Find Your Meal Delivery Partner With Meal Matchmaker
Since the first recorded pizza delivery in 1889, the options for getting food without leaving your home have expanded tenfold.
You can get anything from tacos and soup to cakes and ice cream—all delivered right to your doorstep. Importantly, you can sign up for regular meal delivery services and take the hassle out of prepping for dinner.
With all the choices out there, finding the right match is challenging if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
For example, what’s the difference between a meal kit and a prepared meal? (You can read about our deep dive into meal kit versus prepared meal delivery here.)
Should you sign up for a meal subscription? If so, which one?
That’s where we come in. At Meal Matchmaker, we have a wide range of reviews, reports, and comparisons to help you find the right meal partner of your dreams.
But first, it’s important that you know what you’re trying to accomplish with getting meals delivered. You also want to understand all of your options to make an informed decision.
Once you know what you’re into, you can use the Meal Matchmaker site to find your perfect, delicious match. So, let’s cover some basic lingo related to meal delivery to help you ease right in.
What Is a Meal Delivery Service?
A meal delivery service is a way to get tasty meals at home without spending hours in the kitchen or making floor-length grocery lists.
These options are rising in popularity as people’s daily lives get busier and busier.
Plus, meal delivery is a convenient and safe option for coping with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Stay home, order in… you know the drill.
There are two main types of meal delivery services: prepared meals and meal kits.
Let’s find out which one you want.
Prepared Meal Delivery
As the name suggests, prepared meals don’t require any cooking on your part. And, even better, no cleaning up. They arrive at your door ready to heat and eat, and they’re pre-portioned for single servings. Think old-school frozen dinners, but much healthier and tastier! You can read how tv-style frozen dinners have got a much needed makeover here.
There are tons of options for prepared meals, depending on your goals. Some programs focus on nutrition and weight loss, while others provide delicious choices for people on special diets.
The key part of prepared meal delivery is the quality of the food. Unlike with frozen food from the grocery store, your meals are shipped right after they’re made, and they’re not pumped with additives and preservatives. These meals will arrive either fresh (chilled) or flash frozen in insulated packaging.
Don’t be deterred by the word frozen. Either way, your meals are full of nutrition and flavor. In fact, a meal that’s flash frozen right after preparation will last long and taste like it’s just been made once you heat it up. (Click here to read about our most highly rated frozen prepared meal delivery services.)
Lastly, you can get prepared meals as a subscription or pick out meals a la carte. With a subscription, your meals are delivered to your door on a recurring basis. Most companies allow you to pick your meals each time, but they can also pick for you if you don’t have time to choose.
An a la carte option, on the other hand, is a one-time delivery. You might use a la carte features to try new items or add an extra meal, side, or snack to your order.
One of the other benefits of prepared meals is that it’s easy to scale up your order. Feeding more people is as easy as adding a few more items to your cart.
Are there downsides? It all depends on what you value. Some of the cons of prepared meal delivery include:
Want to peruse offerings yourself? Click here to see our picks for best prepared meals.
You can get all types of ready to eat meals delivered to your door. The following are some of our favorites. Be sure to click on the type to read our detailed reviews:
Meal Kit Delivery
Meal kits require a little more effort, but that’s what makes them exciting. With a meal kit, you’ll receive ingredients and a recipe card to make a perfect lunch or dinner yourself. These services work for people who don’t mind cooking but want to outsource the food prep part. Beacuse, let’s face it, prepping is the worst part.
Some kits arrive at your door with everything pre-measured and pre-cut. Some don’t, but that gives you the opportunity to hone your cutting and measuring skills. Also, you’ll often need to provide kitchen staples like salt, pepper, eggs, and milk yourself.
Have you ever found a recipe online advertised as a “quick” dinner option, only to have it take two hours to make? You won’t have to worry about that with a meal kit.
Though you’ll find a full spectrum of prep times, most meal kit meals are ready in about 30 minutes. Some may take as little as 15!
Meal kits and prepared meals have plenty of similarities. Both options:
Additionally, most meal delivery services for both meal kits and prepared meals use fresh (sometimes all organic) ingredients. For both, it’s always easy to review the nutrition facts and know exactly what’s in your food.
What are the downsides of meal kit delivery? Some of them include:
Time to check out our reviews. Click here to read our reviews of our favorite meal kits.
How Do Meal Subscriptions Work Exactly?
The process for signing up for meal kits and prepared meal subscriptions are similar. First, you’ll need to decide how many meals you want and how often you want them. Some sites have order minimums and will want you to order at least four meals a week, for example. If you are in a household of two people and want dinner every weeknight, that’s ten meals per week.
Then, you can browse the company’s menu. Depending on the platform, you may get to search by diet or meal type. Most meal delivery services have rotating menus, so you have something new to choose from every week. Once you select your meals, check out time.
Some companies let you choose your delivery day. For others, they’ll have their own set day, and they’ll tell you when to expect your meals. However, you do not have to be home for your delivery, as your food will be in an insulated box so that it stays fresh for hours.
Now, you just sit back and wait for your meals to arrive at your door. Each week, you’ll get a reminder when it’s time to select more meals. Pretty simple, right?
There’s subscription programs beyond meals, like everything from bacon to cheese! In fact we find these programs even more unique than meals. Imagine having a baking subscription and getting recipes, baking mixes, and utensils delivered straight to your door!
Click on the type below to read our reviews:
Which Type of Meal Delivery Service Matches Your Lifestyle?
So, how do you know if you want prepared meal delivery or meal kits? Like with the start of any partnership, it helps to do some self-reflection.
Who are you? What do you want in life? What makes you happy?
...Okay, it doesn’t have to be that deep. But you do want to assess your needs and wants.
There are all kinds of reasons people subscribe to meal delivery services. You might seek out meal delivery to reach one or more of the following goals:
Saving Time/ Convenience
Would you turn down the chance to have a personal chef or shopper? Probably not. Just imagine how much time they could save you.
For many people, cooking is one of a long list of chores to complete every day. Whether you enjoy it or not, meal prep is tedious work.
Some days, you just don’t have the time or energy. Both meal kits and prepared meals help you save time so you can do what’s important.
Even if you work from home, the responsibilities can pile up. How do you work, spend time with your family, have some downtime, enjoy your hobbies, and cook all in one day every day? If something has to give, then maybe meal prep time can go.
Switching Things Up
Maybe you have an abundance of free time, but you’re tired of eating the same old baked chicken every night. No offense to baked chicken.
Meal delivery services are the perfect chance to try new foods, discover new flavor combinations, or learn new techniques in the kitchen.
In the same week, you could have foods from various cuisines. Chicken curry, veggie tacos, and pan-seared salmon, oh my.
The best part is, your cooking skill level doesn’t matter. If you’re not experienced in the kitchen, following recipe cards is a great way to get your feet wet. If you are, then you can always add your own flare to any recipe.
Regardless, this variety can spice up future trips to the grocery store.
Who knows? Maybe that one sauce or spice in a certain meal kit will become a staple item in your household.
According to a report in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, poor nutrition is the leading cause of death in the US compared to other dietary risk factors. While many organizations have set up healthy guidelines for daily eating, following specialized meal plans is hard work. You have to find the right food items, stock up, prepare them, and try to resist temptation from unhealthy foods. Fortunately, there are meal delivery programs for nearly every diet you can think of.
Going keto and don’t know what to buy? Get those meals delivered. Need a helping hand in your weight loss journey? Get low-cal meals delivered.
Even if you aren’t on a special diet, many meal delivery programs prioritize clean eating and healthy portions. It’s much better than ordering takeout, and you won’t have to worry about researching nutritious options for yourself or your household.
Honestly, who doesn’t love opening packages of food? Getting meals delivered is exciting, especially if trying new things is your cup of tea.
Meal delivery is also a perfect chance to bring the household together. If you have kids who enjoy helping out in the kitchen, the easy-to-follow directions and pre-prepped ingredients from meal kits make it easy for them.
Meal kits can also be a thoughtful date-night activity that doesn’t require leaving the house. Even non-cooks can experience cooking together and then have a nice, rewarding meal time.
What’s The Difference Between Meal Delivery Services And Restaurants?
At this point, you may start to think, “Wouldn’t it just be easier to order from a restaurant?” Not necessarily. For starters, takeout and fast food are not usually the healthiest choices.
If you do have healthy restaurants in your area, they’re often expensive. Getting delivery from these places more than once a week can really add up.
With meal delivery programs, you have access to different options that match your dietary needs. You’re also more likely to find meals that everyone in your household will enjoy, as opposed to picking and choosing off a limited menu.
Even better, you can avoid the dreaded, “what should we order?” debate. If you subscribe to a meal plan, you won’t have to worry about not knowing what’s for dinner. The meals that you pre-selected will be right at your door and ready to prepare.
One advantage (depending on how you look at it) that ordering from a restaurant has over meal delivery is portion size. If you’re new to meal delivery, you may find that meal kits and prepared meals have smaller portions than you’re used to consuming.
What Other Types of Meal/Beverage Delivery Services Are There?
Sometimes you don’t need a full meal delivered. Maybe you just want to try new chocolates. Or coffee. Or hot sauces. Luckily, we live in a time where you can get any food or drink item delivered.
These types of boxes can make awesome gifts for loved ones. Alternatively, you can use them to spice up your life or stock up on simple pleasures.
What’s a Subscription vs. Monthly Club?
Got a niche interest? Let’s talk about how these food subscriptions and monthly clubs work. You may hear these terms used interchangeably or together, but there is a slight difference.
As we mentioned earlier, a subscription allows you to get your set delivery at a chosen frequency. When it comes to meal delivery services, some companies offer subscription plans while others do not.
Food or snack subscriptions are no different. They are convenient, time-saving, and you never have to worry about running out of whatever the item is. For example, if you have a favorite ground coffee and you know you need a new bag every other week, you can subscribe and receive your exact coffee order every two weeks.
While it is technically under the subscription umbrella, the connotation of a monthly club is that you’ll receive something different every month. More often than not, you don’t control what you get. If you sign up for a cookie of the month club, for instance, you’ll probably get to try a surprise cookie flavor with each delivery.
Monthly clubs are super fun, and they can push you to be more adventurous. Some of them even have online groups where you can meet other people with similar interests and talk about the selection of the month.
There are so many cool monthly clubs. Click on the type below to read our reviews:
Different subscriptions and clubs have different payment structures. Some will want you to pay a few months upfront or sign a contract for a specific term, while others will let you cancel any time. Make sure you know what you’re signing up for before you hit “place order.”
Can You Order A La Carte?
If you’re not looking for a long-term commitment, that’s perfectly fine.
Some food and drink delivery services allow you to make one-time purchases just to try something. That means every time you want a meal or item, you’ll need to place a new order.
Some services may have a small online store where you can re-order your favorite items.
For instance, if you order a snack box and fall in love with a certain treat, you might be able to add that item again to your next shipment.
Not all meal delivery companies offer a la carte options. They may have a rotating or seasonal menu that makes it challenging to do so.
Sometimes, you can only get a la carte items if you have a subscription; meaning you can add a snack, dessert, or drink to your existing order, but you can’t order them separately.
What Are Other Ways To Get Food/Drinks Delivered to Your Door?
If you still can’t tell, you can have anything delivered right to you. That includes groceries and restaurant-quality meals. No matter what you’re looking for, why leave the house if you don’t have to?
Maybe you don’t need fully prepared meals or even meal kits, you just wish someone would do the grocery shopping part for you. We get it.
Shopping for groceries can take hours out of your day. And going home to cook after shopping? Exhausting.
There are many services and apps that make getting groceries easier. For example, your favorite grocery store may have their own app that allows you to select the items you want and pick them up or get them delivered to your home.
Similarly, there are third-party apps that provide you with a personal shopper.
You create a grocery list, the shopper finds the items, and the shopper or driver brings them to you. All you have to do is put them away.
Grocery delivery apps are all different. Some of them require you to pay a subscription fee, some only have a delivery fee.
Some of them let you get your order within a couple hours of placing it, while others may want you to order items 24 hours in advance. Click here to read our review of the best grocery apps.
The best part of these services is that they often save your orders. With the ability to view your order history, grocery shopping can be as easy as clicking “order again.”
Restaurant Food Delivery Apps
We might’ve been a little hard on restaurants earlier. There are some occasions when ordering from a restaurant is exactly what you need (especially if you have a specific craving or want to treat yourself). In the past, we’ve all been limited to only getting delivery from Chinese food or pizza places.
Now, your city is your oyster.
With food delivery apps, you can view menus from participating local restaurants and place a delivery order. A courier will pick up that order and bring it to you, so there’s no need for the restaurant to have their own delivery infrastructure.
Instant food delivery is perfect for a night in, and you can get appetizers, entres, desserts, and drinks. These apps are also handy if you’re not sure what’s out there. They give you one, intuitive platform where you can search for restaurants that match a location, food item, or cuisine type of your choosing.
The app you use may depend on your location. If your area has many options, we have reviews for popular food delivery apps to help you make the right choice.
How Can Meal Matchmaker Help You Find Your Match?
Once you know what you’re interested in, then you can surely find a meal program that suits your needs. Ask yourself the following questions:
Meal Matchmaker has everything you need to know about getting food delivered to your doorstep, whether it's a meal kit subscription or a grocery delivery service.
We’ve reviewed almost every meal program out there (unbiased, we promise), so you can find the information you need before you jump in. Our site also makes it easy to compare similar services and view their pros and cons.
No matter what you go with, you don’t have to feel married to it. Most services have flexible cancelation options. You may want to try a few before settling down, just so you know for sure which one meets your needs.
Think of this site like an online dating site to match you with meals. Although, if your average dating site could give you comprehensive reviews of your potential dates like we do, that would be a game-changer!
Start browsing our meal delivery service reviews today to get your match.