There's no denying that meal kits like Blue Apron and HelloFresh are convenient ways to get dinner on the table. Step-by-step recipes and fresh ingredients delivered to your doorstep? Yes, please.
Fortunately, nutrition and weight-loss expert Samantha Cassetty, RD, says meal kits are great for those watching their weight.
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"They alleviate some of the decision-making fatigue that stems from trying to figure out what to eat," she says. "We make about 200 food-related decisions every day, and by dinner time, it's often overwhelming — especially since you're making family and work decisions all day, too. A meal kit can minimize the stress while still serving healthful meals to help you meet your goals."
But with so many choices, which one is best?
The Best Meal Kits for Weight Loss
- Best for Foodies and WW Followers: Blue Apron (Starts at $11.99 per serving, BlueApron.com)
- Best Customizable: Sun Basket (Starts at $9.99 per serving, SunBasket.com)
- Best for Keto or Paleo: Green Chef (Starts at $12.99 per serving, GreenChef.com)
- Best for Calorie-Counters: HelloFresh (Starts at $8.49 per serving, HelloFresh.com)
- Best on a Budget: Dinnerly (Starts at $2.12 per serving, Dinnerly.com)
- Best for Vegans or Plant-Based Eaters: Purple Carrot (Starts at $9.99 per serving, PurpleCarrot.com)
- Best for Meal Prep: Hungryroot (Price varies, Hungryroot.com)
- Best for Prepared Meals: Fresh N' Lean (Starts at $7.93 per serving, FreshNLean.com)
- Best for People With Diabetes: BistroMD (Starts at $8.24 per serving, BistroMD.com)
- Best for Dessert-Lovers: Daily Harvest (Price varies, DailyHarvest.com)
How We Chose
To help you navigate the world of home-delivery meal kits for weight loss, we researched what makes each one unique and asked nutritionists to weigh in on our top picks, based on the following criteria:
- Nutritious ingredients
Here are the best bets to help you stick with your plan, hit your goals and still get everyone in your household fed.
1. Best for Foodies and WW Followers: Blue Apron
The original meal kit, Blue Apron burst onto the scene in 2012 and started a trend. What still tends to set Blue Apron apart is its innovative meal options. From Pork Lo Mein to Caribbean Spiced Chicken Thighs, the seasonal-based menu is diverse to say the least.
The company is also approved by WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and offers WW-recommended recipes and a meal prep offering.
To maximize the health benefits of any meal kit, Cassetty recommends keeping an eye on the portion sizes. "Since starchy carbs are often a less-expensive component of a meal kit, you might find the portion exceeds your needs," she says.
Delivery options: Opt for two, three or four meals per week for two or four people. Choose the Wellness kit for WW-approved meals.
Buy it: Blue Apron; Price: Starts at $11.99 per serving (plus $9.99 shipping)
2. Best for Customizable Meal Plans: Sun Basket
Cassetty has recommended Sun Basket to clients because she likes that the company uses organic produce and has a variety of kits available for different needs.
"You can mix and match among their menu items — say, choosing a vegetarian dish one night and a carb-controlled option another," she says.
Sun Basket offers a good amount of gluten-free and grain-free options as well as Mediterranean diet-based meals suitable for people with diabetes and heart disease.
Delivery options: Pick two to five meals per week for two or four people.
Buy it: Sun Basket; Price: Starts at $9.99 per serving for prepared meals, $11.49 per serving for cooking kits
3. Best for Keto and Paleo Dieters: Green Chef
If you're following the paleo or keto diet and are tired of meal prep, Green Chef's kit might entice you. Look for options like Coconut-Crusted Chicken, Shaved Steak with Tzatziki and Togarashi-Spiced Steak, which should satisfy your macro goals.
While weight loss and maintenance depend on your individual calorie requirements, keep in mind that the meals portioned for "two people" may be more than you need, says dietitian LeeAnn Weintraub, MPH, RD.
"I found that meals for 'two' were more food than my husband and I would eat in one sitting, and we would have enough for one leftover meal — usually lunch the next day for one of us," she says.
Delivery Options: Choose three or four meals per week for two, four or six people.
Buy it: Green Chef; Price: Starts at $12.99 per serving (plus $9.99 shipping)
4. Best for Calorie-Counters: HelloFresh
If you're tallying calories, HelloFresh makes it easy by providing a nutrition label for every recipe on its website. Many of its dishes max out at 650 calories per meal (compared to some meal kits that log as many as 800 calories per meal).
Plus, Cassetty says, cooking your own food can help you manage your weight because it puts you in charge of the ingredients you're using rather than leaving that up to the chefs who prepare your takeout or grocery-store meals. And that holds true, she says, whether you're relying on a kit or cooking from scratch.
She recommends choosing meal options that offer a generous portion of produce (especially veggies), lean proteins, healthful fats (mostly from plant sources, like extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil, olives, avocados, nuts and seeds), as well as whole grains.
Delivery options: Choose from two to six recipes per week for two or four people.
Buy it: HelloFresh; Price: Starts at $8.49 per serving (plus $9.99 shipping)
5. Best on a Budget: Dinnerly
For those looking for fast, simple and inexpensive meals, Dinnerly is your go-to choice, thanks to recipes containing only six ingredients.
If you're looking to lose weight, choose low-calorie, low-carb meal options like Barbecue Pork Tenderloin and Basil Cauliflower Fried Rice.
Beyond saving on calories, you'll save on cash, too, because this kit is by far the least expensive on the market.
Delivery options: Choose from three to six meals per week for two or four people.
Buy it: Dinnerly; Price: Starts at $4.99 per portion (plus $9.99 shipping)
6. Best for Vegans or Plant-Based Eaters: Purple Carrot
Going vegetarian, and even vegan, is a growing trend, both for weight loss and other health reasons. There are many healthy side effects of eating more veggie-heavy meals.
"There is no doubt that most of us would benefit from eating more plants, but many people struggle to translate this simple idea into a reality at home," Kristin Koskinen, RDN, LD, nutritionist and owner of Eat Well, Live Well, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
Enter Purple Carrot, which not only offers plant-based dinners, but breakfast and lunches to boot. Koskinen's handy tip? "When you find a recipe you like, file the recipe card that comes with your kit and replicate it on your own later."
With regards to all meal kits, Koskinen makes another recommendation: "If you subscribe to a kit that allows options, step outside your comfort zone every once in a while. Choose something that uses ingredients that are unfamiliar to you or that you can’t easily find in your area."
This is a great way to broaden your palate, she says, and introduces nutrient you may not otherwise get.
Delivery options: Choose from three or four meals a week for two people, or two to three dinners per week for four people.
Buy it: Purple Carrot; Price: Starts at $11 per serving
7. Best for Meal Prep: Hungryroot
Hungryroot is a recipe and grocery-delivery combo service. After you take a quick quiz, the site fills your cart with groceries that are then delivered to your door. Your box arrives with chef-curated recipes that use the groceries in your cart, making it easy to prep ahead of time for nutritious meals all week.
Hungryroot's quiz lets the service know how you eat (vegetarian, dairy-free, etc.) and what your goals are, so you can customize your plan to you and your family's needs.
Delivery options: Get breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and/or dessert foods delivered for singles, couples or families.
Buy it: Hungryroot; Price: Varies
8. Best Prepared Meals: Fresh N' Lean
Fresh N' Lean delivers you organic, pre-made meals in seven different meal plans: high protein, keto, paleo, Mediterranean, Whole30, plant-based and low-carb or low-calorie plant-based. There's even an option that allows you to order in bulk.
The company says its philosophy is based in fresh, organically grown whole foods, which makes any plan you choose a good option for weight loss. Plus, each meal is freshly prepared before it's shipped to you, so you can skip the cooking time and simply heat-and-eat.
Each meal comes with a nutrition label on the back, so you can easily keep track of calories and/or any other nutrients or macros you're tracking.
Delivery options: Breakfast, lunch and dinner options, as well as the option to buy in bulk
Buy it: FreshNLean.com; Price: Starts at $7.93 per meal
9. Best for People With Diabetes: BistroMD
BistroMD was created by Caroline J Cederquist, MD, a board-certified bariatric specialist who was working at a weight-loss clinic when she had the idea to create a weight-loss-focused meal delivery service. Each day of meals clocks in between 1,200 and 1,400 calories, with a balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates.
You can choose from four different plans personalized to your health needs or stage of life: Standard, Gluten-Free, Diabetic or Menopause. The registered dietitians at BistroMD then create a custom diet plan for you based on your food preferences and weight-loss goals.
Delivery options: Choose from five or seven full days of breakfast, lunch and dinner, or just lunch and dinner.
Buy it: BistroMD.com; Price: Starts at $8.24 per meal
10. Best for Dessert-Lovers: Daily Harvest
Daily Harvest serves up plant-based, gluten-free prepared meals that are great for people who want to more easily incorporate whole foods into their diet.
Choose from options like soups, grain bowls, smoothies and more, including a selection of Daily Harvest scoops: plant-based ice creams that satisfy a sweet craving (flavors include Chocolate; Ooey, Gooey, Midnight Fudge and Vanilla; Salted, Swirled Black Sesame).
Delivery options: Choose how many items you want and how often you want them delivered.
Buy it: DailyHarvest.com; Price: Varies