Best Meal Subscription Boxes To Make Healthy Meal Plans Easier Than Ever

1

This article contains referral links through which we earn a commission at no extra cost to our readers. Some links will also offer our readers special discounts. Learn more.

Best meal subscription boxes - hello fresh, home chef, green chef, blue apron

Mark Stafford

Do you find yourself serving up yet another premade supermarket meal to your family and feeling guilty that you didn’t make it fresh yourself? Or clearing up the cartons after your third takeaway that week, knowing it’s not only your waistline that’s suffering but the planet?

The problem is we’re all busy these days, and planning, buying, preparing, and cooking a healthy meal for you and your partner or family every night can simply be too time-consuming and stressful.

That’s where meal subscription boxes can help. Originally started in Sweden, they soon spread throughout Europe and then the States. There are now over 150 companies in the US offering meal subscription boxes, which is a problem in itself. How do you know which one is best?

This is why we’ve created this roundup of the 8 best meal subscription boxes – Hello Fresh, Green Chef, Blue Apron, Home Chef, Hungryroot, Purple Carrot, Freshly and ButcherBox.

We’ve highlighted who each one is most suitable for – busy moms with kids, vegans, meat lovers, and more. So read on to find the best fit for you and your diet.

What are Meal Subscription Boxes?

Meal subscription boxes are a food delivery service. The boxes contain all the necessary raw ingredients you need to prepare and cook one or more fresh meals.

The main ingredients are proportioned out and a recipe card is included with a step-by-step guide to help you turn the ingredients into a, hopefully, delicious and nutritious meal.

As the name suggests, they work on a subscription basis, with delivery usually being once a week, although with some companies you can skip weeks. The boxes can contain anywhere from one to a dozen or more meals.

There are many recipes to choose from, and companies often cater to a particular market, such as meat lovers or vegans.

Our Top Pick: Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh is one of the oldest subscription box companies, having originally started in Germany in 2011.

Today, they are also one of the most popular, delivering millions of meals every year. Rather than specializing in one particular niche, Hello Fresh has a wide range of meals suitable for vegetarians, pescatarians, and those who love their meat.

It’s this mixture of experience and variety that makes Hello Fresh our top pick. Their step-by-step recipe cards are also easy to follow, and the results are delicious. You can see our Hello Fresh taste tests in our full review: Hello Fresh vs. Home Chef: Tried and Tested.

The delivery from Hello Fresh is reliable, and their customer service is often mentioned positively in reviews. All in all, if you’ve never tried meal subscription boxes before, HelloFresh is a great place to start.

Special Offer on Hello Fresh

$80 off including free shipping: Hello Fresh Offer

Hello Fresh Review

$80 off Hello Fresh: Hello Fresh

#1 Hello Fresh

Best All-Rounder

A good choice for those wanting a wide selection of meat and vegetarian meals.

Hello Fresh is probably the best-known meal subscription box company in the US and our top pick. They deliver 1-3 times a week. Each delivery comes in an insulated box, so you can transfer any meat or perishables straight into your fridge knowing the food is fresh. You can order up to 5 meals each week for up to 4 people. As well as pre-proportioned ingredients, each meal comes with a step-by-step recipe card.

Hello Fresh US Review

 

$80 off Hello Fresh: Hello Fresh

Price range

$7.49-$8.99 per serving per person (minimum 2 people/2 meals per week) + $8.99 shipping

What we love about it

One concern with getting your meals through subscription box companies if you’re trying to be more environmentally aware, is the box and packaging the food arrives in. Most of Hello Fresh’s packaging is recyclable, including the gel packs.

Why they’re special

According to their website, each recipe is tested 200 times by their chefs, so if you follow the instructions, you should end up with great results every time. Comments from their reviewers bear this out.

Options offered

23 meal choices a week with options for:

  • Veggie
  • Family Friendly
  • Calorie Smart
  • Quick and Easy
  • Pescatarian

Meal plans

2-4 people, 2-5 recipes a week.

What others have to say

Most reviewers loved the variety of meals, the size of the portions and the quality of the raw ingredients. They found the recipe cards easy to follow. Some reviewers mentioned that a few recipes were quite challenging to make and took 30 – 45 minutes to prepare, but on the whole, they seemed to think the final results were worth it.

Other reviewers felt that Hello Fresh lacked choice if you were on a specialized diet and that you would be better with Hello Fresh’s sister company, Green Chef, who offer 

You can see an in-depth comparison of the Hello Fresh and Green Chef meal boxes here: Hello Fresh vs Green Chef Compared.

Hello Fresh US reviews

Hello Fresh scored an average of 4.4 stars out of 5 from 39,833 reviews across 2 independent platforms, Trustpilot and Consumer Affairs.

Hello Fresh US Review

Special Offer on Hello Fresh

$80 off including free shipping: Hello Fresh Offer

Home Chef Review

$90 off: Home Chef

#2 Home Chef

Best for Healthy Eating and Quick-Prep 

Started in 2013 and based in Chicago, Home Chef delivers around 10 million meals every year. It also boasts that it has one of the highest satisfaction ratings among meal subscription box companies, and its average review rating below certainly bears this out.

Home Chef Review

$90 off: Home Chef

Price range

$7.49 – $9.94 per serving per person (minimum 2 people/2 meals per week) + $13.99 shipping.

Options offered

20+ meal choices a week in 6 categories:

  • Meal Kits
  • 15-minute Meal Kits
  • Oven-Ready
  • Grill-Ready
  • Culinary Collection
  • Entree Salads

Meal plans

Home Chef: classic meal plan with pre-portioned ingredients and cooking instructions.

Fresh and Easy: low or no-prep meals for busier schedules.

Fresh Start: carb and calorie-conscious meal options approved by dietitians. 

What we loved about it

Home Chef has plenty of recipes for those who want to be adventurous, but what we loved, in particular, were their 15-minute meals in their Fresh and Easy meal plans. They’re quick and easy to prepare and taste delicious. 

You can see our meal taste test of a Home Chef food box in this comparison: Hello Fresh vs. Home Chef: Tried and Tested.

Why they’re special

Home Chef let you customize your meals more than some other providers. You can double the protein element or upgrade to a different protein when ordering any meal. 

So if you love a particular chicken recipe, you can customize it with double the chicken. Or even swap the chicken for pork, perhaps. If it’s a veggie recipe, you can even add meat to it.

What others have to say

On average most reviewers have had a positive experience with Home Chef. There is plenty of choice, the ingredients are fresh, and the meals mostly simple to make. Reviewers also said the food was usually delivered on time.

Some reviewers found the seasoning on some dishes either a little strong or a little bland, and there was the occasional damaged box on delivery. Home Chef’s customer service, however, seemed to deal with most issues to the reviewer’s satisfaction.

Home Chef reviews 

Home Chef scored an average of 4.3 stars out of 5 from 4,523 reviews across two independent platforms, Trustpilot and Influenster.

Home Chef Review

Special Offer on Home Chef

$90 off including free shipping: Home Chef Offer

Green Chef Review

$90 off: Green Chef

#3 Green Chef

Best for Organic Food Lovers

Hello Fresh bought Green Chef in 2018, but the two companies cater to different markets. (You can find a detailed comparison between the two here: Hello Fresh vs. Green Chef Compared.

Green Chef combines organic ingredients with serious sustainability. All ingredients are certified USDA-organic (see ‘Why They’re Special’ for exceptions), and they take every measure to reduce their impact on the environment.

Green Chef review

$90 off: Green Chef

Price range

$10.49 – $11.99 per serving per person (minimum 2 people/3 meals per week) + $8.99 shipping.

Options offered

27 meal choices a week in 3 categories:

  • Keto + Paleo
  • Balanced Living
  • Plant-Powered

Meal plans

2-6 people, 3-4 meals a week.

What we loved about it

With Green Chef you can eat whatever is on their menus, knowing it is not only organic but that the recipes are also tasty and nutritious. Having Keto and Paleo recipes as well is a real bonus.

Why they’re special

Everything that can be organic is organic. So many companies tout themselves as ‘organic’ when in fact, only a small percentage of their products are.

The only items that Green Chef send you that aren’t organic are ones that cannot be labeled as organic for various reasons.

They are transparent about this on their website. For instance, did you know there is no such thing as ‘organic salt’ as an item has to be living to be certified organic? [1]

They also live up to their promise of reducing their footprint on the planet, so you can enjoy your food without the guilt. As well as making sure their packaging is recyclable, they offset 100% of their carbon and plastic use.

What others have to say

Generally reviewers like the fact that the food is organic and the packaging recyclable. The freshness and taste of the food is also praised. Many reviewers appreciate that Green Chef cater to different dietary needs, such as vegan or dairy-free.

Some reviewers found the portions too large (although to be fair, a couple of reviewers complained the portions were too small!) and there was the occasional incorrectly shipped meal or missing ingredient. A few reviewers also found it a little pricey, but a slightly higher price point is expected for organic ingredients.

Green Chef reviews

Green Chef currently has 4.4 stars out of 5 from 1,521 reviews across 2 independent platforms, Trustpilot and Influenster.

Green Chef Review

Special Offer on Green Chef

$90 off including free shipping: Green Chef Offer

Blue Apron Review

$80 off: Blue Apron

#4 Blue Apron

Best for Adventurous Cooks

The idea for Blue Apron came about in 2012 in New York when three young men – Matt Salzberg, Ilia Papas and Matt Wadiak – couldn’t get the ingredients to make a decent steak meal. They decided there had to be a better solution and Blue Apron’s meal subscription service was the result. Nowadays, Blue Apron supplies more than just the ingredients for a steak dinner, but they’ve stayed true to their roots, making sure everything inside their meal boxes is as natural and chemical-free as possible.

Blue Apron Review

$80 off: Blue Apron

Price range

$4.36 – $7.18 per serving per person (minimum 2 people/2 meals per week) + $7.99 shipping (free if 3 meals a week)

Options offered

12 meal choices a week in 4 categories:

  • Signature
  • Signature for 4
  • Vegetarian for 2
  • Wellness for 2

Meal plans

1-4 people, 2-4 meals a week

What we loved about it

While there are plenty of easy recipes to prepare, Blue Apron scores by having more complex offerings for when you’re feeling more adventurous or have more time. Subscription meal boxes are a step up from premade supermarket meals you just cook or reheat but with many, you still don’t get the real joy of cooking. With Blue Apron’s more involved recipes, you feel like a ‘real’ cook, and the resulting meal is that much more satisfying because of it.

Why they’re special

Blue Apron insists that all their suppliers certify their products, and that their ingredients are not produced using genetic engineering, so the food you get in their boxes is assured non-GMO.

Their meat is from farmers and ranchers who do not support the use of any growth promoters, such as added hormones, sub-therapeutic antibiotics, or beta-agonists.

They also only source seafood that Seafood Watch has rated “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative,” and their eggs are laid by pasture-raised hens which are free to roam and forage outdoors, “dining on a mixed diet of grass, bugs, and natural vegetation.”

What others have to say

Most reviewers praised how clear the instructions are on the recipe cards and how useful it is that Blue Apron also sells wine and some kitchen items. Reviewers also liked that you can skip weeks without having to cancel your subscription.

It has to be said, a few more recent reviews mentioned that the service hasn’t been quite as good as it used to be, but this may be a temporary glitch. Overall most reviewers would, and have, recommended the service to their friends.

Blue Apron reviews

Blue Apron scores an average of 4.2 stars out of 5 from 9,558 reviews across 2 independent platforms, Trustpilot and Influenster.

Blue Apron Review

Special Offer on Blue Apron

$80 off including free shipping: Blue Apron Offer

Hungryroot Review

Special offer: Hungryroot

#5 Hungryroot

Best for Those Wanting to Avoid Allergens

Ben McKean founded Hungryroot in 2015 with the aim of providing people with better food choices on a daily basis. Originally solely plant-based, it now also supplies meat, fish, and dairy-based meals.

Hungryroot Review

 

Special offer: Hungryroot

Price range

$8.49-$9.99 per serving per meal. 

Prices start from $69 for their small box (three or more two-serving meals, plus snacks). They go up to $129 for their large box (five or more two-serving meals, plus snacks.). Shipping is free.

Options offered:

Multiple meal choices a week in 10 categories:

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Pescatarian
  • Dairy-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Soy-Free
  • Tree Nut-Free
  • Peanut-Free
  • Egg-Free
  • Shellfish-Free

Meal plans

2-4 people.

What we loved about it

Hungryroot’s recipes are largely very simple to make and plant-based. In 10 minutes, you can whip up a tasty, nutritious meal. 

The real added bonus, though, is that if you have an allergy, Hungryroot caters to meals that exclude gluten, egg, shellfish, peanut, tree nut, and soy. It’s important to note, though, that they do not operate a nut-free facility. So if you have severe allergies, it’s best to discuss this with their team first. 

Why they’re special

In some ways, it’s what Hungryroot don’t supply in their subscription boxes that makes them special. 

None of their ingredients contain partially hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, or artificial preservatives.

What others have to say

You can see a more in-depth review of Hungryroot and how customers found their service in our article here: Hungryroot vs. Purple Carrot

Hungryroot reviews

Hungryroot scored an average of 4.4 stars out of 5 from 2,124 reviews across two independent platforms, Trustpilot and Facebook.

 

Hungryroot Review

Special Offer on Hungryroot

Limited time offer: Hungryroot

Purple Carrot Review

$30 off: Purple Carrot

#6 Purple Carrot

Best for 100% Plant-Based Meals

Purple Carrot was Launched in 2012 by Andy Levitt, who found that an entirely plant-based diet helped him when he had Crohn’s disease.

Based in Needham, MA, the company has been owned since 2019 by Tokyo-based Oisix, Japan’s largest meal kit and organic food delivery service.

The cultivated orange carrot so common today actually comes from the ancient purple carrot found around, what is now, modern-day Afghanistan, hence the company’s name. [2]

Purple Carrot Review

 

$30 off: Purple Carrot

Price range

$9.99 – $11.99 per serving per person (minimum 2 people/2 meals per week) + free shipping.

Options offered:

8 meal choices a week in 4 categories:

  • High-Protein
  • Gluten-Free
  • Quick & Easy
  • Chef’s Choice

Meal plans

2-4 people, 2-4 meals each week.

What we loved about it

All their recipes can be prepared in under 30 minutes and are easy to make. They look fantastic, especially the color combinations of all the different ingredients they use.

The other great thing about Purple Carrot is that you no longer need to spend hours trying to hunt down an obscure plant-based ingredient for your meal. Everything’s provided in the box.

Why they’re special

Purple Carrot provides only plant-based recipes, so it’s heaven for vegans. However, their recipes are so creative and nutrition-packed, meat-eaters would do equally well with many of them.

On top of that, they have over 500 recipes ranging from breakfasts, appetizers, dinners, soups, and snacks. You can also choose gluten-free or high protein meals.

What others have to say

You can also find more details of Purple Carrot in our in-depth comparison: Hungryroot vs. Purple Carrot.

Purple Carrot reviews 

Purple Carrot scored 3.4 stars out of 5 from 39 reviews across 2 independent platforms, Trustpilot and Sitejabber.

Most negative reviews reported having trouble with their deliveries arriving on time or with being notified of the delivery dates. Some had some spoiled produce. However, many customers were thrilled to have found a completely vegan meal prep service. 

Purple Carrot Review

Special Offer on Purple Carrot

$30 off: Purple Carrot

Freshly Review

$60 off first 4 weeks: Freshly

#7 Freshly

Best for Single Person and Oven-Ready Meals

The brainchild of Michael Wystrach and Carter Comstock in 2012, Freshly was intended not only to help people eat more healthily but also to reduce food waste. In 2020 Freshly was bought by Nestlé for $1.5 billion.

Freshly Review

$60 off first 4 weeks: Freshly

Price range

$8.49 – $11.49 per serving per person (all plans are for one person starting from 4 meals a week) + $5.99 – $11.99 shipping

Options offered:

38 meal choices a week in 1 category

Meal Plans

1 person can choose plans of between 4-12 meals each week.

What we loved about it

We love the simplicity of Freshly. After all, one of the main reasons people turn to time-saving solutions like meal subscriptions is that they’re too busy and frazzled to go to the supermarket, choose ingredients and then come home and cook. 

Freshly take this time – and hassle- saving to its logical conclusion by cutting out the cooking part as well.

Why they’re special

All Freshly’s meals are single serving, so they’re perfect for single people, or you can double up for couples. 

Most of the meals are also pretty calorie-conscious, ranging from 500 to 650 calories.

Unlike most meal subscription companies, all of Freshly’s meals are ready to cook. On average, 3 minutes in the microwave, and you’re done.

Freshly reviews

Freshly scored an impressive 4.8 stars out of 5 from 9,740 reviews across 2 independent platforms, Trustpilot and Consumer Affairs.

Freshly Review

Special Offer on Freshly

$60 off your first 4 weeks: Freshly Offer

Butcherbox review

Free essentials bundle: Butcherbox

#8 ButcherBox

Best for Meat Lovers

Mike Salguero founded ButcherBox after finding himself in a Massachusetts parking lot buying bags of beef from a local farmer. His wife had a thyroid condition and needed an anti-inflammatory diet, part of which was lean, grass-fed meat.

Unable to find anything more than ground beef and the odd steak, he resorted to buying directly from farmers. This led him to found ButcherBox in 2015.

Butcherbox review

 

Free essentials bundle: Butcherbox

Price range

Their boxes range from $129 (8-11 lbs of meat/approximately 24 meals) to $270 (18-26 lbs of meat/approximately 60 meals) + free shipping.

Options offered

4 box options:

  • Custom Box
  • Mixed Box
  • Beef & Chicken Box
  • All Beef Box

Meal plans

There are dozens of recipes available on the site.

What we loved about it

The quality of the meat is the main reason to love ButcherBox. Couple it with their inspired range of recipes, and it’s a meat-lover’s paradise. A nice touch is the 2 lbs of free 100% grass-fed, grass-finished ground beef you get with every order for the life of your membership.

Why they’re special

Obviously, the big difference between ButcherBox and the other meal subscription box companies is that they only supply meat and recipes incorporating meat. But it’s not just any meat. The beef is grass-fed, the free-range chicken organic, and the pork heritage breed.

ButcherBox reviews 

ButcherBox scored an average of 3.3 stars out of 5 from 428 reviews across 2 independent platforms, Trustpilot and Influenster. 

The main complaints were to do with customer service responses and with meat arriving entirely frozen.

There are a number of positive reviewers who were baffled by the negative reviews as they had never had a bad experience with ButcherBox. Some had been using the service for years. Their meats had always arrived frozen solid, and they found the quality of the beef to be excellent. 

Butcherbox review

Special Offer on Butcherbox

Free essentials bundle: Butcherbox

Which meal subscription box is best?

Hello Fresh is best for those with no special dietary requirements who like simple cooking, as they supply a wide variety of easy-to-prepare meals. On the other hand, their sister company, Green Chef, is a natural choice for those wanting to eat organic as it supplies 100% organic boxes.

Blue Apron scores if you want to be adventurous and take a little more time preparing your meal, whereas Freshly is perfect for those who want to do no preparation or cooking at all as you simply need to pop their meals in the microwave for 3 minutes.

Home Chef is perfect for those wanting to avoid certain foods as it has a wide choice of recipes without most major allergens. And Hungryroot is a good choice for vegetarians or vegans as it has more plant-based recipes. It, too, allows for a range of excluded ingredients in the recipes offered. 

Purple Carrot is the only meal subscription box company on this list offering 100% plant-based meals, so is a good choice for vegans, while ButcherBox is the perfect box for meat lovers as it only supplies quality meats.

Special Offers on Meal Subscription Boxes

Best All-Rounder:

$80 off Hello Fresh: Hello Fresh Offer

Best for Healthy Eating and Quick Prep:

$90 off Home Chef: Home Chef Offer

Best for Organic Food-Lovers:

$90 off Green Chef: Green Chef Offer

Best for Adventurous Cooks:

$80 off Blue Apron: Blue Apron Offer

Best for Those Wanting to Avoid Allergens:

Seasonal offers with Hungryroot: Hungryroot Offers

Best for 100% Plant-Based Meals:

$30 off Purple Carrot: Purple Carrot Offer

Best for Single Person and Oven-Ready Meals:

$60 off Freshly for your first 4 weeks: Freshly Offer

Best for Meat Lovers:

Free essentials bundle: Butcherbox Free Bundle

What is the cheapest meal subscription box?

Overall, Blue Apron is generally the cheapest option, with prices starting at just $4.69 per serving. The shipping’s free as well if you order 3 or more meals a week.

Are meal boxes worth it?

There are certainly cheaper ways to eat, but in this mad, over-busy world we inhabit, the convenience of having fresh, ready-prepared meals delivered to your door is worth a lot. 

Only you can put a price on the feeling of satisfaction you get when serving a freshly-cooked, nutritious meal to yourself or your family. Or the sense of relief you feel when eating well for your waistline and the planet.

If you consider it that way, meal subscription boxes can be worth a lot more than just what’s inside.

Special Offers on Meal Subscription Boxes

Best All-Rounder:

$80 off Hello Fresh: Hello Fresh Offer

Best for Healthy Eating and Quick Prep:

$90 off Home Chef: Home Chef Offer

Best for Organic Food-Lovers:

$90 off Green Chef: Green Chef Offer

Best for Adventurous Cooks:

$80 off Blue Apron: Blue Apron Offer

Best for Those Wanting to Avoid Allergens:

Seasonal offers with Hungryroot: Hungryroot Offers

Best for 100% Plant-Based Meals:

$30 off Purple Carrot: Purple Carrot Offer

Best for Single Person and Oven-Ready Meals:

$60 off Freshly for your first 4 weeks: Freshly Offer

Best for Meat Lovers:

Free essentials bundle: Butcherbox Free Bundle

Get FREE Phonics Flashcards

Grab our phonics letter pack today!

Join our weekly newsletter and get the best of our fun learning activities delivered straight to your inbox

newsletter printable
  • 15 first letter sounds
  • Initial sounds
  • Learn to read first words