As any overworked and over-scheduled mom will tell you, no matter how much you and your partner split parenting duties, getting a hot meal on the table is nearly impossible. Between feeding your kiddo dinner, reading bedtime stories, and prepping for a bath, you’re wiped out; cooking an entire dinner for two adults is just not gonna happen. As working parents, my husband and I struggle to get dinner made after our twin daughters go to bed. With all the new meal delivery services out there, we decided to test them out to see if they really made our lives easier. Here’s the real lowdown on five different meal services.
1. Meal delivery service: Veestro
Price range: Most meals are $10.49 per serving. Juices are $6.99. Weight-loss plans start at $209 every two weeks.
Available: Ships to all 50 states.
Types of food offered: All vegan. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, juices, gluten-free, juice cleanses, and weight-loss plans.
Cook time: All meals are fresh-frozen. Some need to be defrosted overnight and others can be reheated straight from the package. On average, it took about 15 to 25 minutes to reheat entrees.
One mom’s take: Veestro was easy for us because we didn’t have to do any prep work. We could reheat the meals on a skillet while we cleaned our twins’ playroom post-toddler tornado and prepped their food and snacks for the next day. Some of the meals were tastier than others. We particularly loved the red curry with tofu and brown rice.
2. Meal delivery service: Hello Fresh
Price range: Classic and Veggie plans are $9.99 per meal (serves two or four adults). The Family Box is $8.74 per meal and serves two adults and two kids.
Available: Ships to the continental US.
Types of food offered: Meat, fish, vegetarian, and family-sized.
Cook time: The cook times listed for most meals are 30 to 40 minutes, but we found that those estimates were not accurate. For example, we made the Patatas Bravas With Crispy Artichokes. The listed cook time was 30 minutes, but it took us a whopping 48 minutes to make the stuff. It was delicious, but the potatoes were practically frozen, so they took much longer to cook than the recipe suggested.
One mom’s take: The serving sizes are spot on; we had friends over for dinner and made one meal for a nice dinner party. But for day to day, the cooking times are way too long for two tired parents. Everything was delicious, but someone else needs to make it for us!
3. Meal delivery service: Thistle
Price range: Depends on the meal plan you pick. For five days of vegan lunches, dinners, and fresh-pressed juices, it costs $145.
Available: By local couriers in San Francisco and Los Angeles, or via shipping to greater California and Nevada.
Types of food offered: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, fresh-pressed juices, coffee drinks, and snacks. Gluten-free, vegan, and meat options.
Cook time: Almost None! Everything is made ready to eat. Some meals, like soups, can be reheated, but most can be eaten without cooking.
Best plan for new parents:Thistle Baby. We wish this service existed when we were first trying solid foods with our twins. If you sign up for Thistle Baby, organic flash-frozen produce is pre-washed, chopped, and portioned by recipe. All you have to do is steam and blend, and bam — a week’s worth of meals is ready for your baby. Meals include Little Green Machine (broccoli, asparagus, green beans, bartlett pears, tarragon) and Keep Calm & Curry On (butternut squash, rainbow carrots, gala apples, curry).
One mom’s take: We loved that our healthy meals were ready straight from the fridge. It made our lives so much easier. My husband really liked the cold brew coffee with house-made almond milk, while I loved the Autumn juice (carrot, orange, and turmeric). Our favorites were the Thai Curry Tofu Scramble and the Sweet Potato Chickpea Tofu Bowl. Plus, we felt totally nourished from eating such nutrient-dense meals.
4. Meal delivery service: Terra’s Kitchen
Price range: One-serving items generally range from $3.99 to $9.99. Two-serving options cost between $9.99 and $17.99 per serving.
Available: Free shipping to most states. Enter your zip code to verify delivery to your area.
Types of food offered: Meals, pre-made salads, smoothies, snacks, and juices. Vegan, vegetarian, low-calorie, paleo, and gluten-free options.
Cook time: 30 minutes or less.
One mom’s take: We made a vegetable fried rice that took only 16 minutes to make (I used our rice cooker to make the rice.) Everything tasted delicious and we had plenty of leftovers for a lunch the next day. We also love that they use an eco-friendly vessel. We left the box outside with its return label and FedEx picked it up the next day. It couldn’t have been easier.
5. Meal delivery service: Purple Carrot
Available: Ships to all 48 continental United States.
Price range: Starts at $68 per week for three meals a week for 1 – 2 people
Types of food offered: Vegan and Tom Brady-endorsed performance meals that are gluten-free, vegan, and high in protein.
Cook time: Most meals average 30 to 40 minutes. We tested the cook times and they were accurate.
One mom’s take: We loved the Stuffed Picadillo Sweet Potatoes because it was easy to make and the ingredients were already pre-measured. The recipe was delicious, and we had enough for leftovers for lunch the next day.
All in all, it was such a relief to have dinner decisions already made for us. While the ingredient-ready meal services like Hello Fresh and Purple Carrot were all delicious, we were too hungry and tired to spend 40 minutes making dinner. We much preferred heating up a precooked meal a la Veestro, tossing everything into a skillet like Terra’s Kitchen, and having healthy meals made from Thistle. Time is precious after 7pm (our girls’ bedtime), so the faster we can get dinner, the faster we can enjoy some alone time!
Do you use a meal delivery service that you love? Tweet us @BritandCo.