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These 5 Meal Delivery Services Can Help Support The Nutritional Needs Of People 65+

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.
Molly Knudsen, M.S., RDN
Expert review by
Molly Knudsen, M.S., RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Molly Knudsen, M.S., RDN is a Registered Dietician Nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Texas Christian University and a master’s in nutrition interventions, communication, and behavior change from Tufts University. She lives in Newport Beach, California, and enjoys connecting people to the food they eat and how it influences health and wellbeing.
Last updated on August 8, 2022
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As you get older, your nutrition needs change, and it becomes increasingly important to make sure you're getting the sustenance you need every day. If you don't like to cook, or you live alone and just don't feel like cooking, meal delivery services can make things a little easier for you. 

The best meal delivery services for seniors bring pre-measured ingredients or premade meals (your choice) right to your door. Most take dietary restrictions into account, and some have menus that are specially crafted around certain health conditions. This makes it easy to eat nutritionally balanced, nourishing meals each day with minimal effort on your part. Below, find our favorite meal delivery services for seniors.

How to choose the best meal delivery service for seniors.

When choosing which option is best for you, there are several things to consider, including dietary needs, ease of ordering, price, sustainability, and food quality. All of the meal delivery services that made our list get high marks for all of the above, but the best one for you depends on your specific needs. When narrowing down your options, make sure you're taking your individual needs into account, as well as budget and cooking preferences.

How we picked.

Dietary needs

Dietary needs are one of the most important things to consider as you get older. Each of these meal delivery services offers meals that take several dietary considerations into account.

Ease of ordering

Technology should never be a roadblock to accessing what you need. All the meal delivery services on this list make it easy to order right from their website (some even take orders by phone).

Price

Price is an important consideration, especially if you're working on a limited retirement budget. We chose meal delivery services that are on the lower end of the price spectrum, as well as options that take Medicare or Medicaid.

Sustainability & Quality

Sustainability and food quality is important at any life stage. While some meal delivery services for seniors aren't totally transparent, most prioritize high-quality food and sustainable practices.

mbg's picks for the best meal delivery services for seniors of 2022:

Best variety: Sunbasket

Sunbasket
VIEW ON Sunbasket

Pros

  • Organic produce
  • Responsibly sourced meats & seatfood

Cons

  • No single-serve options
  • Not made in gluten-free or allergen-friendly kitchen
Type: Meal kit, Fresh entrée
Dietary Considerations: Diabetic-friendly, Low-carb, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Paleo, Clean-eating, Pescatarian, Mediterranean

If you're after variety, Sunbasket delivers. Not only does this meal delivery service have one of the most robust menus on the market, but you can also choose from meal kits or premade meals, depending on how you feel each week. There are breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, as well as individual proteins—like wild sea scallops and lemon-pepper chicken breasts—pastas with sauces, and snacks. New menus drop weekly, and when picking your meals, you can filter by dietary preference, calories, and/or preparation time. 

Meal kits are available in two- or four-serving boxes, and you can choose from a minimum of two meals weekly to a maximum of five. Premade meals are single-serve, and you can order four to 10 meals per week. If you choose a meal kit, most meals are ready in 15 to 40 minutes. Reheat premade meals in the microwave in as little as four minutes.

Example Meal:

-Blueberry BBQ Chicken With Warm Dijon-Horseradish Potato Salad (meal kit)

-Peruvian Fried Rice With Duck Confit, Poblano, and Pineapple (premade meal)

Sustainability & Quality: Sunbasket uses organic fresh produce, milk, yogurt, eggs, and tofu when available. All meats are antibiotic- and hormone-free with additional options for organic meats and poultry available. Sunbasket is also committed to sustainability; all packaging is recyclable, reusable, or compostable with most components made from recycled materials.

Price: From $10 per serving

Best prepared: Freshly

Freshly
VIEW ON Freshly

Pros

  • Single-serve
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Limited organic ingredients
  • Not all packaging is recyclable
Type: Fresh entrée
Dietary Considerations: Dairy-free, Low-carb, Gluten-free, Plant-based, Calorie-conscious

Freshly prides itself on offering flexible meal plans that can work with any lifestyle. The company delivers single-serving premade meals, many of which are gluten-free; the ones that aren't are labeled "has gluten" so you can easily scan and choose based on your individual needs and preferences. While Freshly can't accommodate specific dietary requests, you can filter based on general eating plans, like dairy-free or low-carb, to make it easier to choose meals from the rotating weekly menu.

You can opt for as little as four to five meals per week, or go with the biggest plan, which offers 12 meals per week. All meals have a shelf life of about three to five days, but you can pop them in the freezer if you want to order in bulk and eat them later. All meals are designed to be reheated in the microwave in less than three minutes, but you can also heat them in the oven if you prefer (just make sure to transfer them to an oven-safe dish).

Example Meal:

-Protein-Packed Chicken Parm

-Pork Carnitas

Sustainability & Quality: All of Freshly's meals are made without preservatives and artificial sweeteners. Every gluten-free meal is also prepared in a gluten-free kitchen to prevent cross-contamination. Most of the packaging is recyclable with the exception of some of the plastic that houses the insulation and the gel ice packs, which are environmentally friendly.

Price: From $9 per serving

Best meal kit: Home Chef

Home Chef
VIEW ON Home Chef

Pros

  • Menu changes weekly
  • Meal variety

Cons

  • Minimal organic ingredients
  • Limited specialized menus
Type: Meal kit
Dietary Considerations: Low-carb, Vegetarian, Low-calorie

Older adults who prefer to cook their meals rather than having them arrive premade will love Home Chef. The meal kit service makes the entire order process extremely easy: When signing up, you can choose between the traditional plan or the Fresh and Easy option, which includes low- or no-prep recipes. You can also indicate any dietary preferences, like low-carb or calorie-conscious, as well as any specific foods that you want to avoid, including many major allergens.

New menus drop each week, and you can choose from grill-ready meals, 15-minute meal kits, and/or the Culinary Collection, which includes fancier meals that take longer to prepare but make you feel like a pro in the kitchen. When building your box, you specify how many people you're cooking for (2, 4, or 6) and how many meals you want each week (2 to 6). Once that's done, your box will arrive on your doorstep with preportioned ingredients and recipe cards to make it easy to prepare your meals.

Example Meal:

-Salmon and Hot Honey Butter

-Queso Fundido Burger

Sustainability & Quality: Home Chef doesn't have a fully organic menu, but the company does use organic ingredients whenever possible. However, the company prioritizes local ingredients and considers seasonality. There are also "swap it" options that allow you to upgrade to organic chicken for some of the meals. Most of Home Chef's packaging is recyclable (what isn't is reusable and nontoxic) and made with recycled materials.

Price: From $9 per serving

Best frozen: Magic Kitchen

Magic Kitchen
VIEW ON Magic Kitchen

Pros

  • Flexible subscription
  • Frozen meals last longer

Cons

  • Limited organic ingredients
  • Packaging isn't recyclable
Type: Frozen meal
Dietary Considerations: Diabetic-friendly, Dairy-free, Low-carb, Low-fat, Dialysis-friendly, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Low-sodium, Renal diet

Magic Kitchen offers nutritionally balanced meals for older adults, plus several options for various dietary considerations like low-sodium, low-carb, low-fat, renal diet, and diabetic-friendly. When choosing your meals, you have two options: a la carte or complete meals. The a la carte option lets you mix and match main courses, soups, side dishes, and desserts, while the complete meals come ready to heat with one main course and one or two sides packaged together. 

The company also offers what it calls a flex subscription—you purchase three or six months of meals and then build your menus from there. The process itself is straightforward; you can filter by your dietary preferences and needs, as well as the meal type (breakfast, lunch/dinner, snacks, and desserts). You can also choose between single or multiple servings recipes. All meals are handmade by chefs in small batches and then flash-frozen to preserve quality and flavor. 

Example Meal:

-Baked Tilapia, Brown Rice, and Minted Carrots

-Beef & Broccoli over Noodles with Vegetables

Sustainability & Quality: While not fully organic, Magic Kitchen does use organic produce whenever possible and is committed to antibiotic-, pesticide-, and hormone-free ingredients. All packaging is environmentally friendly, and while you can't recycle some things, like the coolers the meals ship in, they are reusable. Magic Kitchen recommends donating them to Meals on Wheels, if possible.

Price: From $12 per serving

Best for Medicare & Medicaid members: Mom's Meals

Mom's Meals
VIEW ON Mom's Meals

Pros

  • Specialized menus
  • Meals prepared by dietitians & chefs

Cons

  • Limited information about food quality & sustainability
  • Prices vary by location
Type: Fresh entrée
Dietary Considerations: Diabetic-friendly, Dialysis-friendly, Cancer & heart disease-friendly, Renal diet

Mom's Meals was developed as a way to serve Medicare and Medicaid members, but you can pay out of pocket, too. The meal delivery service offers menus designed by dietitians and chefs who work together to ensure there are plenty of meals tailored to the specific nutrition needs and dietary restrictions of older adults.

Menus vary by state, program type, and any health conditions (Mom's Meals has options for those with ​​diabetes, kidney problems, cancer, and heart disease), but the basics are the same: Meals arrive on your doorstep each week, precooked and ready to heat. They are vacuum-sealed and will stay fresh in your refrigerator for up to 14 days. If you're paying through Medicare or Medicaid, you can place your order by phone. If you're paying out-of-pocket, Mom's Meals offers an online checkout process.

Example Meal:

-Chicken and Waffle and Peach Crisp

-Three Cheese Ravioli with Garlic Basil Butter Sauce

Sustainability & Quality: Mom's Meals doesn't offer a lot of information about food quality and sustainability practices, but there are some highlights: All kitchens are inspected for quality and safety by the USDA and certified safe. The company makes its own packaging, which allows food to keep in the refrigerator for up to 14 days (most other premade meals last five at most).

Price: Varies based on plan and area

FAQ

How do senior meal delivery services work?

These meal delivery services are all about making your life easier. They offer meal kits (ingredients are pre-portioned and ready to prepare) or pre-made meals (just heat them up in the microwave and you’re good to go). While most of these meal delivery services require you to pay out of pocket, there are a couple that accept Medicare and Medicaid. If you want to go that route, just make sure you check in with your provider to confirm that you’re covered.

How should you choose a senior meal delivery service?

Choosing a senior meal delivery service really comes down to preference. The first step is deciding what type of service you want (meal kit versus pre-made meals). Another factor to this decision is the storage space and cooking equipment you have on hand. Pre-made meals only require a microwave, but they do require enough refrigerator or freezer space. Meal kits may require less cold storage, but more cooking equipment that you may or may not have on hand. 

Once you’ve nailed that down, the next step is digging into the offerings to see which ones can accommodate your dietary restrictions and/or preferences. If you have a health condition or are on a specialized diet, you want to make sure the meal delivery service you choose can provide meals that are well-suited to your needs.

Why are meal delivery services good for seniors?

Meal delivery services make it really easy to eat a good, healthy meal with minimal effort. Many also provide single-serve meals so if you live alone, you won't have a lot of waste. If you're on a special nutrition plan, like a low-sodium or Mediterranean diet, meal delivery services for seniors also take the guesswork out of preparing meals that are nutritionally balanced for your needs.

The takeaway.

There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the best meal delivery for seniors. Ultimately, the right choice for you comes down to what type of service you're looking for (meal kits vs. premade meals) and your dietary needs. Magic Kitchen is an excellent overall option that has special menus for many preferences and health conditions. If you prefer meal kits, Home Chef and Sunbasket make the process really easy.

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.