Eating healthfully can take a lot of time and energy, and being short on both can wreak havoc on your motivation and mood. Food is not just fuel for the body, it’s a key factor in how we feel emotionally.

Your mental health can be affected by how and what you eat. Changing your diet—such as swapping processed foods for fresh fruits and veggies—can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and conditions like anxiety and depression by naturally increasing energy levels so you can move more and think more clearly.

Lindsay Delk, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Texas, says a profound connection exists between what you eat and how you feel.

“A nutritious diet does more than satisfy your hunger—it’s a foundation of your mental health. Research shows eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats (especially fish), and healthy fats, such as those found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds, is a healthy diet pattern for good physical and mental health.”

The best way to ensure you’re getting healthy foods is to cook your meals at home with fresh ingredients, but we don’t all have the time or energy for everyday cooking. That’s why we tested Blue Apron to determine whether this meal delivery service is nutritionally worthwhile.

In addition to nutritional value, we rate meal delivery services on flavor, portion sizes, and overall quality. Perhaps you want to try new vegetables or add more spice to your cooking routine. If so, this service may be the one for you, since it uses a diverse selection of vegetables and pre-measured spices, which gives you the chance to try new flavors without investing in a whole jar of spice. We also like that all of its prepared meals are delivered fresh instead of frozen and will keep in the refrigerator for a week after delivery. 

Read on to learn more about our Blue Apron testing experience, and see some of the other best healthy meal delivery services our Handbook Team has reviewed.

Meal servings start at $7.99.
Premade meals and meal kits.
Fresh, not frozen ingredients.
Optional add-ons include wines and desserts.
40 percent off the first four weeks of a new subscription.

Blue Apron overview

  • Personalized meal kits and pre-made meals.
  • Good for individuals and families.
  • Meals start at $7.99 per serving.

Pros & Cons

Pros Fresh ingredients. Simple instructions. Cuts down on grocery shopping. Cons May not fit every budget. A lot of plastic packaging. Delivery box may be too heavy to lift for some people.

Our meal delivery service testing process

of research
500+   hours
of research
26+   platforms
600   people
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
Sign up for the service as a new member. Sign up for the service as a new member.
Select one week’s worth of meals. Select one week’s worth of meals.
Evaluate the program for dietary and food allergy options. Evaluate the program for dietary and food allergy options.
Place an order for the meals and set a delivery date. Place an order for the meals and set a delivery date.
Track and evaluate the delivery. Track and evaluate the delivery.
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.
Prepare meals throughout the week following instructions and recipes. Prepare meals throughout the week following instructions and recipes.
Evaluate each meal for taste, convenience, portion size, and freshness. Evaluate each meal for taste, convenience, portion size, and freshness.
Contact customer support with questions. Contact customer support with questions.
Cancel subscription. Cancel subscription.

We become familiar with each meal delivery service to learn how they work, the types of meals they offer, and how much effort it takes to prepare each meal. We specifically ask our testers to evaluate each meal kit for ingredient freshness, convenience, taste, portion sizing, and whether these services offer meals with enough food to feed a family of four.

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 prepared meals you heat on the stove or in a microwave oven. If the service 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.

Learn more about our healthy living methodology.

Our expert opinion on Blue Apron meal delivery

Blue Apron is one of our favorite meal delivery services because you can choose from prepared meals, meal kits, or a combination of both. With the meal kits, we like the variety of cuisines and eating style options, whether you’re a beginner cook or an experienced chef who wants to add some variety to your repertoire. We especially like the convenience of having fresh food delivered right to our front door. This cuts down on trips to the grocery store, which we appreciate.

According to Whitney Coleman, a licensed clinical social worker, preparing meals at home can help us eat more mindfully. “Mindful eating is a way of being present in the moment while eating and engaging one’s senses,” says Coleman. “It is a way of being aware of both the food you are eating, the environment you are in, and the sensations in your body while eating. In mindful eating, you notice the smells, textures, flavors, and colors of the food you are eating, which can make the act of eating more pleasurable, reduce binge eating, and lower stress levels.”

Most of the meals were delicious, and our testers say they would make them again. Although the meals may be more expensive than what you usually cook at home, they are less expensive than a restaurant meal, so the starting cost of $7.99 per serving appeals to us.

 Ingredients for Blue Apron lemon ginger salmon meal kit with recipe card
 Ingredients for the lemon-ginger salmon meal kit, which includes fresh vegetables and a step-by-step recipe card.

A recipe card comes with pictures of the ingredients and step-by-step instructions, but the words on the card may be a little too small for some readers. You can also view the recipe card online, where you can increase the font size if needed.

Blue Apron online recipe card with step-by-step instructions for cooking lemon ginger salmon
The online lemon-ginger salmon recipe card can be adjusted in size to make the words more visible.

Our Blue Apron tester says the instructions are easy to follow but thinks the suggested cooking temperature setting is too high. “It calls for heating the pan on medium-high, which is too high for my stovetop and causes the veggies to start to burn.”

The ingredients in meal kits come pre-portioned, but our tester still has to do some preparation. “I did have to chop the vegetables and garlic and grate the ginger. I thought there were too many carrots included, especially compared to the zucchini,” they said.

If any of the meal kit ingredients are unusable or missing when you unpack the box, you can contact customer service, which will issue a credit to your account. Send a message to [email protected] and have the recipe card handy to tell them exactly which meal was incomplete.

Our tester finds the Blue Apron prepared meals convenient and tasty. “I really enjoyed the premade meals. The portion size was good for me and they were very filling. I thought the quality and taste overall was very good,” says our tester.

Cooked lemon ginger salmon with orzo, carrots, and zucchini on a white plate
Lemon-ginger salmon on a plate with orzo, carrots, and zucchini.

From our tester

“This meal was pretty easy to make. There weren’t many components to it. I baked the salmon instead of pan-cooking it because I have stainless steel pans, not nonstick. I also used olive oil instead of butter for the sauce because my partner is allergic to dairy.”

View the nutrition facts

While our tester says they like the taste of the Blue Apron meals, we noticed that some of the meals are high in salt. This salmon dish contains 1,020 milligrams of sodium per serving after it has been fully prepared, which is 44 percent of the recommended daily total sodium intake.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends limiting your daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams. One way to lower sodium amounts in your meals is to swap out salted butter for unsalted butter or olive oil when making the sauce and use a light hand when sprinkling salt to flavor your food.

Nutrition label for Blue Apron lemon ginger salmon with orzo, carrots, and zucchini
The nutrition label for the lemon-ginger salmon meal shows a sodium level of 1,020 after the meal has been prepared.

Who will like Blue Apron

Blue Apron can accommodate different serving options whether you are cooking for one, two, or a family of four. We appreciate the variety of meal types and like the simple instructions that guide cooks through the step-by-step journey from beginning to end.

It’s easy to get stuck in a cooking rut, and Blue Apron meals can offer variety and novelty. Busy people who want to make a meal in less than 45 minutes will like these meal kits, but if you’re really short on time, you can opt for the prepared heat-and-eat meals. These are delivered fresh, not frozen, and only require a microwave. Our tester finds them easy to prepare and very filling.

Who will not like Blue Apron

At first glance, the Blue Apron cost seems budget-friendly, but when you add up the cost of four meals (two meals per week for two people, before discounts), the total, including shipping, is $60.95. But considering the value of the time it takes to plan and shop for food when you’re short on time, it might be worth it. Blue Apron does have promotions and special savings for first-time subscribers. The real savings is in the first month when you first sign up. After that, you can get discounts for referring a friend to Blue Apron.

Blue Apron mystery offer discount promotion with 10, 15, 20, or 30 percent off
The Blue Apron “Mystery Offer” discount promotion can help you to save money on your first orders.

If your budget doesn’t allow for a meal delivery subscription, you can still find ways to eat well while staying within your budget.

How does Blue Apron work? 

To start with Blue Apron, you can explore the menu options on the website, including meal kits, prepared foods, and add-ons like desserts and wines. Each week, the Blue Apron test-kitchen staff members select new meals, but you can swap them out for something more to your liking. You can manage your orders from your Apple or Android device or through the website.

Screenshot of meal selection on Blue Apron website
Blue Apron allows for personalizing your meal selection, from dietary preferences to the number of meals you’ll receive each week.

Meal plan options

Blue Apron offers a variety of meal plans to select from.

  • Chef Favorites: These are the top picks from Blue Apron’s test kitchen staff.
  • Wellness: Nutritionist-approved recipes.
  • Family-friendly: Blue Apron’s take on the classics.
  • Fast and Easy: Simple recipes with low prep or short cook times.
  • Veggies: Meat-free meals.

The next steps involve choosing between meal kits and prepared foods, choosing your culinary preferences, and selecting your servings per meal and meals per week. You can always change your subscription preferences later if you want fewer or more meals. Once you complete these tasks, Blue Apron will take you to the next page to complete payment.

During sign-up, your zip code helps determine which day of the week Blue Apron can deliver to you. You can request to switch delivery days, pause, or cancel the service anytime.

How much does Blue Apron meal delivery cost?

Recipes/meal kits per weekPrice per serving for 2 people*Price per serving for 4 people*

*Cost of full-priced meals before promotions, discounts, or shipping charges.

Payment options

Blue Apron accepts Apple Pay, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. The service does not currently accept any form of food stamps or EBT payments.

Blue Apron offers a 40 percent discount for the first four weeks of meal delivery to people over age 55, active duty military and veterans, medical workers, first responders, government workers, teachers, college students, and recent graduates.

How we tested Blue Apron

Ingredient freshness

Our testers say the ingredients are fresh, not frozen or soggy. Upon opening the produce and proteins, everything smells fresh and ready to cook. The premade meals are also fresh and can be kept in the refrigerator typically for one week after delivery.


A delivery service is convenient for most people living on the first floor of their home or apartment. However, carrying the box of meals up several flights of stairs might be challenging for someone who lives in a walk-up apartment. The prepared meals are very convenient since you only need a microwave to heat them up from the refrigerator.


The meals are tasty, but many include or call for ingredients that load the meals with salt. If sodium is a concern for you, consider making a few meal swaps for lower sodium dishes, or use less salt to lower the sodium content of your meal.

Accurate portion size

Appropriate portion sizes can vary from person to person. One of our testers says both the meal kits and prepared meals are filling for them, but their partner says they could use a few extra bites. Another tester says the portions are just right for their family of four, so it may depend on how much you are used to eating for each meal and how high your caloric needs are.

For people on a diet, the pre-portioned heat-and-eat meals might be a good way to cut calories, or you can choose the low-calorie meal kits, which provide approximately 600 calories in each serving. Whether this is the best meal delivery service for weight loss remains to be seen.

Family Friendly

Blue Apron is family-friendly. We like being able to add or omit certain ingredients when preparing and cooking the meals from the meal kits. One of our testers says they enjoyed introducing their two picky-eater kids to vegetables and cuisines they hadn’t tried before.

Other factors we consider

In terms of convenience, we consider whether you have to be home at the time of delivery to ensure the food does not spoil. You do not. The cardboard Blue Apron box has plenty of freezer packs to keep the food cool, and it’s well-insulated to withstand ambient heat. However, the box would eventually break down if left in the rain too long, so it’s best to arrange a dry location for the delivery person to leave the box.

You can order either meal kits, prepared meals, or any combination of the two. If you’d like to order a combination, after selecting your meal kits, follow these instructions to order the prepared meals:

1. Select a meal from the Prepared & Ready menu and click Add to Order.

2. You’ll be asked if you want to save the selections you’re currently subscribed to and add another order. Click Save & Add Another Order.

3. Continue adding your selections.

Our final verdict on Blue Apron 

With so many meal delivery services on the market, knowing which is the best can be hard. We like Blue Apron’s fresh ingredients, personalized menus, and simple cooking instructions. Blue Apron offers fresh premade meals and meal kits that can feed one person (with leftovers), two people, or a family of four. Whether you’re looking to cut down on trips to the grocery store or have more variety in your meals, Blue Apron delivers on the key things we look for in a meal delivery service: quality and convenience.

Our favorite things

Our testers say they and their families love trying new dishes and experimenting with a variety of cuisines. They also like the convenience of having both meal kits and heat-and-eat meals to round out meal planning each week.

During our Blue Apron testing, we found the recipes easy to make with well-developed flavors. All our testers needed to have on hand were basic kitchen tools like a sharp knife and cutting board, baking sheet, saute pan, and salt, pepper, and olive oil from their pantry.

Our complaints

Although Blue Apron meal delivery is convenient, it creates a lot of plastic trash. The delivery boxes, egg cartons, and some of the shipping materials are recyclable. But most of the ingredients, including every ingredient you need to make the sauces, are wrapped in non-recyclable plastic packaging.

Some of the meals left testers feeling hungry, but we see how this can be a perk for some people for portion control and weight management. Read our review of best weight loss platforms for more brands that focus on these areas.

Lastly, we have some concerns about the high levels of salt in some of the meal kits and prepared meals, but on the other hand, that is also what makes these dishes tasty. If you’re planning a lower-salt diet, read our review of the Mayo Clinic Diet.

Frequently asked questions

Blue Apron pre-made meals are already cooked and just need to be heated in the microwave (they cannot be heated in a conventional oven or toaster oven). Blue Apron meal kits are not already pre-cooked and require more preparation, like chopping and cooking veggies, cooking proteins, and mixing sauces.

You can order two to five meals per week, for two to four people. As with most meal kit subscriptions, you can change, pause, or cancel the service anytime.

Blue Apron does not recommend that you freeze your meals. All of the ingredients are fresh and will turn out best if you cook them each week as you receive them.

Blue Apron has vegetarian, low-calorie, and low-carb options. You can make some food swaps, such as using olive oil instead of butter if you can’t eat dairy, and you can opt not to add salt or salted ingredients (such as salted butter or seasonings).

Blue Apron may not be the best meal delivery service for you if you have a severe food allergy because ingredients are packaged in a facility that also processes major allergens, including milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, sesame, wheat, and soy. However, Blue Apron provides allergen information on nutrition labels for each recipe.

  1. Bremner, J.D., Moazzami, K., Wittbrodt, M.T., Nye, J.A., Lima, B.B., Gillespie, C.F., Rapaport, M.H., Pearce, B.D., Shah, A.J., & Vaccarino V. (2020, August 13). Diet, stress and mental health. Nutrients,12(8):2428. Link
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2024) Sodium in your diet. Link