We get it, dinnertime during the week can be crazy and stressful for parents. That’s probably why meal kit delivery services have exploded in popularity over the last few years. They deliver fresh, wholesome ingredients so you can make a home cooked meal for your family with less stress. But this convenience comes at a price.
So, we’ve tried all of the major ones that deliver nationally (or at least all of them to date!) to help you figure out which one is the best fit for your family, if the cost is worth it to you in the first place. If you’ve been curious about these services, but don’t know where to start, read on. I also include a tip that might help make these services more manageable on a budget.
Before we jump into the meal kit details, I want to note that, for me, the services that actually prep ingredients — they deliver what I need already chopped and mixed — are the better value for your dollar. But others cater to specific diets or are designed just for kids. It all just depends on your needs and wants.
Also, waste is one of our biggest concerns with all of these services (so many individually wrapped items!). Of course, you can recycle or reuse the packaging for school lunches or your own meal prep. You can also check with your service to see if they’ll allow you to return containers after use. All that said, you may also want to weigh in the fact that you may be avoiding some food waste by purchasing only what you need for dinner. As in, no more half-bunches of cilantro or partial jars of yogurt in the trash.
My favorite of all the meal kits tested was Terra’s Kitchen, which delivers completely prepped, fresh ingredients in a tiny refrigerator. Each item is coded with the recipe number, which you can find on the printed cards included. When it came time to cook, I just opened the packages and added them to my pan. Even the meat was pre-cut. So easy.
Taste, is of course, one of the most important aspects of all this. My family and I thought that the food from Terra’s Kitchen was delicious and we thoroughly enjoyed meals like Wagyu steak with roasted red pepper sauce and grilled tacos with avocado goat cheese sauce. They also offer the option to add desserts, smoothies, appetizers, bento lunches, and even just upscale cuts of meat to your box.
But, all that goodness and convenience comes at a price. Their more expensive meals can run over $100 for my family of six. Whoa. I plan to save this for special meals for my husband and I…while I heat up a pizza or chicken tenders for the kids. ($9.99-$15.99 per serving for family meals)