We Tested 15 Meal Boxes & These Are The Top 5 !

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

Meal delivery subscription boxes are a big deal right now. With claims to reduce your prep time, help you eat healthier, lose weight, save money and sleep great (okay, maybe I added that last one), they’re an easy thing to get suckered in to.

And, if you’re anything like us, you get a pretty regular stream of mailers with coupons to try this one or that one, making them even more difficult to turn down.

So, we decided to try them all and tell you the best ones.

Why Try a Meal Delivery Kit?

There are a few really great reasons to try a meal delivery kit, such as:

  • Try new recipes, with ingredients that may be difficult to source
  • Stop eating out and save money from going to restaurants or fast food
  • Eat more healthy, with organic and grass-fed options
  • Less grocery shopping!
  • Save time meal planning!
  • Learn to cook with new techniques
  • Meet specific dietary needs, such as a low sodium meal delivery kit

We love the ease and newness of a meal delivery kit, so we decided to have some fun with it:

The Meal Delivery Kit Experiment:

Let’s start with a disclaimer: we bought ALL of these meal boxes with our own money and didn’t tell the services we would be writing this review.

The idea was to get as authentic an experience with them as possible.

And, after months of testing over 15 meal box delivery services, we have narrowed it down to the top 5 we highly recommend.

*Not all meal boxes are available to be shipped to all addresses, so there were some that we wanted to try and can’t at this time. None of these boxes sponsored these posts, but affiliate links are used.

How We Tested The Meal Delivery Services:

Our criteria for testing was pretty straightforward:

  • Arrived on time
  • Packaged well and was still very cold
  • No spoilage and no dripping – particularly with meat
  • Meals were quick and easy to prepare for an average home chef
  • Meals were appealing to several palettes, from adults to kids
  • Meal options had a wide variety and mixed it up over time

The Best Meal Kits Are …

So, without further ado, here are the 5 most delicious, reliable, easy and family-friendly meal delivery services we tried:

1. Marley Spoon by Martha Stewart

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

This meal delivery box was our favorite for kid-friendly meals the whole family enjoys. The meals were easy to prep, delicious, family friendly and it’s one of the more affordable boxes.

How Marley Spoon Works:

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

First, you choose to get  meals for 2 people or 4 people, with a frequency of 2, 3 or 4 meals a week.

We found the 2 meals was enough for us and our kids when they were little (they didn’t eat very much). Now that they are a bit older, we would need the 4 person meal.

You select the meals you would like from a variety of options that are regularly rotated with some repeats. You pick when you’d like it to be delivered each week from their delivery options to your area.

Boom. That’s it.

Meal Review:

We all thought these were some of the best tasting meals from the delivery boxes. The skillet lasagna, in particular, was delicious.

Plus, they were very easy to prep, even for me, and I am not a great cook.

Of all the services, we have saved more menu cards from Marley Spoon than any other and have remade them with ingredients we bought ourselves.

Quality of Ingredients:

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

All ingredients were high quality, packaged well, and were enough to create the meals.

Customer Service:

When we first moved, there were some issues with the local delivery service delivering to our neighborhood so late in the day, the box was not as cold as it should be. Marley Spoon refunded us with no questions asked. Due to the nature of meal boxes, they can’t ship a replacement, so a refund is the best they can do.

Cost:

Marley Spoon has frequent promotions, so it’s difficult to give you an exact number. Here’s what they are currently pricing at and you can see the original price crossed out:

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

Fine Print:

It is easy to swap out recipes for others you’d like instead. Pausing and restarting your subscription for times when you don’t wan to get it is very simple from the easy to use dashboard.

Verdict:

Marley Spoon is fabulous. The only thing is you’ll be bummed there are no leftovers, because the food is delicious.

Check out Marley Spoon here. 

2. Home Chef

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

We also really liked Home Chef, which is no surprise, since they seem to be a fan favorite in the world of meal delivery subscriptions.

How Home Chef Works:

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

You get a lot of options with Home Chef:

  • 2, 4, or 6 people
  • 2-6 days a week
  • Meat preferences
  • Dietary preferences
  • Foods You Want To Avoid

And more. Home Chef is very customizable to your unique family needs.

When I checked for this post, there were 17 menu options and a smoothie recipe to choose from for the next available week. But, after taking out all of the dietary restrictions for us, it brought it down to 3 options.

Meal Review:

Delicious! Classic meal options with a twist, like restaurant-quality marinades on a skirt steak and perfectly seasoned burgers.

Plus, they were very easy to prep, even for me, and I am not a great cook.

Quality of Ingredients:

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

All ingredients were high quality, packaged well, and were enough to create the meals. The packaging was the most attractive and totally idiot-proof in its organization.

By idiot-proof, I mean that even I could figure it out.

Customer Service:

Excellent. We haven’t had any issues with them, but they seem dialed.

Cost:

Home Chef also has frequent promotions, so it’s difficult to give you an exact number. For 2 meals for 4 people, the price was $80 before a $20 promotion, bringing it to $60.

30$ a meal for a family of 4 is pretty reasonable, but you could prep meals for cheaper. You are paying for the ease of the service and the time you would save planning, grocery shopping, and portioning meals.

Fine Print:

Pausing and restarting your subscription for times when you don’t wan to get it is very simple from the easy to use dashboard. They are regularly updating recipes with new ones.

Verdict:

Home Chef is fabulous. A bit on the pricey side for us to use it indefinitely. But, the food is delicious.

Check out Home Chef here. 

3.  Blue Apron

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

Blue Apron is the first meal delivery box we tried. We actually started getting it when our son was a baby, to save time and hassle having to shop and plan meals as much.

Back then, when he was little and we could cook together, it was a really nice treat to break up the week. Plus, the meals are some of the most delicious I have ever had – including 5-star restaurants all over the world. These are very high-quality and inventive meal plans for the real foodie. 

How Blue Apron Works:

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

You get a lot of options with Blue Apron:

  • 2 or 4 people
  • Up to 4 meals a week, on some plans
  • Meat preferences
  • Weight Watchers Freestyle Options
  • Vegetarian options

And more. Blue Apron is very customizable to your unique family needs.

Meal Review:

Like I mentioned earlier, these are some of the most scrumptious meals I have ever had. I’ve even tried new foods that I would probably never have braved anywhere else and loved them.

The sauce preparations alone are something you’ll make over and over, even with your own store-bought ingredients.

These are more time-consuming to prep, even for an advanced cook like my husband. You need to like cooking and be able to work quickly through a variety of steps.

With a glass of wine, you’ve got a restaurant-quality meal that you can enjoy at home. Excellent for special meals, a date night at home, etc.

Quality of Ingredients:

All ingredients were always exceptional. Use of grass fed meats and locally sourced organic produce really feel like you’re eating the best. The packaging was well-done and mostly organized.

Customer Service:

Excellent.

Cost:

Blue Apron  also has frequent promotions, so it’s difficult to give you an exact number. Typically, meals are around $9 and under per serving, and promotions will bring that down more.

So, about $25/a meal for a family of 4, which I feel is starting to get to the price you would spend at a grocery store.

Fine Print:

Pausing and restarting your subscription for times when you don’t want to get it is very simple from the easy to use dashboard. They are regularly updating recipes with new ones. Recyclable packaging and ice packs feel extra environmentally-friendly.

Verdict:

Blue Apron will always be one of our absolute favorite meal boxes. When my kids are a little older and can entertain themselves a bit more and will eat more than chicken nuggets and veggies, we will probably sign up again. Blue Apron feels like a treat – it’s a dinner you look forward to and enjoy eating.

Check out Blue Apron here. 

4. Sunbasket

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

Sunbasket has made a splash on social media – and for good reason. Their perfectly planned and portioned entertainment package make styling the perfect charcuterie board or appetizer tray easy and super photographable.

But, they’re  more than just a special event meal box. Their weekly meals are just as creative and delicious.

With meal options for every meal of the day, including snacks, Sunbasket offers the widest range of our recommended meal boxes.

How Sunbasket Works:

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

You get a lot of options with Sunbasket:

  • Vegetarian
  • Pescetarian
  • Diabetes-friendly
  • Paleo
  • Mediterranean
  • Quick & Easy
  • Lean & Clean
  • Gluten-free
  • Carb Conscious
  • 2 or 4 people
  • 2, 3, or 4 meals

And more. Like I said, Sunbasket has a jaw-droppingly extensive menu.

Meal Review:

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

Delicious! They make eating clean something you’ll really look forward to.

No compromises required here – their chefs cook the pants off your formerly-known-as-boring diet plan.

Similar to Blue Apron, these are somewhat advanced, but worth it, meals that you’ll really enjoy and remember. In fact, it’ll probably teach you how to cook better and you’ll find yourself replicating them on your own again and again.

Quality of Ingredients:

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

All ingredients were always exceptional. Use of grass fed meats and locally sourced organic produce really feel like you’re eating the best. The packaging was well-done and mostly organized.

In fact, their Keep It Clean promise includes:

  • Certified organic handler, and strives to source organic produce 100% of the time
  • The best antibiotic- and hormone-free meat and organic eggs
  • Only use wild-caught seafood that is recommended as Best Choice or Good Alternative by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® Program

Customer Service:

Excellent.

Cost:

Sunbasket  also has frequent promotions, so it’s difficult to give you an exact number. Typically, meals are around $10 and under per serving, and promotions will bring that down more.

Plus, what type of food and meal you are buying will change the price. Always take advantage of the most recent promotion to maximize savings.

Fine Print:

Pausing and restarting your subscription for times when you don’t wan to get it is very simple from the easy to use dashboard. They are regularly updating recipes with new ones. Recyclable packaging and ice packs feel extra environmentally-friendly.

Verdict:

Sunbasket is an excellent choice, for family meals or even special occasions. Some of the menu items will be a bit elevated for young children. Sunbasket is great for more adventurous eaters, as well as adults who want a special meal of their own while the kids enjoy their easy favorites.

Or, you can shop their pantry and snacks to put together a family-friendly meal of your own. Sunbasket has such an incredible range, it would be difficult to not find what you were looking for in a meal box here.

Check out Sunbasket here. 

5. Plated

best-meal-kit-for-families, meal-kit-delivery-service, meal-subscription-box

Plated has a very special place in my heart, and that is because Plated has a DESSERT OPTION.

Yes, that’s right. Game changer.

How Plated Works:

Some good options here, similar to the others:

  • Omnivore option
  • Seafood lover options
  • Dessert seeker options
  • Vegetarian options
  • 2, 3 or 4 servings
  • 2, 3, or 4 meals
  • Up to 20 meal options every time

Meal Review:

In addition to the bonus of a planned dessert, their recipes feel sort of in-between Marley Spoon and Blue Apron in terms of family friendly and difficulty. They are in the sweet spot.

Quality of Ingredients:

Also very high quality. I love this graphic from their site that explains where they source their food:

Customer Service:

Excellent.

Cost:

Plated also has frequent promotions, so it’s difficult to give you an exact number. For 2 meals for 4 people, the price was $80 before a $20 promotion, bringing it to $60.

30$ a meal for a family of 4 is pretty reasonable, but you could prep meals for cheaper. You are paying for the ease of the service and the time you would save planning, grocery shopping, and portioning meals.

Fine Print:

Pausing and restarting your subscription for times when you don’t wan to get it is very simple from the easy to use dashboard. They are regularly updating recipes with new ones.

Verdict:

Plated is a wonderful choice if you’re looking for something great for a family with slightly older kids and you have some cooking skills. With their 2-person options, you could enjoy a meal for one and still have lunch the next day. Plus, you have dessert options and I am always down for a treat.

Try out Plated here. 

Why Some Meal Boxes Didn’t Pass Our Test:

For the other boxes we tried, there are different reasons why they didn’t make the final cut. Sadly, for many of them, the reasons were not really in their control, but were due to the shipping company they used.

But, common reasons why some boxes didn’t make it on the list were just that the meal prep was too long or much longer than suggested or meal options became too repetitive week after week.

****

Keep in mind that we are looking for a delicious, affordable, family-friendly box – and that guided our personal search.

What you are looking for may be different, so please try out the boxes that work for you and have fun.

There isn’t much risk to meal delivery boxes, and a whole lot of convenience when you find the perfect fit.

Have a fabulous day,

E

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2 Comments

  1. CaRla
    July 19, 2019 / 9:41 am

    This is great!! I’v i’ve been wanting to try these but with a picky eater at home I’ve been hesitant since I know I’d still have to make a speCial kid meaL anyway.

  2. CaRla
    July 19, 2019 / 9:41 am

    This is great!! I’v i’ve been wanting to try these but with a picky eater at home I’ve been hesitant since I know I’d still have to make a speCial kid meaL anyway.

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