One of the overlooked pieces of marathon training is nutrition. It’s a piece that will help us to perform our best, but often between the miles and life don’t have a ton of time left to think about. Which is where I found the best prepared meal delivery services have come to my rescue.
I can cook.
I don’t find it awful.
But usually I don’t. I cook up some chicken, veggies and go on about my week with little variety. I like routines because they simplify my life, but that’s not always so ideal for nutrients and general food enjoyment!
Comparing Prepared Meal Delivery Services
The last few months, we have been happily interspersing my normal easy meals with things that feel a lot more fun and require 0 work from me.
More importantly, I know that I’m getting a wide variety of nutrients which means better recovery and better fueling for my workouts.
What is the best premade meal delivery service?
Healthy meal delivery is a tricky game I realized because we all define it different. For me it’s about a meal that is high in quality protein, filled with vegetables and not a ton of other things.
I try to avoid dairy and gluten because I feel better, but does that make a meal healthy, no. Just better for me.
- Daily Harvest – prepared meal, plant based, frozen delivery
- Eat to Evolve – prepared meal, high protein, delivered fresh
- Purple Carrot -prepared meal or meal kit, vegan
- Blue Apron – meal kit, wide variety of dishes
- Hello Fresh – meal kit, wide variety of dishes
The reason I focused on these particular services is because they deliver WHOLE FOOD meals. In other words, it’s not the same as buying a frozen meal because the ingredient labels are short and all food, no additives.
Best Prepared Meal Delivery
As noted, I’ve had the opportunity to try a number of services over the years. Here’s a quick breakdown to help you find the right one for your needs and more detailed reviews:
Weekly delivery of a set number of items. I say items because much of what I order is part of a whole meal, i.e. a Forager Bowl that I eat with chicken or a Lychee Smoothie that I mix with some spinach and protein powder.
Being frozen these provide that quick week night HELP ME FIND food option without a worry that it’s going to go bad.
- Individual items are $5.99 to $8.99 and the minimum order is 9 items per week
- Price decreases if you join the 14 item or 24 item weekly
- Menu does not change a ton
- Organic ingredients and focus on increasing sustainable packaging (many items delivered in 100% compostable bowls)
- Frozen smoothie packs – fantastic way to get more variety in your diet and lots of nutrients, new coffee focused smoothies are also a big hit for many
- Cacao nibs – this little dessert treat is a winner for all my cookie dough lovers
- Flatbreads – when I’m craving pizza, but know I need veggies this works, they are LOADED
- Oat bowls – an easy way to get in those overnight oats and again try new things like pumpkin chai
- Soups – these were hit or miss for me and really the only thing on the menu that was like that
- Forager and Harvest bowls – I love cooking one and then dividing it between two meals, while I add in some protein
💲Daily Harvest discount code RUNTOTHEFINISH for up to $40 off your first order.
FAVORITE ITEMS: Cacao nibs are such a great treat, the artichoke spinach flatbread is also a big winner…but so was the cremini forager bowl, I can’t pick.
This has moved up to one of my favorites after the very first couple of items I tasted from my first box.
Their SOUP blows Daily Harvest away. On the flipside they don’t have flatbreads or any kind of desserts and I do so love those!
A winner in terms of flavor and quality. The veggies feel fresh and the meals feel robust.
- Minimum of $65 which is 5 lunch bowls or 5 smoothies
- Price decreases per meal as you increase in number of items
- Menu does not change a ton
- Plant-based, non-GMO, gluten-free
- Sustainable packaging with the box, all individual items are in plastic you can reuse or recycle
- Smoothies – Arrive ready for the fridge, but I have put them in the freezer to save for an extra week or two. Most smoothies contain a little fat to make them more filling and lasting, also lower in sugar than many.
- Soup – As noted these win for me over DH. They arrive ready to go in the fridge or freeze. The flavor for me was just more spot on, not to so overwhelming with spice and the vegetables felt richer.
- Grain Bowls – Bowls serve 2 which is great for making them last or an easy dinner for two. Grains, veggies and often beans make them filling, though I tend to add in some extra protein as well.
- Noodle Bowls – I’m not a huge pasta person, but I still like the combo of flavors and the every present veggies.
- Wellness Shots – Immune boosters for a quick hit of recovery (or the cherry one to help with sleep!!).
Favorite Items: Kale and Lentil Soup, Recovery Shot, Chocolate Cherry Smoothie.
One of the things I loved about them is the ability to order a la carte and not feel locked in to a consistent delivery schedule. When we travel, it’s amazing to come home and pull a complete chicken dinner with veggies out of the freezer for me and a meatloaf with cauliflower mashers for David.
But…it’s also nice to just enjoy a week of eating my chicken and not worry that meals are coming we don’t yet need.
- A la carte or weekly delivery options
- Meals range from $5.75 for breakfast options to $11.75 – average is $11
- Higher protein meals with a focus on chicken, beef, pork from local pasture raised and grass-fed animals
- Many meals are keto, plenty of options for dairy free, paleo, not so much vegan
- All meals include a vegetable (which have all be delicious and well cooked) and few include grains which is my preference (not a pasta person)
- Menu does not change a lot
- Meals are delivered fresh, but do freeze extremely well
- Based out of Kansas City their smoked pork tenderloin gave me life!! It was like being home again
- Mint paleo balls mean energy balls I don’t have to make, joy, joy
💲Eat to Evolve discount code RUNTOTHEFINISH for 15% off
FAVORITE ITEMS: Smoked Pork Tenderloin, fried chicken with spaghetti squash and David raved about the pepper jack macaroni with hot links.
If you have been thinking about becoming a plant based runner, I could not LOVE this more. It’s such a great way to try out some different things and get an idea for how to put together really satisfying meals.
- I was only able to try this when it was meal kits, but they now have prepared meals too!
- Cost is $12.99 per serving, which does not change if you order more with your subscription
- Easy to see exact ingredient list to decide if you want to add or skip a certain meal
- Nutrition breakdown is not provided, but allergens are called out
💲Purple Carrot discount code carrot30 for $30 off
FAVORITE ITEMS: Sausage jambalaya and I had a sesame roasted carrots with noodles bowl that was insane.
They like to call out that they’re gluten free, but that seems to be the case with almost all the meal plans here because of the focus on vegetables and very little processed foods.
- Pricing decreases with the volume of meals included in your weekly order from $11.49 at 4 meals to $8.49 at 12 meals
- Meals are delivered fresh, but can be frozen
- Each week you pick a new set of meals from the current menu – all meals, no snacks or breakfasts
- Focus on sustainability so packaging can all be recycled (including the insulation which is denim!)
💲Freshly Discount Code – click here to automatically apply up to $30 off your first order.
FAVORITE ITEMS: Chicken Tikki Masala, Crave No More Shepard’s Pie
As noted some of what often comes up for healthy prepared meal delivery options are actually meal kits. The benefit here is the per serving price DROPS.
The main difference is that here you’ll receive all the ingredients (including spices), along with instructions on how to cook and assemble the meal yourself. Many people prefer this option because they enjoy that time in the kitchen, but don’t have to meal plan or shop.
As noted, I had so much fun with these…but I really loved it when things arrived ready to eat so that I can focus on writing, running and exploring.
For my wine loving friends you can now include that in your subscription! No wonder this giant keeps on growing.
- Meal kit with fresh ingredients
- Average price is $6.24 per serving and all recipes serve 2 to 4
- Vegetarian and wellness meal subscription offers
- We have loved all the meals we tried from here
- Rotating meal plan means a wide variety of options
- Some felt a little complex for my preferred skill set, but the directions were very clear
Discount: $90 over first 4 orders is their current offer
- Meal kit with fresh ingredients
- Average price is $4.49 per serving and all recipes serve 2 to 4
- Can’t get exact nutrition breakdown for meals of fat, protein, carbs
- More appealing to the foodie who wants to try a variety of rotating meals, but maybe not focused on a specific dietary way of eating
- Again, everything we ever made from here was delicious.
Whew that is a LOT of food talk.
But if you aren’t yet done and what some additional sports nutrition tips, read on:
- Daily Harvest vs Splendid Spoon
- Are Meal Delivery Services Worth It? A Cost Breakdown
- Marathon diet plan – what should it include
- High fat diet for endurance runners
- Should you run fasted?
Questions about other meal delivery services? Let me know!
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