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Are Meal Kits Worth It?

Compare Meal Delivery Editorial Team

July 22, 2022

Eating out gets costly, cooking similar meals at home can be time-consuming, and let's face it—we all get into food ruts. That's where home meal delivery services come in. For a weekly or monthly fee, you can have pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes delivered right to your door: no grocery shopping, no meal planning, and almost no waste.

We’re experts at comparing meal delivery companies (it’s in our name!), so let’s take a look at some of the key reasons we love meal delivery–as well as a few potential drawbacks to consider when signing up for a meal kit service.

If you’re ready to start getting delicious meals shipped directly to your home, check out what our three top-rated companies currently have on the menu:

Why We Love Meal Kits

Keep it Easy

Home-cooked meals are the mainstay of our weekly food plan–while we might enjoy a night out at a restaurant or picking up our favorite take-out for a night in, nothing beats a home-cooked meal for delicious and cost-effectiveness. That said, meal planning (and shopping and prepping) can be a hassle and with a meal kit, there’s no such thing as a last-minute run to the store for a forgotten onion.

With meal kits, you select how many and what kind of dinners, lunches, breakfasts, and snacks you want delivered that week, and receive a box with what you need. Some companies also give you a head start on the prep work! Besides the easy convenience, you’ll be able to decide whether to stay with family favorites or branch out and learn new recipes and hone your cooking skills.

Discover New Favorites

Meal kits can also be a great way to take a gustatorial vacation to new places and explore new recipes or discover new riffs on classic dishes. If you like to travel the world via food, meal kits are easy way to explore the flavors of Oaxacan tostadas, Tunisian meatballs, Japanese donburi, and Italian Rigatoni–all with an easy-to-follow recipe to make sure your travel plans don’t go awry.

And if family staples are more your jive? Every month offers a new menu filled with familiar dishes and comfort foods, too!

Make Eating Healthy, Delicious

One secret to why food tastes better at restaurants? They’re not shy about the butter. With pre-portioned ingredients and recipes focusing on fresh, whole foods, home-cooked meals are often healthier than eating out. Meal kits provide recipe cards, so it’s easy to follow along and end up with a delicious dinner that’s healthier than the restaurant-alternative.

Stay Fresh

Another benefit of home meal delivery services is that you typically get fresher produce. Grocery store fruits and vegetables can sit on shelves for days or weeks before being bought, while home meal delivery services source their ingredients from local farms and purveyors. This means you're getting the freshest, most flavorful produce available.

Spend More Time with Family

Cooking together and eating together as a family has many benefits, from better grades in school to a stronger sense of community. With home meal delivery, you can take the stress out of mealtime so you can focus on quality time with your loved ones.

Reduce Food Waste

When you cook at home, you're less likely to waste food. Meal delivery services send you only the ingredients you need for each recipe, so you're not left with a bunch of half-used ingredients taking up space in your fridge (or slowly turning into a haunted vegetable drawer of extra zucchini). And if you have leftovers, you can easily save them for another meal.

Are There Any Drawbacks To Meal Kits?

You’ll Still Need to Pick Up Groceries

Home meal delivery services don’t entirely replace the need for a grocery store. While your box of ingredients will contain most of what you need to get dinner on the table, you’ll still need to stock up on pantry staples like flour, oils, salt, and pepper.

Look for Eco-Friendly Packaging

While most meal delivery companies are working on making their packaging more sustainable, there’s always a trade-off between being more convenient–and prepping all the ingredients into individual packets–and being more eco-friendly. Keep and eye out for meal kits that use recyclable and compostable materials (like biodegradable cooling packs) to help reduce their environmental impact.

They Don’t (Usually) Cook for You

When you pick out your meals for the week, take note that some of them take longer to cook than others. (If you’re looking for a meal delivery service that’s ready to go, try some of our favorite premade options.) For most recipes, you’ll still need to plan for 20-35 minutes of cooking time–and maybe a bit more if the recipe or skill required is new.

Balance Healthy Meals with Fun Ones

Another factor to consider when selecting your weekly meal plan: some meals offered each month fall more on the fun side rather than the healthy side. While you’ll be able to look at recipes and see nutritional information for each meal individually, technically there’s nothing to stop you from choosing your meals for the week with your stomach rather than your head.

Meal kits offer a variety of healthy (and delicious) options alongside their delicious (but maybe less nutritious) selections, so make sure to balance meals according to your tastes!

So, Are Meal Kits Worth It?

There are a lot of benefits to meal kits–whether you’re a single adult trying out new flavors, a busy couple needing something fast and convenient, or a parent trying to negotiate the eating habits and taste buds of five different people, meal kits can be a useful tool in helping you get dinner on the table with minimal stress.

And the best part? Home meal delivery services make it easy to try out their menus–and easy to cancel your plan if it doesn’t work out. On our site we’ve ranked different home meal delivery companies for a variety of different dietary needs and preferences–and a lot of them offer special discounts to new subscribers. Check out our homepage, browse our top menu, or click through to our overall top three favorites to discover more!