The Best Meal Delivery Service Based On Price, Recipes, & Level Of Difficulty

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Review Best Meal Delivery Service Based On Price, Recipes, And Level Of Difficulty
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It's a crowded industry, but one meal delivery service is easily superior.

There are two types of people in this world: those who eat to live, and those who live to eat. I am absolutely part of the latter half. 

There’s really just nothing like a fantastic, hearty meal. However, making those meals yourself isn’t always easy or practical. Whether you’re busy working late hours, taking care of your family, or you’re just plain old tired from the stresses of everyday life, we often fall back onto those same old recipes day after day. You know, the same meals we’ve been making for years that aren’t always the best, but they’re easy to prepare and do the trick. 

All of this is unfortunate because we spend a lot of our lives eating. A Bureau of Labor Statistics survey found that we spend about an hour and 42 minutes per day preparing, eating, and cleaning up our food. That’s almost 12 hours a week! When we spend that much time doing something, shouldn’t we at least enjoy every minute of it?

That’s where meal delivery services come in. They make putting meals together just about as simple as possible. They provide full recipes and all the ingredients you need already portioned out and ready to go.

The question is, how do you know what the best meal delivery service is?

With 2018 off to a running start, I’m knee deep in a *New Year, New Me* kick which includes not only eating better but being smarter when it comes to how I spend my time and money. Meal delivery services are key to making that resolution a reality, but I wanted to make sure I chose the right one. 


RELATED: I Finally Found A Meal Subscription Service That Makes Me Love Cooking


We broke down three meal delivery services (Home Chef, HelloFresh, and Blue Apron) to figure out which service is the best based on three major factors: price, recipes, and level of difficulty. 

Price

I can’t tell you how often I’ve gotten thiiiiiiis close to subscribing to a meal delivery service, only to back out after seeing the final price. Between base price and shipping costs, they really do add up. 

Sure, it may be cheaper to just go grocery shopping, but that’s also time-consuming. And how many times have you purchased food just for it to go bad in the back of your fridge because you didn’t get to it fast enough? With meal delivery services, you’re paying for convenience and the peace of mind knowing that you’re going to use all of the ingredients you get. But some are definitely cheaper than others.

Home Chef

  • Price: $40
  • Shipping: $10
  • Total Cost: $50

Home Chef’s classic meal plan costs $50 including shipping and includes two meals fit for two people. The nice thing about Home Chef is you can choose a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly plan (and can switch between the three at any time). Plus, you’re able to pause whenever you want. This is great news for people who travel often or those who don’t want to be stuck with mandatory weekly deliveries. You can even get $30 off your first order with the code YOURTANGO.

HelloFresh

  • Price: $60
  • Shipping: Free
  • Total Cost: $60

HelloFresh costs $10 more than Home Chef, but you do get one more meal included unless you purchase the more expensive family plan, which offers an option for two meals but portioned for four people. You automatically receive your three meals weekly unless you manually skip a week.

Blue Apron

  • Price: $40
  • Shipping: $8
  • Total cost: $48

Blue Apron is $2 less than Home Chef for the same amount of meals. However, like HelloFresh, you’re locked into the weekly deliveries unless you manually skip a week.


Recipes

Each of these services provides a weekly menu that you choose from for your meal deliveries, which is great news for pickier eaters — no unwelcome surprises! 

Home Chef: offers a wide range of choices that a lot of people can appreciate. You can customize your weekly menus when you sign up so if you don’t eat a certain type of meat or have allergies etc., you mark it down and they will remove meals with those ingredients and replace them on your weekly menu options. The French Onion Chicken is the perfect guilt-free comfort food and the Avocado Detox Farro Bowl makes sticking to New Year’s resolutions a piece of cake! 

HelloFresh: seem best suited for a more well-versed palate. The recipes definitely look interesting, like what you’d see on the menu at a high-end restaurant. I’m sure there are lots of people out there who can appreciate that, but to me, a lot of the recipes seem more suited for Instagram than my belly. It’s worth noting that there’s a special menu plan for vegetarians and vegans.

Blue Apron: better mix of recognizable vs. more complicated flavors than HelloFresh. However, many of the options are still a little much. There are veggie options even if you don’t choose that specific plan, though there is a specially priced plan for those who only want vegetarian options.


RELATED: Couples Who Do This In The Kitchen Are Way More Likely To Last


Level of Difficulty

Some people were born to cook. They can mix spices for flavors that are out of this world and don’t even need a recipe to know how much of what to put where. I’m not one of those people. I burn just about everything and somehow manage to completely mess up even the simplest recipes. Therefore, the easier a recipe is, the better. Simple doesn’t mean tasteless! 

Plus, like many people, I spend most of my day working and am usually starving by the time I’m done. The last thing I want to do is wait hours for something to bake or broil or have to remember to marinate an ingredient first thing in the morning before work. 

Home Chef

  • # of steps: 5 or less
  • Average cooking time: 30 mins

HelloFresh

  • # of steps: 6 or less
  • Average cooking time: 30+ mins

Blue Apron

  • # of steps: 6
  • Average cooking time: 30 - 40 mins

Based on these factors, I started a subscription with Home Chef. What won me over is having the option of setting a bi-weekly or monthly delivery date instead of having to remember to manually skip weeks every time I don’t want an auto-delivery. 

The first meal I made was the Roasted Salmon with Ginger-Scallion Sauce. Salmon is my absolute favorite food, but I only get it when I’m out at restaurants because I don’t know how to cook it properly myself — at least, until now. The Home Chef salmon recipe was bonkers and by far the best meal I’ve made for myself probably in my entire life. It was so easy and quick, not to mention totally drool-worthy.

When it comes to price, recipes, and level of difficulty, Home Chef is clearly the winner of the best meal delivery service reward. The best part is that I got $30 off my first order with the code YOURTANGO.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go whip up a 30-minute meal fit for a top chef.

RELATED: 6 Reasons Couples Who Cook Together Are Way Happier And Healthier


Created in partnership with Home Chef.

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