Meal prep services for every kind of eater

Media Credit: Diego Mendoza | Staff Photographer

HelloFresh offers students a 15 percent discount upon verification from a list price of $60 to $96 a week.

Whether you aspire to be the next Gordon Ramsey, you’re looking to consume sustainably or you just don’t want to break the bank, there is a meal prep service for you. 

Meal delivery services like HelloFresh and Blue Apron have risen to popularity over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps people at home and in the kitchen. Some services cater to vegans, while others pride themselves on their relatively low prices.

Here’s a rundown of meal services for every kind of eater:

For students on a budget:

Every Plate: This service ranks among the cheapest of meal prep services. The service has plans for two and four people with options for three to five meals per week. You can choose from weekly menus, and most meals take about 30 minutes to prepare. Options from its weekly menu include creamy dijon chicken, mushroom and pepper jack quesadillas and Israeli pita pockets.

$4.99 per serving plus shipping. You will be charged four days prior to the scheduled delivery, and modifications are accepted up to five days prior to the delivery. Find more information here. 

Dinnerly: Subscribe to Dinnerly for two- or four-person boxes, which can be adjusted based on your desired number of meals per week. Vegetarian customizations are available, and the weekly menu offers meat, fish and veggie options. This week’s menu offers the likes of kung-pao chicken, a crispy fried shrimp basket and a caprese ravioli. The service attributes its low prices to its “simpler” approach through its use of digital recipe cards and fewer ingredients. Dinnerly charges $8.99 for shipping and allows cancellations and changes.

$5.29 per portion for a two-person box and $4.99 per person for a four-person box. Find more information here

For those looking to hop on trending services:

HelloFresh: This service offers a few different plans, depending on household size (two or four) and number of meals desired for the week (two to five). Once these specifications have been determined, you can select your meal choices from the provided weekly menus, which include dishes like the balsamic tomato & herb chicken, pork carnitas tacos and szechuan pork & green bean stir-fry. Some take less than 30 minutes to prepare, while others require closer to an hour to make. You don’t need to use the subscription every week. You could cancel for a week or two if you’re cooking on your own.

$60 to $96 a week. Students are offered a 15 percent discount upon student verification here

Blue Apron: This company was created to emphasize sustainable consumption. Blue Apron offers a few different meal plans – the “Signature” plan, “Signature for 4” family plan, “Vegetarian” plan and “Wellness” plan. Some meals are quick and easy to prepare, while others are more complicated. The service accommodates customers with dietary restrictions as well as those looking to order low-calorie meals. You can choose from dishes like the one-pan spicy pork udon, Spanish lamb and saffron rice and monterey jack Beyond burger. 

About $9 per meal and in each plan. Blue Apron also provides an accompanying wine delivery service. Find more information here

For the environmentally conscious:

Green Chef: This business is the first USDA-certified meal prep service and the only meal prep service with a 100 percent carbon and plastic offset. It offers a selection of plans based on diet and health restrictions, including the keto and paleo diet plan, the “Balanced Living” plan, which includes meat, seafood and vegetarian options, and the “Plant Powered” plan. Each plan has customizable options for the number of meals and desired servings. Its weekly menu includes pesto panko chicken with mozzarella, greek pork couscous bowls and caramelized onion melts.

About $12 a serving plus $8.99 in shipping, which totals to about $79 a week for three meals for two people. For any necessary adjustments, keep in mind customers are charged seven days prior to the scheduled order. Find more information here

Purple Carrot: For those seeking entirely plant-based options, Purple Carrot is your go-to vegan service. The service offers two- or four-person serving plans, and you can select the number of dinners per week. It includes a menu of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options that include the likes of creamy tahini noodles, black bean and corn quesadillas with breakfast and lunch options that include breakfast tacos and sunflower chickpea sandwiches. This service is athlete-endorsed as Purple Carrot partnered with NFL football player Tom Brady in 2016 to create his “TB12” personal plant-based diet meal kit. 

$11.99 per serving for the two-person plan ($71.94 weekly) and $9.99 per serving for the four-person plan ($79.92 weekly). Shipping is free. Find more information here

For those living in the District:

Mighty Meals: If you are looking to check out a local meal prep company, Mighty Meals is based in the city. This service is a little different from the previously listed ones as it functions on a meal-by-meal basis. Instead of ordering a kit each week, you are given a range of options and can choose individual meals. Many categories are provided, from meat and vegetarian to those under 500 calories, low carb meals and gluten free. Some dishes include the turkey bolognese stuffed pepper, salmon alla vodka and coconut chicken curry. 

$7.99 to $12.99 per meal. The service offers at-home delivery and requests a two hour delivery window to carry out the order. Find more information here

Vegetable and Butcher: Ranked D.C.’s best meal delivery service by the Washington City Paper in 2020, Vegetable and Butcher offers a balance of nutritious and environmentally friendly meal plans. The service offers a “Vegetable’s Basket” and a “Butcher’s box,” and each is customizable based on family size and desired number of meals. Each weekly menu plans out a specific breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day, and selections for snacks and health boosters are also available. For example, Thursday’s menu includes super seed oatmeal, harvest salad with maple blood orange dressing and Mexican white bean chili. The service’s packaging is recyclable or compostable, and the ingredients are locally sourced.

The Vegetable Basket is priced at $11 per meal ,and the Butcher’s Basket is priced at $11.67 per meal. Delivery is available in D.C., Northern Virginia and parts of Maryland. Find more information here.

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