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The 6 Best Meal Delivery Services For New Parents

Lindsay Boyers
Author:
September 1, 2022
Lindsay Boyers
Certified holistic nutrition consultant
By Lindsay Boyers
Certified holistic nutrition consultant
Lindsay Boyers is a nutrition consultant specializing in elimination diets, gut health, and food sensitivities. Lindsay earned a degree in food & nutrition from Framingham State University, and she holds a Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting from the American College of Healthcare Sciences.
Family Spending Time Together on the Couch
Image by Kayla Snell / Stocksy
September 1, 2022
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Between regular feedings, diaper changes, and middle-of-the-night wake-up calls, new parents have enough to do; who has extra time to cook? But there are still mouths to feed, including yours, and when you're tending to a new member of your family, it's more important than ever to make sure you're getting the proper sustenance to fuel your day. Luckily, the best meal delivery services for new parents drastically reduce the time it takes to get a healthy meal on the table—so you can still get the nutrition your body needs when other factors like poor sleep and stress are negatively affecting your overall well-being.

Depending on your needs, there are two main types of meal delivery services: prepared entrées and meal kits. Heat-and-eat options are perfect for those times when you only have a few minutes to spare for your next meal, while a meal kit is a great pick for those who want to feel some semblance of normalcy but don't have the time to prep (let alone shop for) ingredients. Regardless of your preference, there are plenty of reliable options that make it easy for new parents to scarf down a nutrient-packed meal during nap time.

How to choose the right meal delivery service.

Convenience

When you're a new parent, free time becomes pretty elusive. Choose a meal delivery service that can help you optimize the time you do have. Prepared meals can be ready in as little as three minutes; meal kits require more prep and cleanup time, so you'll likely have to set aside 30 minutes to an hour for the entire process, depending on what you're cooking.

One isn't necessarily better for new parents than the other; it just depends on how much time you have and whether or not you have someone to help you take care of the baby while you're preparing a meal.

Meal quality

Proper nutrition is important for any new parents, but it's especially vital for new moms that are recovering from the birthing process. 

"Anti-inflammatory, nutrient-rich foods help inhibit the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines―molecules that regulate inflammation levels. Since your goals are to heal your body, rebuild your tissues, protect your mental health (inflammation is indicated in PPD), produce nutrient-rich breast milk (for those who breastfeed), and restore your nutrient levels, anti-inflammatory foods should be the cornerstone of your diet," integrative and functional medicine physician Alejandra Carrasco, M.D., previously told mbg.

That means choosing meal delivery that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits and berries, fatty fish, and high-quality proteins. All the options on this list check all of these boxes.

Budget

Meal delivery will likely cost a little more than going to the store and preparing all your meals yourself, but the extra time to catch up on sleep is priceless. That being said, make sure you're considering the price per meal and staying within your budget.

How we picked.

Ease

New parents don't have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen. We prioritized meal kits that come together in 30 minutes or less, and/or prepared meals that are ready to heat in minutes.

Meal variety

Food boredom can creep up on you fast if you're constantly eating the same meals. We chose meal delivery services that have plenty of variety and regular rotating menus to keep you happy.

Price

Budgeting becomes more important than ever when you have more mouths to feed; all the meal delivery services on this list are reasonably priced at less than $15 per meal.

Quality

Quality ingredients and sustainable packaging are always a factor in our decision-making process.

Our picks for the best meal delivery services for new parents:

Best prepared: Trifecta Nutrition

Trifecta Nutrition
VIEW ON Trifecta Nutrition

Pros:

  • Organic ingredients
  • Suitable for many dietary preferences

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Minimum order amounts
Dietary considerations: Whole30, Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Peanut-free
Max meals per week: 21
Shipping fee: $9.99
Type: Fresh entrée
Price: From $14.81 per serving

If you want healthy, ready-to-heat meals with zero preparation time, Trifecta is the meal delivery service for you. All chef-created meals arrive fresh and precooked; all you have to do is heat them up in the microwave, oven, air fryer, or stove (your choice). 

You can choose from several meal plans, including Whole30, paleo, keto, vegan, vegetarian, and a general clean-eating. Regardless of the specific plan, all meals are gluten-free, GMO-free, and low in sugar, salt, and saturated fat. Choose to have 5, 7, 10, or 14 entrées delivered each week with options to add on breakfast.

The only downside of this plan? You can't select the specific meals sent your way. However, you can choose to exclude up to two ingredients from your order, such as mushrooms, red meat, or white fish.

Example meal:

-Chicken pesto pasta

-Beanless chili con carne

Sustainability & Quality: Trifecta uses organic and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, and animal-based proteins come from farmers who prioritize good animal welfare practices. In addition to providing high-quality meals, Trifecta's goal is to massively reduce its carbon footprint. Right now, all packaging is 100% recyclable, but the company is working toward 100% biodegradable packaging by 2023. 

Best budget: HelloFresh

HelloFresh
VIEW ON HelloFresh

Pros:

  • Menus change weekly
  • Uses seasonal, local ingredients

Cons:

  • Limited dietary restrictions
  • Ingredients aren't organic
Dietary considerations: Vegetarian, Low-calorie, Low-carb, Pescetarian
Max meals per week: 6
Shipping fee: $9.99
Type: Meal kit
Price: From $7.94 per serving

HelloFresh isn't just convenient, it's one of the most affordable delivery services, especially for the high-quality ingredients. While it does take some preparation—this is a meal kit and not a box of prepared meals—most entrées come together in 20 to 35 minutes. Each meal is labeled with its prep time, plus additional qualifiers like "easy cleanup" and "easy prep" so you can choose accordingly when you're browsing the online menu.

For the quickest prep-to-table options, the brand offers a quick-and-easy meal plan, but there are five additional options as well, including meat and veggies, veggie, family-friendly, pescatarian, and fit & wholesome. We recommend selecting the fit & wholesome menu for an option that best resembles a Mediterranean diet, prioritizing vegetables and proteins like fatty fish.

Luckily, you don't have to commit to one specific plan; mix and match your selection as desired. Each recipe can serve two or four people, with up to six meals per box.

Example Meal:

-Sesame soy pork bowls

-Italian chicken and pepper sandos

Sustainability & Quality: HelloFresh uses some organic ingredients, but its main focus is sourcing local and/or seasonal produce at its peak freshness. A representative from the company travels to each meat vendor to double-check that they're following proper animal welfare guidelines. All packaging is recyclable, with the exception of the winter liners and gel pack contents.

Fastest prep: Freshly

Freshly
VIEW ON Freshly

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Certified gluten-free kitchens

Cons:

  • Limited organic ingredients
  • Meals only last 3 to 5 days in the fridge
Dietary considerations: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Peanut-free, Low-calorie, Low-carb, Plant-based
Max meals per week: 12
Type: Fresh entrée
Price: From $8.99 per serving

All of the meal delivery services on this list provide quick meals, but Freshly's sheer variety of options is what makes it stand out. There are three main meal plans, including the signature collection, a plant-based option, and a lower-calorie menu called FreshlyFit. Each plan can accommodate different dietary preferences with low-carb, dairy-free, low-calorie, and gluten-free options. Bonus: The gluten-free meals are made with certified gluten-free kitchens, so they're actually safe for those with gluten allergies and celiac disease.

Meals are premade and arrive fresh in single-serve packages. You can heat them directly in the containers for minimal cleanup time, or transfer them to a plate if you want to fancy it up—either way they'll only need three minutes in the microwave. Because Freshly doesn't use any preservatives, the meals do have a limited shelf life; they'll stay fresh three to five days in the refrigerator, but you can freeze them as is for extended storage.

Example Meal:

-Cuban mojo shrimp

-Romesco grilled chicken

Sustainability & Quality: While Freshly doesn't use a lot of organic ingredients, the company does make its meals sans processed sugars and artificial ingredients. Most of the packaging is recyclable, but you may have to find a local drop-off location since some of the plastics aren't eligible for curbside pickup.

Best with bulk options: Fresh n' Lean

Fresh n' Lean
VIEW ON Fresh n' Lean

Pros:

  • Huge variety of meal plans
  • Organic ingredients and high-quality proteins
  • No prep

Cons:

  • Limited side options
  • Can't select exact meals sent your way
Dietary considerations: Whole30, Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Low-carb, High-protein, Mediterranean
Max meals per week: 21
Shipping fee: Free
Type: Fresh entrée

Fresh N' Lean is ideal for those nights when you have just enough energy to throw something in the microwave, and you never have to feel bad about it. While the ingredients aren't 100% organic, all meals are made with locally grown, organic ingredients whenever possible. The entire menu is gluten-free and GMO-free, and meats are high quality (think grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, and sustainable fish).

If you're overwhelmed by decision-making in the early days of parenthood, this service has you covered. Choose between a keto, paleo, Mediterranean, high-protein, vegan, or keto vegan menu with enough entrées to cover up to 21 meals per week. Fresh n' Lean handles the rest for you, selecting the meals to send your way for a complete diet. Don't worry! You can still choose up to three ingredients to avoid in your meal plan (and allergens don't count), but this service definitely isn't for picky eaters.

Anyone seeking more flexibility should opt for the bulk plan, which provides an array of prepared proteins and sides to let you build your own meals.

Example Meal:

-Cajun style rice with shrimp and chicken sausage

-Herb-roasted cod with walnut basil pesto and vegetables

Sustainability & Quality: Fresh n' Lean uses organic produce, grass-fed beef, and sustainable fish whenever possible—and meals are built around seasonal items, which helps contribute to sustainability. Everything is packed in recyclable trays and wrapped in recyclable plastic. The insulation used during shipping isn't recyclable, but it is biodegradable.

Best fast meal kit: Home Chef

Home Chef
VIEW ON Home Chef

Pros:

  • 10- to 15-minute meal kits
  • Menu changes weekly

Cons:

  • Limited organic ingredients
  • Fewer dietary considerations
Dietary considerations: Vegetarian, Low-calorie, Low-carb
Max meals per week: 6
Shipping fee: $9.99
Type: Meal kit
Price: From $6.99 per serving

Technically Home Chef is cheaper than HelloFresh, but the real appeal of the brand is its Fresh & Easy Plan. It emphasizes low-prep recipes that can go from fridge to table in as little as 10 minutes—and many are one-pot meals that require minimal cleanup.

When building your box, you can mix and match meal types and sort by dietary preferences, like low-carb or low-calorie. There are also options to filter for specific foods that you want to avoid, including some major allergens. Another perk? You'll never get bored with new menu drops each week.

One small thing to consider: Although the brand employs several chefs, there's no mention of nutritionists or registered dietitians on staff. While postpartum needs are individual—and best addressed with your health care practitioner–it's still important to note that meals may not be as well-balanced from Home Chef versus other options on the list. But they'll still be high quality and quick to prepare!

Example Meals:

-One-pan chicken and mushroom stroganoff

-Acapulco-style pork tacos

Sustainability & Quality: Home Chef prioritizes locally sourced and seasonal ingredients and uses organic ingredients whenever possible (although not all the time). Most of the packaging is recyclable and/or made with recycled materials. Any packaging that can't be recycled is nontoxic and reusable.

Best gluten-free: Epicured

Epicured
VIEW ON Epicured

Pros:

  • Many dietary considerations
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Entirely gluten-free

Cons:

  • Menus don't change weekly
  • Shorter 4-day shelf-life for meals
Dietary considerations: Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Peanut-free, Low-calorie, Low-carb, Pescetarian, High-protein, Egg-free, Fish-free, GERD-friendly, Low FODMAP
Max meals per week: Unlimited
Shipping fee: $10 (free over $100)
Type: Fresh entrée
Price: From $8 per serving

Many meal delivery services offer a few gluten-free recipes, but Epicured has a 100% gluten-free menu (and they're low FODMAP, too). In addition to naturally gluten-free ingredients, the meals also incorporate gluten-free rolls and pastas, so you never feel like you're missing out. All appliances, cooking equipment, and surfaces are also cleaned and sanitized regularly and tested for gluten by the company's team of registered dietitians to ensure there's no cross-contamination.

When signing up for Epicured, you can choose from a curated meal plan or build an à la carte box from fully cooked, ready-to-heat entrées, soups, bowls, salads, breakfasts, sides, and snacks. To make things even easier, you can filter by dietary preferences, allergies, and/or nutritional needs, like low-fat or low-carb.

Example Meal:

-Tuna Nicoise salad

-Thai green curry

Sustainability & Quality: While Epicured doesn't have a fully organic menu, the company does prioritize sourcing organic versions of all produce on the Dirty Dozen list. Outside of that, ingredients are non-GMO and locally sourced when possible. Meats are free of antibiotics and hormones, and beef is grass-fed, chicken and turkey are organic, and fish is wild-caught.

FAQ:

What is the average cost for a meal delivery service?

Meal delivery services are probably more affordable than you think. Prices can vary depending on the quality and sourcing of ingredients, but you can expect to pay around $8 to $15 per meal. Premade meals offer more convenience, but they’re typically a bit more expensive than meal kits.

What is the easiest home meal delivery?

The easiest home delivery is one that offers prepared meals, or if you prefer to cook, one that has easy-to-throw-together meals. We recommend Trifecta or Fresh N’ Lean for ready-to-heat meals and Home Fresh for meal kits that can be on the table in as little as 10 to 15 minutes.

What is the most affordable meal delivery service?

HelloFresh is one of our favorite affordable options. While it’s not the cheapest meal delivery service out there, it’s an excellent intersection of quality and value. HelloFresh uses locally sourced, seasonal ingredients whenever possible, and the meals start at just $7.94 per serving. If you want an even more curated plan, Freshly is a great prepared option with servings starting at just $8.99 per serving.

The takeaway.

Being a new parent comes with enough challenges—and figuring out how to get a healthy, nutrient-dense meal with whole foods shouldn't be one of them. Luckily, there are many meal delivery services for new parents that simplify the process. Whether you're looking for prepared meals or quick-and-easy meal kits, the options on this list have you covered. If you're looking for a more specialized plan, you can also check out our guides to the best keto meal delivery or best Mediterranean meal delivery.

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Lindsay Boyers
Lindsay Boyers
Certified holistic nutrition consultant

Lindsay Boyers is a holistic nutritionist specializing in gut health, mood disorders, and functional nutrition. Lindsay earned a degree in food & nutrition from Framingham State University, and she holds a Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting from the American College of Healthcare Sciences.

She has written twelve books and has had more than 2,000 articles published across various websites. Lindsay currently works full time as a freelance health writer. She truly believes that you can transform your life through food, proper mindset and shared experiences. That's why it's her goal to educate others, while also being open and vulnerable to create real connections with her clients and readers.