Adulting is hard enough without throwing meal prep and menu planning into the mix. But holistic health experts consider food to be medicine, with links between diet, inflammation, and chronic illness to prove it. That's why a balanced diet of fresh, nutritionist-approved, "healthy" foods (that deliver and cook themselves) would be the dream.
You might already be rolling your eyes if you suffer from food allergies, intolerances, or sensitive digestion. (Guilty!) I know, I know—the struggle is real. But diet-conscious meal delivery services don't just exist—there's a whole crop of delicious subscriptions available, no matter your personal preferences and needs. I had to eliminate gluten and dairy from an already pescatarian diet, for example, and can vouch for how much healthier I felt once I began cooking Sun Basket's anti-inflammatory cuisine.
The best part about wellness-minded meal subscription boxes is that they make healthy eating easy to manage with our busy lifestyles. Instead of spending Sunday handling meal prep, you can make time to kick back and indulge in some self-care. When I cook each night, my boyfriend actually calls it my therapy. (Full disclosure: Whether it's the act of cooking or the glass of wine I cook with that's responsible for the therapeutic effects is TBD.)
Here are 10 food subscription boxes to try in 2019 to get your work-life-wellness balance just right.
Our own Victoria Hoff can attest to the stress-reducing convenience of not having to worry about meal planning thanks to Daily Harvest's portioned-out deliveries of smoothie, soup, meal, and snack bowls. The company knows we're way too busy to plan, prep, and cook every day; this makes it extra-convenient for us to prep meals on the go without compromising on nutrition.
Whether you're a fan of overnight oats, smoothies, or savory harvest bowls, the unprocessed, unrefined recipes were developed by a Michelin-starred chef, and are delivered frozen and ready for you to blend, heat, mix, and eat. Plus, the packaging doubles as dinnerware, so you can save time on dishes and easily take your farm-frozen, organic, keto- and Paleo-friendly meals to go.
Farm to People
Do you love perusing farmer's markets for the freshest seasonal selections? If you live in NYC or Washington, D.C., this box literally does it for you. Choose between omnivore, vegetarian, Paleo, and vegan selections, and prepare your palette from the best of what seasonally synced eating has to offer.
The cool thing about this subscription service is that you'll receive fresh, sustainably sourced, non–wastefully packaged produce to use as you like. The company provides you with recommended recipes, but you won't be limited by awkward amounts (e.g., one egg) if you decide to wing it.
Lastly, you know how farmer's markets also have gift-worthy gourmet treats? You can even choose a monthly tasting box of thoughtfully curated treats that support small local farms starting at just $30 per month.
Arguably the healthy meal delivery service that put healthy meal delivery services on the map, beauty-centric Sakara remains a favorite of models, influencers, and us mere mortals alike. Byrdie assistant editor Erin Jahns recently tried the brand's two-week plant-based challenge to glowing results, quite literally: In addition to seeing positive changes in her body and digestion, her complexion benefited too.
Green Chef was the first organic, non-GMO meal delivery kit with gluten-free menu options on the market. Each week, you can choose from keto, Paleo, pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, omnivore, and gluten-free offerings, with prices reflecting each category. The only catch? You select your meals based on the menu classification, not according to which recipe you would like.
Sweet tooths, take note: Plated's menus are fun because they include dessert offerings as well as conventionally scrumptious offerings. This does mean there are far fewer options for limited-ingredient diets, but this is ideal for those of you with less-finicky digestion. Among the service's 20 recipes each week, you'll be given the choice to choose among low-calorie, low-carb, stovetop-only, and gluten-free offerings. Come December, Plated has partnered with Food52, an award-winning digital foodie destination, to launch four meals and four desserts, ranging from piri-piri shrimp with Spanish rice to sea-salted peanut butter cookies. Yum.
Touting itself as "the most affordable meal delivery service," Dinnerly is a great option if you're looking to budget or reduce waste. By opting for digital recipe cards and minimizing ingredients (six ingredients and six steps per meal), you're simplifying your mealtime in a big way. You won't get a grandiose presentation of a high-class meal, but you will get guidance and ingredients brought straight to you—without the need for endless chopping, portioning, shopping, and planning.
This is the box for plant-based foodies. Founder and CEO Andy Levitt started the company after discovering the pro-health effects of adopting a plant-based diet. Now he's making it available to the mainstream. Vegans can choose among high-protein, gluten-free, quick and easy (30 minutes or less), or chef's-choice meal offerings. Shipping is always free, you can cancel anytime, and you can customize each box to your veggie-loving heart's content.
Each clean meal uses USDA–certified organic ingredients, sustainably sourced from California farms, with gluten-free, Paleo, and vegetarian options. Recipes are created by chef Justine Kelly, a former contestant on Iron Chef America, and recent customizations allow you to opt in on extra proteins, snacks, and even an organic wine club. The rapidly growing company has also added a fulfillment center to allow for a greater delivery range. Other than the occasional hard avocado, I'm regularly impressed by the produce, while my boyfriend (a meat eater) praises the quality of Sun Basket's cuts. The company is also devoted to a goal of zero-waste, and its packaging is almost completely recycleable.
Thistle is amazing because of its macrobiotically developed menu that emphasizes plant-based, gluten-free, organic ingredients whenever possible. Choose from three to six days' worth of ready-made meals (including breakfast!), snacks, and juices per week, and the company will deliver them straight to you. Plus, it's the easiest prep ever, in that there's virtually none. Because of its fresh ingredients, Thistle is only available in certain area codes.