As a busy single mom of two who works full-time and takes on freelance work to help maintain my budget, I’m always on the lookout for shortcuts that will help me net extra time with my kids (not to mention let me rest). However, I often find that one of the hardest places to take shortcuts is when it comes to preparing dinner — mostly because I refuse to order takeout every single night.
In recent years, though, it seems like an entire market has emerged that is growing more and more family-friendly… and that’s the realm of meal delivery services!
Whether you’re a busy mom like me or a dad who is desperately trying to help out in the kitchen, this list of meal kits for families is just for you. In fact, we looked at over 25 meal delivery kits and similar services to bring you this list of what we feel are the best meal kits for families.
Great For: Babies Who Are Starting Solids
Cost: $3-5 per serving
Parents of infants have enough to worry about these days. Little Spoon hopes that, with their help, feeding your baby quality, nutrient-filled foods isn’t one of those problems. In other words, this company delivers all-organic baby food (prepared without preservatives or extreme heat right) to the front door of tired, busy parents. Because of this, many parents across the United States are turning to Little Spoon as an alternative to store-bought purees.
What You Get With Little Spoon
With a Little Spoon subscription, you receive enough purees every other week for your baby to enjoy two or three meals per day (depending on which plan you choose). When you first sign up, you’ll fill out a short questionnaire, and Little Spoon will create a custom assortment for you to receive with each shipment based on your child’s age and a few other factors.
If your baby doesn’t like a food, though, don’t worry — Little Spoon lets you note this in their system and they update their future shipments accordingly. Similarly, you can customize your choices if there’s something your infant is particularly fond of.
The best part? Little Spoon’s founder is a mother herself and she created the company with one goal in mind: Providing quality puree products to parents.
The Fine Print
While many online reviews rave about how amazing Little Spoon is, parents should be aware of a few things before ordering:
- Little Spoon only ships you products every other week, meaning you need to plan ahead a bit if you want to get a certain food for a certain week.
- Due to restrictions with maintaining temperatures during shipment, Little Spoon only ships within the 48 contiguous states (sorry, Hawaii and Alaska).
- Since Little Spoon purees are organic and preservative-free, they only last up to two weeks in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. Furthermore, opened containers are only viable for 48 hours, so use those leftovers up quickly.
Great For: Toddler Parents Who Need Instant Meals
Cost: $5.99-7.99 per serving
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom of two preschoolers or a dad with a picky eater who refuses to eat what everyone else is, Yumble just might be able to help you out. In fact, Yumble’s mission is to “take mealtime stress off your plate,” and they do this by offering delicious, ready to heat and eat meals specifically portioned for toddlers and young children.
What You Get With Yumble
Yumble ships pre-portioned, pre-cooked meals to your doorstep every week. All you do is sign up for a plan that meets the number of pre-packed meals you’d like, then store them in the fridge until lunch or dinner time. All of Yumble’s dishes require just 90 seconds in the microwave before they’re ready for your child.
What’s more, all of Yumble’s meals are designed by nutritionists, so your child is receiving balanced meals portioned with kids in mind. Each box also comes with stickers and other fun activities for kids to play with during mealtime — plus each box ships for free no matter how many meals you buy.
The Fine Print
Yumble is a great choice for parents who just need easy-to-heat meals for their young kids, but these meals don’t come without a few warnings:
- Although Yumble offers certain meals that cater to dietary restrictions, Yumble openly shares that meals are not prepared in an allergen-free kitchen.
- Although they have plans to expand, Yumble is currently only available on the East Coast, parts of the Midwest, California, and Texas.
Great For: Families With Young Kids
Cost: $8-12 per serving
If you have one or two young kids and have tried any of the major meal delivery kits, then you’ve probably noticed a small issue: The 2-serving kits are never enough food for the whole family, but the 4-serving kits make way too much. The solution to that? One Potato. Unlike most other meal delivery services, One Potato offers plans for 2 to 6 people and specifically tells you how many mouths their plans will feed based on both adult and child portions.
What You Get With One Potato
Each week, One Potato offers a lineup of delicious recipes for you to choose from. You choose two or three (depending on your plan) to arrive at your door. And, since the ingredients come pre-chopped and pre-measured, even your three-year-old budding chef can help you prepare the meals in the kitchen (obviously, take reasonable precautions before involving your kids in any kind of meal prep).
In addition to the massive amount of customization that One Potato offers, the company also includes some optional add-ons — like smoothies and cookie dough — that you can throw into your box each week.
The Fine Print
Are you excited to try One Potato? Make sure these little issues don’t turn you away:
- Although One Potato offers nut- and gluten-free recipes each week, they don’t operate a nut- or gluten-free facility.
- Here’s the big catch: One Potato currently only operates on the West Coast, meaning you can only enjoy their services if you live in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. However, they do have plans to expand in the future!
Great For: Inexpensive Family-Friendly Meals
Cost: $4-6 per serving
Have you always wanted to try a meal kit but found the prices too expensive or the recipes too sophisticated for your kids to enjoy? If that’s the case, then you should probably check out Dinnerly. Unlike more expensive competitors such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, Dinnerly offers a weekly meal subscription service that averages around $5 per serving — making it great for a family on a budget.
What You Get With Dinnerly
Dinnerly subscriptions offer anywhere from 3 to 6 meals per week for 2 or 4 people with the ability to cancel at any time. Dinnerly’s recipe lineup each week includes 16 options, a fair amount of which are vegetarian. The meals are also labeled with helpful categories like “kid-friendly” and “one-pot meal,” so families can select the options that best match their needs.
You can pick meals up to four weeks in advance and skip meals up to eight weeks out if needed. However, Dinnerly will auto-fill your box, so make sure you log on and choose your meals at least 5 days before your next scheduled delivery.
The Fine Print
Dinnerly is a great choice for most families, but is it right for yours? Check out these couple of potential deal breakers:
- Dinnerly currently only delivers to addresses within the 48 contiguous U.S. states, and does exclude delivery in some areas, so check out the website before you get too excited.
- Although Dinnerly offers several vegetarian options each week, the company does not cater to other dietary restrictions or allergies.
Great For: Parents Who Need To Whip Up Dinner In An Instant
Cost: $11.99 per serving
As a parent, how many times have you planned out meals for the week only to hit a day where the idea of spending even 45 minutes in the kitchen sounds completely unbearable? Well, it turns out you aren’t alone because Gobble was created to help parents turn ingredients into fantastic meals in just 15 minutes flat!
What You Get With Gobble
With Gobble, you can choose from a menu of over 15 meals each week and have either 3 or 4 of them delivered to your door. While their prices sound a little steep, it’s because they do so much of the prep for you that you can literally throw everything together and have dinner on the table in less time than an episode of your kid’s favorite TV show.
Gobble also offers a “Lean & Clean” plan for families looking for low carb meals that include lean meats and no filler grains. Gobble also offers the option of 2- or 4-serving meals, so they can help you with most standard American families.
The Fine Print
Gobble sounds great, but it might not be the best option if your family can’t handle the following drawbacks:
- Gobble currently doesn’t ship to Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska or anywhere outside the contiguous United States.
- Although Gobble offers ways to help families prepare the meals without common allergens, their website stresses that they aren’t the best option for you if anyone in your family has a serious food allergy.
Great For: Families Who Can’t Agree On What To Eat
Cost: $7.99-11.50 per serving
It’s the constant problem for whichever parent who prepares dinner: Inevitably at least one person at the table isn’t happy about what’s being served. While that can be so annoying, Freshly can help you avoid that problem with their individually-portioned, pre-cooked meals that just need a quick reheat before serving.
What You Get With Freshly
Although Freshly’s target audience includes singles and health-conscious working adults, their meals actually provide a great option for families filled with picky eaters who can’t always agree on what to eat or teens who want to add a little more substance to their lunch.
With Freshly, you can choose to have 4, 6, 9, or 12 pre-cooked, pre-portioned meals shipped straight to your house. When you’re ready, all you have to do is pull one (or more) out of the fridge, quickly reheat, and enjoy! And, since they allow you to repeat the same menu item as many times as you want, you can order enough mac & cheese for your picky eater to gobble up all week while the rest of the family has something else.
The Fine Print
Freshly is a unique option on this list, which means it might not be right for you. Additionally, Freshly comes with a few other restrictions that may not make it a match made in culinary heaven for your family:
- If you live in Alaska or Hawaii, guess what? Freshly can’t deliver to you.
- Is your family vegetarian or vegan? If so, Freshly probably won’t be a fit for you.
Hey, I know you’re tired and that was a lot to read, but thanks for sticking with me. There are a ton of subscription services out there these days, but not all of them are created equal and many of them don’t deliver what a family needs. But if you’re looking for a solution for feeding picky eaters or just an easier way to serve up fresh, delicious dinners to your busy family, I hope that at least one of the options on this list of meal kits for families called out to you. After all, parents need to remain united — the world’s already crazy enough as it is.