All prepared meal delivery services try and sell the customer convenience and the gift of time; meaning they save you the time it takes to shop for, prep and cook ingredients by sending you ready to eat dishes, alleviating you of responsibilities of meal planning, execution and even cleaning up.
And though the crux of each service may appear the same, there are still differences in what type of food is delivered to you, how, and at what price point.
We’ve found one determining factor for what service to go with is whether a company delivers prepared fresh or frozen meals.
We’ve found that many deem fresh food to appear more appetizing. Still others find the step of having to thaw frozen meals or having to reheat as an inconvenience.
And finally, we’ve received feedback that some people see fresh meals as superior to frozen in quality and maintaining the integrity of the dish.
Whatever your reasons may be in preferring fresh prepared meal delivery services, we’ve got a list of our favorites outlining what each service provides you and at what cost.
Table of Contents
Our Top Fresh Meal Delivery Services (2020 Updated)
1. Freshly (Editor’s Choice)
Freshly is a weekly subscription prepared meal delivery service that delivers fresh (not frozen) prepared meals with a team of chefs and nutritionists at its helm.
They have a weekly rotating menu which means you have a lot of versatility in menu offerings in any given month.
If you ever need to skip or cancel a week, this service makes it easy for you to alter your upcoming delivery before the weekly deadline.
Freshly meals feed an average adult and are single servings.
Their 6 meals a week plan is perfect for one person looking for 6 dinners a week.
But if you have a bigger household, no worries.
They offer a 12 meal per week subscription which works out well for a family of 4 looking for 3 fresh meals/week.
Calories can range anywhere from about 300 to 650 calories per serving.
First of all, with Freshly, unlike other services, shipping is free.
They cover shipping and delivery to all states within the continental U.S.
Freshly’s delivery partners provide delivery every day of the week.
Of course, the precise day your fresh meals’ arrival are contingent on your ZIP code and the carrier delivering your meals. But it won’t be a surprise.
Whether you’re signing up or updating your delivery day, Freshly shows you all the days available to you and then you can choose what works best for you.
In this regard, Freshly is very convenient and there’s a level of flexibility that other services don’t offer.
Food for Thought
Freshly meals weigh about 13 ounces, which is about 10% larger than their competitors, so you’re definitely getting quality and quantity with this service.
Their entire menu is gluten and peanut-free, and they accommodate a variety of dietary preferences.
On their site, they state:
As a customer, you’re able to set your dietary preferences to find the meals that work for you. So whether you’re paleo or vegetarian, you’ll always have some options to work with. If you have very specific dietary preferences, you can check out individual ingredient lists for each dish or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you select your meals! If you’re unable to find dishes that fit your preferences, be sure to check back frequently as we’re always adding in new, exciting dishes. On average, our weekly rotation of 30+ dishes includes:
- Under 500 calories: 20+ meals
- Under 35 grams of carbs: 8–10 meals
- Dairy–free: 8–10 meals
- Paleo–friendly: About 4 meals
- Vegetarian: About 4
And we found that what they advertise is true. Their customer service is stellar, particularly in fielding inquiries about how to receive meals that are reflective of unique or specific dietary restrictions and allergies.
And then there’s the fact that shipping is free which makes this meal delivery service great. But what really makes it stand out is that the food actually tastes fresh and good.
Finally, every prepared meal heats up in 3 minutes or less making this any easy choice for the best fresh meal delivery service whether you’re looking at it from a point of taste, convenience, cost-effective plans, and/or customer service!
MamaSezz is the leader in the whole food, plant-based prepared meal delivery services plans space. All MamaSezz foods are gluten-free and without refined sugars.
Their meals come fresh and are ready to heat and eat.
They also come with a “use or freeze by” date on the packaging.
No worries, the date listed in usually within 10-18 days of your delivery so although it comes fresh, you can certainly freeze it and eat it if you can’t dig in immediately or even the week of arrival.
So how do MamaSezz meals stay fresh?
Their meals come in eco-friendly boxes specifically designed to maintain their integrity.
On their site, MamaSezz says, “It’s like a mini-fridge (fully recyclable), making sure your delivery is nice and cold on its journey to you. Take it from our fridge and put it in yours. Our cold chains are designed to keep the ice packs cold for up to three days.”
MamaSezz offers subscriptions, or what they call “Automatic Deliveries” on all bundles.
You have the option of convenience and having a bundle arrive as often as you want in weekly increments. Also–and we think this is an important thing to note–you’re able to pause, alter, or cancel your subscription at any time.
They provide free shipping to most states in the northeast. Reduced shipping rates are provided to some states in the southeast.
Since meals are made fresh to order, MamaSezz uses FedEx 2- day shipping.
The cost to ship to the west is higher from our New Hampshire plant. But the company will soon open a second production facility soon in the west which will drive down shipping rates.
Meals arrive in a refrigerated box on Thursday or Friday after the Sunday you order. Boxes and packaging can be submitted to MamaSezz for reuse and recycling.
They’ll even provide the tape and a shipping label to make it easier for you to do so and then you go online and schedule a FedEx to pick it up at a time that works for you.
Food for Thought
We love this prepared meal delivery service and the array of dishes their subscription plans deliver. However, though its oil-Free, refined Sugar-Free, gluten-free and without preservatives, it’s also vegan which makes this program not suited for everyone.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not good, it just means that for those of you who seek a meal program with a choice of animal proteins on the menu, you won’t find any from this company.
3. Healthy Chef Creations
Healthy Chef Creations’ meals are made to order “from scratch each week, packaged, shipped and delivered fresh to your door, never frozen, and ready to eat.”
With this service, you are able to create your own weekly menu and customize your individual meals with Healthy Chef Creations’ A La Carte menu.
You can pick your meals, select your side dishes, and personalize your meals with individual meal options.
For their standard Meal Programs, you’re able to indicate your allergens in your profile, which will then be registered to your program orders.
Let’s say you you have additional preferences and/or special dietary needs or require dishes not on the standard meal program.
No problem, you contact Customer Service to request a quote for a custom meal program and go from there.
Unfortunately, custom programs cannot be ordered online but this is Healthy Chefs strength. Most services won’t even offer the option of just highly customized programs.
Most of their entrees come in two basic serving sizes: regular and large. Our regularly sized dinner entree consists of a 5 ounce main item with two half-cup sized side dishes.
The Healthy Chef® Diet weight loss program menus and portion sizes are specifically created to meet the daily calorie ranges you specify.
Each meal is individually packaged and sealed for freshness in a BPA-free container which are both microwave safe and recyclable.
Healthy Chefs Creations deliver to residential addresses everywhere in the U.S. and to some parts of Alaska and Hawaii that may require additional charges.
Food for Thought
The meal plans and delivery shipping costs are high, y’all. This service comes with a hefty price tag.
However, you are getting tasty food; it’s not as if you’re paying a lot per day and not getting delicious meals. It’s just that you can get the same tasting food for cheaper with the other services we listed.
Having said that though, this company works with you to create highly customizable meals a week. If you have special dietary needs or simply want to choose more food preferences than seen with the standard plans, Healthy Chef Creations will design a customized meal program for you.
4. Factor 75
Factor 75’s claim to fame is that it delivers fresh, nutritious prepared meals to your door. There is absolutely no cooking requiring in enjoying Factor 75 meals unless you consider reheating the chef prepared meals in the microwave as cooking.
All of their meals are non-GMO, grass-fed, pasture-raised, preservative-free, antibiotic-free, soy-free, gluten free, and void of refined sugars.
Thankfully these special prepared meals are NOT taste-free thanks to the chefs who work in Factor’s kitchens.
When you’re choosing meals from their online menu, handy icons will tell you if the meal you’re looking it is dairy free, low carb, and even more specific, in adherence to paleo keto diets.
There’s even an icon to warn you if a meal is spicy!
Depending on what category of meals you order,you may have the choice of an array of chicken, pork, salmon, and beef dishes paired up with whole grains and lush vegetables for breakfast lunch or dinner.
On their site, Factor 75 prepares you for how you will receive your fresh food and how you should store it. They advise:
We deliver the meals in tested boxes filled with ice packs and insulation. They are designed to keep your food at refrigerated temperatures through transit. Once you receive your meals, you should place them in the fridge ASAP. Once in the fridge, they are good for at least the next 7 days (expiration is printed on the label).
You can freeze our meals if you do not expect to eat them in the first seven days, but fresh just tastes better. Uncooked greens like salads should not be frozen, and should be eaten earlier for peak deliciousness.
Food for Thought
Factor 75 meals are some of the more interesting ones out there with a variety of animal and vegetarian proteins and bevvy of vegetables which compose each dish. You won’t get bored with convenience of this special prepared meal delivery service.
So What Should You Order?
If you’re accustomed to or desire having fresh meals on the table, but don’t have the time or energy to do so every day, we highly recommend one of the meal delivery services listed above.
They all have professional chefs at the helm so you know you’re not just getting meals delivered, but gourmet ones at that without the price-tag and health risks of eating out rich or junk meals every night.
And if we’re dolling out recommendations, which we are, then Freshly is the best prepared meal delivery service to try as you open yourself to this world of prepared meal delivery.
Keep it fresh and order today!