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Meal delivery services are a great option for feeding families big and small. They offer the perfect solution when you're too busy to grocery shop, especially when you're on a budget. It can take hours to create a budget, compare grocery sales, and complete weekly shopping hauls followed by a trek home to organize it in your kitchen. And you still need to take to prep, chop and assemble each meal.
Why spend hours each week when you could spend minutes picking out a meal plan instead? Meal delivery services drop off pre-measured ingredients on your doorstep, so you can make dinner in record time. Some meal delivery services even provide ready-to-cook meals, so all you have to do is heat them up. Best of all, you can find many dietary options, such as Keto, vegetarian, and Mediterranean diets.
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I compared dozens of meal delivery services to bring you the 5 best cheap meal delivery services on the market. Each subscription-based meal delivery service gives you the freedom to pause or cancel your subscription at any time. Almost every item is under $10 per serving, so this budget-friendly service will save you valuable time to spend in other areas of your life.
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If you're looking for simple, fast, and delicious meals, consider the Dinnerly meal delivery service. Each Dinnerly recipe has only six ingredients, allowing even the most recipe-challenged person the ability to make an impressive meal.
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Dinnerly creates a 28-recipe meal plan menu each week so you can order your favorites. Meals are labeled for dietary preferences so that you can choose from options like low-carb, kid-friendly, dairy-free, spicy, one-pot meal, no added gluten, vegetarian, and ready in under 30 minutes. Dinnerly keeps prices low by using digital recipe cards, simple packaging, and minimal ingredients in each dish, and the brand cuts costs by not heavily marketing its services.
After making your weekly meal selection, check out the Market feature, which gives you the option to include smoothies, sides, desserts, or extra protein sources in your shipment. Everything except the gel inside the ice pack is recyclable, though not all packaging material can be recycled through the curbside collection if your recycle center won't pick up #1 and #4 plastics.
When you choose the EveryPlate meal delivery service, you can customize your meal plan kit based on the following preference categories:
EveryPlate creates a meal plan with 17 recipes to choose from each week. Pick your preferred meals, add them to your cart, and you're on your way to getting pre-portioned meals shipped right to your door. Once you get the box, each recipe takes just six steps to cook.
EveryPlate keeps its pricing low by focusing on affordable ingredients and responsible packaging. Boxes, separators, and box liners are 100% recyclable, though the film and cotton interior of the box liners should be disposed of in the trash. You can cut open gel ice packs to throw away the gel and either recycle the pack or reuse it for personal use.
If you're new to EveryPlate, you can currently get $72 off your first three boxes. This breaks down to $1.49 per serving for the first box, based on a 4-person plan for 5 meals weekly. To get this deal, scroll to the bottom of the front page, click on "Delivery Options", and then click the button to "get $1.79/meal + 20% off your next 2 boxes."
Daily Harvest features:
Daily Harvest is a great option for someone looking for a cheap meal delivery service offering organic, plant-based meals. Daily Harvest's pricing is different from other meal delivery services. You pay per item, and the price ranges between $5.99 and $11.99 per item. You can get a bulk discount of $5 if you order between 9 and 11 items, $10 for 12 to 23 items, and $25 for 24 to 26 items per delivery.
Choose from over 80 options offered by Daily Harvest, from lattes and snacks to bowls and flatbreads. Daily Harvest even has plant-based milk and ice cream. 95% of Daily Harvest items are organic fruits and vegetables, delivered to your door weekly or monthly.
All items arrive in dry ice and recyclable packaging. Frozen items can be thawed and enjoyed or microwaved, depending on which items you choose. You can change preferences inside your Daily Harvest account at any time until 6 p.m. ET on Sunday prior to your next scheduled shipment.
Home Chef features:
Home Chef meals start at $7.99 per serving, with over 20 meals to choose from each week. Home Chef may be the best choice for you if you like to customize your meal delivery services. Dietary preferences are limited to calorie or carb-conscious, and you can choose to avoid certain foods, such as pork, beef, shellfish, mushrooms, tree nuts, peanuts, and poultry. You can also add meals and edit serving sizes for each recipe when setting up your weekly meal delivery.
When you're selecting meals for the week, certain recipes will have a "Customize It" button underneath. Click and choose your preferred protein, which is carefully selected to complement each recipe. You can also bundle and save with breakfast or salad bundles, or choose extras like breakfast, dessert, bread, snacks, or protein packs.
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You can search for meal recipes based on your cooking preference, such as oven-ready, microwaveable, grill-ready, culinary, and 15-minute meal kits for those days you just need a quick dinner. You can also purchase home Chef meals from Kroger grocery stores.
If you sign up for Home Chef now, you can save $90, spread out over your first four deliveries.
Mom's Meals features:
Mom's Meals is a company focused on serving nutritious meals for seniors and those who have health conditions that require a specific diet, offering almost 60 meal choices. Each meal costs $7.99 and caters to general wellness, vegetarian, low sodium, heart-friendly, and diabetes-friendly food needs. Pureed, renal-friendly and gluten-free meals are $8.99 per meal.
Those covered by Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, Long-Term Services and Supports, and the Older Americans Act may be eligible for Mom's Meals through insurance. Caregivers and individuals can self-pay for Mom's Meals, and customers receive a 10% discount for using auto-ship.
Mom's Meals delivery service offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, and it's easy to choose based on various health conditions. Each meal comes pre-made, can be refrigerated for up to 14 days, and is easy to heat in the microwave. Meals can also be frozen, though be sure to thaw them in the refrigerator before heating. Veterans also receive a 10% discount.
I chose Dinnerly as the best cheap meal delivery service because it offers the cheapest per-serving price and uses only six ingredients in a five-step process. All you have to do is check out the meal tags to make choosing your weekly plan faster and easier. Then sit back and wait for your pre-portioned ingredients to arrive at your door.
I've broken down my favorite cheap meal delivery services below based on price, meal choices, and dietary preferences.
Cheap meal delivery service
Price per meal
28 meals each week to choose from
17 meals each week to choose from
80+ meal choices
20+ new meals each week to choose from
60 meal choices
Choosing the right best cheap meal delivery service for you comes down to dietary preferences, budget, and time. If your diet is vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based, it makes sense to find a meal delivery service that caters to your specific diet.
If you're feeding a family and need kid-friendly meals, a meal delivery service focusing on family meals may work best. If prep and cook time are your biggest factor, Dinnerly may be an ideal option for fast meals, especially compared to Home Chef meals, which usually take longer to assemble.
Choose this cheap meal delivery service…
If you want or are…
Simple and easy recipes with just a few ingredients and a wide variety of dietary preferences.
Kid-friendly meals and eco-friendly packaging with easy assembly for busy parents.
A single person who wants simple and fast plant-based meals and snacks with free shipping.
To spend a bit more money and time on customizable meals.
Are an older adult, a caregiver, or an individual with dietary needs specific to a health condition. Plus, no cooking is required.
To choose the best cheap meal delivery services, I compared several factors, including:
Since everyone has different needs, I chose meal delivery services that meet a variety of dietary preferences. I also analyzed kid-friendly options with family portion sizes, as well as options for single people who may not want leftovers or extra food going to waste. The number of meal options on each weekly menu also impacted this rating.
The environmental impact of using a meal delivery service also serves as an important factor in the decision-making process. Pre-portioned and packaged ingredients can increase the amount of plastic waste in the environment. All companies featured except for Mom's Meals demonstrate a commitment to limiting package waste by providing recyclable packaging materials and reusable ice packs.
Budget and shipping costs were also considered, with the lowest budgets per serving a major factor. Shipping costs vary, from Daily Harvest's free shipping to Mom's Meals $14.95 flat rate shipping fee. Though Mom's Meals has higher shipping fees and may not focus on plastic waste reduction like other meal delivery services, it serves a niche audience that other services do not, making it a valuable option for those living with health conditions that need specifics diet to thrive.
A meal delivery service is a subscription-based service that delivers a box of fresh ingredients with pre-portioned amounts for your preselected recipes. Cook-from-a-kit boxes, or meal-kit delivery services, are substitutes for grocery shopping, meal planning, and searching for recipes.
Also: The best meal kit delivery services
Some meal delivery services provide ready-to-eat meals that can be heated in the microwave or oven, or thawed and enjoyed, like smoothies and bowls. You can also find Home Chef meals at your local Kroger grocery.
When you use a meal delivery service, the service sources ingredients and sends them to you prepackaged and ready to cook. You can use the provider's website to select the meals you want. Many places rotate menus, allowing you to try new dishes every week while enjoying your favorites.
Alternatively, you can use a meal delivery service that prepares meals, so all you have to do at home is heat them up. Once you select your meal choices, the delivery service packages ingredients and ships them to your door.
You can refrigerate or freeze the ingredients until you're ready to prepare the meal. Or, in the case of Home Chef, you can stop by your local Kroger for a quick dinner.
Right now, Dinnerly is the cheapest meal delivery service. Costing only $4.99 per serving, it's affordable compared to other services where they may charge double the amount per serving.
However, keep in mind each service offers different dietary menus. Therefore, you want to prioritize your needs first, as it can often be worth the extra dollar or two per serving if you have specific dietary requirements.
Many meal delivery services are available, and it may be worth considering alternatives, depending on your budget and dietary preferences. Here are a few more choices:
Blue Apron offers fresh meals with 80% of ingredients coming from local producers. You'll also have access to over 70 menu options with meals starting at $7.99 per serving.
Gain access to chef-curated, globally-inspired meals that can be ready in five minutes. With a wide range of menu options from smoothies to veggie bowls to family meals, you'll find something everyone will love.
With Green Chef, you have access to 30 weekly recipes that include vegan, keto, Mediterranean, gluten-free, and protein-packed options.