We’ve tested these meal delivery kits that make life easier in the kitchen!
Before I became a mom, I was always in awe of my mom friends, who were always sharing their tips on how they made dinner for their growing families. I had one friend who would spend her entire Sunday cooking meals for the week. I can recall when I was younger my own mother cooking up eggplant lasagna and soups that she would freeze and use as time savers down the line. With three kids, she was always working hard to have a healthy meal on the dinner table.
Now, as a busy mother, my friends and I swap recipes and tips on making quick yet nutritious meals. We also do meal kits. I have found meal kits to be one of the ultimate dinner hacks. Like any meal, kids have opinions, and for the money that is spent these meals have to work hard. Thankfully we have tested the following five (one is actually a cake kit, yay!) and we feel that they are worth being listed as our top picks for family-friendly meal delivery services!
Family Meal Kit:
What makes Plated unique and the right fit for me as a mother is that their chef-designed meals are the sorts of dishes I always aim to create. High-quality meals with seasonal ingredients and sourced the way I like to shop, which is preferably organic, no added hormones or antibiotics and sustainability sourced fish. How it works is Plated features 20 recipes each week, you choose how many servings you like and dishes can be mixed and matched in any combination. Meals are delivered with all the fresh ingredients you need, pre-portioned, along with detailed recipe instructions.
Why It Works: In my dream world, I can get all of this together but in my real world, getting out, putting everything together only happens when I have the time, which are weekends. During the week when I return home from my workday, home-cooked meals are not ready until 7 or 7:30pm. This means a late kid bath, story reading, and bed wrangling. I find myself ordering out at least three times a week, which can be expensive. Another advantage to using Plated is unlike a gym subscription you can’t get out of, it’s easy to skip weeks of Plated deliveries as well cancel under their ‘no strings attached cancel anytime’ policy. Best value three servings a night for four-night — perfect for two adults and two kids.
Favorites: The Seared Steak with Roasted Broccoli and Caesar Dressing is super tasty and the Taiwanese Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Cashews and Dates are not too heavy and easy to whip up.
Kids Ready-Made Meals:
A meal kit is a time-saver, especially for the busy parent, but what if you love the service, but your kid does not? My oldest son rarely ate any of the dishes I cooked from the meal kit services we used in the past. I like the idea of having healthy food that gets delivered to my door with meals that allow a break when preparing the family dinner, especially when having a busy work month, or my husband is traveling for long periods. But what is the point of cooking up these meals if the kids aren’t going to eat them? So we gave Yumble a whirl. This meal service is geared towards kids, and the meals are ready-made. There are no ingredients to whip up — it’s you choosing your meals and popping them in the oven.
Why it works: Yumble works hard to make kids happy with their meals. Smart. They aren’t underestimating their customer. They may be a bit crazy to service the pickiest age group in the universe, but they aren’t missing a beat with meals such as Tasty Taco Bowl and Handmade Pizza Pockets. From the moment the box is delivered, Yumble feels happy. My son was excited from the get-go as the wooing starts as soon as you open the creative packaging and a packet that includes star charts, golden coins that are meant to be given as a reward, activity sheets they can draw on and a few other cool things. Yumbe worked hard to please my picky eater and, drum roll, it worked. We received six meals, and there were no complaints about any of the meals. Neat packaging, fun names, and food that kids want to eat, the kinds of food they love yet are made to be healthy. Yumble also offers dairy, egg, gluten-free, as well as vegetarian options. I was prepared to have to sell my boy on these meals, which has been my past experience. With Yumble, there was no cajoling. I did add fresh fruit and cheese to all the meals as my kid is a big dinner eater. Best value is the 12 meals plan, which for two kids averages out to $5.62 a meal.
Favorites: My oldest loved the Bowl of Yays Pasta, the Vegetarian Bean Burrito and Better Chicken Nugget Dinner. The costs of six meals comes to about $50, a valuable service for our busy lives.
With starting a new job and back-to-school hitting, I needed to step off the planning-shopping-cooking treadmill for a while and gave Gobble a whirl. While I was initially taken-aback by the amount of plastic packaging the meals came in, I definitely appreciated the easy and quick family-friendly meals they provided. Gobble promises “dinner kits designed for 15 minutes,” and while I didn’t quite hit that time frame (partly because I was trying to multi-task with homework and stacking the dishwasher!) I was always under 30 minutes from taking the ingredients out of the fridge, to dinner being served. I also love how Gobble offers Lean & Clean options for parents who might be trying to get healthy and clearly marks allergens.
Why it works: Gobble keeps it pretty simple and classic, avoiding strong flavors, or making it easy to serve sauces on the side for picky eaters. The portions were also hearty and perfect for hungry kiddos. Because of the limited space in my New York kitchen, I don’t have many big pans (or the kind that can go in the oven) so I always went over the one pot promise, but I found the prep super-easy and clean up afterwards was a breeze.
Favorites: I never thought that the Pan-roasted Chicken with Pesto Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus and Carrots would be something that could be produced in less than 30 minutes!
Last year my husband went vegan. As a show of solidarity, I agree to 60 days of cooking and eating a plant-based diet for our family. The toddler, well we’re happy if he eats anything, so he was out. My oldest lasted about a week. I cooked some serious vegan meals to start, the kind where you are making your own cashew crema sauce to go with tofu scrambled chilaquiles. I enjoy cooking; I’m known in my circle for loving to cook but cooking vegan, I hated. It was time-consuming and frankly expensive. I realized I needed to be schooled on making plant-based meals which lead me to give Purple Carrot a try. I started with the two serving meal plan which is two servings for three meals which comes out to $11.99 a meal. This is a bit on the high side; however, for what I was spending to buy all the ingredients for one meal, this was a cost-saver, and we usually had leftovers.
Why it works: The meals never left us feeling hungry. They were all delicious. Every single dish. Some of the meals took time to make despite all the ingredients being broken down, so I had to come to the acceptance that cooking healthy, gluten and high protein meals are a bit of a labor of love which is why I fed the kids first on the nights I made Purple Carrot for my husband and myself. Although not quick dishes, I learned some short- cuts to cooking vegan as well what sorts of ingredients have lasting power and can work in more than one meal such as vegan cheese, tempeh, and miso.
Purple Carrot has an easy cancel and skips meals policy. Extras such as a delicious black bean bowl can be added for lunch as well as a breakfast dish like superfood toasts.
Favorites: The Blackened Tempeh Chopped Salad is something I now make at least once a week, I no longer need the kit as we eat it so frequently and the Sweet Pea Flatbread with Truffled Fingerling Potatoes & Kite Hill Ricotta is a dish I would never have known where even to start, it’s so darn good!
At New York Family, we definitely count cake as a meal, and when you’re in need of a “home-baked” cake for your little one’s birthday or school event, you can’t go wrong with one of PoppiKit’s offerings. They come packaged with everything you’ll need to get baking, with the exception of milk, eggs, butter and “wet” ingredients. What elevates PoppiKit above grocery store options is firstly the convenience of being able to have everything delivered straight to your door, and secondly the fact that they give you such a leg up on decorating by including fun colors to customize your frosting, fondant, and even toppers for some cake kits.
Why it works: With clear instructions, carefully measured ingredients and tonnes of ideas for decorating, your final product will definitely be Pinterest-worthy. I also loved how easy it was for kids to get involved to help out!
Favorites: I’m obsessed with the ombre cake kit and plan on taking full credit for being a master baker. Great British Baking Show, here I come!
Looking for some family-friendly snacks for in between meals? Check out The Best Snacks for Families That You Should Know About