Reasons for eating a healthy diet can vary depending on your personal preferences and goals, and whether you have any health conditions that require dietary guidance. While we know eating well is important for our physical health, research shows a lack of nutrient-dense foods is also linked to depression and anxiety.

While no diet fits every person, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers guidance on what a healthy eating plan should include:

  • A balance of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • A variety of protein and fat-free or low-fat dairy.
  • Low added sugars, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.
  • Calorie intake that stays within your daily needs.

But preparing meals for yourself or your family can be tedious and time-consuming, let alone the attention that goes into ensuring the meal is well-balanced and healthy. The USDA conducted a survey of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to learn more about the obstacles associated with healthy eating. About 30 percent of participants reported not having enough time to prepare meals from scratch.

Meal delivery services that offer healthy options can help alleviate some of that stress and time by providing prepared meals and meal kits. We researched and tested some of these services to determine which ones offer healthy meal plans that suit various dietary goals, preferences, and needs. 

Learn more about the healthy delivery services we recommend and who we recommend them for.

Best healthy meal delivery service overall

Factor is our top pick because the prepared meals are nutritionally balanced and designed by dietitians. The nutrition consultation offers helpful guidance and support that can help people decide what healthy means to them and find ways to work toward their goals.

Best overall
Meals are designed by dietitians.
Free 20-minute nutrition consultation.
Numerous options for a variety of dietary plans and needs.

Which healthy meal delivery service is right for you?

Compare the best healthy meal delivery services

Price per serving $9.99–$13.49 $11.07–$14.29 $4.99–$7.49 $11.49–$17.99 $11.00–$13.25
Meal kit or prepared? Prepared Prepared Meal kit Meal kits and prepared meals Meal kits and prepared meals
Meals per week 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, or 18 5–7 3–5 2–5, or up to 10 with Fresh & Ready plan 3 or 4 meal kits with 2 or 4 servings each; or 6, 8, or 10 single-serving meals
Delivery area Most of the continental U.S., excluding some rural areas Continental U.S. Most of the continental U.S. Continental U.S., excluding Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, and parts of New Mexico Continental U.S.

Our testing experience

of research
500+   hours
of research
 hand-tested
26+   platforms
hand-tested
surveyed
600   people
surveyed
and tested
200+   meals prepared
and tested

Our Handbook Team tests the top meal delivery programs by signing up as mystery shoppers to try the service and meals for one week each. So far, we have tested 26 of the top meal delivery platforms. During that time, we do the following:

Our meal delivery service testing process
1
Sign up for the service as a new member. Sign up for the service as a new member.
2
Select one week’s worth of meals. Select one week’s worth of meals.
3
Evaluate the program for dietary and food allergy options. Evaluate the program for dietary and food allergy options.
4
Place an order for the meals and set a delivery date. Place an order for the meals and set a delivery date.
5
Track and evaluate the delivery. Track and evaluate the delivery.
6
Unbox package when it arrives and document the condition and quality of all items. Unbox package when it arrives and document the condition and quality of all items.
7
Prepare meals throughout the week following instructions and recipes. Prepare meals throughout the week following instructions and recipes.
8
Evaluate each meal for taste, convenience, portion size, and freshness. Evaluate each meal for taste, convenience, portion size, and freshness.
9
Contact customer support with questions. Contact customer support with questions.
10
Cancel subscription. Cancel subscription.

We become familiar with the best meal delivery services to learn how they work, the types of meals they offer, and how much effort it takes to prepare each meal. We specifically ask each tester to evaluate each meal kit for ingredient freshness, convenience, taste, portion sizing, and whether they offer meals with enough food to feed a family of four. We compare the costs for each program to identify and recommend the cheapest meal delivery services.

Testers also note the types of meals the brands offer, whether they deliver the ingredients and recipes for you to prepare your own meal, or if they deliver pre-made meals that you heat in the stove or microwave oven. If the platform gives you the ingredients to prepare, we look to see if they offer meals for different cooking skill levels.

We also surveyed 600 meal delivery service users to learn more about their experiences. We use these survey results, our testing data, and insights from nutrition experts to develop a thorough perspective on each meal delivery service we review.

Handbook tip

Healthy diets look different for everyone. Before you sign up for a healthy meal delivery service, you should consider your personal goals for healthy eating. Some people may look for meals that are low in sodium or calories, while others may want to add more protein and vegetables to their diets. Your goals can help you decide which platform is best for you.

Best healthy meal delivery service reviews

Factor: Best overall 

Features

  • Price per serving: $9.99–$13.49.
  • Plans: Six, eight, 10, 12, 14, or 18 meals per week.
  • Types of meals offered: Vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, keto-friendly, paleo-friendly, low carb, low calorie, high protein, and low gluten.
  • Type: Prepared.
  • Delivery area: Delivers to most places in the United States; may not deliver to some rural areas.
  • Shipping cost: $10.99.

Our final verdict

Factor is our pick for best overall healthy meal delivery service because their meals are fresh, well-balanced, and dietitian-approved. Our team is also impressed with the free nutrition consultation Factor offers.

Factor’s meals are designed and reviewed by dietitians to make sure they are balanced and nutritious. We recommend their meals for anyone who wants to eat healthier and doesn’t want to worry too much about nitty-gritty nutritional details. You can choose any of Factor’s meals knowing they’ll be well-balanced.

Our two testers disagree on the taste of the food. One thinks the meals are delicious, while the other has difficulty eating more than a few bites. We think it’s important to note that taste is subjective and can vary from person to person.

We scheduled a free 20-minute consultation with one of Factor’s dietitians, and are impressed with their guidance and support. The dietitian offers valuable support through realistic and achievable ways to work toward nutritional goals. For example, the dietitian asked our tester questions about their current diet to diet to determine what changes could be made.

From our tester

“One of my personal goals is to add more protein to my diet. I told the dietitian that I tend to eat frozen meals like mac n’ cheese for lunch, and I expected her to judge me or tell me why I shouldn’t be eating something like that. But she didn’t do that at all. Instead, she suggested adding tuna to the mac n’ cheese to add some protein. She admitted it may be a strange suggestion, but I thought it was a creative way to work with my current diet and a realistic change I could make.”

Each meal is labeled with the different plans they fit into so you can easily narrow down the meals that are high in protein, less than 650 calories, high in fiber, and more. If you want to read the nutrition facts, you can view nutritional information from Factor’s menu on their website, even if you don’t have a subscription. The information includes the ingredients, allergens, calories, fat, sodium, and fiber. Other meal delivery services have a more thorough list that includes the percent daily value, which Factor’s menu lacks.

Tray of cooked chicken and broccoli

Pros & Cons

Pros Dietitian-approved meals. Meals are well-balanced and nutritious. Free nutrition consultation provides realistic steps toward your goals. Cons One tester didn’t like the taste of the food. Nutritional information on website is limited compared to some other platforms.
Best overall

Nutrisystem: Best prepared meal 

Best prepared meal
Nutrisystem

Features

  • Price per serving: $11.07–$14.29.
  • Plans: Five or seven meals per week.
  • Types of meals offered: Chef’s Choice (curated customer favorites) or choose your own menu.
  • Type: Prepared meals.
  • Delivery area: Continental United States.
  • Shipping cost: $9.99.

Our final verdict

Nutrisystem’s prepared meals are designed by dietitians to be nutritionally balanced by combining lean protein, healthy fats, and smart carbohydrates. If you frequently purchase take-out or go to restaurants because it’s more convenient than cooking, Nutrisystem could be a great healthy alternative with the same convenience level, if not more.

All Nutrisystem meals are at or below the USDA’s recommended daily sodium intake (2,300 milligrams). Many foods that come from fast-food restaurants, like pizza, tacos, or deli sandwiches, are high in salt. With that being said, you may find that some of the food tastes a little bland due to the lack of salt.

From our tester

“When I ate the Classic Hamburger, the bun was soggy, and the beef was chewy. Despite a list of ingredients like onion powder, it was mostly bland. I added ketchup.”

If you’re not used to preparing well-balanced meals or don’t have much time to dedicate to meal prep, Nutrisystem can be beneficial for starting that transition, especially with the additional resources they offer. The health coach, journal, and progress trackers can all be useful tools for healthy living. However, we don’t think Nutrisystem is practical or sustainable for long-term use. We recommend using it for a few weeks to ease into your healthy eating journey, learn more about healthy living, and gather ideas for low-sodium, well-balanced recipes you can try on your own.

Warning

If you have a health condition like hypertension or heart disease, you may need to consume less sodium. Talk to your doctor about your recommended sodium intake before starting Nutrisystem.

Beef lo mein cooking on a pan

Pros & Cons

Pros All meals are at or below the USDA’s daily recommended sodium intake. Meals are curated by dietitians. The app includes progress and meal trackers. Cons You may be hungry between meals. Lack of salt may make the meals taste bland.

EveryPlate: Best budget 

Best budget
EveryPlate

Features

  • Price per serving: $4.99–$7.49.
  • Plans: Three to five meals per week; two, four, or six servings per meal.
  • Types of meals offered: Meat and veggie, vegetarian, family-friendly, fast and easy, and low-calorie.
  • Type: Meal kit.
  • Delivery area: Most of the continental United States.
  • Shipping cost: $10.99 per week.

Our final verdict

EveryPlate is more affordable than other brands because it offers less variety. It doesn’t cater to specific dietary needs and diets, like gluten-free or keto, but it has a Nutrish & Delish meal plan with dishes that are 650 calories or less. This could be a good option if you want to reduce your calorie intake.

Despite this being a more affordable meal service, we rated it five out of five in taste, ingredient freshness, and convenience. Plus, EveryPlate provides you with low-calorie meal kits that include pre-portioned ingredients and the recipe. If you really like one (or more) of the EveryPlate meals, you can make the meal again with your own ingredients using the recipe card. This can be great if you like to cook but want the process to be a little more convenient, or if you have trouble finding healthy recipes. Our testers agree that many of the recipes are great for beginners.

From our tester

“I thought it was relatively easy to make. I am very much a beginner in the kitchen and I was able to follow all of the steps with ease!”

With EveryPlate, you may have more trouble finding recipes for your specific diet than with other platforms because it’s more limited in variety. We recommend reading the nutrition labels carefully when you choose your meals to determine whether they’ll fit your specific goals.

EveryPlate meal with rice, carrots, and chicken

Pros & Cons

Pros Low-calorie recipes you can remake with your own ingredients. Scored five out of five in taste, ingredient freshness, and convenience. Great for beginners. Cons Limited information for dietary needs and preferences. You’ll need some pantry staples that aren’t included.

Sunbasket: best organic 

Best Organic
Sunbasket

Features

  • Price per serving: $11.49–$17.99.
  • Plans: Two to five meal kits with two or four servings each; or four to 10 single-serving prepared meals.
  • Types of meals offered: All meals are made with organic ingredients, with options for vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free, low-carb, keto-friendly, diabetes-friendly, paleo, and Mediterranean meals.
  • Type: Meal kits, prepared meals.
  • Delivery area: Not available in Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, and parts of New Mexico.
  • Shipping cost: First delivery is free and subsequent deliveries are $9.99.

Our final verdict

In a survey conducted by the USDA, 61 percent of people cited cost as their main barrier to healthy eating. While Sunbasket is the most expensive brand in this review, the brand says this is due to their high standards for the quality of ingredients they offer. Almost all of the produce is organic, and they only swap out non-organic produce when organic isn’t available due to weather issues.

While further research needs to be done on organic versus conventionally grown food, there is some evidence that frequently eating organic food can help with weight management. The meat, poultry, and seafood Sunbasket includes in their meals is also “responsibly raised,” meaning it’s free of antibiotics and artificial hormones.

When you sign up for Sunbasket, you can choose dietary preferences. The brand will try to make recommendations that keep your preferences in mind. Some options include:

  • Low added sugar.
  • Low carb.
  • Low calorie.
  • High protein.
  • High fiber.
  • No beef.
  • No dairy.

These options suit different healthy diets, depending on your specific goals. The nutrition facts are also listed on the website to view detailed information for each dish. A common complaint about meal delivery services is that you may still feel hungry after eating. However, our testers found Sunbasket’s meals both filling and tasty.

From our tester

“The SoCal Salmon tastes delicious and healthy. It feels weird not eating a carb with the meal, but it fills you up while not making you feel too full.”

Bowl of orecchiette sprinkled with feta cheese and a recipe card next to it

Pros & Cons

Pros Organic produce and responsibly raised meat, poultry, and seafood. Meals are satiating. Ingredients and meals are fresh. Cons More expensive than other brands in this review. No leftovers.

Purple Carrot: Best vegan

Best vegan
Purple Carrot

Features

  • Price per serving: $11.00–$13.25.
  • Plans: Three or four meal kits per week with two or four servings per meal; or six, eight, or 10 single-serving meals per week.
  • Types of meals offered: All meals are vegan with options for gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, high-protein, low-calorie, low-sodium, and low-prep meals.
  • Type: Meal kits, prepared meals.
  • Delivery area: Continental United States.
  • Shipping cost: Free for orders over $100, otherwise $10 in most areas. An additional $10 charge may apply depending on location.

Our final verdict

Purple Carrot is a 100 percent plant-based and vegan meal delivery service. Plant-based diets, like vegan and vegetarian diets, have been found to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, assist with weight management, and reduce the risk of cancer for some people. Following a plant-based diet can also reduce the number of medications you take to manage chronic health conditions. With the numerous health benefits a plant-based diet provides, we consider the entire menu from Purple Carrot healthy.

“Certain groups, such as those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, at risk of heart disease, vegetarians, and individuals with diabetes, may benefit from specific diets tailored to their health needs. For personalized guidance and support, consider working with a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in the condition you are trying to manage.”

Michelle Routhenstein, a preventive cardiology dietitian at EntirelyNourished.com

Purple Carrot also has detailed nutritional information for each of its products on its website. This can be beneficial for people who need to follow a specific diet or who want to decrease calories, increase their fiber or vitamin intake, or limit ingredients like sodium, fat, or carbohydrates. Most of the meals are around 500–600 calories and are high in protein and fiber.

We really like that Purple Carrot allows you to mix and match meal kits with prepared meals. So, if you like to cook but don’t always have the time to prepare a full meal, you can choose to have a few prepared meals at the ready. This adds a level of convenience that may help make healthy eating a little easier.

One of our testers, who considers herself an intermediate cook, says that some of the meal kit recipes are easy for her to follow, but may not be easy for beginners.

From our tester

“I do feel that, with the Marry-Me Cauliflower recipe, I inferred a lot of what I was supposed to be doing since I am an intermediate cook. For beginners, it would probably be helpful for some of the instructions to use phrases such as, ‘While the farro cooks, begin step two…’”

Pros & Cons

Pros All of the meals are vegan and plant-based. Can mix and match between meal kits, prepared meals, and pantry items. All of the nutrition facts can be found on the website. Cons More expensive than some other brands in this review. Some recipes may be difficult for beginners.

Frequently asked questions

The best healthy meal delivery service will depend on your specific goals. The term ‘healthy’ can mean something different to each person. We’ve chosen Factor as our best overall pick because the free nutrition consultation can help you figure out your personal goals and get guidance on how to work toward them.

Healthy meal delivery services can help you eat well-balanced, nutritious meals. It can be a good way to eat healthier, but it may not be suitable for all diets, especially if you have a health condition with specific dietary needs.

Generally, it’s easy to cancel a meal delivery service, but every service is different, and some may be easier than others. Most of the meal delivery services we tested are easy to cancel.

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  3. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Link
  4. USDA Release Study on Hurdles to Healthy Eating on SNAP. (2021, June 23) U.S. Department of Agriculture. Link
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