Some nights, cooking dinner feels like an impossibility. Between work and other responsibilities, we just can't. That's why meal plan services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh (plus countless other lesser-known companies) have taken off so fiercely since they started up.
There's a meal delivery service out there for pretty much every kind of person. Vegan? Purple Carrot has got you covered. Are you a Jamie Oliver fan? Give Hello Fresh a try. It's great to find a delivery service to match your personal tastes, but let's be honest here: what matters most is how much easier these services make getting food into our bellies.
We ranked five popular meal plan services in order of ease, so you can pick one depending on how sloth-like you're feeling. The last one is for when you're feeling your laziest about dinner, but still don't want to give in to take out.
For when you're feeling a little tired of coming up with dinner ideas: Relish
Relish isn't going to do the grocery shopping for you. They aren't going to measure out all the ingredients you need for each recipe you want to make. What this meal planner will do is send you a weekly email with recipes (that take no longer than 30 minutes). You choose the meals you want to make and they'll scale the ingredients according to how many servings you need. They'll then compile a grocery list and email it to you. Everything else is in your hands.
For when you're feeling absolutely exhausted thinking about dinner ideas: PlateJoy
PlateJoy takes it one step further. PlateJoy comes up with a meal plan for you based on a quiz you take at signup. They then let you customize the meal -- taking out ingredients you don't care for, etc. -- and compile a grocery list. But then, they'll direct you to a site (depending on where you live) so you can purchase those groceries online. No run to the grocery store for you.
For when you just can't handle the lines at the grocery store: Plated
Plated comes up with the recipes and sends you the ingredients for each individual recipe. They promote fresh and easy recipes, but they don't really deliver on that promise. The recipes are tasty -- some of the highest rated of the meal delivery services -- and the ingredients are pre-portioned, but most of them take longer than advertised, sometimes by an extra half hour.
For when you have just a tiny bit of energy to put into a home-cooked meal: Blue Apron
Blue Apron gives you the recipes AND ingredients, portioned out and shipped to your door. Most of the recipes take between 12-25 minutes, great for the busy person. The recipes are feel well-tested and are easy to follow. Plus, they offer wine delivery.
For those laziest of nights, but you want something better than pizza delivery: Munchery
For when you just can't with dinner, but don't want to succumb to takeout, there's Munchery. You basically just have to heat up the food. If you don't live in one of their service areas, you can subscribe to receive their cooking kits. They promise to ship recipes that take no longer than 15 minutes to create.