If you’re a single person, you know that cooking for one is about as gratifying as rush hour, long lines, or moving into a fifth floor loft without an elevator. Unless you love eating leftovers throughout the week (which, props), cooking individual portions is extremely frustrating. Most recipes found online are for four people or more, which means you will be eating the exact same chicken fajitas for dinner Monday through Thursday.
In the past ten years, companies in the meal kit industry promised to reduce cooking time woes by making home cooked meals easier and more accessible for singles. Rather than resorting to takeout, meal kits send perfectly portioned ingredients to make a weekly menu of recipes, eliminating leftovers throughout the week.
Sounds like a great idea, right? You get to skip a trip to the grocery store and try meals typically only enjoyed at a restaurant. You can even stop eating that “serves eight” batch of chili that’s been sitting in your fridge since last Wednesday.
Meal kits sounds like the single person’s dream, except for one little issue.
Unless there’s a company that we couldn’t find in the deep, dark depths of Google, every single meal kit company available nation-wide in the US starts with plans portioned for two. In fact, if you know of any meal kit in the United States that delivers individual portion sizes to your doorstep, contact us through chat support in the footer and we will happily—happily—edit this post.
We couldn’t find one. And we read many articles with similar titles to the very article you’re reading, looking for the diamond-in-the-rough company that makes it easy for people to cook for one. We never found it.
We’ll go through the various plan options for the industry’s leading competitors below. You’ll see for yourself that these companies make it easier for couples and families to prepare home cooked meals—not singles.
There are more than enough meal kit services to choose from. But if you’re looking for those that offer individual-portion sizes for each recipe, you might need to consider a new approach.
Home Chef offers meal plans portioned for two, four, or six people. You can have a minimum of two days’ worth of recipes delivered to your door, with plans going all the way up to six days. There are two dietary preferences available (low-calorie or low-carb), and you can choose to eliminate ingredients like pork, soy, red meat, nuts, or wheat from your meals.
Plated offers plans with a minimum of two portions and a maximum of four. You can have two, three, or four nights worth of meals delivered to your door. You can tell Plated which types of ingredients you like (vegetarian, beef, fish, lamb, or shellfish), but there’s no place to input your dietary restrictions.
The smallest plan offered by Sun Basket is their “classic menu,” which includes three receipes per week for two or four people. They have a number of plans available targeted at different diets, including paleo, Mediterranean, carb-conscious, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, pescatarian, and diabetes friendly plans.
Purple Carrot offers strictly plant-based, healthy meals. Every plan contains two servings per meal with three different recipes per week. Their meal options are: “quick and easy” (dishes designed to cook in less than 30 minutes), high protein, and “chef’s choice” (gourmet dishes).
Martha Stewart’s meal delivery service, Martha & Marley Spoon, offers two meal plans: a two-person plan and a family plan (four people). You can have two, three, or four days’ worth of recipes delivered to your doorstep. You also have the option to make your meals vegetarian.
Blue Apron’s smallest plan is their signature plan, which offers two or three recipes per week with each recipe serving two people. In addition to their standard menu, you can also choose plans for vegetarians, or a Weight Watchers or WW Freestyle plan for calorie-conscious individuals.
This was, quite arguably, the most frustrating service to browse through as a single person. When you select your plan, the first question asks, “How many people are you cooking for?” with the first option being—wait for it—one!
We thought we found it, the one and only meal kit delivery service that offers single servings. But don’t get your hopes up because at the bottom of the exact same web page it reads, “Top choice for 1 person...This plan gives you 2 servings per recipe.” Sorry to disappoint, but we’ve got pics for proof:
Green Chef is a 100% organic company, offering meals made from organic produce and protein.
If there’s a meal kit that targets individuals rather than couples, we have yet to find it. There are certainly other options available, beyond meal kits. You can also consider prepared food delivery services like Freshly or Terra’s Kitchen, which deliver ready-to-eat meals.
Unlike meal kits which delivers boxes of fresh ingredients and recipe cards, prepared food services delivers reheatable meals. And if the word “reheatable” sounds anything but appetizing, we’re right there with you. Microwaved meals (that were prepared days ago in a far-away kitchen) typically lose the texture and flavor you expect from true home cooking.
If you're a single person, bypass the meal kits, skip the Whole Foods hot bar, and sit tight for a second before you dial delivery.
Tovala is the single best meal service for singles, delivering delicious meals straight to your front door. Each meal is chef-prepared with high quality ingredients, and eliminates the need to cook or meal prep. Unlike meal kit companies, Tovala portions each meal for exactly one person. And unlike prepared food services, each meal is cooked in your home, right in your Tovala Oven. All you have to do is scan your meal's barcode, then watch as your Tovala cooks it on autopilot.
Ready to try the first meal service that actually works for your lifestyle? Check out Tovala's meal plans (don't worry, they actually come with single servings) and get started this week.