The Best Meal Kit Delivery Services for Self-Quarantine outside of Blue Apron during the Pandemic

Self-Quarantine much? Folks priorities have shifted from using disposable income for various purchases on clothes, outdoor activities, restaurants, bars, etc. to essentially survival. Food delivery is becoming more and more necessary as demand is extremely high since people cannot leave their home or don’t want to due to Coronavirus / Covid-19 fears. Might as well get meal delivery services and start easing into cooking today. Here’s a list of a few of our favorite options out there.

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Home Chef

Home Chef allows you to choose from 10 plus meals each week. In less than a half hour you can cook up some great dishes. Meat or veg? Avoiding dairy? Cutting out nuts? Soy? Wheat? Home Chef has allows for dietary restrictions with fresh ingredients for meals such as shrimp scampi pasta, farmhouse fried chicken, and mahi mahi with lemon garlic aoili. They set their menus for you five weeks ahead, so you can know what you can cook a month ahead.

Stock up, get helpful meal-prep tips from its chefs, and get ready to impress yourself. Beyond entree-sized portions, Home Chef also offers five-minute lunches and dishes you can fix up easily

Cost: Meals start at $7 per serving (choose from two or four servings), and can even be customized for an additional fee; other meal options are available on the site. Delivery is free for orders over $49, and otherwise $10 for anything less than that amount.

Availability: Nationwide, USA

Check out Home Chef today here!

Yumble Kids

Yumble knows how hard it is to get kids to actually eat their vegetables, or pulling together meals as a working parent (who right now may be tackling work and childcare at the same time). This is why they created a meal kit service specifically catered to children between the ages of 1 and 12. Founded by Joanna Parker (a mother to three picky eaters), Yumble even consulted nutritionists for their rotating menu of well-balanced kid’s lunches, dinners, and snacks—all filled with regionally sourced fruits and veggies.

Meals include kid menu favorites like chicken nuggets with a side of veggies, or mac-and-cheese served with broccoli, and there’s even a specialty “Picky Eater” box to prevent the kids from freaking out at the dinner table. Yumble sends along boxes weekly with pre-cooked meals so all you have to do is re-heat or assemble on a plate when you get home from work. Sounds pretty good. The boxes even include activities for kids to do while they eat, like sticker sheets and table topics, to keep kids engaged during mealtimes.

Cost: $24 per week for six meals to feed one kid; $48 per week for 12 meals to feed two kids (prices include shipping). Other options are available on the site.

Availability: Most of the East Coast and parts of the Midwest.

Check out Yumble kids today here!

Freshly

Freshly makes good on its mission to make healthy eating easy. All of its meals are gluten-free, but you won’t miss it.

Here’s how it works: First, pick out your plan. There are four options: 

  • 4 meals per week: $45.99/week or $11.50/meal
  • 6 meals per week: $53.99/week or $8.99/meal
  • 9 meals per week: $80.99/week or $8.99/meal
  • 12 meals per week: $95.99/week or $7.99/meal

Once you’ve picked your plan, you get to pick your desired delivery date. Rather than sending the whole weeks worth of meals to you on Wednesday, Freshly lets you choose to receive meals any day of the week. Very flexible.

Once you’ve picked your delivery date, Freshly will show you the menu for that given week, and you get to select which meals you want (you can even double-up if you want to order one of them multiple times). A typical week has 30 options, give or take. The selection of meals always include an array of cuisines and dietary preferences, but not many vegan or vegetarian options. This service is definitely heavy on meats.

With its emphasis on making healthy meals, Freshly makes it easy to find all the nutrition info you could want for each meal. Under every meal is an array of icons that tell you if the meal is paleo-friendly, dairy-free, and high protein, among other facts. If you want to do a deeper dive into a particular meal, click on it for more info.

The meals arrive as pre-made single portions packed in one big box. Inside the box is a layer of biodegradable recycled denim insulation, which keeps your meals fresh, and two big ice packs, which can also eventually be recycled. Actually, everything inside the box (even the box itself) can be recycled, so points to Freshly for sustainability efforts. If you’re worried about ordering food when you might be out of town, just know these ice packs stayed frozen for almost 48 hours.

Meals are meant to be kept in the fridge — not frozen — and are all marked with an expiration date, though in general most meals will last a week. 

Freshly meals should take three minutes or less to heat up in the microwave. Freshly suggests you plate these meals rather than eat right out of the container. For meals that could be “made” in three minutes or less, we were impressed.

Pros: After trying the service, here are three things we think Freshly does best.

  1. Convenience: Coming home to a ready to eat meal makes life easy. Pop it in the microwave and have a full dinner in less than three minutes. The packaging also makes these pretty portable, so you could bring them with you as packed lunches for work too. Plus, the meals come right to your door. That’s pretty convenient.
  2. Nutrition: When you order from a restaurant, you usually don’t know what’s really in your meal. So, you may think you’re ordering a healthy dinner, but you don’t know what cooking oils, sugars, or other hidden ingredients could be making that meal less than ideal. Freshly, on the other hand, is transparent about health. Everything is always natural, gluten-free, and follows the brand’s specific health guidelines. If calories or dietary preferences are important to you, Freshly helps you with that.
  3. Taste: Convenience shouldn’t come at the cost of taste — after all it’s still a meal. Freshly works with talented chefs to dream up and cook all of its meals. It’s not just grilled chicken and broccoli, Freshly dabbles in all kinds of cuisine — from chicken tikka masala to a low-country boil, there are plenty of adventurous options for you to choose from.

Cons: Here are three things we think Freshly could do better. 

  1. Vegetarian options: The vegetarian selection is pretty small, and most of the veggie-based meals didn’t seem as appealing, to be honest. There aren’t many options.

Freshly is a great service, but I think it’s better suited for some types of people than others. If you’re someone who hates cooking, grocery shopping, and often finds yourself too busy to even whip up pasta or scrambled eggs, this service will make your life so much easier. No thought or effort, just pop a meal in the microwave and you’re set. 

Availability: Nationwide USA

Check out Freshly today here!

More services to be added soon.

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