First Come, First Served: Meal Delivery Services That Save You Time and Money

First Come, First Served
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Ordering in food is traditionally an occasional luxury reserved for weekend nights or social get-togethers, rarely is it viewed as a method to save money or maintain a healthy diet. But with the introduction of meal delivery services, cooking pre-planned, fresh dishes has completely revolutionized an industry formerly characterized by grease-stained Chinese boxes and cardboard pizza boxes.

The concept is seemingly simple: register for a specific package tailored to your dietary guidelines and number of people and at the start of each week a box full of recipes and the necessary ingredients is delivered right to your door. Most plans serve a minimum of two people, so if you’re ordering for one, you’ll have double the number of meals than originally specified.

Depending on where you live, you can choose from over 15 different meal delivery services, most of which offer a free trial or discount off your first order; this is the key to saving the most money. The four subscription services listed below allow members to cancel their membership at any time, meaning, individuals can apply their discount and then cancel their subscription before registering for the next service or being charged for a second week at full price.

Here are 4 Meal Delivery Services to consider.

1. Blue Apron

Mission: “Our chefs and farmers work together to make food more sustainable and recipes more delicious. We send you higher quality food at a better value by cutting out the middle man and delivering ingredients at their freshest. We cook incredible meals from scratch with perfectly portioned ingredients and step-by-step recipes.”

Discount: $30 off first delivery, applied at checkout.

Packages: Blue Apron offers two differently sized plans, the Two-Person Plan and the Family Plan. The former includes three meals per person at $9.99 per serving, while the latter includes two to four meals for four people at $8.74 per serving. The menu rotates recipes weekly, so if you decide to make Blue Apron a permanent household staple, you’ll rarely eat the same dish more than twice. With the Two-Person Plan, you choose three recipes from the six curated options, which differ from the four recipes offered with the Family Plan.

Each box includes perfectly pre-portioned ingredients that can be easily combined for a quick and delicious meal.

Sample Menu: Pork Chops & Honey-Mustard Pan Sauce with Creamy Barley Salad, Sesame Soba Noodles with Gai Lan, Mushrooms, & Ginger-Lime Peanuts, Cod & Tomatillo Salsa with Summer Squash & Sweet Potato Hash.

Delivery: Meals are delivered for free in insulated containers with frozen gel packs to ensure that every ingredient stays fresh during and after delivery. You choose which day you want to receive your package from the available local delivery days, and will be emailed when the items ship and are in transport.

2. Hello Fresh

Mission: “HelloFresh aims to provide each household with the opportunity to enjoy wholesome home-cooked meals with no planning, no shopping and no hassle required. Everything required for weeknight meals, carefully planned, locally sourced and delivered to your door at the most convenient time for each subscriber.

Discount: $15 off your first HelloFresh box with the promo code GET15.

Packages: Members can choose from the Classic Plan, Veggie Plan, or the Family Plan. The Classic Plan runs around $10 per meal, serves between two and four people, and includes three to five recipes consisting of an assortment of meat, fish, and produce. Also $10 per meal, the Veggie Plan includes three recipes of meat-free proteins and seasonal produce for two to four vegetarian adults. The Family Plan costs $8.74 per meal for two adults and two children and includes three different kid-friendly recipes.

Sample Menu: Wasabi Lime Salmon over Soy-Simmered Rice with Baby Bok Choy, Pork Luau Burgers with Pineapple Relish and Green Salad, Mushroom Lo Mein with Fresh Udon Noodles.

Delivery: HelloFresh will deliver your box to your home Monday-Saturday at the time of your choosing, free of charge.

meal delivery services 1
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3. Sun Basket

Mission: “We believe food should taste good first, and do good always from our 100% recyclable box to the pristine organic food inside it, we create each Sun Basket with unbelievable care. Because good food makes life better.

Discount: $35 off your first purchase, redeem the offer here.

Packages: Choose between the Class Plan and Family plan, which range between $11.49 and $9.99 respectively, and include enough meals for two to four people. Sun Basket meal delivery services maintain relationships with some of the Pacific Coast’s best farmers, fishermen, and ranchers to supply the fresh, sustainable ingredients that comprise their organic and non-GMO meal kits.

Sample Menu: Ricotta-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Tomato Panzanella, Miso Ramen Bowls with Braised Tofu and Bok Choy, Seared Steaks with Arugula Pesto and Cucumber-Radish Salad.

Delivery: Meal kits are packaged in 100% compostable, recyclable packaging and are delivered in insulated boxes to maintain their content’s freshness. 

4. Plated

Mission: “We believe that food should be simple to make, delicious to eat, and fun to share. That’s why each weekly menu offers a range of choices, so you can always create the night you crave.

Discount: Save $23.90 on a 2-serving plan, $29.85 on a 3-serving plan, and $39.80 on a 4-serving plan on your first order when you register on the company website.

Packages: Plated emphasizes flexibility with no limitations on recipe choices, delivery changes, and week-to-week serving alterations. Each week brings new, original recipes that range in cooking time from a casual 20 minutes to one hour, formal-dinner party worthy meals. Meal delivery services and plans are structured around the number of servings each offers and range from 2 night’s worth of meals for two people at $47.80 per week to four nights of food for four people at $160 per week.

Sample Menu: Eggplant Parm Sandwiches with Herb Salad, Summer Quinoa Bowl with Burrata, Candied Almonds, and Arugula, Crispy Fish Lettuce Wraps with Corn Salad and Lime Crema.

Delivery: Meals are shipped in insulated boxes and will arrive on your delivery day of choice between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. No signature is required, so there’s no need to worry about being home.

Holding a BA in journalism from North Carolina's Elon University, Megan Cummins maintains a freelancing career from her home-base in the Massachusetts’ Bay area. When she's not writing or working full-time as a Quality Assurance lead for one of the East Coast’s top e-commerce companies, she is indulging in her in love of travel and exploring new places across the globe.

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