggie-centric meals, but their audience is much wider than vegans and vegetarians. Recognizing scientific evidence that links plant-based foods to health benefits like a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes, Purple Carrot’s mission is simple: make America more “pro-plant.” They use a wide variety of fresh produce and find creative ways to use simple ingredients like cashews and black beans.

The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - Purple Carrot

A family of four can choose two or three meals per week, but you can also add dishes for breakfast and lunch as well as some snacks.

The price is a little steeper for Purple Carrot than some competitors, but shipping is free, which cuts down the total cost.

Try Purple Carrot or read our full review.

Green Chef: Best for Gluten-Free Families

  • The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - Green ChefPrice per serving: Starting at $11.99
  • Shipping cost: $8.99
  • Number of options each week: 30
  • Number of servings/meals: 2 servings (3 or 4 meals); 4 servings (2, 3, or 4 meals); or 6 servings (3 or 4 meals)
  • Estimated prep and cook time: 25-45 minutes
  • Special diets: Vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, keto, paleo, gluten-free, grain-free
  • Current promotion: Green Chef promotion: Get $90 Off your first 4 boxes

Green Chef, owned by the HelloFresh Group, has three meal plans designed for three of the most popular diets of our day: Balanced Living, Keto + Paleo, and Plant-Powered.

Green Chef’s Keto + Paleo meal plan is unique among competitors and features delicious grain-free dinners, like their Thai coconut chicken soup or Bavarian pork patties, that appeal to the whole family. Their Plant-Powered plan has vegetarian and vegan recipes, while the Balanced Living plan provides a diverse blend of vegetarian, seafood, and meat recipes.

The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - Green Chef

Green Chef may be a little more expensive than its peers, but their credentials make the few extra bucks well worth it. Not only are they the first USDA-certified organic meal kit service, but Green Chef is the first meal kit company to receive gluten-free certification through the Gluten Intolerance Group’s Gluten-Free Food Service program.

Green Chef also makes concerted efforts to protect the environment through recyclable packaging and partnerships with leading sustainability organizations. In fact, Green Chef is “the only meal kit company that offsets 100% of its direct carbon emissions and plastic packaging in every box!”

Try Green Chef or read our full review.

EveryPlate: Best for Affordable Entrees

  • The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - EveryPlatePrice per serving: Starting at $5.49
  • Shipping cost: $8.99
  • Number of options each week: 21
  • Number of servings/meals: 2 or 4 servings (3-5 meals)
  • Estimated prep and cook time: 10-45 minutes
  • Special diets: N/A
  • Current promotion: Try Every Plate - Get $60 off your first three boxes!

Unlike some other meal delivery services, EveryPlate isn’t trying to be the best at everything or provide luxury ingredients for the bougie chef or the diet-conscious cook. Their aim is to offer tasty options for frugal families.

The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - EveryPlate

In addition to providing prices that are almost half that of competitors, EveryPlate aims for simplicity and convenience, without sacrificing taste. Select super-easy smashed burgers one night, then step it up a notch and go with pork sausage stuffed peppers or hotel butter steak later in the week.

Try EveryPlate or read our full review.

Freshly: Best for Quick Dinners

  • The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - FreshlyPrice per serving: Starting at $9.58
  • Shipping cost: $9.99 to $11.99
  • Number of options each week: 30+
  • Number of servings/meals: Single servings/4-12 meals
  • Estimated prep and cook time: minutes
  • Special diets: Gluten-free, peanut-free, low calorie, low fat, high protein, low sodium
  • Current promotion: Try Freshly - Get $60 off your first 4 boxes!

EveryPlate may dominate competitors in the cost category, but Freshly takes gold in another arena: speed.

While most meal delivery services provide a box full of pre-packaged ingredients that take 30 minutes to prepare, Freshly’s kit comes with ready-made meals you can prep in just three minutes. In other words, if you’re a working parent who gets home at 5:15pm and only has weekends to plan out dinners and shop for groceries, Freshly’s got you covered.

Freshly also differs from its peers in the area of meal plans. You’ll still select the number of meals you want each week, but instead of three meals for two people or two meals for four people, Freshly dinners are all single serving. So if your daughter wants the Sierra chicken bowl, but your partner prefers sausage baked penne, everyone can eat what they’re craving.

The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - Freshly

Since Freshly provides such a wide range of meals, their menu also accommodates a number of dietary needs and taste preferences. In fact, the entire Freshly menu is gluten- and peanut-free, so families with just one or two members with these food allergies won’t ever have to worry.

Try Freshly or read our full review.

Blue Apron: Best for Quality Ingredients

  • The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - Blue ApronPrice per serving: Starting at $9.49
  • Shipping cost: $9.99
  • Number of options each week: 19
  • Number of servings/meals: 2 or 4 servings/2, 3, or 4 meals
  • Estimated prep and cook time: 20-55 minutes
  • Special diets: Vegetarian, diabetes-friendly, Weight Watchers
  • Current promotion: Blue Apron new customers: save $80 over your first 4 boxes.

There’s a fine line between Bobby Flay-level entrees and an average Joe dinner, and Blue Apron has found it. Their chefs are clearly both knowledgeable and inventive, but the recipes aren’t too complicated for the mediocre cook. Select the Signature meal plan for four, and choose from options like cool cajun chicken lettuce wraps and Tuscan pork pasta.

The 8 Best Meal Delivery Services For Families - Blue Apron

Kids will love Blue Apron’s flavor-filled dishes, but moms and dads get a tasty treat too. Blue Apron has a wine subscription service with unique pairings to go with the meals. For just $75.99 a month (+ shipping), Blue Apron sends six bottles, which complement the recipes on that week’s menu.

Blue Apron also has dishes for specific diets, like vegetarian and diabetes-friendly, as well as some Weight Watchers meals.

Try Blue Apron or read our full review.

How to Choose the Right Meal Delivery Service

In the last decade, dozens of meal delivery services have sprouted, each with their own specialties and niches. Some are uniquely curated for the vegan diet, while others cater to families in search of 15-minute meals; however, a majority of these companies are crafting their dishes with the average American family in mind.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing for your own family:

  • Size. Some meal delivery services are better suited for singles or couples, but each of the companies listed above offers a wide enough selection to meet the needs of an average family of four — and some even more!
  • Speed. Our list features services with quick dinners for busy families. Most of these companies provide meals that take roughly 30 minutes to make; however, some dishes, like those from Freshly, travel from the box to the table in as little as three minutes.
  • Variety. You may be the lone vegetarian, or perhaps your son has peanut allergies. The meal delivery services we picked provide categories that cater to a wide variety of needs and wants.
  • Price. Most meal delivery services are priced by the serving, and that little number becomes especially important when you multiply it by the mouths you need to feed. Our picks provide servings for as little as $4.99.
  • Ingredients. Not every meal delivery service will prioritize healthy ingredients. Our picks offer organic, sustainably sourced, healthy options.
  • Quality customer service. As you’re testing out new recipes, you may stumble upon a dish that’s not quite to your liking. When that happens, you’ll want a customer service department that’s willing and able to help. Some companies, like Home Chef and Sunbasket, even offer a full refund when customers aren’t happy with their order.

What Are Meal Delivery Services?

First of all, let’s distinguish between a meal delivery service and food delivery.

Food delivery is what companies like Uber Eats and Grubhub provide — local food, whether it’s from a favorite restaurant or even a grocery store, brought right to your door. A meal delivery service, on the other hand, sends ingredients, recipe cards, and a predetermined meal plan to your home, for you to create your own meal. You get an easy, home-cooked meal without the hassle of meal planning and prep or grocery shopping.

Menus can be quite diverse and are typically on a rotating schedule. They may also cater to dietary preferences and restrictions, with dishes for veggie-lovers, gluten-free folks, and more.

Should You Use a Meal Delivery Service?

No matter your relationship status, family size, or like/dislike of cooking, meal delivery services provide a lot of benefits. 

One of the greatest perks these companies offer is they save a lot of time. For many of these companies, you still need to do the work of preparing your dinner, which typically takes an average of 30 minutes; however, you’ll bypass the time spent meal planning, rifling through cabinets to see which ingredients you do or don’t have, and, of course, shopping for ingredients.

Meal delivery services are also great for families who want to make delicious, healthy meals, but don’t have the slightest idea how. Not only do these companies often use healthy ingredients for their recipes, but the meals are created by professional chefs who understand how to use ingredients well.

Finally, meal delivery services are a huge asset for families with a diverse set of tastes and dietary needs or preferences. In fact, some companies, like Freshly, let you select single-serving meals, so every member of your family can choose the dish they want!

However, even with all this said, meal delivery services aren’t the best option for everyone. If you’re strapped for cash, meal planning, and grocery shopping may be a more cost-effective solution. Additionally, if you’re especially environmentally conscious, most meal delivery services package small servings of spinach, teriyaki sauce, spices, and so on, so you’ll probably have much more trash to pitch at the end of each week.

The Bottom Line

For the working parents with a toddler in daycare, the fast-paced families in after-school programs, the household full of picky eaters, and more, just getting dinner on the table at the end of the day is a massive feat, let alone one everyone will like!

The eight companies mentioned above provide wide meal selections for a diverse set of tastes and dietary requirements. 

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About the author

Photo of MoneyUnder30 writer Kate Van Pelt
Total Articles: 49
Kate Van Pelt is a writer and editor based in the Pacific Northwest. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management and English and has established her professional career in marketing and research writing. Since 2015, Kate has created educational materials covering a variety of financial topics, from home loans and credit cards to retirement accounts and estate planning. She spends her free time thrift shopping, making cocktails, and enjoying the outdoors with her dogs, Vira and Elmer.