Maybe it’s just me — because I truly suck in the kitchen — but one of the most off-putting things about trying a new recipe is dealing with a long list of new ingredients. I’m absolutely not that person who loves to wander the grocery store aisle for hours, and I have a get-in-and-out-lest-your-basket-be-90-per cent-chocolate approach. So meal delivery services make a lot of sense to me.
If all the ingredients are delivered to my door in the exact amounts I need, then I’m about 1,000 steps closer to cooking a meal that isn’t baked beans on toast (no disrespect to the beans) or eating takeaway for the fifth night in a row. Even better if it’s pre-made and all I have to do is chuck it in the microwave.
Of course, this is where meal delivery services come in, but that also means you need to decide which one to go with it. To make it easier for you, I’ve hassled my colleagues yet again to find out which food delivery services are king shit and worth signing up for.
With over 40 meals, sides, snacks and drinks on the Nourish’d menu each week, you’ll never be short of variety. There are around 20 meals available to you each week on a rotating schedule, and you can choose any combination you like. They also offer a range of dairy-free, keto-friendly, low-carb, nut-free, paleo and vegetarian options.
“Out of all the meal delivery services I’ve tried over the years, Nourish’d has to be the best one yet. I’m two weeks in and haven’t had a bad meal yet. The portion sizes are excellent, the quality of the food is waaaay better than you’d expect from any pre-made meals, and the taste is outstanding. Honestly, I’m half tempted to ask them for the recipes when the ones I like aren’t available that week (they have an awesome rotating menu). Ordering is a breeze, the delivery is prompt, and the menu selection caters to most, if not all, dietary requirements.”
I feel good when I eat the meals. I don’t over-eat or overcook, and they’re quick and easy. I’ve found them to be perfect for lunches. This year I made my New Year’s resolution to do something productive (and for myself) during my lunch breaks, so the fact that these are ready in two to three minutes means that I can do whatever my lunchtime activity is (think pilates, beach swim, reading 10 pages) and still eat a nutritious and healthy lunch without slaving over a stove.”
“Overall, I’ve been really impressed.” — Bree
“I really love this food delivery service, right down to the cute packaging. Their meals aren’t at all repetitive and somehow manage to be decently healthy at the same time. It has super easy text-message delivery updates and makes it clear what is freezable for later (and by when) on the box, which is a small thing I appreciate when not knowing how long foods can be stored. The bacon and pumpkin soup was stellar.” — Chantelle
My Muscle Chef takes meal delivery services, adds locally sourced ingredients and then tailors it to your active lifestyle – i.e. if you work out a lot, they have your protein needs sorted. You buy the meals individually, either online or at major grocery stores (with most priced around the $10 mark), but you’ll get 15 percent off if you order 25 or more. They’ve also recently introduced six new low-calorie meals and an additional plant-based option for those looking for leaner options. Each new dish is less than 400 calorie meals and 20%+ of your recommended daily intake of vegetables. Among the tasty new choices are a classic schnitty with mushroom gravy, a black pepper beef noodle stir fry and a tasty tandoori chicken. How good!
“I have to admit, I’ve always seen vegan options as being somehow ‘lesser’ than ‘standard’ meals — and this is coming from a former vegan! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some incredible vegan food in my life, but still, this was a subconscious bias I held. My week of eating vegan My Muscle Chef meals has dispelled this bias. Every meal was a pleasure, and the protein bites were to die for. Honestly, I would never have picked any of the protein bites I had to be vegan. I had a note in my phone and rated every meal I ate out of 10, none fell under ‘8’, and for many, I wrote ’20’ — they were that good. Would definitely order again.” — David
“Quick delivery, with super digestible information on their website, and delicious meals which all actually taste different, healthy and affordable. My only gripe would be the plastic packaging, but it is quite minimal.” — Em
Let’s start with Thrive — Whether you’re looking to follow their intensive 8-week nutrition and training program or are simply keen to stock up on some ready meals and supplements to be your ‘go-to’ when you’re time-poor, Thrive has you covered. They offer a range of nutrition-backed meals from low-calorie and keto to high-protein, vegan, and more.
They’ve also teamed up with BIOV8, the program I tried, to create a next-level customisable program for those looking to optimise their wellness journey. Working with doctors, BIOV8 focuses on providing high-quality, science-backed solutions supplements like peptides and nootropics to help users achieve lean muscle mass, fat loss and better overall health. You can learn more about the science behind BIOV8 here.
The Thrive programs themselves are super affordable and completely customisable to your budget. Thrive customers also get a doctor’s consult and their first round of BIOV8 for $269, usually $605, which is a pretty solid discount if you’re looking to take your health and fitness goals seriously.
“After being vegetarian for several years, and still am 80/20, I’m pretty adamant about eating as fresh and plant-based as possible. That said, I’m also super time-poor. I work my regular 9-5 and teach Pilates, so finding the time to cook from scratch can be tricky. I was pleasantly surprised as I made my way through my first batch of Thrive meals. The menu has a wide variety of options to choose from, and they’re all equally delicious (the cauliflower pizzas are a must!). They’re portion-controlled, easy to heat up and perfect if you’re on the go like I am. Side note: I’m obsessed with their green juice. My fridge is STACKED with it!
As for the BIOV8 side of things, you consult with a doctor before you start to decide what kind of program best suits your lifestyle and goals before delivering your science-backed peptide supplements to complement your Thrive meal plan. This side of the program is completely customised to your needs alongside a doctor and will be a different experience for everyone.
Personally, I wasn’t sure what I wanted when I started, I’m pretty fit and not really interested in weight loss. However, after my consult, I’d learnt so much about the other benefits of peptides and nootropics that I was willing to give it a try alongside my meal plan. After a few weeks on my tailored program, I felt more energised, and my mind was less foggy. I felt stronger and leaner, pushed further when I was training, and felt really good in my body. I’ve followed nutritional plans before, but the benefits (and results) were nowhere near as elevated or good as this.” — Billie
Marley Spoon will deliver all the ingredients to make your own fresh meals, promising that each recipe can be made in six steps. Prices start from about $50 plus shipping for a two-person, two-meal per week box.
“Marley Spoon recipes are simple enough and have a decent amount of variance to them – they don’t change the world, but they were perfectly fine and better than a frozen meal. That being said, the one box we got had a grub in the greenery.” — Cam
“Website was really easy to use, and I feel like they always have discounts, which is great because you can pretty much avoid ever paying full price. I very much enjoyed the convenience of not having to come up with meal ideas for a week. Personally, I really love cooking and don’t tend to love following recipes, so this is not something I would do long-term as it sort of feels like a ‘paint by numbers’ style of cooking, and I didn’t feel that same sense of fulfilment in prepping the food I usually do.” — Zara
Known as the OG of cook-it-yourself meal delivery services, Hello Fresh has their system down to a fine art and even provides flexible, no lock-in plans. They also provide food boxes for just one person, which the others in this category don’t. Prices start at $65.94 for a two-person, three-meals box.
“The convenience of Hello Fresh is easily the best aspect of the service. You get a single delivery of meals each week which definitely takes the pressure off your grocery shopping. We tried the five-meal plan for two people, which is $109 per week. When you work out that each meal is about $10 each, the value is pretty decent. The recipes are incredibly easy to follow, and the variety of meals to choose from is fantastic. I’m yet to have a meal that I’ve disliked, with most of them being legitimately delicious. The only downside — and it’s a small one — is that sometimes you won’t get exactly what was promised due to low levels of stock, but they’ll always substitute it for something else. For example, you might get beef instead of pork or a carrot instead of beans. They’ll always let you know beforehand if this is required” —Matt H
“The food was actually really good, and the recipes were super easy to follow. However, I don’t like having to choose my meals in advance as I never know what I’m gonna feel like for dinner.” — Zac
If you want to cook your own meals but need to cut down on costs, Dinnerly is your best option. Their main difference from HelloFresh and Marley Spoon is that they cut down on their own costs – like virtual recipe cards – so you pay less. Prices start from $53.49 per week for a two-person box with three meals.
“Dinnerly helps diversify your cooking, as well as eat healthier and control portion sizes. The service also helps you stick to a set budget and provides you with well-laid-out and convenient recipes. Each week, you’re given fresh ingredients to match your selected recipes, along with an array of different types of herbs and spices, which generally improve a recipe by 1000% (looking at you, Tuscan Seasoning). Dinnerly also tends to reduce the time spent arguing with your partner about what to eat for dinner since the options are narrowed down each week.” — Sofia
“Dinnerly provides a good way to try new recipes, especially when you live alone. The instructions are easy to follow, but the portions are a bit off – I ate all six of the beef tacos in one sitting. There was also a lot of plastic waste from all the individually wrapped items.” — Mel M
If you’re looking for a good value, do-it-yourself meal delivery service, EveryPlate is one of the top-tier choices. You can choose from a range of delicious recipes that are made in just four simple steps. You can choose from a variety of options like pasta, meat and veggies, stir frys and rice bowls, you name it and you can find a delicious recipe for it. The menu is updated weekly and done as far as three weeks in advance so you can plan out your dinners ahead of time. No muss, no fuss.
“I’ve always been sceptical about meal prep delivery services, so I was definitely keen to give Everyplate a go! Straight off the bat, I did find the variety of recipes on offer to be quite impressive. They weren’t anything too fancy, but if you’re stuck in a dinner rut of cooking the same four variations of chicken and rice, it’s definitely good to zhuzh things up a little. I did like how throughout the week, there was a lot of crossover in ingredients usage, which is great if you like cooking in bulk and prepping for the week.
Portion sizes were also decent, and all the produce was fresh and well sourced (the pork products were all great quality, which I was most nervous about, TBH) — if you’re not into picking produce from the supermarket, this convenience of knowing you’ll be getting rest/quality produce would definitely be a selling point. However, I was a little disappointed with how much packaging was used for individual sashays of spices and herbs for different meals — seemed a little excessive and un-environmentally friendly IMO.” — Bianca
Soulara is all about healthy and ready-made plant-based meals, using locally sourced ingredients as much as possible and focusing on sustainability. Prices start from $80.50, and that’s for seven meals a week.
“Soulara has super easy ready-made vegan meals. I’m not plant-based, but I do enjoy eating vegan food, so this made me feel healthy and environmentally friendly without really trying.” — Maggie
“After months of subjecting my body to wildly unhealthy meals while using our current circumstances as an excuse, it was a divine change of pace to get stuck into a smorgasbord of Soulara ready-made meals. Entirely plant-based, the menu is stacked with the likes of a Warming Mushroom Earth Bowl, Comforting Minestrone Soup and Perfect Pasta Puttanesca, the latter of which has been on my bucket list for yonks, and it didn’t disappoint in the slightest.
All of the meals were crammed with spices and flavour, which was my biggest worry point going in, so that was a nice surprise. There was also one particular juice, the Cold-Pressed Clean Green option that combined pear, kale and apples, which went incredibly well with vodka (although if you want to treat your body like a temple, it’s just as delicious on its own – I was just feeling naughty.” — Louie
There’s a good chance you’ve seen Youfoodz frozen meals at your local grocery store, making it pretty easy to try before you buy a whole home delivery plan. Their focus is on fresh and healthy ready-made meals, snacks, and cold-pressed juices to save needing to cook at all.
“Youfoodz was delivered really quickly and was reasonably cheap when I bought in bulk. It’s really convenient when I CBF to cook, but if you were having their meals every day, you’d run out of options pretty quickly.” — Liam
If you’re looking for a healthy meal delivery service, Macros might be for you. Somehow, Marcos has managed to make nutrition-filled meals that don’t sacrifice flavour. You simply chose your meals from their menu of delicious and seasonal recipes, place your order and have them delivered fresh to your door.
“Macros is a great healthy option and perfect for smaller portion sizes. I’d definitely recommend more for those who aren’t low-carb or keto, as those options can get a little repetitive with all the cauliflower rice. That being said, if you’re a fan of cauliflower rice, then you’ll be really happy. They’re ready in three minutes and have a hella extensive range for whatever you’re trying to achieve in your diet. The heads up on the delivery window comes quite late (around 9 pm), which isn’t an issue in lockdown, but might be if you’re already having an overnight somewhere else and need to rush back.” — Gabby
Specialising in low-calorie and Keto fresh meals, Foober started life as a fitness provider but took to food delivery after finding their members had trouble with healthy meal prep. Their plans are a little different, based on a range of things from calorie content per week, Keto and building muscle. You’re looking at just under $11 per meal.
“Most meals have to be prepared from scratch on Keto and low-carb diets to make sure you don’t exceed your carb limit. Foober removes that hassle, but the convenience comes at a whopping cost.”
As the name suggests, Be Fit Food is very much focused on weight loss. With a bariatric surgeon and practising dietitian/ exercise physiologist as founders, they’re pretty on point with it too.
You can buy the meals individually for about $7.95 or as part of a bundle starting from $53.95 (for seven brekkie meals). The other option is purchasing a whole weight loss program ranging from just over $200 (for 7 days) to just over $400 (for 14 days).
“Everything is properly portioned out and labelled, so there’s no confusion. They also provide good supporting guides to make your own meal additions while keeping within the calorie limit. The taste isn’t great though – especially the breakfast muffins – but I guess that’s to be expected when you’re on low-carb meals.” – Deanna
If you love good quality meat, the Butcher Crowd is for you. You can get stacks of butcher-quality meat — beef, lamb, chicken — delivered straight to your door. The meat is delivered frozen and carefully packaged in an environmentally friendly, biodegradable, insulated box.
“Who knew you could get a meat box delivered? If you like cooking your own stuff but aren’t a fan of going to the grocery store (or what’s available there meat-wise), this service is great for the quality stuff. It’s good because it comes frozen and has a super easy text message tracking system to make sure you’ll be home when it comes. It’s definitely on the more expensive side, but you can save if you go for a monthly delivery service. You can also cancel after the first box if it’s not your jam. I’d recommend it for legitimately good meat and wanting to try new things while still actually cooking.” — Chanel
Did you know that up to 25% of all produce never leaves the farm because it isn’t pretty enough for supermarkets? Yup that is a huge waste of some damn good veggies. So to remedy that, Good & Fugly take all those not-so-sexy (but delicious) veg and packs them up into boxes that you can purchase and have delivered to your door. You’re helping reduce waste with every box, each filled with fresh, seasonal produce direct from farmers. How good!
“This is a great concept, and I mostly like it because I get super irritated having to find and weigh fruit and veg at self-service checkout (sue me, I’m impatient). It’s also opened me up to fruits I wouldn’t necessarily get at the shops, but I’ll admit, there was a big mamma leek in the mix that couldn’t fit in my fridge, I’ve instead put it in a vase on my dining table, so it’s definitely serving an aesthetic purpose right now. It’s good between 2 people or a household, but you might not finish it all if it’s just for you.” — B
Love our humble opinions? Get around the rest of the review series here.