Meal planning can be a total drag, but the benefits are undeniable. Research shows1 a link between prepping your food and higher diet quality, as well as lower odds of obesity. But sometimes the last thing you want to do on a busy Sunday is spend hours in the kitchen planning for the week ahead—and that's where the best meal delivery services for weight loss can help.
A meal delivery service sends either preportioned meals or all the ingredients to make them right to your door. This ensures you can select fare that supports your individual nutrition goals and encourages the consumption of a vast array of foods for more dietary diversity.
But what exactly is the best meal delivery service for weight loss? We tapped Leslie Bonci, RDN, CSSD, LDN, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant to provide insight into whether a meal delivery service can help you lose weight and how to pick the healthiest option for you.
What's the best meal delivery service for weight loss?
First things first, a healthy weight looks different for everyone. If you do decide to pursue weight loss, the most sustainable approach is often the slow and consistent one, as evidenced in a 2017 study.
It's also important to find an eating plan that truly makes you feel satisfied and nourished, as a variety of diets with different macronutrient (carbs, protein, and fat) ratios have been linked to weight loss, such as the Mediterranean diet, keto diet, and plant-based eating. Plus, a lower number on a scale is often one of the least impressive benefits of these eating plans; a Mediterranean diet also has links to better heart health2, longevity3, and a higher concentration of good gut bacteria4.
All that said, Bonci recommends focusing less on meals that cut out ingredients and more on options that allow you to add more ingredients, such as veggies and fibers with whole grains, beans, and nuts.
Does meal delivery help you lose weight?
Meal kits can be helpful because they include "measured, not unlimited portions," according to Bonci. She also points out that it's important to make sure the portion sizes offered will be satisfying enough—and if you find them lacking, Bonci recommends supplementing with extra produce.
How we picked:
From sustainable farming to recyclable packaging, we picked out the companies prioritizing Mother Earth.
Allergies and dietary restrictions can make it hard to find an eating plan that works for you, so we made note of the companies that allow you to customize ingredients.
Some meal plans can be expensive, so we've noted a range of options for different budgets.
We picked out a range of meal kit types, including those that come prepared along with kits that let you channel your inner chef.
We asked a registered dietitian to weigh in on meals from each brand to ensure they could support a healthy weight loss.
Our picks for the best meal delivery services of 2023:
Best overall meal kit for weight loss: Trifecta
- Meal plans are created by doctors and dietitians
- Macronutrient-balanced meals
- Access to coaching
- On the pricier side
- Only two preference selections allowed per week
The sign-up process starts by offering a choice of six eating plans, including a basic clean-eating, paleo, keto, vegan, vegetarian, or Whole30-approved option. Along with your desired type of meals, you can select to have 5, 7, 10, or 14 prepared meals delivered per week. Want even more meals covered? Trifecta also allows you to add on breakfast, so you can front-load your day with nutrients.
The primary downside of this service is the lack of choices; meal selections are based on the chef's choice, factoring in your allergies and dietary requirements. While you'll get very little control over the actual prepared recipes sent your way, you will have the choice to exclude two ingredients, such as soy, nuts, or mushrooms.
Regardless of your final plan, you can rest assured knowing every recipe is macro-balanced and approved by a dietitian. Meals typically have between 350 and 500 calories and are high in protein, which helps keep you full and regulates appetite. Best of all, they take just three minutes to heat up in the microwave and can be stored in your fridge for up to two weeks (or freezer for up to three months).
A few meals we've tried:
-Pollo Guisado white meat chicken with tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, and citrus
-Tropical Garlic Shrimp with bell peppers, lemon, and coconut
What our editor says:
"If you have weight loss goals, certain dietary preferences, or simply want to take the guesswork out of eating healthier, Trifecta is a great meal delivery option. I enjoyed it even though I love to cook, but these fully prepared meals would be even better for someone who wants to spend a very minimal amount of time in the kitchen." — Carleigh Ferrante, commerce editor
Sustainability & Quality: Trifecta does what it can to reduce its carbon footprint by eliminating unnecessary steps in the food supply chain and using sustainable packaging whenever possible. All packaging is 100% recyclable, but the company’s goal is to use biodegradable packaging by 2023.
Cost: From $12 per meal
Registered dietician nutritionist Jess Cording, MS, RD, CDN, INHC, reviewed the brand's Pollo Guisado White Meat Chicken meal and wrote it was "on the lower end of what I would recommend for dinner or lunch in terms of calorie content." However, she says, "The protein content and fiber help make this meal filling and support stable blood sugar. It’s also a plus that this meal is fairly low in saturated fat compared to healthy fat and contains minimal added sugar. The sodium is also not as bad as many prepared meals and it’s also a decent source of potassium, two factors that are important for heart health. As an added bonus, keeping sodium lower and getting adequate potassium helps keep bloating at bay."
Best organic: Green Chef
- CCOF-certified organic
- Fresh, interesting recipes
- Premade signature sauces
- Fewer allergen filters
- Longer meal prep time
Sticking with an organic diet may lower your exposure to some synthetic chemicals. While no meal delivery service is 100% organic, Green Chef gets pretty darn close. All produce and eggs are CCOF-certified organic, while animal-based proteins come from farms with high animal welfare standards.
When you're trying to nourish your body while losing weight, look no further than the Fast & Fit plan. It offers lean and delicious meals that are calorie-conscious with a meal prep time under 25 minutes (which is great since many of the brand's recipes can take up to 40 minutes to prepare). This program also includes vegan and keto options, which allows flexibility for specific dietary needs.
If you're not a fan of the Fast & Fit recipes, you can also select gluten-free, vegan, Mediterranean, or paleo meals. Boxes are delivered up to four times a week and include enough servings to feed up to six people—a rarity in the meal delivery landscape.
-Cheesy chimichurri turkey patties
-Smoky chicken and kale bowls
Sustainability & Quality: Green Chef is certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers Foundation (CCOF) as an organic business, so you know it puts in the effort. It also sources sustainable ingredients from small farms.
Cording checked out the Italian Shrimp Garden Bowls from Green Chef's Fast & Fit Menu. She noted: "While the calories are on the higher end of what I’d recommend for a meal when someone is actively trying to lose weight (unless they have very high needs), what’s good is that this meal provides a lot of protein and fat, and the lower carb content keeps blood sugar spikes at bay. However, it provides almost 45% of the recommended daily intake of sodium, so best enjoyed in the context of a day where your other meals and snacks are low in sodium. Given its higher saturated fat content (13%) it may be best kept as an in-moderation dish for those watching their saturated fat intake out of concern for heart health."
Most customizable: BistroMD
- Program created by registered dietitian
- Super customizable to taste preferences
- Variety of plans available
- No organic ingredients
- Hefty shipping fee
Founded by Caroline Cederquist, M.D., BistroMD is built around making sustainable weight loss possible for all, including those with insulin resistance. The meals all focus on fueling your metabolism, stabilizing your blood sugar, keeping you satiated, and promoting heart health by incorporating around 20 grams of lean protein, 25 net carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of fat. The final plate breakdown looks like 40% lean protein, 30% fats, and 30% carbohydrates delivered in a frozen meal with less than 600 milligrams of sodium.
When you sign up for BistroMD, you'll have a choice of six programs, including an option for people in menopause. Each program offers two types of plan: full and partial. The former covers three square meals a day, while the latter offers only lunch and dinner. You'll also have the choice to eat BistroMD five or seven days a week for a total of up to 21 meals.
Once you're signed on, a registered dietitian creates a custom diet program based on your goals and taste preferences. Unlike other curated plans, BistroMD gives you total control of the recipes in your order, so you can adjust your weekly box to include all your favorite recipes. Note: Programs typically cap out at 1,200 to 1,400 calories, which may not be sufficient fuel for many.
-Pork tenderloin with whole-grain mustard sauce
-Roasted tofu and ancient grain salad bowl
Sustainability & Quality: Frozen food often gets a bad reputation for low quality and excess salt, but neither will be an issue with BistroMD. The brand caps sodium at less than 600 milligrams and uses local, family-owned farms to source produce. Plus, all proteins are hormone-free, and seafood is environmentally sourced with a robust list of banned ingredients for every recipe. Our biggest complaint? Most but not all packaging is curbside recyclable.
For BistroMD, Cording commented on the brand's Barramundi Seabass with Sweet Coconut Pineapple Sauce recipe: "While this dish is a bit low in calories for a meal, the protein, fat, and fiber help make it satisfying. It’s also a great source of heart-healthy potassium and low in sodium. Additionally, it’s an excellent source of vitamin D, providing 75%. If you need to make this dish more filling, pair this with a simple side salad with olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice for dressing or add an extra serving of your favorite cooked veggies."
Best variety: Fresh n' Lean
- Over 100 new recipes weekly
- Huge range of meal plans offered
- Considerable plastic waste
Fresh n' Lean offers a wide variety of recipes every single week, yet every one meets strict standards for quality with no artificial ingredients, GMOs, or gluten. All in all, the brand offers seven unique menus catered to specific eating plans, such as the Mediterranean diet, paleo, and low-carb vegan.
Not into a plan? You can also select meals à la carte with a selection of more than 100 items every week, as well as choices to purchase proteins and vegetables in bulk. Each recipe factors in macronutrients and is prepared by chefs using organic vegetables. When the fresh meals arrive, they require nothing more than a microwave, making meal prep as simple as possible.
Sign-up is also a breeze; simply use the website or download the app, select how many meals you want per day (up to three), and choose how many days a week you want service (up to seven). You then enter any allergens—egg, sesame, dairy, shellfish, tree nuts, or soy—as well as any taste preferences, like skipping red pepper or cilantro.
-Salmon with herb-roasted potatoes and green beans
-Grass-fed steak with roasted broccoli and ginger-sesame rice
Sustainability & Quality: While the gel packs that keep your food cold can be repurposed, each kit does include a lot of plastic. That said, it's BPA-free and fully recyclable. The quality certifications are definitely more impressive; meals are prepared in Anaheim, California, using locally grown organic ingredients. Not only do recipes skip GMOs and gluten, but all proteins are antibiotic- and hormone-free.
After reviewing the brand's Kalamata & Tomato Marinara Shrimp Linguini, Cording wrote: "This dish is overall well-balanced in terms of having adequate protein, fat, and fiber to buffer the breakdown of the carbs (which aren’t sky-high), and it’s great that it’s low in sugar. It is a little high in sodium, but compared to many other prepared meals, not crazy. At 400 calories, this meal is also within a range to support weight loss, but if weight loss is not your goal or you just don’t find it filling enough, you could always bulk up the fish with some more veggies."
Best vegan: Purple Carrot
- Prepped or meal kit options
- Snack, lunch, and breakfast options
- No shipping fee
- No lunch options for meal kits
Not sure whether you want a meal kit or prepared entrées delivered? Purple Carrot has you covered with multiple meal types: cook-your-own kits and fully prepared fresh meals. Plus, an online pantry gives you access to other plant-based essentials like vegan chocolate bars to minimize any extra grocery trips.
When you opt for the kits, you'll have the choice of two or three meals covered every week. (Bonus: Cooking at home has also been linked to higher food quality than eating out.) Swap to the prepared meals and get up to 10 entrées sent your way, which is about the same amount of food for a slightly higher price. Not only is every recipe plant-based—which has been linked to the prevention of overweight—but they cover three square meals a day.
On-site labels make it a breeze to find entrées that work for your eating plan: Quick-and-easy labels highlight when a meal kit takes less than 30 minutes, high protein indicates recipes with more than 25 grams of protein per serving, and less than 600 calories showcases low-cal options.
-Summer vegetable ciabatta with cashew cheese and roasted tomato vinaigrette
-Sesame ginger noodles with stir-fried greens and toasted peanuts
Sustainability & Quality: Purple Carrot works with The Farmlink Project to eliminate food waste by donating excess produce to communities in need. While the company always shoots for organic and non-GMO options, it prioritizes seasonal ingredients. Plus, packaging is completely recyclable.
Cording looked over the recipe for Purple Carrot's Taiwanese Tofu Lettuce Cups with Dates & Gingered Jasmine Rice. Her full take included: "While this dish does provide a generous amount of nourishing plant-based protein, the serving of carbs is very high. ... So yes, this dish has plenty of protein and fat, but likely not enough to curb a blood sugar spike from such a high carb count. To doctor it up to make it more balanced, consider cutting the portion in half and adding your favorite green veggies. You’ll still get plenty of protein and fat but with a more realistic carb portion and extra fiber (and other nutrients) from the veggies."
Best vegetarian: Mosaic Foods
- Lots of variety
- Donate healthy food to charity
- Not many low-carb options
- Shipping only free on orders over $100
A whole-foods, plant-based diet is one of your best bets for well-being, as it's a cost-effective way to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index—and no meal delivery service does it quite like Mosaic.
The company includes at least four vegetables in every meal to maximize your food diversity. This ensures you're getting a range of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and phytochemicals in every dish. Plus, each recipe includes at least 10 to 20 grams of plant-based protein in every recipe to keep you satiated.
Offerings include nutrient-packed soups, smoothies, pizzas, bowls, bakes, and more, all delivered frozen to minimize food waste. Chefs hand-make every recipe and never use artificial ingredients or added sugars. Instead, the brand emphasizes seasonally and locally sourced ingredients with a mission to make healthy, plant-based foods affordable and delicious.
-BBQ seitan pizza
-Coconut chickpea curry with ginger, pumpkin, beluga lentils, and turmeric cauliflower
Sustainability & Quality: Every box sold equates to a 2-pound donation of food to City Harvest, a nonprofit dedicated to feeding New Yorkers in need. While the company is not certified organic, recipes with organic ingredients have them highlighted. And if you need yet another reason to feel good about your choice, the brand uses fully recyclable packaging and uses dry ice rather than gel packs, making shipping more efficient and eco-friendly.
Cording reviewed the Miso Tempeh Bowl: "What’s good is that this dish provides 23 grams each of protein and fat (primarily heart healthy unsaturated fats), plus 11 grams of filling fiber, as well as important minerals like iron and potassium. However, at 77 grams, the carb portion is a little higher than I’d encourage for one serving. Also worth noting, this meal packs in 12 grams of added sugar and almost 40% of your daily sodium needs."
Best for meals on-the-go: Daily Harvest
- 100+ menu items
- Snacks and breakfasts available
- No preset meal plans with expert guidance
- Prices fluctuate by selections
- May need to add protein to maximize macronutrients
Most Americans don't get enough fiber, which means they're missing out on some pretty big perks of the nutrient, such as a reduction in total and LDL cholesterol, as well as increased mineral absorption and smoother digestion. The easiest way to increase your fiber intake is more plants—and Daily Harvest can help.
The plant-based meal delivery service makes smoothies, protein bites, bakes, and more packed with whole foods. The ultimate goal is to increase the diversity of foods in every meal, which can support a healthy gut microbiome.
While there are no preset menus, you can select a small, medium, or large box filled with up to 24 items. This customization means there isn't a set price for your selection, so be aware that pricier picks can quickly increase the overall cost of your order. Luckily there's no shame in over-ordering; items store in the freezer for up to three months.
-Mulberry and dragon fruit oat bowl
-Chocolate and blueberry smoothie with kale, almonds, and coconut
Sustainability & Quality: In addition to supporting farmers as they transition into organic and biodiverse crops, Daily Harvest has set a long-term goal to be 100% compostable.
We shared the nutrition breakdown of the Chickpea & Za’tar Bowl from Daily Harvest with Cording who noted: "This dish is rich in healthy fats and fiber, and it offers up 12 grams of plant-based protein. While I tend to encourage aiming for [more than] 12 grams of protein in a meal, the fat and fiber content help make this filling and balance the 41 grams of carbs well. It’s also a lot lower in sodium than many prepared meals. If you find it’s not quite filling enough, bump up the protein with a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast or add an egg."
Are meal kits worth the money?
Depending on the complexity of the meals you like to make at home, a meal kit can definitely be worth the money. Available for a vast range of budgets, they help you mix up your meals to keep them interesting without spending exorbitant amounts of money on a rare superfood ingredient that you use only once. Plus, it's possible to find options that start at just $5 per serving, which may be cheaper than some of your current go-to meals.
What is the best meal delivery service for weight loss?
Weight loss is often a more complex topic than calories in versus calories out (or expended). When specifically focused on how your diet can impact your weight loss goals, it’s important to stick with an eating plan that meets your dietary restrictions and allergy constraints. Equally important, your meals should be packed with nutrients that support your overall well-being. Any of the meal delivery services above should meet these needs—it’s all about what’s best for you and your body.
What is the healthiest meal delivery service for weight loss?
All of the options above prioritize health, nutrient intake, and portion size. If you want a diet-focused option that covers every meal, BistroMD is your best bet; amateur chefs wanting to take charge in the kitchen will love Green Chef; and plant-based eaters wanting to maximize their whole food intake should keep an eye on Mosaic Foods.
Can you lose weight on HelloFresh?
Ultimately every recipe offered by a brand has a different nutritional breakdown that could affect whether it supports or hurts your weight loss goals. It's important to pay attention to what recipes you're putting into your cart, as well as the nutritional breakdown of those meals and how it works into your preferred eating plan.
To help narrow down the healthiest recipes HelloFresh offers, select the Fit & Wholesome plan. It caps meals at 600 calories per serving and keeps prep time under 30 minutes, allowing the meal kit to work into your weight loss eating plan. Just remember the company is not designed for weight loss, so most vetting will need to be done by you when ordering.
What we changed:
1/12: To provide deeper insights on the nutritional offerings of each brand including in our buying guide, we reached out to a registered dietitian to share their thoughts on one recipe from each brand. When possible, we selected from the service's weight loss-focused menu. We also removed Snap Kitchen from our guide, as the brand's limited delivery range prevents most of our readers from accessing its offerings.
When you're trying to lose weight, a meal delivery service can be an easy hack to keep you on track with a nutrient-dense and satisfying meal. Whether you're paleo, keto, or plant-based, these curated services can help you streamline the meal prep process to ensure the foods you eat nourish your body and support your overall longevity. Bonus: Our top picks are also committed to staying green.