Prepared Meals Delivered: Get the Scoop on 6 Popular Services

Prepared meals delivered: A man plates a Tovala meal

Food delivery. It's something we're ordering more of these days. Between our busy schedules, grueling workloads, and never-ending quest for more free time, it's no wonder making a home-cooked meal can seem next to impossible.

So where do you turn when you want a healthy meal that goes beyond the takeout you get from food delivery services like Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash, or Uber Eats? Glad you asked.

To help you navigate the ever-increasing landscape of options, we're taking a look at some of the top meal delivery services that will bring ready-to-eat meals to your doorstep. But before we do, it's important to know the difference between prepared meal plans and meal kits so you know exactly what to expect before your first order.

Prepared Meals vs. Meal Kits

Prepared meals delivered: Three identical meals prepped in food storage containers

The primary difference between prepared meal plans and meal kits (also called meal kit subscriptions) can be distilled down to one thing: meal prep. Simply put, meal prepping is getting your food ready to eat. This can include gathering the ingredients, then chopping, dicing, portioning, and packaging them, sometimes days in advance. 

While meal prep can be a useful way to control portions, monitor calories, and oversee ingredients, it's very time consuming. It's also a big reason why getting prepared meals delivered is such an appealing option: You eliminate the tedious task of meal prep, yet you still reap the benefits of enjoying a gourmet meal.

Popular meal kit services like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Plated, and Sun Basket spare you a trip to the grocery store to buy ingredients, but the fact remains that they still entail meal prep, which means one more thing: dirty dishes. That's where self-contained prepared meals really come in handy.

Prepared Meals Delivered: 6 to Try

Prepared meals delivered: steak, potatoes, and sauce on a plate

When you want prepared meals delivered, you not only want it to be fast, you want it to be good — and good for you. Below is a breakdown of popular ready-to-eat meal services that can be delivered right to your door. 

1. Freshly

Prepared meals delivered: a Freshly meal
Image: Freshly

How it works: Focused on paleo friendly, high-protein, gluten-free, and low-carb meal options, Freshly prides itself on offering food that is fresh, never frozen. Each meal is fully cooked when it arrives at your door, so you won't need to bother with any meal prep. 

That said, the recommended method for reheating Freshly meals is in a microwave. (Sort of zaps the whole "gourmet meal" idea, doesn't it?) If you choose not to nuke your food, you can heat it up in a regular oven but you’ll have to monitor the cooking process and turn the dish at least once to make sure it cooks thoroughly. For more details, check out this guide to how Freshly really measures up.

Meal examples:  Baja Fish Tacos, Farmhouse Fried Chicken, Sirloin Steak with Blue Cheese Compound Butter

Price: From $8.99 - $12.50 per meal

Delivery: Continental US

2. Sakara

Prepared meals delivered: a Sakara meal
Image: Sakara

How it works: Sakara is a meal delivery program providing ready-to-eat organic meals that are plant-based, non-GMO, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Subscriptions offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal options as well as your choice of daily detox teas and a “wellness supplement,” such as a Daily Probiotic, Beauty Chocolates, or Water Drops. 

Portion sizes are made for one, however, they do seem a bit light. (Not surprising that some folks who have ordered Sakara didn’t feel satiated when only sticking to the foods available in the plan.)

Meal examples: Rose Petal Pancakes, Jicama + Lychee Glow Salad, Anti-Inflammatory Veggie Masala

Price: From $80 per week

Delivery: Nationwide

3. Tovala Meals 

Prepared meals delivered: a Tovala meal

How it works: With no prep, no cleanup, and hundreds of menu items at your fingertips, Tovala Meals suit a variety of dietary needs from gluten-free, vegetarian, and high-protein to low-calorie and low-carb. Focused on high-quality, natural ingredients (no preservatives and nothing artificial is ever added), each entree is made for one person to ensure you get the right portion size every time.

With just one minute of prep time, all Tovala Meals cook in 20 minutes or less. Rather than nuking your food or firing up your full-size oven, food is cooked with precision using your countertop Tovala Oven, which harnesses the power of steam and convection. (For more details on the science behind it, check out our guide to steam-convection ovens.) 

And because Tovala Meals are stored in 100% recyclable containers, there are no dirty dishes. Think it’s too good to be true? Check out what customers are saying about Tovala. 

Meal examples: Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad, Vegetarian Chili Mac, Kung Pao Meatballs, BBQ Salmon

Price: $11.99 per meal with free delivery 

Delivery: Continental US

4. Daily Harvest

Prepared meals delivered: a Daily Harvest meal
Image: Daily Harvest

How it works: A healthier twist on the Cup O’Noodles of your college days, Daily Harvest offers portable smoothies, bowls, soups, lattes, chia bowls, and oat bowls. All cups are pre-filled with flash-frozen organic ingredients that you blend with milk or water, and then either pour in a blender or heat up. 

While eating out of a cup might not feel like a full-on fresh meal experience, if you find yourself always looking for on-the-go options that don't require a drive-thru, this might be up your cup of tea. (Or oats, as it were.)

Meal examples: Strawberry + Peach Smoothie, Sweet Potato + Wild Rice Hash, Cauliflower + Leek Stew, Mulberry + Dragon Fruit Oat Bowl

Price: Starting at $6.99 per cup

Delivery: Continental US

5. The Good Kitchen 

Prepared meals delivered: a The Good Kitchen meal
Image: The Good Kitchen

How it works: Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, The Good Kitchen centers around several meal plans including “The Convenience Plan” of 10 meals per week per person, “The Anti-Cook Plan,” which includes lunch and dinner every day of the week, or the “The All-In Plan” of one family meal per day. 

While the pre-cooked meals require no meal prep, you will have to nuke them in the microwave. A la carte menu items are available, but if you have dietary restrictions, bear in mind that the menu for those with special diets is limited. 

Meal examples: Fajita Chicken Salad, Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl, Bulgogi with Korean Vegetables

Price: $11-$14, depending on quantity ordered

Delivery: Continental US

6. Urban Remedy

Prepared meals delivered: an Urban Remedy meal
Image: Urban Remedy

How it works: Delivering organic, plant-based, ready-to-eat meals, juices, and snacks, Urban Remedy promotes anti-inflammatory foods that are said to combat cravings for refined sugars, gluten, dairy, preservatives, and artificial flavorings. From à la carte salads and bowls to multi-day meal plans and cleanses, each item is aimed at providing specific benefits. One big caveat: If you want the food shipped outside the state of California, your order minimum must be $95.

Meal examples: The Vegan Caesar, Rainbow Salad, Soba Noodle with Sesame Almond Sauce, Keto Brunch Bowl

Price: From $11.75 per dish + shipping 

Delivery: Nationwide 

Delicious Meals Delivered to Your Door

Prepared meals delivered: A man unpacks Tovala meal boxes

While our lives are busier than ever, we have more options for getting prepared meals delivered. And when it comes to a healthy meal delivery service that offers quality, taste, value, convenience, and sustainability, Tovala Meals outperform the rest. (Did we mention it offers the only oven with a brain that cooks the food for you with the touch of an app button or scan of a barcode?) No wonder 71% of Tovala customers made the switch after trying a meal kit service.

But don’t just take our word for it. Give Tovala a try. You have nothing to lose and so much time and convenience to gain.