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Review: Restaurants are Closed Again in Many Cities. Consider a Meal Delivery Service Now

Thinking about ditching trips to the supermarket to increase your social distancing and limit your exposure? Over the last few months many Americans have considered signing up for a Meal Delivery Service.

With the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic surging across the US, many cities and counties are imposing new restrictions on restaurants and dining, even when it’s outside! If you haven’t yet considered signing up for a meal delivery service, check out our recommendations below:

When thinking about which service to sign up for, ask yourself a few basic questions…

  • Do I like to cook, or do I really just want a pre-made meal?
  • Am I an expert cook or a novice… How much time do I want to spend in the kitchen?
  • What types of meals do I like… comfort food, ethnic dishes, the basics?
  • What types of dietary restrictions do I have?
  • Am I cooking for one, or cooking for the family?
  • What do the kids like to eat?
  • Am I a picky eater? How much flexibility will I have with ingredients?
  • How much am I looking to spend each week on meals?

There are many options to choose from in the marketplace. Here are some additional questions to ask before you make your choice:

  • Does the menu have enough variety?
  • Who creates the menu, can I send in input?
  • Do they offer different pricing models?
  • What serving size options do they offer?
  • What are the delivery options?

Make sure the meal delivery service you choose delivers to your area before you sign up!!

The meal delivery services field is growing, with specialty purveyors focusing on vegan foods, seasonal ingredients, soups and smoothies. These meals can be healthy, tasty, easy to make and maybe best of all, you don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike and then battle the crowds at the grocery store. With home meal kits, you just go online and browse the latest recipe ideas, and they come straight to your door ready for you to put together. So this leads to the question, which one? We have reviewed the Top 5 Meal Delivery Services.

Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot runs on plant power. If you don’t eat animal products or are lactose intolerant, you’re in luck. Every single dish from Purple Carrot is not only vegetarian, but vegan, too. But don’t worry, we’re not talking boring grilled veggies here. This box features seasonal produce, herbs and creative sauces that keep things interesting. Each week, Purple Carrot chefs create a new selection of plant-based dishes like cauliflower l’orange and coffee teriyaki skewers. In addition to being healthy and tasty, Purple Carrot encourages users to appreciate that eating plant-based meals (instead of ones containing meat) is environmentally friendly, cutting down on water use and emissions. There are individual plans serving one to two people, a family plan returning that makes two meals for three to four people, and a “performance” plan that ups the protein content of each meal, and is gluten-free.

Blue Apron

They’re the OG of meal delivery services.  Most of Blue Apron’s recipes are pretty easy, making the company a good choice for beginner cooks.  Instead of spending all night at the grocery store or in the kitchen, Blue Apron delivers pre-measured ingredients for simple recipes straight to your door. Meals start at just $9.99 per serving and you can choose the two-person plan, this comes with two or three meals per week or the family plan which comes with up to four meals per week. Also for those of you that like a nice glass of wine to compliment this 5 star gourmet meal you just prepared, check out the company’s wine delivery options.

Another perk is that they love condiments as much as I do. Many of the recipes require you to whip up different sauces or au jus for dipping.

Though there are generally a few choices for your three weekly meals, this isn’t the best option for those with dietary restrictions, as they really only offer a meat and vegetarian option. And even though the meals won’t take forever to cook, you’ll still spend a decent amount of time in the kitchen—somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 minutes. If you use cooking as a way to decompress and chill out after a long day, you are in luck. Blue Apron never fails to take you out of your comfort zone. The most impressive thing was that out of the dozens of meals I made, there were only one or two dinners that I would not make again.

Plated

Plated has easy to follow recipes and is very flexible with customers, but it’s the food that is simply divine. The recipes are crafted by the company’s culinary team and use high quality ingredients that are free of hormones and antibiotics. And while the recipes can be exotic and seductive, you can also just whip up some more standard fare like waldorf chicken salad and spicy crunchy shrimp bowls. You can also add dessert if you really feel like getting carried away.

Plated is also flexible – the company will allow you to skip weeks, switch recipes and cancel anytime. There is a great range of recipes—from an elevated grilled cheese to stuffed roasted squash to pumpkin rigatoni—that reflect the current season. It’s also great they have a two meal a week option. One drawback though – the company doesn’t offer specifically vegan options

 Hello Fresh

What makes Hello Fresh unique is that it offers a vegetarian meal plan for folks who don’t eat meat. The company is also committed to using responsibly-sourced ingredients. To use, first choose from the veggie, classic, or family plans, which all come with two or three recipes per week and start at $7.99 per serving. Still skeptical? Purchase a Hello Fresh Meal Delivery Service in select grocery stores for your first go-around. All the recipes are straight-forward and rarely include unnecessary steps. Plus, the portions are bigger, so we always had leftovers for the next day.

Sun Basket

If you’re trying hard to stick to a certain food regimen like Whole 30 or the Paleo Diet, Sun Basket’s meals can help. They even list out if the meal is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, paleo, carb-conscious, vegetarian, vegan, etc.  They only send the cleanest ingredients to their customers. Choose from either a classic plan, which serves two people, or a family plan which feeds four people and starts at $10.99 per serving. If you’re busy multitasking between online meetings and helping your kids with school and don’t have much time to cook but want to provide healthy homemade meals for your family, Sunbasket has come out with some new options that will help.  They have “Fresh & Ready” meals which are chef-crafted meals that go straight from their kitchen to your oven.  You can just heat up and be ready for dinner in under 10 minutes.  If you want to be a little more involved in the cooking process, they have “Speedy” options which can be ready in 20 minutes.

Bottom line, there are a ton of meal delivery service options out there.  If you just do a little research, you can find the best one for you.  And don’t be afraid to try all of them to decide which you like best. You can also sign up for a few different services and just rotate which meal delivery service you use each week.  Many of the services offer easy to use apps so you can plan your meals weeks in advance.  Happy Cooking!

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