Whether you prefer to cook wholesome meal kits or eat prepared meals, we've tested the best healthy meal delivery services to keep your nutrition goals in check.
Updated Nov. 8, 2023 7:00 a.m. PT
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David WatskySenior Editor / Home and Kitchen
David lives in Brooklyn where he's logged more than a decade writing about all things edible, including meal kits and meal delivery subscriptions, cooking, kitchen gear and commerce. Since earning a BA in English from Northeastern in Boston, he's toiled in nearly every aspect of the eats business from slicing and dicing as a sous-chef in Rhode Island to leading complex marketing campaigns for major food brands in Manhattan. These days, he's likely somewhere trying the latest this or tasting the latest that - and reporting back, of course. Anything with sesame is his all-time favorite food this week.
ExpertiseKitchen tech, cookware, small appliances, food innovation, meal delivery and meal kits.
If you're looking to get healthier this year, eating better is the one strategy that every expert in the field will agree can have immediate and life-changing results. Adding more nutritious food to your diet sounds simple, but in practice, it's best to have a plan. Subscribing to a healthy meal delivery service will put the right foods within reach and we've tested all of them to find the best options for 2023. Prepared meal subscriptions and healthy meal kit services aim to help you eat better without having to do all that heavy lifting yourself. I've tested (and tasted) dozens of services, including all the top healthy meal subscriptions. Green Chef lands in the top spot as the healthiest meal kit subscription for 2023, while Fresh N Lean is the best healthy prepared meal service for those who desire wholesome, nutrient-packed meals with no cooking required.
One of the best ways to up your nutrition game is cooking healthy meals at home and getting less delivery and takeout. If you're constantly on the move, it can be a challenge to plan meals, shop for the groceries you need, and organize lunch or dinner. Whether you'd rather cook yourself (meal kits) and want the ingredients and recipe mailed, or you're looking for delicious, already prepared meals you can heat and eat (with the healthiest meal delivery services), no matter your diet -- vegan or vegetarian, low-calorie, low-carb (keto), organic or paleo -- there's a service to match.
I've cooked and eaten my way through every healthy meal service on this list (and many more) for at least a week before making my recommendations. Below you'll find my picks for the absolute best healthy meal delivery services available in 2023.
While it's pricier than other some other services, Green Chef has a massive selection of meat- and plant-based recipes using mostly organic ingredients.
Green Chef is a healthy organic meal kit service that will tailor your plan to maintain a paleo, keto, vegetarian (plant-powered) or just a steady balanced diet. Roughly 90% of the fresh ingredients included in Green Chef's meal kits are certified organic and its meats are sustainably fished, farmed and raised without hormones or antibiotics. In addition to organic meals, you'll find lots of healthy grains, lean proteins and fresh greens making it the healthiest meal delivery service for 2023.
There are some meal kit services on this list with more total options each week, but Green Chef scores major points for quality and overall healthiness. My favorite Green Chef meal was the artichoke crab cakes with quinoa and zucchini, but everything I made was light, fresh and delicious.
Fresh N Lean has the best prepared meals of any service we tested and caters to tons of diets including keto, plant-based, Whole30 and more.
This isn't just one of the best healthy meal delivery services, it's one of the best meal delivery services, period. I personally tested all of the leading prepared meal companies, and Fresh N Lean ran away from the pack, ticking more boxes than any other. The meals are healthy and cooked well, they taste fantastic and look appetizing, too. Plus, the service is pretty affordable depending on the plan you select.
Fresh N Lean has five meal plans to help keep folks on track with their specific nutrition goals, including low-carb, vegan, paleo and high-protein options. The prepared meals I tried were all made from simple, whole ingredients and tasted like quality home-cooked food. While I liked pretty much everything from Fresh N Lean from the tofu on down, my favorite was a tender braised beef with vegetables in coconut-cilantro sauce.
Purple Carrot is easily the best meal kit service for eating plant-based. The recipes, though limited per week, are interesting, unique and use high-quality ingredients.
Purple Carrot (full review here) is the original plant-based meal kit service and this healthy food delivery service has a loyal and growing customer base. The 100% vegan meal kit service scores points for its inventive and interesting fresh meat-free ingredients and meal prep options like cauliflower and quinoa kofta or sticky apricot seitan stir fry.
Purple Carrot makes it easy to sort its offerings into high-protein or gluten-free meals that satisfy even nonvegetarians. Do be aware that some of the Purple Carrot meals take a bit of time and some skill to prepare but if quality, homemade vegan meal kits are a priority for you (and extra trips to the store are not), this is probably the best meal kit for you. In addition to the tasty vegan meals, you can add extras like banana chia pudding or overnight oats with apricot, goji berries and cashew butter to your weekly delivery.
Hungryroot is for anyone who seeks online grocery delivery and healthy recipe suggestions with all the ingredients to make them but doesn't want to commit to the rigor of a meal kit subscription.
Hungryroot is part meal kit company and part healthy grocery delivery service. Unlike traditional meal kits, Hungryroot tailors a delivery of groceries with simple recipe suggestions that can be created from them. While services like Blue Apron and Sunbasket lock you into recipes with rather specific ingredients portioned for that particular meal.
Plans start at $8.49 a serving or $65 a week. Hungryroot gives you the option to add more servings in increments of two to four, with a flat increase of $10. The cost per serving decreases the more you order. Shipping is free for any plan over $70 a week.
This is simply the best prepared plant-based meal service we've tried and it's one of the most affordable, too.
I tested a week's worth of Mosaic inventive meatless meals (full review here) and for plant-based meal delivery, it doesn't get any better than this. Mosaic is new on the scene and, to date, is the best 100% plant-based meal delivery service I've tried. Of the nine Mosaic meals I tried, none were bad and I really loved nearly all of them.
Personal favorites included the tender jackfruit chili and the olive, pepper and feta ragout, but there were plenty more that hit the spot. There were also no mushy vegetables -- a plague in meal delivery -- and the meat stand-ins like jackfruit, tofu and vegan sausage were used in creative ways and cooked extremely well.
Blue Apron offers steak and healthy seafood recipes starting at $8 a serving. It's also the most sustainable meal kit service when it comes to packaging.
Probably the most recognizable of the meal kit services, Blue Apron has a lot of healthy, fresh options on the menu -- and just a lot of options, in general. Blue Apron teamed up with Weight Watchers for easy-to-cook healthy recipes like sheet pan tandoori-style chicken and tilapia in lemon caper sauce. These recipes align with its point system, making it easy for those in the program to have a healthy diet meal plan and keep track. Blue Apron offers customers roughly eight to 12 delicious meals to choose from per week including more than one vegetarian recipe option as well as a few that were created for the Weight Watchers Freestyle program.
Separate from Weight Watchers meals, its vegetarian options get high marks in the reviews I read, but if you're full-on vegan or vegetarian, there are likely better vegetarian specialty meal kits and meal delivery services with more daily or weekly plant-based options and ingredients. Blue Apron also has one of the most user-friendly meal plan interfaces of all the meal kit services and optional wine pairings, too.
With free dietician support, this meal service takes a holistic approach to better health through diet. Plus, the food is pretty tasty.
This comprehensive meal subscription includes free dietician counseling and is designed for those with food sensitivities and digestive issues. ModifyHealth uses a strategic elimination diet to help find the triggers of your adverse, The program puts a lot of focus on FODMAPS, which are fermentable carbohydrates found in many foods and are thought to be a common trigger for IBS and other gastrointestinal ailments.
ModifyHealth also offers tailored meal plans for diabetics, those with celiac disease as well as looking to improve heart health or eat fewer carbs. The food we tested was solid with lots of lean proteins, green vegetables and light, flavorful sauces. Some dishes were bland and required salt but most were good or better. And the service costs a reasonable $13 per meal no matter how many or few your order. If $13 per meal doesn't seem sustainable for your long-term budget, you can use ModifyHealth for a short time to help diagnose your issues and then transition to more healthy cooking yourself.
A no-nonsense way to get your nutrients in with easy plant-based breakfast and lunch meals with no cooking required.
This is definitely the best meal delivery for ready-to-go, healthy breakfast and lunches. Splendid Spoon is hoping to entice folks who want to keep it simple, easy and nutritious for breakfast and lunch with its ready-made smoothies, soups and grain bowls delivered to your door weekly.
Soup options include cauliflower tikka and Mexican tomato, while smoothies come in tasty combos like almond butter and jelly, blueberry acai and a green matcha smoothie with spirulina, ginger and turmeric. Soups and smoothies are loosely categorized by their overall intended effect, like "heal," "energize" and "refresh." Splendid Spoon also offers a full-day soup cleanse add-on to "reset" your system.
Pete's may be pricey but you'll taste the difference. The tasty premade meals are perfect for athletes and those seeking high-protein and gluten-free meals for extra energy.
Pete's won me over in a week-long taste test, notching its place as one of the best healthy, organic meal delivery services I've yet to try. While it's not particularly budget-friendly at around $15 a meal, it is actually cheaper than other meal services that use organic ingredients and quality meat and the food was better than most of them.
Pete's Real Food meals were all well-prepared too. The meats were tender, the vegetables (mostly) cooked to proper doneness and all the flavors worked. The food wasn't overly seasoned and the recipes were mild and maybe even on the safe side -- but that's nothing a few shakes of hot sauce can't fix. If you're in training, avoiding gluten or keeping to a paleo plan and looking for lots of protein, healthy fats and nutrient-filled carbs such as sweet potatoes and beets, Pete's Real Food should hit the spot. Pete's has lots of ordering options and the meals are made to freeze so if you don't want to subscribe, you can keep an inventory on hand for those moments you need a quick fix.
BistroMD: This health-focused service is intended to help with weight loss and has dozens of weekly menu options that are 400 calories or less.
Veestro: This vegan meal delivery service had some hits and misses. It's also on the expensive side with most plant-based meals costing $15.
Territory Foods: This service relies on partnerships with local chefs to curate menus that are specific to each region. The food was excellent and there were plenty of healthy options. It's also expensive at between $15 and $17 per meal.
Sakara Life: This fresh food service was tasty and good for a cleanse, but it's also one of the most expensive meal subscriptions we tried.
Snap Kitchen: Snap Kitchen has solid prepared meals, mostly under 450 calories. The portions were a bit small, and some meals were underwhelming.
FlexPro Meals: These frozen keto meals were some of the worst I tried.
Nutrisystem: Though it's affordable, I disliked most of the meals I tried from this frozen meal subscription.
Sunbasket: This service has high-end meal kits, but the bloated cost keeps it off our list.
How I tested healthy meal delivery services
To test each meal delivery service, I tried at least five and sometimes as many as 10 meals from any given service. I tried to choose a range of meals from the various menu and meal plan offerings. For instance, if a service offers plant-based meals I was sure to try at least one. I also mixed up the meal types to include rice bowls, meat dishes, plant-based offerings and other various styles offered by the brand. Further, I made sure to test a variety of cuisines -- Italian, Indian, Thai, Mexican -- if they were offered.
Because healthy food is subjective and people have varying nutrition needs and goals, I tried to approach this list from all angles and determine which meal services were healthiest for different types of eaters. Folks keeping to the keto diet, for instance, may consider low-carb meal delivery "healthiest." And others who deem vegan and plant-based food healthier than meals with meat will be looking for a service that provides more meatless options.
I also took careful note of each meal delivery service's website, including what information was provided (ingredients, nutritional info), how clearly the menu was organized and how simple it was to pick a healthy meal plan and order meals. When they arrived, I noted how well they were packaged and checked whether each meal was still chilled or frozen.
To reheat meals, I took a twofold approach. For some, I meticulously followed the heating instructions on the label. But since these are suggestions, I reheated other meals the way I would if left to my own devices. Often that meant warming gently in a nonstick skillet or reheating in an air fryer. Many of the meal delivery services offer a microwave heating option, but I almost always found that produced worse results.
Testing meal kits requires cooking and thus a different stand of practices and procedures for evaluation. Here's more on how we test meal kits at CNET.
What to consider when buying healthy meal delivery
Your nutrition goals
The first thing you'll want to consider is what your nutrition goals are, ideally with the help of a health professional, since some services are better suited to specific diets or health conditions. If it's eliminating some or all meat from your diet, there are vegan meal plans that will make it easy. If you're trying to cut carbs or calories from your weekly intake, there are other services that specialize in keto, paleo and low-calorie foods. Others have meal plans specifically for diabetics in case you are carefully managing your blood sugar.
Type of meal delivery: Meal kits or prepared meals
You'll also want to decide if a meal kit service or prepared meal subscription is best. If you like the idea of cooking, but don't want to do the shopping and prep, a service such as Blue Apron or Sunbasket will take the legwork out of dinner a few nights each week. If you'd rather not cook at all, prepared meal delivery is the obvious choice. They'll send ready-to-eat meals to be stored in the fridge or freezer for whoever you need them.
Cost of meals
The price you're willing to pay is another important consideration. Meal delivery can make life much easier but not if it adds financial stress. Some meal services such as Mosaic Foods have plans that start as low as $6 a serving while others are as pricey as $15 per meal or more. Use our comparison chart to help determine which meal services best fit your budget and go from there.
How diet and nutrition impact your overall health
Most health experts will tell you that eating a healthy, balanced diet is just about the best thing you can do to improve your health. While strict diets aren't necessarily at the top of the list for doctors and dieticians, consuming more whole foods, protein and vitamin-rich vegetables as well as eating less sodium, unhealthy fats and sugar will drastically improve health outcomes over time. Heart health, bone health, cardiovascular health and even mental health are all tied directly to diet, and choosing a healthy meal service or subscription is one way to kick a healthy new nutritional regimen into gear.
Healthy meal delivery service FAQs
Is healthy meal delivery a good way to diet?
Healthy meal kits and meal delivery services offer delicious, curated meals catered to your personal tastes and nutritional needs. One reason folks -- like me, for instance -- tend to prefer meal kits and meal delivery over classic fad diets is they take away some of the risk for those weak moments of dietary self-sabotage.
You should check with your doctor or a health professional before making any drastic changes to your diet. That said, there are meal delivery services that cater to nutrition plans of all types including keto, paleo, Mediterranean diet, low-calorie, vegan, vegetarian and diabetes-friendly.
What's the cheapest healthy meal delivery service?
Mosaic Foods is one of the best prepared meal delivery services and has lots of healthy, plant-based meals that can be had for $9 a serving or as cheap as $6 a serving if you order family meals.
For meal kits, HelloFresh and Home Chef and Blue Apron have loads of healthy options and meal plans that start around $7 or $8 a serving if you choose multiple meals per week. The most budget-friendly meal kits are EveryPlate and Dinnerly. Both have meals for about $5 or $6 per serving but you won't find quite as many healthy options and you can't make many changes to the meals, either.
What's the healthiest meal delivery service?
This really depends on your nutrition goals. And know that just about every meal delivery service claims to be healthy. The options that made this list excelled among the competition, with fresher ingredients, a better selection of truly balanced and nutrition-packed meals as well as detailed guidance and information to make tracking nutrition, carbs, calories, fat and protein easier.
Even among this list, there are meal services that are geared towards particular health and nutrition goals including plant-based meal delivery, meal delivery for paleo eaters and those for folks trying to eat a low-carb diet.
What is the difference between meal kits and prepared meal delivery?
Some of the services listed here are healthy prepared meal delivery services, sending fully cooked meals -- often frozen or partially frozen -- and ready to eat when you receive them. Others include health-focused meal kits with premeasured ingredients all boxed up and ready for easy weeknight cooking. There's a stark difference between meal kits and meal delivery, but both make dinnertime easier and can translate into healthier eating choices for you in 2023. Plus, we sussed out the best healthy meal services for those on special diets like keto or paleo or for those who wish to eat organic prepared meals and meal kits.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.