Meal Delivery: What We Loved, Why We Canceled, & Local Options


I have a love-hate relationship with meal planning. I love to have a fully stocked fridge and a plan for dinner. But I hate how time-consuming it can be to gather recipes, shop, prep, and cook.

That’s why I love the idea of meal delivery services—yummy recipes with ingredients delivered straight to my door? Yes, please!

I use these services often when I need a little break from meal planning, and we’ve tried quite a few. So if you’re looking to free up some time, eat a little healthier, or just try something new, here are our family’s honest reviews of the top meal delivery services we’ve tried at our house.

Meal delivery services we’ve tried


Promoted as America’s #1 Meal Kit, HelloFresh is a great option for anyone trying a meal kit for the first time. This meal kit is also one of the most affordable options, and they frequently run promotional offers for new or returning subscribers.

What we loved: The meals are tasty and most of them are kid-friendly. The instructions are very well laid out and easy-to-follow, which makes it easy for non-chefs (ahem, my husband) to follow. I also like that many of the HelloFresh meals remind you of basic cooking techniques (for example, drying your meat before searing), so I think this is a great kit for beginners.

Why we canceled: Because of the simplicity and affordability, many of the meals are pasta, tacos, burgers, or follow a basic formula of protein, starch, vegetable, and pan sauce. After a while, we felt like we were eating the same meals or eating meals that we could probably make for less.

You should sign up if you’re a beginner in the kitchen, you need to offload meal planning or prep duties for a few nights, and/or you’d like to try a simple, affordable meal delivery kit.

Blue Apron

When I was doing a Whole30, Blue Apron happened to be doing a special promotion with Whole30 approved meals. Since cutting added sugars, gluten, grains, legumes, and dairy, requires a lot of planning, this meal kit was a great way to take that pressure off for a few nights!

What we loved: The meals were delicious and the options we chose had a lot of vegetables and healthy ingredients. Blue Apron also has Weight Watcher approved meals and many vegetarian options (including Beyond Meat products). My favorite thing about Blue Apron was the variety of recipes. I always felt like I was trying something new that I wouldn’t have made on my own.

Why we canceled: Although we had many delicious and healthy options, our recipes were very time consuming to prepare. I also thought the recipes were more advanced than HelloFresh, which made it harder to hand off the prep duties. I also didn’t care for the layout of the instruction card—it seemed cluttered and hard to read.

You should sign up if you love to cook, but you’d like to try some new recipes that are healthy and/or vegetarian.

Sun Basket

Sun Basket emphasizes their use of organic produce and clean ingredients for all of their meals. This meal service also allows you to select a “meal plan” like Paleo, Gluten-Free, Lean & Clean, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Mediterranean, and Diabetes-Friendly.

What we loved: I loved the option to choose a meal plan (we were eating Paleo for a while) and having meals that met that criteria. The recipes are really quick and easy to prepare and I appreciated that the ingredients were organic. Sun Basket also offers options to add breakfast, lunch, and other snacks to your box in addition to dinners.

Why we canceled: We’re big eaters and we found the portion sizes to be a little small for us. In addition, since the ingredients are organic and clean, this meal kit was a little pricier than the others we tried. Another thing I noticed is that they often included ingredients like sauces in small jars, which were cute and probably more eco-friendly, but honestly made me slightly uneasy since they weren’t tamper-proof.

You should sign up if you love clean, organic produce and you follow a specific diet.

Daily Harvest

Daily Harvest is a little different from the other services we tried in that they offer practically ready-made fruit and veggie-based smoothies, soups, and bowls that you pop in your freezer until you’re ready to eat. I put my subscription on pause, but I’m about to start this up again as we welcome Baby #2 for a quick nutritious meal option.

What we loved: I love that all of the Daily Harvest offerings are plant-based and don’t take more than five minutes to prepare – all you need is a blender or a microwave! The smoothies are my favorite and they all have unique fruits, nuts, or vegetables that I probably wouldn’t include in a smoothie if I was making it from scratch. My toddler also loves the smoothies and we often share them for a snack.

Why we canceled: Although I love the smoothies and the bites, I wasn’t crazy about some of the bowls, soups, and flatbreads that they have as more of lunch/dinner options. For that reason, I really use these meals for quick breakfasts or a snack. The items you order are also priced individually and some can be around $8-10 a pop, which can get expensive.

You should sign up if you need something easy and healthy that can be enjoyed on the go and convenience is key!

Charleston-Based Meal Delivery/Pickup:

It’s also worth mentioning that in this pandemic world, our local Charleston businesses have really stepped up to provide similar (or better!) services to busy families. Although I haven’t tried all of these yet, here are a few local options for meal delivery/pickup that you should also consider!

What are your favorite meal kits or delivery services? Let us know in the comments below!