5 Cheapest Healthy Meal Delivery Services That Taste Good 2022

Lindsey Desoto

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Dr G. Michael DiLeo, MD

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Dinnerly

Dinnerly

  • Very affordable
  • Offers a variety of meals
  • Uses antibiotic-free poultry

purple carrot

Purple Carrot

  • 100% plant-based meals
  • Uses organic when able
  • Prepared, microwaveable meals available

Sign Up Now

30% Off Coupon: carrot30

HelloFresh

HelloFresh

  • Extensive menu selection
  • Uses some organic ingredients
  • Affordable

Once considered a luxury for busy home chefs, meal delivery services can now be enjoyed by everyone — even those on a tight budget.

Because these services greatly vary in price, nutrient composition, ingredient quality, and the amount of cooking required, it can take some research to find one that fits your lifestyle and budget. This is especially true if you prefer plant-based meal delivery services or have food allergies.

Here we’ve rounded up the cheapest meal delivery services, including family-friendly meal delivery services and vegan meal delivery, as well as those that can accommodate dietary restrictions. 

5 Cheapest Healthy Meal Delivery Services That Taste Good In (December. 2022)

  • Dinnerly – Editor’s Choice
  • Purple Carrot – Best for Vegans
  • HelloFresh – Best Selection
  • EveryPlate – Best Budget Pick
  • Home Chef – Best for Families

What Is A Meal Delivery Service?

A meal delivery service is a subscription-based service where a company sends a box of fresh, pre-portioned ingredients directly to your doorstep to make a home-cooked meal.

Usually, customers can hand-select their weekly meals and serving sizes based on allergy restrictions, household size, dietary preferences, and health goals. You can also select how many meals you want to receive, usually up to six meals per week.

Many meal delivery services ship the ingredients required for your weekly meals on the same day each week. Customers typically have the option to skip a week if they do not wish to receive meals during certain times.

While most meal delivery services offer meal kits that let you cook the meals yourself, others offer fully prepared meals that require no meal prep — simply heat and serve.

Though the majority of ingredients you need to prepare meals are included in the meal kits, meal delivery services often require that you have certain ingredients on hands, such as salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Depending on how much cooking you plan to do, meal delivery services can be a huge timesaver and reduce the amount of time you spend grocery shopping and planning meals. 

Because meal kits come with pre-portioned ingredients, they can also help reduce food waste.

Lastly, cooking at home is associated with better diet quality[1], which can improve your overall health.

Keep reading to see the best cheap meal delivery services in 2022.

The Line Up At A Glance

Dinnerly

Editor’s Choice

Dinnerly

  • Very affordable
  • Offers a variety of meals
  • Uses antibiotic-free poultry

purple carrot

Best for Vegans

Purple Carrot

  • 100% plant-based meals
  • Uses organic when able
  • Prepared, microwaveable meals available

Sign Up Now

30% Off Coupon: carrot30

HelloFresh

Best Selection

HelloFresh

  • Extensive menu selection
  • Uses some organic ingredients
  • Affordable

EveryPlate

Best Budget Pick

EveryPlate

  • Meals start at $4.99
  • Focuses on comfort foods
  • Receive up to five weekly meals

Home Chef

Best for Families

Home Chef

  • Serves up to six people
  • Large menu selection
  • Offers oven-ready meals and meal kits

5 Best Affordable Meal Delivery Services In 2022

Dinnerly

Dinnerly is one of the cheapest meal delivery services on the market today, with prices starting at just $4.99 per adult-sized serving.

  • Cheaper than most meal delivery services
  • Choose from 40+ meal options each week
  • Some ingredients are organic
  • Recipes can be prepared in less than five steps
  • No paper recipe card
  • Must purchase at least three meals per week
  • Options are limited for individuals with strict dietary restrictions and food allergies

Dinnerly is a subscription-based meal delivery service that offers a variety of easy-to-cook meal delivery kits to take the stress out of meal planning.

According to Dinnerly, their cheap meal kit service is able to be maintained by using the same quality ingredients as other kits but taking a more straightforward approach. Instead of paper, Dinnerly uses digital recipe cards. They also use simple packaging, fewer ingredients per dish, and no fancy marketing campaigns.

Each week you can choose from over 40 different menu options, including recipes that are

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Kid-friendly
  • Dairy-free
  • Free of added gluten
  • Ready to eat in under 30 minutes 
  • Reduced-carb/keto-friendly options

While they do not offer a full menu tailored to food allergies, they include recipes adjusted for certain allergens. Still, Dinnerly cannot guarantee against cross-contamination because all ingredients go through the same facility and production process. 

In addition to using antibiotic-free poultry, Dinnerly tries to include organic produce when possible.

You can mix and match your favorite recipes every week to create a custom meal plan. You can select three to six meals per week, with either two or four servings per meal.

Prices start at $4.99 per adult-sized meal serving.

Purple Carrot

purple carrot

Sign Up Now

30% Off Coupon: carrot30

See Purple Carrot Reviews

If you are looking for a high-quality, affordable meal kit that features 100% plant-based ingredients, Purple Carrot is an excellent option.

  • 100% Plant-based meals
  • Uses organic ingredients when possible
  • Choose from around 16 different breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal kits
  • Prepared, microwaveable meals and meal kits are available
  • A little pricer than other cheap meal delivery services
  • Limited to plant-based meals

Purple Carrot is a meal delivery service featuring plant-based meals made with nutrient-dense ingredients, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins. 

According to Purple Carrot, they use primarily organic non-produce items, such as tempeh, beans, and nut milk. They also prioritize organic produce. However, these items are often limited by availability and shipping constraints.

In addition to offering meal kits that allow you to prepare your meals from scratch, Purple Carrot offers fresh, prepared, microwaveable meals that are ready in less than 5 minutes. 

You can choose from high-protein, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free options. It is important to note that the ingredients are processed in a facility that handles allergies like gluten, wheat, and nuts, which may not be appropriate for those with severe food allergies due to the risk of cross-contamination.

You can also find other vegan foods in Purple Carrot’s “Plantry.” 

While Purple Carrot offers nutritious meals, many of the meals they offer are high in calories and carbohydrates. You may want to keep this in mind when selecting meals.

Dinner meal kits are available in two or four servings and start at $11 per serving. Breakfast and lunch recipes are also available, costing $4.49 and $8.99 per serving. Pre-packaged meals cost $12.99 per meal.

HelloFresh

HelloFresh is a good option for individuals and families who do not have major dietary restrictions and are looking to include a variety of delicious meals into their dinner routine.

  • Offers vegetarian, low-calorie, family-friendly, and pescatarian meal plans
  • Includes some organic ingredients
  • Extensive menu selection
  • Does not offer gluten-free, allergen-free, or vegan meals
  • All meals require cooking

HelloFresh is considered to be one of the most popular, cheap meal delivery services for individuals and families on a budget.

Offering a weekly rotating menu with over 35 vegetarian, pescatarian, kid-approved, and low-calorie meal kits, HelloFresh is likely to meet the nutritional demands of your entire family.

That said, this meal service does not offer meals for individuals with strict dietary needs, such as gluten-free, keto, or paleo. They also do not offer meal plans tailored for specific allergies.

HelloFresh offers classic dinner favorites, such as spaghetti and meatballs, as well as globally-inspired recipes like Thai-spiced pork meatballs with yakisoba noodles and broccoli.

You can choose from two to six weekly recipes for two or four people. Each recipe comes with an easy-to-follow recipe card and pre-portioned, fresh ingredients, including seasonings and garnishes, that can usually be put together in about 30 minutes to make a meal.

HelloFresh also allows all customers to change, swap, or upgrade proteins and sides each week. Quick meals that can be prepared in under 30 minutes are also offered.

HelloFresh starts at around $7.99 per serving. New customers receive free shipping and a discount on their first shipment.

EveryPlate

With prices starting at just $4.99 per serving, EveryPlate is one of the cheapest meal kit delivery services available today.

  • Allowed to skip deliveries for up to four weeks
  • Vegetarian meals available
  • Offers a large selection of comfort foods
  • Lacks detail on where and how ingredients are sourced
  • Many of their meals are high in calories, which may make weight maintenance difficult
  • May not be appropriate for individuals with dietary restrictions

EveryPlate is known for providing fresh, affordable, easy-to-prepare meal kits. With the exception of a few pantry items like salt and pepper, all of the ingredients you need to make your meals are included in each box. Recipe cards with step-by-step instructions for each meal are also included in your box.

You can choose from 17 recipes each week, including kid-friendly and vegetarian options. Most recipes can be prepared and ready in under 45 minutes.

To keep prices low and maintain its spot as the cheapest meal kit delivery service, EveryPlate does not have a menu to cater to those on special diets. 

EveryPlate is known for providing filling, classic meals. However, many meals are high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium, which in excess can be bad for your health[2]

For example, one serving of their potato and black bean enchiladas contains 15 grams (g) of saturated fat, 1,890 milligrams (mg) of sodium of the 2,300 recommended per day, and 970 calories.

All meal kits include high-quality ingredients sourced from various suppliers around the country. However, the company provides minimal information about where ingredients are sourced.

You can choose between three, four, or five fresh meals each week, with two or four servings of each meal. Prices start at $4.99 per serving.

Home Chef

Whether you enjoy channeling your inner chef in the kitchen or prefer the convenience of no-prep meals, Home Chef has you covered. It is the cheapest prepared meal delivery service, with prices starting at $9.99 for oven-ready meals.

  • Offers oven-ready meals and meal kits
  • Choose from over 25 recipes each week
  • Military personnel, first responders, health care workers, and teachers receive 50% off their first order and 10% on all future orders
  • Central processing facility is not certified allergen-free, so there is a risk of cross-contamination
  • No vegan option

Home Chef is a cheap meal delivery service that provides customers with everything they need to prepare delicious, healthful, budget-friendly meals in the comfort of their own homes.

You can build your customized box to feed two, four, or six people and select between two and six recipes per week. This makes it a great option for those with larger families.

The company offers two different plans — the Home Chef plan and the Fresh and Easy plan. The Home Chef plan comes with pre-portioned, fresh ingredients and is designed to be cooked and ready to eat within 30 minutes. 

The Fresh and Easy plan offers 15-minute oven-ready meals requiring little preparation.

On each plan, you can choose from over 25 recipe options from a rotating weekly menu, including calorie conscious, carb-conscious, and vegetarian. To further customize your meals, you can select double-protein portions or swap the meat in recipes.

While Home Chef offers recipes free of major allergens, such as tree nuts, shellfish, and peanuts, it cannot be guaranteed as their central processing facility is not certified allergen-free.

Home Chef meals start at around $9.99 per serving. 

How We Selected Our Picks

We kept several factors in mind when choosing the cheapest meal kit services.

Price

For the purpose of this article, we only chose affordable meal kits under $11 per serving. If cost is your main concern, your best bet is Dinnerly or EveryPlate, with meals starting at just $4.99 per serving. 

Ingredient Quality

Companies that sell meal kits made up of fresh, quality ingredients were prioritized. We also considered which meal delivery services opted for organic ingredients when possible.

Variety

All meal delivery services offer a large selection of meal delivery kits to satisfy a range of taste preferences and dietary patterns. We included services that offered kid-friendly meals and meals appropriate for those who follow a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle.

Nutrition Information

While most meal delivery services offer some high-calorie, high-sodium meal options, we choose meal delivery services that primarily offer nutrient-dense, balanced meals that include healthy fats, whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. 

Some also offer low-calorie and low-carbohydrate options, which may help you maintain a healthy weight or support weight loss when consumed as part of a reduced-calorie diet.

Ease Of Preparation

We included meal delivery services that chefs of all skill levels can utilize. Most meals can be prepared in less than 45 minutes. Some also offer oven-ready and microwaveable meals that require little to no preparation.

Final Thought

Whether you lack the time or resources to plan, prepare, and cook healthful, balanced meals, you may discover that subscription meal kits change your life in terms of stress reduction and convenience. 

They can also help reduce food waste and the amount of time and money spent at a grocery store.

Before making a decision, carefully consider what is important to you, as well as any dietary restrictions or nutrition-related goals you may have.

Lastly, many meal delivery services run discounts and specials. Always check the company’s website to see what sales promotions they’re currently offering to help offset the cost of your meals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest food delivery service?

The cheapest meal kit service is Dinnerly and EveryPlate, with prices starting at just $4.99 per serving.

What is the easiest meal delivery service?

Meal delivery services, including Purple Carrot, EveryPlate, Dinnerly, HelloFresh, and Chef’s Plate, are very user-friendly and make preparing home-cooked meals simple and affordable.

Are prepared meals worth it?

While some prepared meals are more expensive than buying groceries and cooking at home, it ultimately depends on your lifestyle (and gasoline prices!). If you are someone who is busy and lacks time to cook balanced meals, purchasing prepared meals can save you time. They are also generally cheaper and healthier than dining out.

What is the best fresh meal delivery service?

Purple Carrot, EveryPlate, Dinnerly, HelloFresh, and Chef’s Plate all send meal kits composed of fresh ingredients directly to your door.

What is cheaper than HelloFresh?

With the cost-per-plate starting at $4.99, Dinnerly and EveryPlate are both cheaper than HelloFresh. However, Dinnerly offers more meal options, which gives it a slight advantage over EveryPlate.


+ 2 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Tiwari, A., Aggarwal, A., Tang, W. and Drewnowski, A. (2017). Cooking at Home: A Strategy to Comply With U.S. Dietary Guidelines at No Extra Cost. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, [online] 52(5), pp.616–624. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2017.01.017.
  2. CDC (2022). Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/index.html
Lindsey Desoto

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

Lindsey DeSoto is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based out of Coastal Mississippi. She earned her BSc in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Alabama. Lindsey has a passion for helping others live their healthiest life by translating the latest evidence-based research into easy-to-digest, approachable content.

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

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